Title: Of All the Times You’ve Needed Me, I Know This Must be One of Them
Characters: Oliver Queen, Felicity Smoak, and John Diggle
Prompt: Hold your breath
Timeline/Spoilers: Through 2x01. Set sometime in the future.
Word Count: 1348
Summary: This ambush has nothing to do with his green hood and everything to do with being a Queen.
The first time Felicity gets shot, it's fast and hard, and completely out of Oliver's control.
He watches from across the ballroom as Diggle hauls her up from the floor, like a broken doll, and stashes her behind pieces of a fractured table. Weapon in hand, Diggle takes down the assailants closest to him but more seem to flood in. The mixture of screams and gunfire surround the room, increasing until the chandeliers that hang high above them explode like fireworks. As the shards of glass rain down, Oliver's fingers twitch to reach for his quiver.
"Help!" he can hear people moving around him, crying out in agony.
Oliver moves quickly, between the bullets and falling bodies, but can't get past the middle of the room. His hand starts to move hand to his ear, hoping to catch a second of what's happening with Diggle and Felicity, but freezes when he realizes that this is not a mission gone wrong. His team is not linked up with comms and he is not equipped with arrows to take down his enemies.
This ambush has nothing to do with his green hood and everything to do with being a Queen.
"Ollie!" he hears a cry from his left. Automatically, he reaches for his sister and brings her as close to the ground they can get. He tries his best to maneuver them behind a pillar, hoping they remain unnoticed. He feels a tightness in his chest as Thea takes shelter in his arms, fingernails digging into his shoulders. Out of the corner of his eye, he tries to keep a close watch on Felicity, but her body is crumpled in a heap on the floor. Oliver can only catch a glimpse of her satin blue dress, its stillness a drastic change from the way it moved with him on the dance floor. He spies Diggle stripping off his jacket, moving to hover over Felicity; the panic in his face is as clear the blood on his sleeves.
Only when the last bullet rings out and the police start to move in, does Oliver become aware that he's been holding his breath the entire time.
Felicity's recovery is slow and slight, and the worst kind of contrast from their everyday lives.
Three days after the ambush, she wakes up to an exhausted Diggle and an over alert Oliver by her side; Diggle keeps a steady hold of her hand while Oliver paces around the room. The contrasts in the men are enough to make her head spin, if the drugs weren't already doing their job. Apparently, the gunmen were hitting homes of the rich all across Starling City and lucked out when they realized the Queen mansion was holding a benefit.
"There's no way we could have predicted they were coming," Diggle says, a hint of an apology at the tip of his tongue.
"This will never happen again," Oliver vows. He finally stands still long enough for Felicity to reach out and uncurl his fist. Her fingers flutter over his wrist and the steadiness of his pulse is all she remembers as she drifts back to sleep.
Felicity spends a week in the hospital and a week at Diggle's, with Oliver occasionally stopping by at night and sitting with her until dawn. Her time with Diggle is split between napping at odd times of the day and entertaining his nephew A.J., who comes over after school. Mostly, she just watches the way Diggle moves around his space, comfortable but not quite at ease. He's never more than three steps away and hovers like a mother hen when he worries A.J. is too rambunctious.
"I'm probably okay enough to go home, Digg," she tells him.
"I'd rather have you here," he says, a slight edge to his voice. He leaves the hallway light on when it gets dark out and his bedroom door open, just in case.
When Felicity finally is okay enough to go home, Diggle spends the first two nights on her couch under the pretense of wanting to catch the latest drama series on cable television. She calls his bluff on the third night and kicks him out, only to wake up the next morning to Oliver in her room. He vacates her armchair and stands next to the bed. She wants to be surprised, but really, she's not.
"You can't tag-team the invalid," she protests. She pushes off the covers, wincing when she stretches more than she anticipates. Immediately, Oliver's arm shoots out, frames her body and holds her up as she slides out of bed.
"Keep calling yourself an invalid and we may never stop," he chides her, voice softer than usual. He moves his hand so that it's splayed across her back and suddenly, the heat of his palm seeping through her tank top is all she can focus on. She sucks in a breath as his other arm grips her by the elbow, and slowly, he walks her to the bathroom. When they get there, she turns sharply to keep him from going in any further.
"You and Digg are going to have to relax a little and start remembering that I lived through this," she tells him. It's hard to keep the emotion out of her voice when he looks at her; but this tilt in their threesome, this slant that has caused her boys to fret, worry, and hover, must be readjusted.
"You have to realize, Digg and me…" he pauses then and takes a deep breath, "… we're still living through this."
Oliver's confession pulls at her heart and when he starts to move away, she grabs a hold of his wrist to pull him back in. Closing her eyes, she feels a light kiss on the crown of her head before he tucks her securely into his arms. In a different light they could be dancing; on another night, they were. Fingers rubbing his wrist, she calmly realigns herself with the steadiness of his pulse.
It takes another two weeks before Oliver stops sleeping in her armchair and starts sleeping in her bed.
The change in their relationship is subtle and noticed by no one, except for Diggle, of course.
He has watched his partners in crime circle around each other for the last two years, it only makes sense that their feelings would eventually spill over beyond their control. Seeing them finally balance each other out, soothes the slight agitation he's been feeling ever since the shooting.
When Felicity is well enough to go back to work, she also insists on heading to the basement of Verdant. Diggle and Oliver listen to her lament about her poor unattended computers and are forced to leave her alone so that she could make the necessary upgrades and adjustments. Oliver never strays too far, his eyes always going back to make sure she's right where they left her.
It's then that Oliver decides to tell him things Diggle already knows, has known from the start, really, and never need to be said. Nonetheless, he appreciates the sentiment.
"I wasn't there that night, I couldn't get to her. And I can spend the rest of my life hating myself for it, punishing myself, but I think I'll just be grateful to you instead. For saving her life."
"She survived that night, Oliver. And so did you," he says.
"So did we," Oliver corrects him. Diggle nods and allows their conversation to drift back to cleaning up the streets of Starling City. At a quarter to midnight, Felicity emerges from her station and Oliver immediately takes to her side. He stills his breath for a moment as he watches Felicity gather her things; even though her face shows a slight fatigue, her eyes still shine bright.
"I'm okay," she promises him and grins at Diggle, who can't help but smile back. Oliver's breathing returns to normal, just in time to respond to Felicity's lips. He touches the back of her neck, before he takes her hand and leads her out of the basement, with Diggle close behind.
- fic: of all the times you've needed me, i know this must be one of them.