He had it at least a dozen times each year, and he’d reached a point where even in his sleep, he knew it was a dream. And it made him happier than anything in the real world ever could. He always welcomed it.
The blonde woman stands at an unfamiliar window, watching the sunrise. He can hear the ocean and smell the salty air as it comes in through the open window, feeling comfort and familiarity as he looks at her. She’s wrapped in a long white sheet, holding it together at her chest. Her tanned skin looks so smooth against the sheet, her hair moving gently with the breeze coming in through the window.
He stretches, getting himself into a more comfortable position to stare at her. She is by far the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen…but not because she’s naked or because her hair looks like she’d spent the night in a bed with him, getting it perfectly messy. She’s strikingly beautiful because of the expression on her face.
Her deep blue eyes are so full of passion and love, emotions he’s never felt. And she’s looking at him like that. Like he is the best thing she’s ever seen.
Once she realizes that he’s staring in awe, she smiles at him. The most perfect smile, of course. He never expects anything less.
Then the dream always followed the same pattern, even when he consciously tried to force his brain to give him more. To let him see more of the moment that seemed so vivid. He would swear it was real if he wasn’t so certain that he’d never spent time in a beach cottage with a beautiful woman. He’d try to force his mind to let him hear her voice, to know what she would say to him.
Instead, she climbs back into the bed with him, dragging her sheet along as she crawls on top of him.
She lays on top of him, rubbing her chest against his through the thin sheet. Her hair falls over his face, hiding them both from the outside world as she gently brushes her nose against his. Then, out of instinct and reaction to her, he brings his hand to her face, gliding his thumb across her cheek before burying his fingers in her soft curls.
She sighs, her eyes slipping shut contentedly. And then she kisses him, and he gets so lost in it that it feels like he’s been in that bed with her for hours, just moving slowly with her as she explores his mouth with hers.
Yet, he’d always wake up before he got to see what would happen next. What she would do next. And as wonderful as the dream always was, he’d wake up frustrated. Uncomfortable because of how his body would react to all the kissing and touching. Angry that it had to end.
This was no place to be having the dream, but he couldn’t control when she chose to grace his sleep.
He listens to the waves and feels the warm breeze as his dream girl kisses him, her lips pressing against his lazily. And he feels more love and passion in his sleep than he ever has with a woman in real life.
She was in the middle of sliding her tongue across his bottom lip when he was jolted awake.
The plane he was on stalled, and his eyes snapped open.
Maseo nodded to him from across the aisle, “Al Sah-Him, we’re almost ready to land. We’ve made it to Starling City.”
When she finally came to, Felicity buried her nose into Oliver’s neck a little more. She knew it was him before she even opened her eyes. The leathers were different, but with her nose pressed against his skin, he smelled the same. “Oliver,” she breathed, wanting to see him, to hear his voice.
The eyes that met hers were curious, beautiful…but not quite her Oliver. Something was very off. She chose to smile anyway, instantly shoving aside the bad thought. It didn’t matter. It was him. “Hi.” She had a million questions to ask. She knew she should be confused. Angry. Upset. But god, how she could she be anything but happy?
Opening her mouth to offer something; food, water, a bed, some company in said bed, anything he wanted…it registered that Rene and John were hovering a few feet away. Guns raised. “What the hell are you two doing!?” She screeched. In her heart, she knew that her partners wouldn’t just open fire on her husband, especially not with her in his arms like that.
But she still panicked, scrambling to pull herself closer, to shield Oliver’s body with her own just in case, knowing Rene had a tendency to shoot first and think later. “Put those away!” She demanded, using her loud voice.
“It’s not Oliver… There’s no way, Felicity…” Diggle said from behind her.
She spun around, her ponytail gently hitting Oliver in the face. “Put. It. Down.” Felicity seethed, glaring daggers at her friend. It was both unbelievable and infuriating that John even had to be told to stop pointing his gun at Oliver’s head.
Dig finally relented, lowering his weapon, but keeping it in his hand. A moment later, Rene did the same.
“He’s right…” Oliver mumbled, his voice tight. “I’m not who you seem to think I am. I’m not Oliver.”
Felicity froze for half a second, her heart stopping. They’d seen evil doppelgangers, metas that could steal identities, and at least one strange man who could create masks of someone’s face.
No. It was him. She could feel it. “Of course you’re Oliver,” she whispered, “who else would you be?”
She meant it rhetorically. But as he stared down at her, he answered quickly, “Al Sah-Him.”
“Al Sah-Who?” Rene quipped from behind her.
Oliver ignored him, staring at her as she tried not to look too concerned. But then he asked a question that had her heart sinking into her stomach. “What is your name?”
Her eyes widened, “Felicity…”
“Felicity,” he said her name slowly, trying it out as if it was the first time he’d ever said the word.
“Where have you been?” She breathed back.
His eyes flickered from her to John, and then to Rene, before landing on her again, debating whether or not to answer. “Nanda Parbat,” he said carefully.
Earth-2 Oliver Queen was thought to have died when the Gambit went down, but survived. He was found by members of the League of Assassins, who brought him back to Nanda Parbat where he became Al Sah-him.
Talia provides a lot of key elements to what becomes Oliver’s crusade. We’ll also be dealing very directly with the fairly obvious question, which is: Wait a second, when Oliver met Ra’s al Ghul (Matt Nable), why didn’t he say, “Hey, wait a minute, I think I met your daughter back in Russia!” We have a very specific answer for that.