The elevator doors opened, and Oliver made his way to the apartment.
It had been a long day at work, the investors wanted more from him now that the company was doing great, and the days never seemed to end as he had to work a few extra hours every day.
Now, all he wanted to do was relax and spend some time with his family.
Oliver unlocked the door and, before even stepping in, he heard Ellie's shout.
"Mommy! Daddy is home!"
With a smile, Oliver opened the door and entered the living room. He barely had the time to put his briefcase on the floor, his jacket on top of it, when he saw Ellie running to him.
"Daddy!" She jumped, and he caught her with ease, making her fly in the air. Ellie laughed, and it made him laugh too. Oliver held her against his side and kissed the top of her head.
"Hi, baby girl." He whispered. "I missed you."
"I missed you too, daddy." She told him as she hugged him tightly, her face pressed against his neck.
Oliver loved these moments when Ellie hugged him as if he was her anchor to this world. Every day that passed she looked more and more like her mother, and not only her facial features. The way she talked animatedly, how she frowned a little when she focused doing something, the expressions on her face as she looked at him. How much she loved him.
Oliver never got tired of that.
"How was your day? You've been good to mommy?" Oliver asked her as he walked to the kitchen.
"Yes! I am the nicest kid ever!" She yelled in his ear, and he laughed.
"Why don't we ask mommy that?"
They entered the kitchen, and Felicity turned to look at them, a smile appeared on her face. She turned off the stove and cleaned her hands on a towel, making her way to them.
"Hi." She said before giving him a peck on the lips.
"Hi." He whispered lovingly.
Oliver craved for these moments when it was just the three of them. For the entire day, all he wanted to do was to hug them and be surrounded by their love. More importantly, he wanted to surround them with his love.
His girlfriend and their daughter.
Ever since he officially adopted her, three years ago, it gave him a sense of peace every time he called Ellie his daughter. They might not share the same blood, but they were father and daughter in every other way. Ellie was a daddy-girl, everyone knew it. She loved her mother like crazy, but she had a soft spot for Oliver. And he'd do anything she asked just to make her happy.
And Felicity... There was not a day when he didn't love her. She made a lot of progress since the first time they met. She wasn't afraid of meeting new people, she didn't flinch when someone approached her from behind, and she didn't get a panic attack when someone knocked on the door. Their relationship developed into something beautiful, something unique, and it became the best thing that happened to him.
Both Felicity and Ellie were the best things that ever happened to him.
With matching smiles, they turned their attention to their daughter.
"So, mommy, was Ellie a good girl today?" He asked.
"Well… If you consider writing on the walls a good behavior, then yes, she was a good girl." She said, with a pointed look at Ellie.
"But the wall was sooo boring, it needed colors!" She defended herself. "Now it's so pretty."
Oliver chuckled. "Well... there will be consequences for what you did. Consequences like... a tickle attack!" He started to tickle Ellie, making her giggle.
"Daddy!" She laughed harder when he didn't stop, and Felicity joined her.
Oliver loved when he made them laugh.
"Alright." Oliver said and stopped his torture. "I think that's enough." He put her down. "Why don't you go wash your hands so we can eat?"
"Yes!" She yelled and ran to the bathroom.
"No running in the house!" Oliver said after her. "You can get hurt."
"I know, daddy."
With a shake of his head and a sigh, he turned to Felicity. "Hey."
"Hey, you." She responded as their arms wrapped around each other. "Tired?"
"Yeah. But not too much for my girls." Oliver said with a smile.
He leaned down and kissed her properly. As soon as their lips touched, Oliver felt himself relax, the long exhausting day already forgotten. When they pulled apart, Felicity smiled up at him and he smiled back.
"And your work day? How was it?" He asked her and noticed the dark circles under her eyes. "You look tired."
"I am, but.. today was good. Walter and the investors were really happy with my last project, so I was able to finish sooner. Ellie and I came home, and we spent some mother-daughter time together." She said with a smile.
"And she painted on the walls?" He asked with an amused grin.
"Yes. But luckily she has a thoughtful father who insisted on buying washable sharpies, so..." Felicity told him.
"Well, I know how enthusiastic our daughter can get when she starts to draw."
"Yeah." Felicity confirmed, and they both laughed.
They still remembered that time when Ellie put 'make-up' on Oliver's face while he was sleeping. He went to work with red lips and green eyeshadow for almost three days. Hence the washable sharpies.
"So, what's for dinner?" Oliver asked.
"I made pasta." Felicity replied with a satisfied grin.
"Nice... is it edible this time?" He asked with a barely hidden smirk.
"Hey!" Felicity playfully hit him in the chest. "It happened just one time... or three."
"Six, but who's counting?"
"You're unbelievable." She said under her breath, but he heard her and they both smiled. "Check the tomato sauce, please."
Oliver rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, washed his hands and grabbed a spoon. He tasted the sauce, careful to not burn his tongue.
"What do you say?" Felicity asked, looking at him expectantly.
"I say... seventh time's a charm." He smiled at her. "Just a little bit of salt and it's perfect." He leaned down and gave her a quick kiss on the lips.
"Yesss." She said, raising a fist in victory, and Oliver chuckled.
Ellie came back, and she sat on her chair. "Daddy?" She called him, wiggling her finger to him, asking him to get closer.
With a smile, he made his way to her and got down on one knee in front of her. "Yes, sweetheart?"
"Does it taste good this time?" Ellie whispered to him. "Or it's bad like that time you had a tummy ache?"
"I think we're safe this time." Oliver whispered back.
"I heard you." Felicity said as she put their plates on the table.
"We don't know what you're talking about." He told her and winked at Ellie, making her giggle.
"Alright." Felicity said in defeat, a small smile playing on her lips. "Sit down and eat before it gets cold."
They started to eat, and Oliver looked at Ellie. "So... what is it that you draw on the wall?"
"I draw a vili... vigli... vi-gi-lan-te." She said, butchering the word.
"Oh, really? You know what that is?" He asked raising his eyebrows.
"Yes! Mommy says it's a hero." Ellie responded proudly.
"And which hero did you draw?"
Oliver looked at Felicity, and she shrugged. "I might have mentioned that you used to... play... with bow and arrows like Robin Hood."
"And you are our hero, daddy! I wanted to have you on my wall, but I couldn't do it, so I drew him because it's easier." Ellie smiled up at him.
Oliver stared at the innocence reflected in his daughter's eyes. She had no idea of the things he did on the island, or Hong Kong or Russia. She had no idea that he actually killed using a bow and arrow, and he hoped she'll never know about it.
But her calling him a hero, their hero... that made him tear up. The idea of not having her and Felicity in his life was unthinkable, and even if they found each other through an unpleasant situation, he wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.
With a steadying breath, Oliver ran his hand through Ellie's long hair. "I love you, baby girl." He whispered to her.
"I love you too, daddy." She smiled up at him, then looked at Felicity. "And I love you, mommy."
"I love you, Ellie." She replied with a smile. Felicity looked at him.
"I love you." They said at the same time.
"We all love each other!" Ellie screamed, making them laugh.
After that, they finished eating their dinner, the conversation light and they were all happy. After cleaning up, Ellie insisted to show him her version of Robin Hood, which was basically a green stick figure, then they stayed on the couch until it was time to go to bed for Ellie.
"Hey, sweetheart, why don't you get your pj's and then I tell you a story?" Oliver said to her.
"Okay." Ellie said as she stood from the couch.
"Do you want me to help you?" Felicity asked.
"Mommy, I am four years old. I am like a grown up!" Ellie said as if it was the most obvious thing ever. "I can put on my pj's." She said as she went to her bedroom.
With matching chuckles, Oliver and Felicity held each other on the couch, his hand running over her arm as she rested her head on his shoulder.
"Robin Hood, uh?" He said. "I think you two watched that cartoon one time too many."
"Are you kidding me? Watching Robin Hood and Little John interact is like watching you and Digg banter about something." Felicity said with a smile.
Oliver chuckled and shook his head in amusement.
"Hey, uh..." Felicity started, a glint in her eye as her hand lazily ran over his chest. "After you put Ellie to bed, do you think we could-"
A knock at the door interrupted her. They both groaned.
"Already being cockblocked, apparently." Oliver sighed and made to stand.
"Wait, you're tired. I'll go get it." Felicity said, and she stood after giving him a peck on the lips. He watched as she checked the peephole and opened the door with a frown.
Oliver had no idea why the man would show up at their door at this hour.
"Hi, Felicity." Lance said. "Is Oliver here?" He asked and Oliver noticed the grim tone of his voice.
He stood from the couch and made his way to them, Felicity looked at him in confusion.
"Quentin," he stopped next to Felicity, "is everything alright?" He asked as he noticed two police agents behind the man.
"No, Oliver. I'm afraid not." Lance looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but there.
"What's going on?" Felicity asked concerned.
"Oliver... you have to come with us."
Felicity grabbed his hand, and he felt how a shiver ran through her body.
"Why?" Oliver asked warily.
"You're under arrest... for the murder of Cooper Seldon." Quentin said with a sigh.
"What?" Felicity exclaimed.
"Quentin... it happened three years ago, and it was self-defense, you said it yourself." Oliver tried to reason with him.
"I know, but... someone has reported on you, and apparently they want to reopen the case."
Oliver heard Felicity talking but he couldn't understand the words.
For more than three years they tried to forget the horrors the man put them through. Especially Felicity had needed that time to overcome all of her fears and doubts. They thought it was finally over...
"Please, don't make this harder than it already is." Quentin said, bringing him back to the present.
"But, Quentin-" Felicity started, and Oliver turned to her.
"Hey, Felicity, look at me." Oliver cradled her face in his hands. "It's going to be okay. I'll go and see what this is about, alright?"
Felicity was scared, he could see it in her eyes as tears started to roll down her face. Oliver hugged her and kissed the side of her head.
"It's going to be okay, Felicity." He repeated. "Whatever it is we'll get through it."
He looked behind him and saw Ellie staring at them. She was wearing her pj's, her hands tightly gripped the white teddy bear he bought her years ago. She looked so small and terrified that Oliver's chest constricted.
"Captain Lance, we have to go." One of the agents said.
"Give them a moment." He replied sternly.
"I said a moment." Quentin insisted.
With another kiss, Oliver pulled away from Felicity and kneeled in front of Ellie, his hands rested on both of her arms. He felt her tremble as she kept glancing at the men in uniform at the door, and he gave her what he hoped was a reassuring smile.
"It's okay, sweetheart. You remember Quentin, right?" He indicated the man, who gave her a small smile.
"He's your friend." Ellie answered him.
"That's right, he's my friend. I need to go with him, to talk." He explained.
"But he talks to bad people." She frowned in worry and looked at Lance. "My daddy is not bad." She told him with conviction.
"Ellie, listen to me." Oliver asked for her attention again. "It's going to be okay. I need you to stay with mommy and be a good girl, okay? Can you do that for me?"
"You said you were going to tell me a story." The small voice in which she spoke brought a pain in his chest.
"I will, baby girl. Just not tonight." Her lower lip trembled, and he hugged her tightly, her face pressed against his neck as he stood with her in his arms. "How about auntie Thea and uncle Roy tell you a story tonight?" Oliver proposed looking at Felicity, who nodded.
"Okay." Ellie sniffled.
He put her in her mother's arms and kissed the top of Ellie's head, then did the same with Felicity.
"Call John too, and it's going to be okay." He repeated as he let go of them, and made his way to the door.
Oliver saw one of the agents grab a pair of handcuffs, but Quentin stopped him with a hand on his arm.
"They're not necessary, Officer Parks."
"He won't just run away. He won't leave his family like that." He said with conviction. "And we certainly won't handcuff him in front of them." He whispered.
With a reluctant nod, the agent put away the handcuffs, and Oliver nodded at Lance in thanks.
"Let's go, son." He said with a grimace.
Oliver looked back at his family again. Felicity was still holding a crying Ellie, matching scared expressions on their faces.
"I'll be back soon." He said, just before the other agent wrapped a hand around his arm and pulled him away, closing the door behind him.
Oliver just hoped the last thing he told them wasn't going to be a lie.