Three Years Later
Leaving a bound and gagged Dominic Harrison behind, Oliver exited the residence of the fraudster via the back entrance. Jumping the fence, he could hear Detective Lance calling out orders to his subordinates as they invaded the property.
"Coast is clear, Oliver," came Felicity's voice over comms. "You're safe to get to your motorcycle and out of there."
Swiftly he made his way to his transportation. "Felicity, activate now." The confession he'd forced from Harrison was recorded on the rigged arrow embedded in the wall above the con man's head. Designed to flash brightly it was different from his regular armoury.
He could hear her fingers on the keyboard. "Done."
"Roger that, wife," he said, still marvelling at being able to call her that after eighteen months of marriage. It never got old. "I think you should let Dig drive you home. I'll be there as soon as I can."
He heard her huff into the microphone. "We've already had this discussion. I'm waiting for you."
Oliver sighed. He lost the argument every time. "So stubborn," he quipped, although he wasn't complaining. "I love you."
"Love you too, husband." Her voice was filled with tender affection.
"Seriously guys, I'm also here…listening in. When did this comms stream descend into a nauseating rendition of Sleepless in Seattle?" said Diggle's amused voice, belying his mocking words.
Oliver laughed when he heard Diggle's "Ow!" Presumably Felicity had elbowed him in the ribs. "I'm on my way."
Having waved Diggle off, Felicity sat at the computer terminal at the foundry waiting for Oliver's return. Monitoring his progress on screen, she noted that he was only two blocks away. Knowing he wouldn't be long, she programmed the next run of updates to start within the hour, before slowly gathering her belongings.
Reaching for her cellphone, her eyes fell on the four carat solitaire diamond engagement ring and matching band on her ring finger. Turning her hand slightly, she watched as the light glinted off its flawless surface. It had been the one indulgence she'd allowed, giving in to Oliver's insistence that he wanted her to have the perfect ring. She couldn't deny it, she loved it.
They'd been together for a year and a half before he'd popped the question. For Felicity, there'd only ever been one response worth giving. The ceremony had been small and intimate, something Moira had initially resisted. However, she'd come around once she realised that neither Oliver nor Felicity wanted a spectacle. They'd stuck to a select guest list that had contained mostly family and close friends.
Carly had been her Maid of Honor and Thea her bridesmaid. Oliver had asked both Tommy and Diggle to stand up with him, something that had really meant a lot to both of them, especially Diggle.
They'd spent a glorious honeymoon on the French Riviera where they hadn't left their hotel room for the first week. Thereafter Felicity had made Oliver take her to every museum, monument and cultural/historical site she could think of. It had been the best three weeks of her life.
Life as a Queen had not been all smooth sailing. The press had been harsh when word had broken of Oliver's engagement to 'the plain nerd who worked in the basement of his family's company' but he'd brushed it off saying that he refused to live his life with an eye on the tabloids. They could say what they wanted as long as Felicity knew the truth.
Initially their digs at her character and appearance had hurt, but as time passed and Oliver showed her that he truly didn't care for the opinions of others, she'd learnt to believe it as well. He'd made a constant effort to show her, every day, that she was the only one he wanted.
Oliver still maintained his Hood status, a fact that had Felicity worrying about him more often than not, but she understood his need to be useful, to make a difference in the way he knew best. She had never and would never ask him to give that up. It was, after all one of the reasons she'd fallen in love with him. His sense of justice, loyalty and honour demanded that he continue to do good within the Glades.
Likewise, he respected her need to be independent, especially financially. Not once in the three years that they'd been together had Oliver asked or expected her to give up her career. If anything, he'd encouraged her to follow her dreams. The position she'd earned as Head of IT at Queen Consolidated hadn't been handed to her when she'd married the boss. She'd worked hard for it. An achievement she was very proud of.
She absently rubbed her back as she watched the software updates start. "I told you to let Dig drive you home," Oliver chided.
Felicity smiled. He was so protective of her. "I already told you. I don't want to go home without you. It's a comfort thing. If I'm here, I know where you are and if you're okay. If I'm not, I worry."
His body moved close to hers, his hands gently massaging from the base of her neck all the way down to her lower back. She moaned with pleasure. "Did I ever tell you that you have amazing hands?"
Oliver kissed a particularly sensitive spot behind her ear. He knew her body so well. "Frequently," he whispered, his voice husky and teasing.
Felicity laughed softly. "Thea's right. You're becoming way too cocky. I need to knock you down a few notches."
His laughter joined hers as his hands continued to weave their magic. Skimming around her waist, they moved to her belly, swollen and heavy with their first child. "I'll have you know that the last time I checked, you liked cocky…at least in the bedroom."
The news that they were going to be parents had come as a surprise to both of them. It certainly hadn't been planned, but once they'd found out, they couldn't have been more excited – an arrival the whole family was eagerly anticipating.
Felicity swatted his arm playfully. "Your son/daughter won't give me a moments rest. I think this is a sign of what's to come." Her voice was soft and filled with love. Apart from the first few weeks when her morning sickness had been unbearable, the rest of her pregnancy had been a breeze.
His hands kept moving, gently rubbing a thumb over the spot where their baby was kicking energetically. "Two more weeks and we're home free."
Her hand moved to cover his. "Home free? According to Carly, that's apparently when the real party starts. Sleepless nights, diaper duty, scheduled feedings," Felicity reminded him.
Turning her around in his arms, he kissed her deeply, "I can't wait."
Felicity knew that he genuinely couldn't. "Neither can I."
"Hey baby, time to go to bed," he said, patting her belly devotedly. "You need to get some rest. It's mother's birthday party tomorrow night. It's bound to be a tiring affair."
He was right. "Let's go home." She helped him remove his leather kit and watched him stow his equipment before they left the foundry hand in hand.
Oliver walked into Verdant the following afternoon. He'd been pretty busy the last few years, juggling his time between his work at the club, helping his mother keep Queen Consolidated afloat, saving lives by night and being a full-time loving husband and soon-to-be-father. Some would think it was all a bit too much, but Oliver loved the challenge.
It certainly helped when he had a wife who understood him as well as Felicity did. She kept him grounded and focussed, her presence a constant reminder of all that they'd achieved and all that they still wished to. They hadn't found Walter and any hopes they had that he was still alive dwindled as the years passed. Yet despite the odds, they'd never stop looking.
"Daddy-O!" Tommy called.
Oliver smiled. Like he'd predicted, it had taken Tommy some time, perhaps the darkest space he'd ever been in, but he'd come to terms with his father's deception. The journey he'd travelled had made him a better man, friend and partner.
"Ever the adult," Oliver joked as he took a seat on a high chair.
Tommy was perusing some ledgers. "You know, marriage really suits you. It almost makes me want to venture down that path."
Marriage to Felicity really suits me. "I highly recommend the institution. You and Laurel making plans?"
Tommy scowled at him. "Ollie, I said almost. I'm the supreme bachelor, remember? Besides, I think that matrimony requires the right combination of the sexes, something you and Felicity have successfully mastered." He took a sip of his drink. "Your wife is looking radiant by the way."
"Yes, she is," Oliver agreed. Felicity had gained a bit of weight, her curves filling out attractively. It was a circumstance he personally thought made her more beautiful and more desirable than ever. "What do you mean by 'the right combination'? Things not going that well with the two of you?"
Tommy shrugged. "I'm not sure. We've been together for so long… I don't know if we're staying that way because we love each other or because it's just convenient."
Oliver frowned. "Why haven't you told me this before?"
"And ruin your sunshine and roses?" Tommy gave him an amused look. "You've been walking around on a cloud since the second you and Felicity hooked up. I was not going to be responsible for bringing you down to earth."
Oliver couldn't argue with him. Being with Felicity had made him happier than he'd ever thought possible. He wouldn't change a thing. "I'm sorry. I hope you guys can figure it out."
Tommy brushed his comment aside. "Don't worry about it. My main concern right now is working on my appalling lack of maturity. According to your wife, I need to grow up some more before she allows me near your unborn offspring."
Oliver wasn't going to force Tommy to talk. He would when he was ready. "Well, you have about two weeks left. Probably less by the look of things. And just so you know, you haven't improved since the last time I saw you."
Tommy scoffed. "What? I take offense to that. Yesterday I didn't make one crude joke."
Raising an eyebrow, Oliver stared him down. "Okay, so I made a tiny one. Doesn't count."
Oliver shook his head, amused. "You're coming tonight, right? Thea's back. I'm sure she'd love to see you."
Tommy looked up from his paperwork. "She's home for good?"
"Much to my mother's relief." Thea had spent the last three years in Europe completing her degree in fashion design.
"Yeah, I'll be there."
"Felicity dear, you're positively glowing," Moira Queen declared as Oliver and Felicity arrived at the mansion. Her mother-in-law seized her in a tight embrace before planting a kiss on her son's cheek. "You two are the last to arrive," she asserted as she ushered them into the lounge area.
It had taken a while for Felicity to understand Moira. The woman was so different to her in every way, she'd feared many times throughout the duration of her courtship with Oliver that their personalities would clash. Surprisingly, Moira had welcomed her into the fold of the family – a thing she suspected was because of her love for Oliver. Whatever her motivation had been, they got along well. However, whenever Moira became a little too overbearing, it was nice to be able to retreat into her own home.
Walking into the crowded room filled with the matriarch's friends and associates, Felicity looked around for a few familiar faces. With Oliver's hand at the small of her back guiding her deeper into the room, she spotted Thea. The younger woman was wearing a bright green jumper, the colour marvellous against her milky complexion.
Spotting them, Thea came running their way, arms outstretched. "There you are! I was just telling Mom that you can't be late because of any last minute hanky panky," she teased, watching Felicity blush brightly, "since there is already an over-baked bun in the oven."
Oliver raised an eyebrow as his sister's insinuation, his lips twitching uncontrollably. Felicity thought it was ironic since that was the exact reason they'd been late. Stifling a giggle, she hugged Thea back. "I'm so glad to see you! Europe clearly agrees with you."
"As pending motherhood seems to agree with you. You look amazing!" Thea declared, her designer eye admiring Felicity's soft blue maternity dress. The style, long and flowing, was flattering to her curves as well as cool and practical. Thea reached out to rub her bump affectionately.
Felicity grinned at her sister-in-law's enthusiasm. "You need to thank the talented designer who made it for me."
Thea beamed. "I did a good job, didn't I?" she claimed, with not a shred of modesty. Next, she hugged Oliver tightly. "I missed you guys sooo much!"
"We missed you too, Speedy," Oliver said, his arm still around his sister.
"So this is where the party's at!" Felicity heard Diggle's booming voice before she saw him. "Errr… Good evening, Mr and Mrs Queen." The latter was said facetiously as a conservative couple passed close by, giving Diggle the evil eye.
"Pfft! What's wrong with these people? Dig, they're looking at you as though you're the hired help - well, technically you are - but we don't care." She rolled her eyes as she hooked her arm into Diggle's. "Come on, take a turn about the room with me. It's by time someone shakes these old harpies up." The look of dread on Diggle's face was hilarious.
"Thea," Oliver cautioned, but Felicity placed a placating hand on his arm.
She smiled at him. "Leave her. She means no harm."
Oliver leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose. "I can't believe that's my baby sister. She doesn't look like a baby anymore."
Felicity looked at him indulgently. "She hasn't been a baby since before I met her."
He shuddered. "I don't think I want to contemplate what that means."
Laughing, Felicity followed him as he shepherded her towards a comfortable seat. "Imagine we have a girl-"
Before she could complete her sentence, Tommy called them from across the room. Laurel and Carly were standing at his side, glasses in hand. Felicity had long since let go of any insecurities she'd harboured regarding the attractive lawyer. She was completely secure in Oliver's love and knew that Laurel posed no threat to her happiness.
Laurel stepped forward to plant a kiss on her cheek. "You look wonderful."
Carly shook her head in amazement. "I wish I looked that good when I was about to pop."
"Thank you, both of you. But you're all being far too kind. I'm hair's breadth away from resembling a dinosaur," she joked.
Oliver, standing beside her, whispered wickedly. "I like your breed of dinosaur."
She rolled her eyes at him. He enjoyed teasing her. Her comment about feeling like a dinosaur wasn't completely true. She loved being pregnant and she loved that Oliver genuinely seemed to enjoy her curvier body – he told her, and showed her, often enough.
Tommy stood aside, watching as Oliver and Felicity engaged with Laurel and Carly. He envied his best friend. He'd found his place in the world while he was still very much adrift. He loved his work; managing the club was an absolute dream. But he wasn't happy, not really. Things were unsettled between himself and Laurel – he wasn't sure why - perhaps the reality was that they'd outgrown one another and refused to acknowledge it.
Hearing a familiar voice he turned towards its source.
"Tommy Merlyn," said Thea, her hands on her hips as she surveyed him.
Grinning broadly, his gaze lazily travelled over her green clad figure, admiring how she'd grown into a beautiful young woman. "Speedy!" he called, genuinely happy to see her.
They hugged. "You know, I do have a name," she teased. "Oh wait, sorry. Too many female names," she tapped his forehead, "too little space up there to remember them all."
He laughed. "I see the European climate hasn't done anything to dull your love of sarcasm. It's the lowest form of wit, you know."
Thea looked up at him through dark lashes. "I do try to cater to my audience." With that saucy rebound, she turned her back to him and walked over to her brother, leaving a grinning Tommy staring after her.
The clinking of a glass caused everyone's attention to turn towards its source. Moira was standing at the front of the room, waiting as her guests quietened down. "Thank you to all of you for coming to celebrate my birthday. As you know, it's been a tough few years for my family, but things have really turned around for the better." She smiled briefly. "I want to take this opportunity to thank my children for being such wonderful people and for continuing to be my greatest blessing."
She turned to her son. "Oliver, looking at you, successful in your own right, I'm so proud of the man you've become. I know your father would have been proud too." She sought out her daughter's gaze. "Thea, never have a mother and daughter clashed as much as you and I have." There were chuckles from the audience. "But I'm grateful that we've overcome our differences. I'm thrilled at what you've achieved thus far and I'm so happy to have you home again."
Felicity watched as Thea blinked rapidly, her own emotions far from under control. She knew that deep down Thea had always sought her mother's approval. "Felicity," Moira began. Startled at being singled out, Felicity stared at her mother-in-law in surprise. "You came into our lives like a breath of fresh air and you've made my son happier than I've ever known him to be. Thank you." The look Moira gave her was so sincere that she felt a lump lodge in her throat. "I am very much looking forward to the birth of my first grandchild."
Taking a moment to compose herself, she concluded, "Please, everyone, enjoy the party and thank you again for coming." There was a loud applause before the buzz of chatter started up again.
Sniffing, Felicity gasped as she felt a painful tug in the lower region of her back. It was so sharp and unexpected that it took her breath away. This explains the low back pain. Instinctively she reached for Oliver's hand.
Oliver watched his mother as she mingled amongst her friends. He'd been very touched by her words to Felicity, knowing how much they would mean to her.
Shaken from his thoughts by Felicity's hand squeezing his with surprising strength, he glanced at her. Alarmed, his face drained of colour. She was hunched over, one hand clutching her belly, a sheen of sweat on her brow.
Panicked, he reached for her. "Felicity! Are you okay?"
Her jaw clenched tightly and her eyes filled with pain, she retorted, "I'm hunched over what looks like a puddle of pee and you're asking if I'm alright?" Her breath hitched.
His mind in a whirl, Oliver looked around frantically. Diggle was the first to catch his eye and hurried over. "Man, that wild look on your face is not particularly comforting to your wife right now."
Sweeping her up in his arms, his nerves frayed, he yelled at Diggle. "Bring the car! We need to get her to a hospital."
Her breaths coming in gasps, Felicity admonished him. "Be nice to Dig. He may need to deliver our kid on the back seat." At the look of pure terror that crossed his face, Felicity grinned. "I'm kidding!"
Oliver growled. "Now is not the time for jests, Felicity."
"Thea was right. You have no sense of humour," she said as another wave of pain hit her.
He'd never felt so completely useless. "You know I love you, right?"
Five hours later, weighing in at a whopping 9lbs 4oz, Robert John Queen made is way into the world. Mother and son were both declared perfectly healthy and happy. The father however, had seemed on the verge of a meltdown as he watched his wife deliver their son.
Afterward, when all the well wishers had left, Oliver held Felicity in his arms as they stared down at the miracle they'd created. "He has your golden head of hair," he whispered in awe, gently touching the soft strands.
Felicity grinned. "And that's where my involvement ends. The rest of him is all you." She watched the slow smile that spread across her husband's face as he absorbed the baby's pale blue eyes and miniscule features, a replica of his own.
"He does look like me, doesn't he?" His voice rang with pride.
Felicity kissed his jaw. "I demand that we have a girl next. All this testosterone is not good. I will not be outnumbered," she teased.
His eyes left their son's face and locked with hers. "Thank you."
"Whatever for?" Felicity asked, wiping away a tear that had tumbled down his cheek.
"For loving me. For giving me a home. For creating a family with me."
Felicity kissed him, her heart and soul in the act. "Oliver, loving you has always been as natural to me as breathing."
Holding each other close they watched their sleeping son.
Life didn't get any better than that.