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Hope for Everything

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**

Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything.

~Euripides, Hypsipyle

**

Felicity’s apartment is empty. Which is a good thing because it should be. Having just come back from Nandar Parbat it would have been bad if someone had been inside when she’d gotten home. Very bad, actually. But still. The silence of her apartment seems loud.

Ray had stayed over the night before their lives had blown up, and his water glass is still sitting on the nightstand in her bedroom, along with his tablet. He’d been struggling with some coding before they’d fallen asleep, but she sees the solution to the problem as soon as her eyes run over it. She picks up the phone to explain what the fix is, but the pang of guilt twisting her heart tells her not to call. He’s a smart guy. Surely, he’s solved it by now.

She walks through the rooms of her house aimlessly. It’s odd to feel the absence of someone who hadn’t ever been there before, but flashes of a life she never had keep popping into her head. She can see Oliver there. See him fitting so perfectly into her space. He should be here.

She shakes off the idea because should be doesn’t mean he ever will be. They hadn’t said goodbye, but it was still what they’d done. The odds of escape had been overwhelming, but it had been his choice to stay in Nandar Parbat. The plane had been less than a mile away- so close and yet so far. It’s the story of their relationship in a nutshell.

There’s not enough ice cream in the world to process this. But there’s a bottle of tequila with a few shots left in it and she drinks it fast, standing over the kitchen sink, letting the burn rush through her and then fade before she finally lets the tears fall.

She’d had everything. For one fleeting moment they’d belonged to each other.

And now she was back to square one.

**

He’d told her to live, so that’s what she decides to do, starting with rebuilding the lair. She goes back to the Foundry and heads down the stairs with nervous steps. There’s nothing really left to salvage since Captain Lance had seized everything they needed to function as Team Arrow. Her chair rests on its side on the ground so she rights it and then sits, spinning around and around while she thinks. They could always break into the SCPD warehouse and steal everything back. Her feet lift off the floor and she smiles softly, letting the momentum carry her in slow circles. She wonders what Oliver is doing. Maybe, a half a world away, he’s dreaming about her.

The chair slows and eventually stops. Sitting directly in her line of sight is the stupid plant she’d bought in a moment of whimsy the previous September. She’d been at a farmer’s market picking up the last of the sweet summer corn when she’d seen it. Something had told her to buy it, had told her that Oliver needed a little more life down there in the darkness. She’d been happy that morning, excited about working with him to get back QC. She’d had no idea how thoroughly the rug was about to be ripped out from under them.

She rises from the chair and picks up the fern, a few fronds falling off as it moves through the air. The soil is loose around the base and she pats it down until the roots are covered. It’s a miracle it’s survived- god only knows the last time someone watered it.

It feels wrong to take it out of the Foundry, but it feels more wrong to leave it. In the end, she thinks Oliver won’t mind if it comes to live at her house for a while.

She tucks it under her arm and climbs up the stairs, pausing in the empty doorframe. Her free hand grips the splintered wood. “We’re never coming back here,” she whispers into the silent air. “Never.”

She doesn’t look back.

**

Thea is a handful. She doesn’t understand why they’re not moving heaven and earth to get her brother back. In all honesty, Felicity doesn’t either. Diggle had said something about respecting choices and figuring out a long-term plan and Malcolm had been firm about not making a move until they had a strategy in place. She’s not sure when he suddenly got a vote in their decision-making process, but somehow he has and it doesn’t sit right. Thea doesn’t seem to like it either.

It’s odd to finally spend time with her. Thea has always been a vague blur in Felicity’s mind, an interesting puzzle whose pieces never quite lined up. She owned two Birkin bags, but was in love with Roy. It was all kinds of confusing. Since they’d returned from Nandar Parbat, she and Thea had been talking every day, the two of them forming a tentative bond over how much they missed Oliver. Now that she’s starting to see the measure of the girl, Felicity finds that she likes her.

Thea is still feeling her out.

“You want to do what Oliver asked, but what he asked is ridiculous.”

“I know.”

“My brother is kind of an idiot.”

Her first impulse is to defend him, but Thea’s not exactly wrong. “Based on what I’ve seen, that kind of goes hand in hand with being a hero.”

The brunette rolls her eyes, dismissing Felicity as she walks to the fridge in the loft. “So, you’re what? Some sycophant who does whatever he tells you? Oliver needs a girl with some fight in her.”

Felicity tries not to let the words sting. Thea doesn’t really know her. Not yet.

Malcolm Merlyn stands at the island in the kitchen humming while he chops up vegetables for their dinner. He looks completely at home and it’s the creepiest thing Felicity’s ever seen. Oliver wouldn’t want him there. She doesn’t either, but she can’t exactly run him out of town with a pitchfork and an angry mob. At least not yet.

“I think Miss Smoak has more than enough fight in her to keep Oliver on his toes, Thea.” He smiles at Felicity and oh man does she need to retract her previous statement. A smile being sent her way by Malcolm Merlyn is absolutely the creepiest thing she’s ever seen. She’ll be having nightmares for months.

She opens her mouth to argue his point because agreeing with a mass murderer is something she’ll be comfortable doing never, but it would be counterproductive to do so in this case. “We can’t move until we’re ready. There’s nowhere to run, Thea. Ra’s wants his heir and Oliver’s the only one that fits the bill.”

Thea slams her hand against the stainless-steel door of the fridge, her eyes flashing hot. “That’s not true.”

It’s possible that Thea’s anger is a side effect of being resurrected via the world’s worst in-depth spa treatment, but it’s also possible that Felicity’s reading into these outbursts. Maybe there’s nothing more there than a sister missing her brother. “It is true, Thea. I wish that it wasn’t. He’ll find Oliver, or he’ll come after-”

“That’s not what I mean.”

Malcolm Merlyn stops chopping. “Thea,” he warns.

Felicity stands, feeling like something is about to change and hope blooms in her chest. “Tell me.”

“Oliver isn’t the only one that can fulfill the prophecy. I survived Ra’s' blade too.”

A joke about a souvenir t-shirt being the only thing they’d gotten for their troubles flits through Felicity’s mind and she almost laughs. Not from the joke- that was terrible, it’s just that this revelation is the opposite of helpful. Thea being the heir would be an even bigger nightmare. Oliver would burn down the world to stop it from happening.

Felicity shakes her head. “But you’re not a man. If Ra’s won’t accept his own daughter as the heir, I’m pretty sure he won’t accept you.”

Malcolm changes his grip on the knife and for a moment Felicity feels threatened as if he’s deciding whether or not he needs to kill her because of what she’s just said. It’s weird because it’s not like Felicity is about to go telling anyone that Thea also fulfills the prophecy. “And technically, you did die from his blade. Totally flatlined. It was modern science that saved you. That really doesn’t mesh with ancient prophecies.”

“Yeah, well ancient prophecies are bullshit,” Thea says.

“Ain’t that the truth,” Felicity says softly. Merlyn eyes her for a long moment and Felicity fights the urge to shiver. He finally goes back to chopping, but goosebumps continue to break out over her skin as she rises and slides on her coat.

Thea crosses to her quickly. “Please stay.” There’s desperation in her eyes, as if she knows that Malcolm is more devil than dad. “There’s enough for all three of us and you said you’d tell me about your trips to Lian Yu.”

Thea tilts her head and the movement is so like Oliver that Felicity’s breath catches. “Sure.”

Thea hugs her tightly. “Thank you,” she whispers and that isn’t like Oliver at all.

**

The new lair Felicity sets them up in is an abandoned subway tunnel that’s blocked off on one side by rubble. Something feels right about starting over in the location that was central to the mission that had brought them all together in the first place. It’s dark and damp and dirty as hell, but it also has high enough ceilings for a salmon ladder. She’s not embarrassed to admit it’s the first thing she thought of.

She redirects power from the buildings above them, and then builds a new system with computers generously provided by Palmer Technologies. And by generously provided she means stolen, but it’s not like Ray would have said no if she’d asked him. It’s nowhere near as flashy as the basement of Verdant, but it makes getting around the city easier and the first night Laurel and Thea start sparring on the mats behind her, Felicity smiles. If she closes her eyes, it almost feels like home.

**

Oliver returns on a Tuesday and whatever joyful reunion she’d imagined in her own mind is wiped away by the cold, calculating look in his eyes as he shoots a second arrow into Nyssa. He’s definitely been brainwashed. Felicity should have learned by now not to get her hopes up.

She’s never been afraid of him, though. Not once. Not back in the beginning when he was a killer and not ten minutes ago when he’d used her as a shield to escape the threat of Digg’s weapon. She won’t be afraid now. As soon as she fears him it’s over.

He lifts his bow at Laurel and Felicity doesn’t hesitate as she steps between them, her arms stretched out as if she can create a safe space on each side. “Oliver. Stop!”

Nyssa is badly wounded, the arrows through her thigh and shoulder dripping with blood. The metallic smell of it hangs in the air and good god, when had the scent become more familiar than alarming?

Laurel picks up on Felicity’s cue and decides to ignore Oliver as she kneels down beside Nyssa. Her hands fumble a little as she unzips her jacket but her voice is strong as she orders the other woman to stay still. She peels away the leather and then whips off her shirt as Diggle cautiously makes his way to them, his gun in his hand but not aimed at anyone. Laurel uses her top to make a tourniquet around Nyssa’s upper thigh and Diggle rests the gun on the ground before cutting off the tip of the arrow.

Nyssa curses at Oliver as Diggle lifts her. At least Felicity assumes that’s what she’s doing. It’s in Arabic, but the sentiment seems clear enough.

When Felicity turns to fully face him she finds that Oliver hasn’t moved. His bow is still taut, the arrow ready to loose and she knows the muscles in his arm must be burning. “Oliver. Put down your bow.”

She can hear the crunch of gravel behind her as Diggle starts walking away and then she hears the zip of Laurel’s jacket. She doesn’t look back at either of them. Laurel walks towards her and Felicity shakes her head at the sound of the approaching footsteps. “Laurel, go with Digg.”

“I’m not leaving you with him.”

Oliver raises the bow a fraction of an inch, and Felicity knows he’s calculating a way to shoot around her. It’s comforting in a very strange way. He’s still in there.

She turns away from him and looks at Laurel. “I’m fine. You should go.”

Laurel’s eyes dart back and forth between them before she nods. “Come back to us, Ollie. We need you.” She spins on her heel, running off before he can respond.

They’re alone on the street now, just the two of them. And it should feel scary, but it mostly feels amazing. He’s alive and he’s there and she can still feel the ghost of his hands on her body.

He lowers the bow. “You shouldn’t have interfered.”

“Surprisingly, all evidence points to the contrary. What are you doing?”

Oliver’s head drops and the contrast between the defeated pose and the menacing uniform is a little bit funny. His head comes back up and she can see the coldness sliding back into place. “She still calls herself the heir. I have to kill her.”

“There are a lot of things you might think you have to do, but I can tell you right now that is not one of them.”

He shakes his head and it’s unnerving not to be able to see the lower half of his face. At least with the mask, she could read him. Now it’s all darkness.

His hand flexes tightly around the bow, the leather of his glove creaking loudly. “Next time I won’t hesitate. Not even for you.”

“I don’t believe that for one second.”

Instead of arguing he stalks off. She can’t physically stop him or fight him or get him to do what she wants, but she does have a hold on him. It’s the same hold he has on her and she’s not afraid to use it. “I love you, Oliver.”

He stops in his tracks and then turns back to face her. “Oliver Queen is dead. My name is Al Sah-him.”

“You can call yourself Barney the Dinosaur for all I care. I love you. And I’m not giving up.”

Oliver’s head cocks to the side and somehow she knows that he’s fighting a smile behind that mask. At that moment she decides- she’s going to win. “You’ll have to live with your actions, so don’t kill anyone else if you can help it. I’ll see you soon. I promise.”

He walks away without comment. The moon is large and bright in the sky above and a few pigeons fly off the ledge of a building as he goes. Felicity waits until the night is still before heading in the opposite direction.

**

“Sara lives.”

Felicity’s head snaps up from her computer as a recently healed Nyssa seems to magically appear in the lair. It would be super cool if it also wasn’t super annoying. She needs Cisco to make them some sort of perimet- “Wait. What?”

“Ta-er al-Safar is alive.”

“That’s what I thought you said, but then I thought you couldn’t have said that because Sara is dead.”

“No.”

It’s too much to hope for. “Nyssa,” she says gently. “This wasn’t like the other times when Oliver just thought she was dead. I saw her. I washed the blood out of her hair with my own hands.”

Nyssa stares at her for a long moment, taking in this information. Her eyes soften before she speaks. “My father has gifted me her life.”

Felicity doesn’t need to ask how. The world seems to spin and she slumps back heavily in her chair, which actually does start to spin. Not that the world isn’t spinning too, because it is, all the time, but she can’t feel that. The movement of the chair, however, is too much. She grabs the edge of her desk because if she doesn’t she’s going to vomit and she can’t embarrass herself like that in front of Nyssa. “Why?”

“I will give him the thing he wants most in the world.”

Felicity had thought that was Oliver. What more could Ra’s want? “And what exactly is that?”

“The price does not matter.”

Felicity nods, because what else can she do? Sara is alive. Their Sara. She picks up her phone and calls Laurel.

**

It takes almost a day to travel to Nandar Parbat, but this time when Nyssa, Diggle, Laurel, and Felicity walk up to the fortress, there isn’t a throng of people waiting for them to arrive. The place feels eerily empty.

Malcolm and Thea are back on the plane, waiting to hear if they can be useful and it’s odd to feel comforted by the fact that they’re there. Thea hadn’t wanted to stay behind, and so she had come as a way to ensure Malcolm wouldn’t betray them at the first opportunity. Felicity just hopes the idea won’t come back to bite her in the ass. While they're apart, Malcolm could always steal Thea away to somewhere they can’t find her and Felicity’s pretty sure Oliver won’t love her all the more if this plan goes awry.

Nyssa blends in with the dark of the landscape and Felicity takes a deep breath, the air cold in her lungs as the four of them approach the imposing doors of the fortress. She hasn’t seen Oliver in weeks and she can’t help the nervous excitement that fills her at the idea of him being close by. She’d shaved her legs before leaving Starling City. It was a ridiculous thing to have done, but she had to have hope. Last time she’d been there she’d been sad not to have on cuter underwear. You never knew what could happen.

Dig seems calm enough when they come to a stop, but Laurel is bristling with anxiety, her hands clenching and unclenching as she waits for something to happen. The moment Nyssa steps forward the doors creak open. It feels to Felicity as if she willed them to.

When they pass through the threshold Oliver is waiting and it takes all her strength not to run to him. His hood is pulled back and, with his now close-cropped hair and minimal stubble, he looks thinner. His eyes scan over her without emotion but he almost blanches when he sees Laurel. He turns to face Nyssa. “You shouldn’t have brought them. I told you to wait.”

“I am no servant awaiting your orders.”

“But you will be my wife.”

“I fail to understand what one has to do with the other,” Nyssa snaps.

“I’m sorry, what?” Laurel asks and Felicity couldn’t be more grateful to have her there because her lungs have stopped working and that is an excellent question.

Nyssa turns and faces them, her lips twisting into a smirk. “In exchange for Ta-er al-Safar’s life, I have agreed to marry Al Sah-Him.”

Diggle coughs lightly and Felicity almost smacks him. “Oliver?” she asks, too shaken to be ashamed of the way her voice cracks over his name.

Nyssa steps towards her, placing her hand on Felicity’s shoulder. “There is no need to mourn for the loss of your love, Felicity. I will name you his consort.”

Digg does more than cough this time and Oliver takes a menacing step towards him, which is ridiculous. But not more ridiculous than what Nyssa is saying.

“It is a great honor. You will help raise our children,” Nyssa continues.

Laurel slaps a hand to her own forehead and turns in a circle, clearly wondering what terrible thing she’d done in her life to end up there. “Sorry to intrude on your little soap opera over there, but where exactly is my sister?”

Oliver hesitantly steps towards her and it’s then that Felicity knows something is very, very wrong. “Laurel,” he says, his hand wrapping around her elbow. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“Take me to her,” Laurel says, yanking her arm from his grasp. “Now, Oliver.”

**

Feral is the only word to describe her. Their Sara is now a monster trapped in a sunken pit at the center of a room that must have been some sort of amphitheater. Sara’s hands are covered in blood, her fingernails ripped out by her attempts to claw away at the door and there is a chain around her neck. When she sees them watching, she howls.

Laurel goes very still, but Nyssa collapses down hard onto one of the curved stone benches. Felicity is stunned by the show of emotion. In all honesty, her first instinct is to fall apart too, but she slides her hand into Laurel’s and squeezes instead. “Thea had some trouble at first,” she tells her softly. “Not this much trouble, but she jumped out of the Lazarus Pit like a flying squirrel and attacked Oliver. It passed in a few days. Sara was dead a lot longer than her. She probably just needs more time.”

Laurel nods and takes a deep breath, her eyes never leaving her sister. “How do I get down there?”

Oliver leads the way.

**

“I want to take her to Star Labs,” Laurel announces later, when they’re sitting in Nyssa’s room.

“It’s a good idea,” Felicity says. “But we can’t right now.” Laurel’s eyes narrow at her, but she waits for Felicity to explain. “There’s some stuff going on there involving some truly bad people. We don’t want Sara to fall into the wrong hands. Not again.”

Laurel’s eyes fill with tears. “She can’t stay here, Felicity. She can’t stay in that hole.”

“I know.”

Oliver stands guard in one corner without offering any words of comfort and it’s this silence that starts really pissing Felicity off. “I can’t believe you let them put her in there,” she lashes out, not even attempting to hide her disappointment. He hasn’t apologized once, hasn’t offered up any explanation for how or why Sara had been left in the dirt and the dark. For three days she’d been in there, terrified and alone. The idea that Oliver allowed it scares the hell out of her.

He doesn’t explain himself. He just turns and walks out.

Digg stops her from rising with a hand to her shoulder. “Let him go, Felicity.”

She’s afraid that he doesn’t just mean for right now. “Keep an eye on Laurel,” she tells him and Digg’s hand falls away. She’s out in the hallway chasing after Oliver in the blink of an eye.

“Oliver!”

He doesn’t slow down.

“Oliver!” She runs, her legs shaking with anger and adrenaline as she races to his side and grabs at his arm.

He wrenches it away. “Not here.”

“Fine.” She falls in line beside him, refusing to shorten her strides or to let him take the lead. He’s not the heir to anything in her mind and she’ll be damned if she’s going to scamper after him.

He pushes open the door to his room and walks in and when she shuts it behind them her anger falters. She’d come to him with wildly different intentions the last time she’d been there.

Oliver yanks off the outer leather coat of his League uniform, tossing it onto the small red sofa, and she swallows hard, refusing to take any enjoyment from the way his shirt skims over his body. “You’d better start explaining.”

“The Heir to the Demon doesn’t explain himself to anyone.”

“Well Oliver Queen does, so start talking.”

He stalks towards her, which is all hot and manly, but she’s not going to focus on that. No she’s going to focus on the fact that he’s being a jackass. And not even a regular jackass- a huge jackass. A super huge jackass who is also slowly backing her up against the door they’d just walked through. “What are you doing?”

Her back bumps the wood and he rests a hand on either side of her, trapping her in place. He stares at her with dark eyes and she waits for them to soften, for him to show her some sort of sign that it’s Oliver she’s dealing with and not Al Sa-him. The coldness doesn’t dissipate, though, even when he glances down at her mouth.

“I hate your hair,” she whispers defiantly.

Oliver’s mouth is on hers in an instant, fierce and strong as he kisses her deeply. Felicity is still pissed, but that’s no reason to not kiss him back. His hands slide through her hair roughly, getting caught in some tangles as they travel but she welcomes the tugs- at least she knows she’s not dreaming. She steps towards him, wrapping her own arms around his shoulders, her hands skimming his head and then roaming wherever they can reach. He’s alive. He’s alive and he’s there and she loves him. It’s enough somehow, even though there’s no way it actually can be.

The need for air eventually causes Oliver’s lips to still and they both breathe deeply as he tips his head forward. He rests his forehead against hers and closes his eyes. “It’s good to see you,” he murmurs.

Felicity couldn’t agree more. It’s good to see him, too.

**

Felicity wasn’t joking with Ra’s when she said she’d go to war to get Oliver back, but now that she really knows what she’s giving up if he stays, her focus seems sharper. Her mind races with ways to take the man down. She’s already got feelers out for the League’s bank accounts, because there’s nothing she’d like more than to wipe that balance to zero. She imagines stranding the League in Nandar Parbat and smiles at how satisfying it’s going to feel. She won’t even leave enough cash to keep them in candles.

Right now though, she needs to bide her time and lay low. Somehow Ra’s Al Guhl doesn’t know he has visitors and Nyssa and Oliver both want to keep it that way.

She sits on Oliver’s bed and watches him dress, fascinated by the shift in his personality once the uniform goes back on. Oliver has always been fluid, but this is crazy. It’s like he has a Pavlovian response when the coat zips closed. A minute ago he was nuzzling her neck, but the warmth is gone now. He’s still him. But he’s not. She doesn’t get it at all, but then she’s never been good at compartmentalizing.

“Don’t leave the room,” he says gruffly.

She nods, even though she has no intention of obeying him. She needs to talk to Diggle and Laurel and she wants to check on Sara at some point.

Oliver pauses at the door, turning to look back at her and she smiles at him softly. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

He nods his head but she knows it’s not a promise he intends to keep either.

Ten minutes later Nyssa knocks on the door. “Oliver is to be titled today. As his future bride, I am expected to be there.”

“Sounds like a hoot.”

“The entire League will be in attendance. It is an optimal time for me to remove Sara.”

Felicity nods, a bubble of nervous excitement starting to rise. “What can I do?”

The other woman smiles.

**

Nyssa has some serious explaining to do.

That’s all Felicity can think as she and Oliver stand together at the head of a room full of assassins. Ra’s Al Guhl sits on a throne a few feet in front of them watching whatever is going on with interest. Felicity is wearing the bulky leather garb of Nyssa’s uniform and her face is covered, her hood pulled down low and her mask pulled up high. This is not what she’d signed up for.

The priestess lady she’d stolen the knock out powder from on their last trip is chanting something and wafting a bunch of smoke over them and Felicity is pretty sure that Nyssa has lied. This doesn’t really seem like an official Heir To the Demon naming ceremony. If she didn’t know better, she’d say this was a wedding.

She is not going to panic.

The chanting cuts off and the lady steps in front of her. After a few seconds, Oliver shifts beside her in the silence, the leather of his own uniform creaking with the movement. They’re clearly waiting for her to do something.

The lady repeats herself, which isn’t helpful at all because Felicity has no idea what she’s saying. She catches Ra’s al Guhl’s ringed hand sliding to the hilt of his sword and she swallows hard. Nyssa had told her to say something if prompted. She hopes she gets the pronunciation right.

“أنا افعل” She says quietly.

Oliver’s posture shifts instantly, going from at ease to attention at the sound of her voice. He turns his body slightly towards her as the priestess addresses him, but, with the hood pulled so low, Felicity can’t see anything more than his leather-clad chest.

When the priestess stops talking again, Oliver reaches over and takes Felicity’s hand. “أنا افعل,” he says.

The moment feels huge.

One of the priestess’ minions pulls out a leather cord and starts binding her wrist together with Oliver’s and oh god, this is a wedding. She totally just got married. Her mother is going to kill her.

She gulps in some air, sweating a little under all the leather as the enormity of what’s going on sinks in. Her heart races in her chest as Oliver squeezes her hand gently.

She needs to calm down. It’s not so bad, really. There are millions of women who’d agree to marry Oliver Queen no matter what the circumstances. Besides, it’s not like the marriage is legal or anything. They hadn’t had a blood test for one thing, which was kind of ridiculous on Ra’s part. Surely, he wanted Oliver to start popping out some mini heirs to the demon and what if it turned out they were related or something?

Oh god. There’s no way they’re related, is there?

She runs down her family tree in her mind as the minion ties off the binding and decides that even though her dad’s side is a bit hazy, it’s safe to assume that they’re not. Ra’s doesn’t know that, though. He’s leaving an awful lot up to chance. Except, it suddenly dawns on her, he isn’t, because Nyssa is the one supposed to be marrying Oliver. Ra’s thinks she’s Nyssa. Oh, god.

The minion pulls her and Oliver forward and when he places their clasped hands on a giant slab, Felicity’s heart leaps into her throat. It all seems very ominous.

The priestess whips out a small blade and every instinct in Felicity’s body starts telling her to run. Oliver must know what she’s thinking because his hand slides to her wrist and tightens around it like a vice as he holds her in place. She can feel his panic over her reaction and she screws her eyes shut, thinking she’ll handle it better if she can’t see.

The cut, when it comes, is exactly as painful as she thinks it will be and Felicity bites her lip hard, knowing she absolutely can’t scream. Her eyes open in time for her to see the knife slashing down onto Oliver’s palm and then their hands are being pressed together, their blood mixing.

The priestess pulls their hands apart before sprinkling some sort of powder onto their gashes. The burn of it makes Felicity’s knees buckle. The wound on her hand seems to seal in an instant, leaving a deep red scar permanently seared along her lifeline.

She’s panting behind the mask now, the leather making it difficult to breathe, and she stands in a daze as Oliver reaches over to undo the cord around their wrists. The priestess takes it from him and then throws it in the air. Felicity looks up and watches as it bursts into flames.

Her hood falls back and the hall erupts into chaos.

**

Oliver grabs her hand and they run, but they don’t get far.

Ra’s is behind them, and then suddenly in front of them, his sword whirling as Oliver dodges and parries with his own. It’s weird to see him without the bow, but it’s not like he’s bad with the sword.

He’s just not as good.

She takes the first opportunity that presents itself to run for backup, ignoring the guilt of abandoning Oliver as she shouts for Diggle. She weaves through the maze-like halls and her relief when Dig comes flying around a corner is palpable. He has his gun out already and she reminds herself that a gun trumps a sword. At least she hopes it does.

Laurel is behind him and the three of them race back towards the sound of the fighting.

When they get back to Oliver, he’s no longer fighting alone. Malcolm Merlyn and Thea are beside him, the three of them fending off attackers as they pour into the space like a swarm of bees.

Felicity circles around, feeling useless without a weapon and is just about to yank a torch from the wall when a pair of arms wrap around her.

She knows it’s Ra’s, because of course it is, and in her mind she travels back to the way it felt when Slade held her like that. Back then she hadn’t panicked. Of course, back then she’d also had a plan.

Ra’s shoves her against a wall, and she stumbles as she turns, watching in horror as his sword flies up. She’s going to die. She’s going to die thousands of miles from home in Nandar Parbat. Hopefully her mother will take some comfort in the fact that she’d died a married woman.

Felicity shuts her eyes, but the sound of metal hitting metal clangs loudly in front of her and her eyes fly open again.

It’s possible she’s dead because what she’s seeing can’t be real. Sara stands between her and Ra’s, her escrima stick knocking the sword from his hand.

Felicity had dreamed of this type of moment more than once in her life, but it had always seemed ridiculous. She’d lost a lot of people and none of them had ever come back.

Well, Cooper. But she didn’t really count him. The guy running around in her first love’s skin was a totally different person than the one she had mourned. A lesser person, actually. And it wasn’t like he’d come back for her.

Sara cracks her staff across Ra’s' face and he whirls with the movement, completely off balance. Nyssa is behind him and she raises her sword to strike, but he uses his momentum to dodge the blow. Still, he can’t get away from them.

Sara is a whirl, with long blonde hair and toned arms that haven’t lost their muscle definition in death. She looks pale and wild, but it’s clearly their friend. None of them had ever thought they’d see her again. Felicity is beyond glad to be wrong.

The three of them fight, and there is something so strong about Sara, so powerful that it strikes a note of fear in Felicity’s chest. This is Sara, their Sara, but the Pit has also made its mark.

Oliver is beside the younger Lance sister in an instant and Felicity knows that he must be fighting a wave of emotion, pushing it down so he can focus on the fight at hand. Later, things will hit him. Later he’ll let himself feel.

He attacks mercilessly, the two of them driving Ra’s backward towards Nyssa, who suddenly lunges towards her father and drives her sword through his chest. Blood starts pouring out of his mouth.

It takes Felicity a moment to realize she doesn’t want to see this. She turns away, only to find Diggle standing beside her. He wraps an arm around her shoulder and it’s the safest she’s felt in months.

The din of the fighting dies off as everyone focuses on the history being made in front of them. Diggle whispers her name and Felicity looks up. Ra’s is dead on the ground, Nyssa standing over him with a smile.

Another attacker charges towards them, but then falls to his knees in front of Nyssa. All around them members of the league are dropping their swords and falling down in supposition. Nyssa turns to Oliver, who lays his sword at her feet and kneels like a knight from a storybook.

Malcolm Merlyn snarls.

**

“Who knew he’d be so easy to get rid of?” Felicity asks later, stepping beside Sara and Oliver as they watch Malcolm exit the heavy doors of the fortress.

“I doubt it’s the last that we’ll see of him,” Sara says.

Oliver nods. “He was supposed to be Ra’s. We’d made a deal. He’s not going to accept this.”

Nyssa approaches them slowly, a bag slung over her shoulder. “I do not fear Malcolm Merlyn.”

Felicity doesn’t share her confidence. Malcolm scares her to the depths of her bones. Ra’s, for all his brutality, never came close to inspiring the same level of fear in her. He’ll be back someday and she’s not looking forward to it.

Nyssa stops in front of Oliver and drops the bag at his feet. “Your time here is over, Oliver Queen. Do not return.”

Oliver smiles sharply, his eyes glinting steel in the dim light. “Don’t give me a reason to.”

They gather up Digg, Thea, Sara, and Laurel and the six of them head to the jet. The entire walk there, Felicity fears that Malcolm will have stolen it, but when they make their way around the final bend, the plane is still sitting there waiting.

Sara hesitates as Digg and Thea make their way on board, looking back in the darkness and searching for something. Laurel takes her hand and leads her up the steps. “You’ll see her again, Sara. Just come home for now.” They follow Thea into the plane.

Felicity and Oliver stand in the moonlight of the desert, the wind lightly sliding around them. She smiles at him. “You ready to go home?”

Oliver tenses and looks out at the horizon. “Felicity, I need to tell you something.”

She raises her newly scarred hand and shows him her palm. “We got married, right? That’s what this means?”

Oliver takes a deep breath, his eyes wary as he nods. “Yes.”

There’s an odd rush of excitement in her, a flutter of joy, but she tamps it down quickly. They’d been given no choice- it was a marriage forced onto both of them. She wants to be with Oliver, maybe someday she’ll want to be with him forever, but not like this. “Should we fix that before we go? I’m not sure we can get a quickie divorce in Vegas for a marriage made in Nandar Parbat. We didn’t even get any paperwork.”

Oliver shifts on his feet. “It can’t be undone.”

It makes sense, she supposes, except that it really doesn’t. “That priestess lady can’t just say a few words and dissolve it?”

Oliver crosses his arms over his chest. “No.”

Felicity nods, trying to wrap her mind around it. She’s married to Oliver. Once upon a time, it would have been her wildest fantasy, but now it’s the most terrifying thing that’s ever happened to her. “Guess we’re stuck with each other then.”

Oliver grimaces as he gives her a curt nod, which only serves to make anger flare in her belly. It wasn’t her fault they were married. Nyssa had tricked her. “Nyssa didn’t tell me what was going on, Oliver. She told me it was like your coronation or something. I’m sure none of it is legal. It doesn’t have to mean anything.”

Oliver reaches for her hand. “What if I want it to?”

Felicity’s heart stutters in her chest as the blood rushes to her head. For a second the world doesn’t make sense, but then she remembers. Oliver loves her. “Oh.”

Oliver takes a step towards her, crowding in closer. “I know I have a lot to explain and that this isn’t the way either of us would have wanted it to happen, but…”

Felicity nods waiting for him to continue. When he stays silent her anger surges. Oliver loves her and she loves him, but they can’t stay in the same limbo they’d been living in. Things could be good, but only if he’d try.

Oliver takes a deep breath, his free hand coming up to cup her face. “Every night since the mountain, I’ve had the same dream. You are pleading with me not to go face Ra’s and I listen to you. Sometimes the dream still ends badly; I still end up with that sword in my chest, but most of the time we escape and we’re just driving. And all this seems…it seems so far away because it’s just…it’s the two of us.”

It’s a nice thought and his sincerity is clear, but it’s just a dream. A fantasy. “That’s not the real world though, Oliver.”

Oliver’s thumb strokes over her cheek. “But what if it could be?”

It would be so easy to indulge him, so easy to say yes to leaving everything behind and just driving off into the sunset. But it’s not him. And it’s not her, either. “Oliver, I would go anywhere with you, you have to know that, but we can’t just walk away. The bad guys don’t stop just because we need a break. Malcolm will-“

“Why does it have to be us? There’s Laurel, and Digg, and Sara now too. There are other people who can do what we do.” He leans in to brush his lips against hers. “Come away with me.”

This is the moment. The moment she’d imagined for months now. Oliver choosing her instead of the mission. But what would they be without a city to save? Would they even work?

Oliver is looking at her softly, his eyes full of hope and it stuns her to see the truth. What he wants more than anything, is her.

“Where?”

Oliver shakes his head. “Anywhere. I don’t care, so long as you’re with me.”

Felicity smiles. “Then let’s go.”