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Drifting Off: the Attempt

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It hurt. Diggle left out of problems with his leadership, just like the everyone else, and it hurt rather petulantly. Like a nagging child, the pain wouldn't go away, despite the fact that deep down Oliver knew that a lot of these 'problems' were utter bullshit. The bullshittery didn't stop Diggle's words from echoing in his head like tolling bells as he lay on his bed in the darkness. He knew that William's mom was not dead because of him. That was on Chase. Thea left to live her life, not to get away from him. He knew, logically, that it wasn't his fault that Diaz had corrupted so much of the city. That was on Diaz. And yet he still felt like all of those things and more were on him, going all the way back to Tommy's death, his father's death. The failure to completely stop the Undertaking, his mother, Thea's hardships, all of it. Oliver knew it was not his fault, but he didn't believe it.

It hurt all the more bitterly because Diggle knew exactly what he was doing.

Chase's words rang along with Diggle's, similar as they were. These things were all drilled into his head with a side helping of hearty torture and his own predisposition to blame himself for literally everything that ever went wrong around him. And Diggle knew what he was doing. He knew exactly what state his words would leave Oliver in, knew that it was cruel, yet he did it anyway. And so here he was, laying in bed gnawed with anxiety, building up pressure without release.

Oliver sighed and sat up, didn't feel right, then lay back down. Still didn't feel right. He felt like there was something he needed to do, but all he needed to do right now was sleep. Couldn't. So he sat up, got up, started pacing. Knew it wasn't helping anything. Did it anyway. The words flashed in his head, the faces in the back of his mind shifting between Diggle and Chase.

Hated how much Chase still affected him. Hated how Diggle got to him. Hated everything, no, himself. Needed to stop, didn't. In fact, his pacing sped up if anything. The door opened, light flicked on, and it took him a second longer than it should have to recognize that it was Felicity. He stopped pacing.

"Hey," he whispered, then tried to grin convincingly.

It didn't work. "Want to talk about it?" she asked.

Oliver thought for a while before saying, "Well, you already know what's bothering me. Not much to talk about."

"Do you want to be touched right now?"

Oliver shook his head. Felicity smiled. His thoughts raced out of control, afraid suddenly that she would leave too, now that everyone else had. She likely knew what tonight's events would do to him though, and already assured him she wouldn't do that to him. Wouldn't leave him alone. Still afraid though.

"Hey," Felicity offered, "why don't we lay down together. Just relax, you know?" That sounded good. Relaxing. Not sure he could manage it right now. Could try.

"Okay," he says. They lay on their sides beside each other after Felicity takes her glasses off, not touching at all but looking into each other's faces. They stay like that for a while, without speaking or moving, as Oliver attempted to calm his mind. He couldn't though. Everything was still his fault, like Diggle had said. Felicity could still decide he was too much trouble and leave him with absolutely no one to ground him. No friends. No family except William, whom he was responsible for. Right now, he had no one except Felicity to lean any weight on. The ways in which the world worked dictated that she would leave. And soon. His chest tightened and he struggled to breathe, a crescendo into one vast struggle to pull in air before fading away, tears coming to his eyes. Felicity, naturally, noticed this.

"You okay?"

"Not quite," Oliver admitted, "but still fine. Upset about Diggle and some of the things he said."

She frowned, "Like what?"

"Oh, you know. The whole trail of bodies, including William's mother, everything going wrong now is your fault shtick."

Her frown deepened into a scowl, "I can't believe he would say all that to you. The way he said it, he knows what it would do to you. Hell, he was parroting your own self doubt and even Chase's assholery with the 'trail of bodies, it's your fault, everyone around you dies, meh meh meh' thing. It's not even true, please tell me you know that."

"I try to," Oliver replies, "I just still can't believe he would do this. It's completely unlike him.

"Yeah," Felicity agrees vehemently, "You should just shoot him somewhere non-lethal."

Oliver rolls his eyes, "Because that always fixes everything. Great idea."

"You did it to Roy. And Barry."

"I'm never living that down, am I?"

"Nope," Felicity pops to 'P' and grins, "Feeling better."

Oliver nods, "Yeah. I just need some time to process."

"So is it time to stop staring deep down into each other's souls through our eyes? Because I would like to turn the light off. I'm tired."

"Yeah, go ahead. It's getting late."

Felicity got up to turn the light off, then returned to bed. "We can deal with the rest of this calamity in the morning."

"Agreed."