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Roy had left a few hours ago, begging off that he wanted to help Thea close up Verdant for the night. He knew his protege was still struggling with the knowledge that he’d killed another man under the influence of the Mirakuru, but eventually he’d learn to make peace with it. Although Oliver wasn’t sure he’d ever been able to do that himself. Sure he’d learned to kill for survival, but couldn’t diminish what caused him to continue to do so once he returned to Starling City.

Those thoughts, and others brought him back to why he doesn’t kill any longer, and one of those reasons was why he was there tonight - Felicity.

He still hadn’t been able to reconcile the kiss he saw between Ray Palmer and Felicity earlier, but he knew he was going to have to at some point, especially since it most likely occurred because of him.

Oliver sighed, tired of his own musings - although dinner with one of his closest friends and his family helped, if not let him completely forget what occurred. He envied Diggle’s new life, and knew if he took the chance he might too be able to have this life. But that’s the problem, he didn’t know if he could take the chance.

While continuing his ongoing internal debate of Oliver Queen versus the Arrow the man rose from the dining room chair where he’d been nursing a cup of coffee and entered the kitchen where Lyla was doing the dishes. Digg had gone off to put Sara to bed.

“Need any help?” he asked.

“Sure,” Lyla replied, glancing over her shoulder before returning her attention back to the soapy, water filled sink before her.

She smiled as he stood next to her with a dish towel in hand.

Oliver smiled back, one eyebrow raised in inquiry. “What?”

Lyla shrugged, “I just never thought I’d see the day when Oliver Queen would be drying dishes.”

Oliver’s lip twitch upward as he took a clean dish carefully from Lyla’s hands. “Yeah, well there’s always a first for everything.”

“Umm, hmm,” was her only response.

The two then worked silently in tandem for a while before Lyla eventually focused her sharp green eyes on Oliver. “So are you going to tell me what happened?”

He remained quiet, even though they both knew he heard the question. He just didn’t know how to answer her, or how much he should reveal. Oliver was never very good at communicating his feelings, but with Lyla he had this urge to share everything. Deep down he felt a kinship to her that he didn’t feel with the rest of the team, mainly because they both knew what it was like to work for Amanda Waller.

“This has something to do with Felicity and Ray Palmer I assume,” she prodded.

“You aren’t going to let this go. Are you?" he teased.

“Nope,” she firmly replied as she dried her hands and motioned him back into the dining room. “Ask my ex-husband about that.”

Oliver laughed as he allowed her to lead him into the other room.

Even after they sat he remained silent.

He watched as Lyla reach across the table and gently squeezed his forearm, the concern evident in her gaze. “You can tell me you know.”

Oliver blew out a deep breath as he placed his hand gently over hers, “I know. It’s just I don’t know where to begin.”

“Do you need a little help getting started?" she asked.

He nodded in acquiescence as he removed his hand from hers although he noticed she kept her hand in place..

“I’m assuming this has something to do with Felicity going out with Ray Palmer.”

Still he said nothing.

“Johnny told me,” she explained. “He’s worried about you. We both are,” she offered as she once more squeezed his arm. “We know how you feel about her…”

“Wait….what?” he asked.

“Oliver, you don’t have to hide your feelings from us. We know,” she admitted. “And we’re pretty sure Felicity feels the same way.”

“Probably not after tonight,” he muttered to himself but Lyla heard.

“Why do you say that?” she pushed.

“I…,” but Oliver couldn’t sit still. He stood and began to pace as he rubbed his hand up and down along the back of his head. “I went to see her after Digg left me tonight. I...but when I got there I saw her….”

“Saw her what?”

“I saw Felicity kissing Palmer,” he admitted.

“And then what?” Lyla asked.

“What do you mean, and then what?” he countered.

“What happened after they stopped kissing?” she clarified, her voice exasperated as if saying are you an idiot.

And he couldn’t debate that, he was an idiot, but there was no way he was going to stay and find out what happened between Felicity and Palmer after they kissed, and he voiced that to Lyla.

“I didn’t stay to find out.”

He watched her ponder that for a moment before patting the seat next to her, signaling for Oliver to sit down once more.

After he was seated, Lyla turned to him and took both his hands within hers. “Oliver, let me ask you this. What if you had found Felicity alone tonight. What would you have said to her?”

“I..,I don’t know,” he honestly answered.

“Well, don’t you think you owe it to her and yourself to figure that out. Look, I’m not saying the kiss didn’t mean anything. Maybe it did. But, what I think in truth is, that she’s hurting and vulnerable right now; and, Ray Palmer just happened to be there when she needed a little comfort.”

She then patted his arm and stood just as Diggle entered the room.

“Did I miss much?” John asked as he reached for Lyla and pulled her against his side.

“Not a thing,” she responded as she looked up and smiled at the father of their daughter. “Oh, except Oliver helped me do the dishes.”

Diggle’s eyebrow raised in question as he eyed his boss. “He did huh? What do I owe you for that?”

“Nothing,” Oliver responded as he smiled at his friend and stood. “Consider it payment for a wonderful dinner.”

“Done.” John agreed.

Then Oliver reached forward to shake Diggle’s hand as the man did the same.

“You have a beautiful family John.”

“Thank you Oliver.”

And they both knew from Digg’s tone that he was saying he could have one too if he would just allow himself to take the first step towards it.


*****



After Oliver left John and Lyla’s he walked around Starling City for awhile, not quite ready to head back to The Foundry and be alone with his thoughts.

Not surprisingly his trek found himself in front of the Palmer Technologies building once more.

Oliver hated to see the man’s logo on the building his family had built, but what could he do about it. He admitted to Felicity that it was probably better that Palmer won the company from him, but that still didn’t mean emotionally he didn't hate it.

Taking a deep breath he opened the Main doors, the glass showing off his reflection, and Oliver had to take stock in how he looked. He looked tired and defeated. When was the last time he felt that way. There was so many times, he couldn’t pinpoint which one, but he did know was that it was always Felicity who brought him back. Her unwavering trust and support when it came to him was something he didn’t deserve, but greedily took anyway.

Now here he was, taking advantage once more. Oliver knew he hurt Felicity tonight when he said those things to Carrie Cutter. He knew she’d been listening in, but he couldn’t stop himself. What he’d said was true, but it didn’t mean he didn’t want it not to be.

As Oliver entered the elevator he'd taken only a few hours ago to the Executive Level floors where his old office stood, he thought about what Lyla said. What did he plan to say to Felicity if she was even there - alone.

He honestly didn’t know, but he hoped he figured it out by the time he reached the twenty-sixth floor.

As the elevator dinged his arrival, the man took another deep breath before stepping off.

He headed towards his office, well Felicity’s office now, and as he rounded the corner he breathed a sigh of relief to see she was alone. She hadn’t yet seen him though through the glass so Oliver took the opportunity to look upon her without being censored or with interruption.

She’d still had on the cobalt dress she was wearing earlier. Oliver actually preferred her in red although he was dying to see her in emerald green, but that was neither here nor there right now. Her hair was back in it’s classic, sleek ponytail and her glasses sat demurely perched on her sweet, defined nose. She was concentrating on something she was reading on her tablet, but what stood out the most was how sad and tired she looked, and Oliver hated himself for it.

He couldn’t be sure it was because of him. It could have been because of Palmer and that thought made his blood boil and had him instinctively bringing his hands into tight fists, which he quickly relaxed knowing that attitude would get him nowhere.

Suddenly, her eyes were upon him and he realized he couldn’t hide any longer. Keeping his blue eyes fixed on her own, Oliver entered the room.

“Oliver, what are you doing here?” Her surprise evident in the tone of her voice. “Is everything okay. Is there an emergency. Is it Digg, Roy,.....

“Felicity,” he calmly interrupted her, “everyone is fine. I….I came here to see you.”

“Oh,” she questioned. “Why?...Not that you need a reason, but I just wasn’t expecting you here...well here or really anywhere….

“I was here earlier.” Oliver blurted out.

Now that got Felicity to stop talking.

“You were? When? Why didn’t you tell me?” Then she must have realized what Oliver had seen because her hand when to her neck and then to her mouth.

“I’m not going to apologize,” she responded. “You made your choice, and you made it perfectly clear this evening that your choices hadn’t changed.”

He could hear the anger in her voice, the indignation, and he didn’t blame her.

“Did it mean anything?” he asked. He didn’t mean to, knew it was wrong, but before he could mentally stop himself the words were out of his mouth.

“You don’t get to ask me that.” Her ire evident.

“I know. I’m sorry.” Oliver sincerely replied.

“So what are you doing here, Oliver?” Felicity asked once more.

"I...,I..." He wasn't sure where to start.

So instead of saying anything the man moved to the other side of the room. He needed some distance if he was going to figure this out.

Although, Felicity had other ideas in mind he realized, because as soon as he did, she followed him to where he stood.

The two stayed like that side by side looking out over the city for several moments before he finally felt her hand upon his arm.

“Oliver, I may be mad at you. Even disappointed. But that doesn’t mean I’m not here for you if you need me.”

He reached over and placed his hand over hers and said, “I know. And that’s what makes you the incredible person you are. It’s just you…, you mean so much to me…”

That was the wrong thing to say, because as soon as he had she released her hand and walked back over to her desk. She didn’t sit, but kept the furniture as a barrier between them. He hated it. He hated all of it.

It really was up to him to make the first move - so that’s what he did.

He walked over to her, and stealthily moved around the desk as he placed himself right in front of her, entering her personal space, and lightly grasped her shoulders forcing her to turn her and face him.

She wouldn’t meet his eyes, not until he gently placed his finger under her chin and directed it upward. She didn’t resist, but he knew she didn’t want to look at him either. It didn’t matter because he wasn’t going to give her a choice . Once her gaze was upon his he removed his hand and tenderly cupped her cheek.

“Felicity, I don’t have a good track record for not hurting the ones I love. With you…, with you it’s different…..it’s…

“Oliver,” she said interrupting him, “you don’t have to do this.”

“Yes, I do,” he replied. “I’m…, I’m scared. Do you remember when you didn’t want to tell me about Thea because you thought you would lose me.”

“I remember,” Felicity replied.

“Well, that’s how I feel now,” he continued. “I don’t want to lose you, but I’m so scared to be with you. Does that make sense.”

“If it was any other person than you, I’d say no. But because it’s you, I understand,” Felicity said. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t think you're wrong. But I’m scared too.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Oliver, I have problems getting close to people. To trusting people. It took me a long time to open up to you and Digg. It’s still hard. I think about what happened with my father, with Cooper…”

“He was an idiot and a little crazy.”

Felicity nodded in agreement. “That he was, but what does that say about my character. My father left when I was little, and Cooper, he decided on a life a crime and…”

“Felicity, none of that was your fault. Your father. Cooper.”

“Yes, but neither is everything that goes wrong in this city your fault Oliver. I just want you to see that we both have issues. You aren’t the only one. But I’m willing to take a chance, and you’re not.”

“I am,” he whispered.

“What?” Felicity asked.

“I want to take a chance.” he clarified, his voice louder this time.

“Oliver, don’t do this just because of what you saw tonight…”

“I’m not. Felicity, I came here earlier tonight for a reason. That reason hasn’t changed, but the most important thing, the only thing I want, is for you to be happy. And if that’s with Palmer then I have to wish you well, and learn to live with it.”

“It’s not what I want Oliver,” she whispered in reply.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yes,” she softly said.

And as she did, Oliver slowly leaned his head towards her as Felicity met him halfway. The kiss was soft and gentle, a slow meeting of their lips, as they remembered what the other felt like.

There were no declarations, and no promises made. Only the decision that whatever this was, they were going to work it out - together.
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