Flash Fic Prompt #18 - Free Fall
Oliver had just entered the lair, and, as he moved to return his bow in it’s proper place and lay his quiver down on the table before him, the man looked over at Roy and Diggle and knew immediately something was wrong. The trio had completed a mission earlier that evening, and, while his two team members had returned to The Foundry, Oliver had decided to stay out, patrolling the streets as it grew harder and harder for him to be there with her.
And there was no question as to who that her was.
It wasn’t that he didn’t want Felicity there. He always wanted her there. In fact, when she wasn’t there, all he could think about was when she would return. He would find himself invariably glancing over at her workstation, ignoring the workout he should be concentrating on, and willing her petite, blonde body to appear. But it never did.
Oliver may be an ass, but he wasn’t a fool. He knew where she was. She was with Dr. Ray Palmer, and, as much as he knew this was his own doing, he couldn’t help the anger he felt knowing she was with him. Every day, he questioned his choice to not be with her, and it wasn’t because she had moved on with someone else. No, it was because he loved her, and he knew he would never be able to let her go, never love anyone the way he loved her. She was the one good thing in his life, and he knew, as long as she was there, no matter what the circumstance, he had a chance of being a good man. Without her...? Well he knew what that meant, too.
So, as he considered Roy and Diggle’s expressions, a fear he didn’t know was even possible took over his body. He quickly removed his mask, throwing it next to his quiver and flipping his hood back as he drew his attention to where Felicity would be. Her chair was empty, but, as of late, that was not an abnormal circumstance. Months ago, she had begun to leave after a mission was completed versus waiting for the team... well, really, for him to return. It wasn’t until he noticed the plain white envelope, his name scrawled across the front, sitting against her computer bank that true panic started to take over.
Oliver looked back over at his friends, and, even though they said nothing, the sadness in their eyes conveyed so much more. His pace was slow and measured, his boots barely making a sound, as he moved across the room to the one place he didn’t want to go. He knew once he reached her work station that his biggest regret would become a reality. It felt like someone had taken a knife and jabbed it into his chest over and over again, ripping his heart out as his shaking hand reached for the parchment paper. As soon as the indistinct letter, his name the only adornment on the stark white paper, was held within his grasp, Oliver couldn’t bring himself to open it. He moved it over and over between his digits, contemplating his next move as his eyes closed, and he actually prayed for some divine intervention.
Soon, though, he knew his plan was fruitless, and, with no answer forthcoming, he turned once more to his friends. Swallowing hard, his eyes glazed over, water covering the deep blue orbs, he pleaded, “just tell me what it says. I... I don't think I can open it.”
Roy immediately turned to Diggle, knowing the big man was the best to handle this situation.
The man in question shook his head as he spoke, rising from his perch on the med bay table and headed over to Oliver. Once there, he laid a comforting hand on his boss’s shoulder before answering him. “I can’t, Man. I promised Felicity you would read the letter. It’s one of the few things she’s ever asked me to do, and I won’t let her down, especially... especially now that she’s....”
He didn’t have to say it; Oliver knew it down to his core. She was gone. She finally left, and the only one he could blame was himself.
He whispered to himself as he crumbled the unread letter in his hand, "she can't be gone.”
He collapsed in her chair, her scent still all over the leather seat, as the pain he felt took over. It took him a few moments to catch his breath before he could speak again. When he did, he addressed Diggle and only spoke one word. “When?”
His friend could only sigh as he sat down on the desk in front of Oliver. “About thirty minutes ago. I think she was waiting to see if you would come back before leaving, but, after a while, she gave up, sat down, and wrote this letter before she left.”
“I’ve never seen her that upset before,” he heard Roy chime in. Oliver could only glare at the younger man. “Hey,” Roy shrugged. “I’m only speaking the truth. She was distraught but... determined when she left.”
“Just read the letter, Oliver,” Diggle said, cutting their protege off. John then stood and motioned for Roy to follow him, giving Oliver his space.
He didn’t even see them go, all his attention focused on the crumpled letter held within his grasp. After a few moments, he took the paper and laid it on her station, taking great care to
smooth the lines out. Once done, he took his still gloved hand and used his thumb to open the flap of the envelope. His breathing was ragged as he drew the letter from it’s resting place. He still wasn’t even sure he’d be able to read what she wrote.
Carefully, he gently flattened all the wrinkles from the sheet. As he did, he noticed the wet spots marking different areas throughout the paper. It broke his heart as he saw them, taking even more care to smooth those areas out, because he knew those were Felicity’s tears – ones he was responsible for. He seemed to take hours to smooth out all the edges, but finally it was done. Oliver took a shaky breath and looked down at the paper before him. Felicity’s handwriting had never been the best as she preferred to use her keyboard over pen and paper, but these words before him were even worse than normal. It could only mean that her hand had been shaking like his own as he tried to take in the words.
I don’t even know how to begin. I never thought this day would come, but I meant what I said to you nine months ago: I want more than this life. For a time, silly as it was, I imagined it with you. But I can’t wait for that possibility anymore. Life is precious, and I want to enjoy that life now, not maybe someday down the road. Now that Queen Consolidated has been brought back to its former glory, Ray is moving towards his next project, leaving the company in capable hands, and he’s asked me to go with him. I’ve said yes. I don’t want you to think I made this decision without great thought. He actually asked me weeks ago, but I struggled with what to do, because, no matter what has happened (or not happened between us), the work we do for Starling City has always been important to me. Helping you has always been important to me. But I can’t do it anymore. I’ve worked really hard to keep things distant between us, but I’m exhausted and unhappy. I want to be happy again, Oliver. So, I told Ray yes. We’re leaving tonight on his helicopter from Queen Consolidated. I’m sorry, but it has to be this way. In a way, it’s good I’m not telling you in person, because, honestly, I don’t know if I could get the words out. Saying goodbye to John and Roy was hard enough, but you? I don’t know if I could ever say goodbye to you. Please take care of yourself, and don’t take unnecessary risks.
I... I... Yours,
Oliver hadn’t even realized he had started crying until he noticed the lone drop of water hit the paper as he finished reading. He swiped the tears that continued to fall with his still leather clad hand. This couldn’t be the end. It just couldn’t. He felt like he was drowning, and he couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t be gone. Oliver stood, but he couldn’t feel the ground beneath him. He gazed around the room – the room Felicity helped create. He eyed her computers, her babies, and didn’t know what to do. He got lost looking at the screens, different images constantly going in and out of focus. What would they... what would he do without her? As he continued to look around, he realized there was only one thing left to do, and, without conscious thought, Oliver grabbed his bow and quiver and ran up the stairs towards the exit door, heading to the one place he knew he needed to be.
He was almost gone when he heard Roy’s voice in the distance. “Hey! You left without your mask.”
Oliver didn’t care, all that mattered was that he got to Felicity before she was gone.
He ran. He ran as fast as he could, weaving in and out of people on the streets, knowing they were probably gaping at him. He wasn't sure if they saw his face, but he didn’t care. Oliver had one mission, and nothing was going to stop him. He had to make it to Queen Consolidated before Felicity left. He hadn’t even thought about what he would say, only that he knew he couldn’t let her leave without seeing her, talking to her, pleading with her to give him another chance.
At last, he made it to his destination. He didn't even remember the journey. All he could think about was needing to get to the roof. Oliver didn’t even bother with the elevator. He used his bow and arrow to climb the walls, and, as he grew closer to the top, he started to hear the helicopter propellers begin to wind up. It only fueled him to move faster. His arms and legs burned from the extremes he was pushing his body, but he couldn’t stop. He had to get to Felicity. With an inner strength he didn’t even know he had, he finally reached the top and ran as hard as he could, every muscle screaming in his body to quit, towards the helipad, only to stand there and watch, for the helicopter was already gone.
It was probably 300 feet above him as Oliver collapsed to his knees, his bow landing by his side as he screamed Felicity’s name. He was too late. She was already gone.
As the machine continued to move farther and farther away, Oliver closed his eyes, his head down in defeat as the night air around him grew more and more quiet. He wasn’t sure how long he stayed like that, but, eventually, he knew that he needed to leave. It would be morning in a few hours, and he needed to get back to the lair. He just couldn’t seem to make his body move.
Finally, with a huge monumental effort, Oliver opened his eyes and raised his head. What he saw took his breath away, for, only twenty yards away, there Felicity stood, her gaze locked on his. All Oliver could think was that she was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.
She had on a pale pink wool coat, her glasses slightly askew – most likely from the wind generated from the helicopter, high heels that helped to showcase her very long legs, and her briefcase in hand, most likely housing her prized laptop and tablet. He watched her intently as she slowly made her way towards him. Once she was near, he could see the tears running down her face. Oliver wanted to go to her, wanted to wipe those tears away, but he couldn’t seem to move. He was transfixed by her presence and was scared that, if he moved, she would disappear.
Finally, Felicity reached him. Before Oliver could say a word, the woman dropped to her knees before him, mimicking his own position. Oliver reached out, praying this wasn’t an illusion and released a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding when his hands cradled her face, and he felt her soft, silky skin beneath his hard, calloused hands. Fixing his blue eyes on her own, Oliver whispered, “you didn’t go.”
It was as he spoke that Felicity reached up with her own hands and gently grabbed his wrists, looking deeply into his eyes, a watery smirk forming on her red stained lips. “You know I’m afraid of heights.”
A small grinned formed on Oliver’s lips as he took in her words, remembering the last time she had said them. He didn't get a chance to reply before Felicity spoke once again. It was so soft, Oliver had to lean forward to hear the words. “I couldn’t leave you. I had it all planned out, but, the minute I went to get on the helicopter, I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t leave you.”
Without giving her a chance to say another word, Oliver kissed her, gently moving his lips over and over against hers, tears starting to form and wet their joined hands as he poured every emotion he felt into that kiss.
As he pulled away, he heard Felicity gasp and reach behind him. “Your hood, your mask. Oliver, are you crazy? Anyone could see you right now in your Arrow suit.”
He leaned down and kissed her once more before commenting on her observation. “I don’t care. I needed to get to you, Felicity. I needed to tell you I couldn’t let you go, that I wanted to be with you – all of you, all the time, and that, if you stayed, I would try and make us work as hard as I could. After I read your letter, it was all that mattered to me.”
Felicity’s gaze softened as she reached up and cradled Oliver’s face... just as he was doing with hers. “I’m never going to leave you, Oliver. I love you.”
With that, she kissed him hard. As her lips met his own, Oliver reached around her waist and gently pulled her flush against him. They stayed like that for a long time, neither wanting to let go. It wasn’t until the pair could see the orange and red glow of the early morning sun starting to rise on the horizon that they knew they had to leave. As they stood, Felicity reached behind Oliver and pulled his hood over his head, concealing his face as best as she could. Hand in hand, the two left the roof of Queen Consolidated and headed home... together.