the-pasta-pack  asked:

Hey, I've respected the work of Pack West Wolfdog Rescue for a while and am honestly a bit surprised to see that you're not going to be working with them directly anymore. Can you expand on the issues with the organization itself, which you referenced previously, that led you to this decision? Thanks!

I’m very hesitant to answer this question, but yeah, I can. I’ve been torn for a while about addressing this on the blog - I don’t want to undermine a growing organization, but I do think there are some things that, in the context of an organization I hadn’t personally worked with, I would feel that people should know. Since there are a couple of things that are serious enough that I’m no longer comfortable being involved with them until they’ve been addressed, I think they need to be talked about.

These issues were either not present or not readily apparent when I started working with them, but have occurred or become noticeable in the interim. It was not until recently that I put together the individual issues I was uncomfortable with into the larger picture that led me to choose to distance myself from them. I believe I’ve voiced my observations regarding all of these issues to Pack West either in person or by chat, so these are not unknown issues. 

My concerns are based on personal observation of how the facility functions during the two week-long periods I have spent at their facility and my personal online communications with them during the period between visits. My feelings on why these issues are problems stem from over a decade as a dog trainer, a degree in behavioral science, and six years of intense study of, and participation in, exotic animal management and welfare.The below is true to my knowledge as of January, 2017 - I would love to hear that things have since changed, and would happily reassess my opinion based on that. 

Pack West does not, to the best of my knowledge, have any liability waivers or training protocols for volunteers to complete before having access to the animals. This is very unusual for an exotic animal rescue allowing volunteers - a quick google makes it clear that most places require volunteers to sign liability forms and go through training processes to prove they understand the behavior of the animals and can interact with them appropriately. If Pack West is allowing people to have contact with animals who are potentially dangerous - and whose rabies vaccinations don’t protect them under federal law -  I’d want to see them really think through what a volunteer program would entail and how they’d protect both the volunteers and their animals. I’d also want to see how those considerations would alter their practice of having their ambassador animals interact with the public without a signed waiver or muzzles on the animals. Accidents happen, and I worry their current practice would end in tragedy someday in the future.

Pack West does not, to the best of my knowledge, have either a professional behaviorist or anyone with professional animal training and management experience on staff or on retainer. As far as I am aware of, there is not anyone with a professional background in canid or domestic dog behavior involved with the intake of new rescues or with assessing the dynamics between cohoused animals. This also means that, when I was there, there was no established training protocol for managing the wolfdogs living on site, nor were there proactive management plans created to prepare for potential emergency handling needs. I believe this played a significant role in resource guarding and cabin fever escalating to the point of a fight between Cabal and Ivar while I was on site in January - as far as I know, they are no longer housed together as a result of the fight. 

I am aware that for a new rescue professional oversight may be expensive and hard to access. I believe that, nevertheless, it should still be one of their highest priorities as it immediately impacts the welfare of their animals and the safety of their staff. To be truly comfortable engaging with them again, I would want to see the members of the facility gain personal academic or professional experience in animal behavior, management, and training if they can’t afford to hire an extant professional to consult regularly. From my first-hand experiences, this currently doesn’t seem to be a priority for them - I got the impression that hands-on experience with the specific animals was considered equally as relevant as any potential academic and professional background. I feel that rescues, as professional organizations, are obligated to go above and beyond that mythology.

Pack West does not, to the best of my knowledge, have any on-site housing for their rescue animals other than a single 750 square-foot (110 foot perimeter) outdoor enclosure. I did not observe the containment to be locked at any time during either of my visits, even when nobody was on the property, nor does it have secondary containment (which is vital when housing animals known for being escape artists) other than the surrounding yard, which has a low gate and a fence that was visibly compromised in multiple spots as of my last trip. To the best of my knowledge, this enclosure is the permanent home to two large adult male wolfdogs, and for the duration of my January visit additionally housed the resident GSD or another rescue wolfdog. As of that visit, the containment furniture was comprised of two dog houses, a tire, an above-ground pond, and an overhang - there was no indoor area for the animals to use to escape the weather, no waterproof substrate or manmade flooring that would give them an escape from moisture, and no alternate space in which the animals could get a break from each other if needed. The animals were allowed time in the larger yard on site when observed, but during my trip they still spent all of their nights and many daytime hours in the single containment. By contrast, the standards set by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (an organization considered on par with AZA for regulating rescue and sanctuary environments) for an appropriate enclosure type for multiple large canids require “a minimum of 5,000 sq. ft. (465 sq. m) for large canids housed as pairs or trios (…) and a minimum of two rooms or one indoor room and one shift yard per pair of compatible canids”.

Again, I understand that for a small rescue building more containment is expensive and hard to do. Pack West stated before they acquired Ivar (close to a year ago) that they were hoping to sell the property they are currently based on and relocate the rescue, and I think as such they have chosen to not build any new enclosures due to the resources that would be lost during the move. However, as rescue organizations take in unknown animals, I feel it’s crucial that they have multiple enclosures in which they can quarantine animals, do introductions, give residents breaks from each other, and allow incompatible animals to live separately. I don’t believe it’s responsible for a facility to not prioritize having the appropriate living quarters for the animals they take in at present, even if it means a loss of some resources down the line.

Pack West, to the best of my knowledge, has never had their facility inspected or been licensed by the USDA. I hope I’m wrong on this one, because USDA oversight is a federal requirement for any facility that exhibits animals to the public. While Pack West’s facility is not technically open to the public, they are not exempt from USDA regulation because they use their animals for photoshoots and music videos as well as promotional and fundraising campaigns for the organization. If this is true, it is a huge problem - it is the responsibility of a facility to apply for a license and be inspected before beginning to exhibit animals - and most importantly, it would mean that the facility has never been inspected to make sure that its setup is in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act. I understand that an organization that is trying move would probably prefer not to spend the money to get their current property in accordance with AWA regulations to only to sell it shortly after and start over, but federal animal welfare laws must be first priority. 

I could understand a new organization struggling with maybe one of these issues, but when considered as a whole they don’t represent an ethos of animal management that I’m currently comfortable supporting - especially considering what appears to me to be avoidance of USDA oversight. I do believe in the value of what the organization is hoping to become - as places that do accurate education and outreach about wolfdogs and wolfy-looking dogs are rare - but before I’m willing to publicly support them again, these issues really need to be addressed. 

I’m really scared to post this, because I know it may be interpreted as a betrayal of my previous friendly relationship with the facility, but it is the same due diligence I would give to any other facility when asked about why I would not personally support it. 


Trump-tied businessmen met NSC officials, Bannon over Venezuela sanctions, sources say

  • Five days before the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a pair of American businessmen with ties to President Donald Trump’s family attended a series of previously unreported meetings at the White House with the aim of convincing the United States to lift sanctions against Venezuela, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
  • Mic reviewed documents indicating the businessmen were Gentry Beach, a billionaire Dallas financier, and Wadie Habboush, an international investor. 
  • Both men have ties to Donald Trump Jr., but Beach is particularly close: He is a longtime friend of the president’s son and was a major Trump campaign fundraiser. Read more. 

PLEASE HELP- I'm scared and Utah law is ruining our lives.

Hey everyone, I started a fundraising campaign for Utah Out-Of-State Entrapment Suit. Please tap to donate-

Here’s the whole story if anyone is interested. we would owe you our lives if you can help us out anything works even 5 cents goes a long way. On top of the charges which can cost up to 3,000 we also have to pay for a lawyer which is another 3,000. I’m only 19 and have no family in Colorado to help me. If you are out there, please find it in your heart to share this post or donate. Thank you so much !

On June 6th, 2017, around 4:00AM (MDT), Jake (passenger) and Olivia (driver) passed a Sheriff’s vehicle at the Silver Reef RD and I-15 junction on our route along California to Colorado. The Sheriff’s vehicle head lights were already on, and, shortly there-after, began to follow our vehicle without pulling us over. We were followed on I-15 for around 8 full minutes before the officer decided to turn on his lights and pull us over.

After pulling off, the officer then came to the passenger side window, and abruptly started treating Jake as if he was conceling multiple weapons under the jacket by his legs. While yelling inaudibly, the officer demanded he lift various clothing items up for him, while he used one hand to hold a flashlight, and another to assist himself with this search.

After deciding Jake had nothing but clothes on, or near his person, the officer stated the reason he pulled us over was due to a failure to signal while changing lanes back at the previous junction (where we originally encountered his vehicle sitting in the median). Acknowledging what the officer had stated, we correctly reply that we’d not changed lanes since long before we passed him, orignally. The officer furthered himself by stating that, even though, we had not changed lanes, we were required to indicate, with our singals, to people merging from Silver Reef RD, that we were not changing lanes. The officer was unable to clarify any questions on how that is physically possible–to stay in the same lane, but use blinkers to indicate that we are staying in the same lane that we currently were already within. We did not pass over any dotted lines.

The officer then proceeded to ask us a couple of questions that somehow lead him to see the inside of Jake’s mouth, where he lost all sense of tact upon believing he had “a green tongue from recently smoking marijuana”. He proceeded to question where we were traveling from/to, in which we responded from Burbank, California to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He went silent for a moment, and quipped that the plates were registered in Ohio… looked at us for a moment, and then stated he could smell traces of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

Immediately upon this revelation, he shouted at us to exit the vehicle as he called for backup. Jake’s statement- I did not witness his first physical interactions with Olivia on the driver’s side of the vehicle. He then came over to me, and shouted for me to stand over 5 feet in front of the car at 4am in the desert. The officer then came over, frisked me, and had me stand in the freezing wind in little more than shorts and t-shirt… all the while, the officer shouted how he had sufficient probable cause to search the vehicle without permission. The officer had a K9, however, it stayed in the officer’s vehicle for the entire stop. The officer did not ask if he had permission to search the vehicle, at any point, and never was permission granted for him to enter our vehicle.

As backup arrived, the original officer proceeded to toss everything out of the vehicle on to the pavement, both behind and on the passenger side of the vehicle. It was easy to hear, from the other side of the vehicle, that the longboards from the car were launched straight into the ground, as was evident afterwards when damage was found on multiple items, including the car’s interior & exterior, the longboards, as well as some memorabilia picked up along our travels. While checking both the inside and outside of the vehicle, the officer tried to break off every compartment our vehicle had. While checking the front end of the vehicle, digging his hands around under the hood, pulling on anything in sight, the car has since made engine noise not previously heard throughout our cross-country trip. While checking the front bumper, he noticed it was cracked near the passenger tire, to which he pulled on, and dug his hands in to, til a distinct cracking sound from the bumper caused him to stop pulling. While on the inside of the vehicle, he yanked on everything trying to get the pieces of the car to come off where they should not. Multiple parts of the interior are now loose, some of which now wiggle freely. The officer also unwrapped a glass pipe that had been purchased in California, still in its original multi-layer wrapping from the glass store it was purchased from–it was a gift for a Colorado friend. Even though it was obvious the pipe had never been used before, I was told we would not be getting it back, along with less than 0.008 pounds of pot (yes, thousandths of a pound, a fraction of 1.0%), and another pipe that had been secured in the glove compartment during our travel back home.

After concluding the hour-long unauthorized search, the cop demanded I clean up the mess stating “so we can get out of here as soon as possible” as he puts Olivia into his cop car. Roughly 15 minutes later, Olivia got out of the cop’s vehicle, and I was called over. The officer asks me if I know my rights, to which I reply kind of, and the officer furthers by saying “like you see on tv. You can deny to answer my questions, and you can have a lawyer” and proceeds to bagger me on why I wasn’t forthcomming about having a green tongue, and why I would lie about smoking when the proof is, apparently, right on my tongue. When asked if I was under arrest, the officer stated “you are and are not under arrest, tonight”.

In summary of my perspective, Olivia and I were legally driving down the road, a cop started following us closely waiting for a mistake, never got a decent enough reason, so he made up a false reason to pull us over, used bad science, such as, “your tongue is green” as probable cause to search our vehicle without consent, ignored any approved drug testings, damaged our property from car interior to exterior, and our possessions, stole an item that, to the best of my knowledge and research, is legal for me to carry in any US State, let alone, every country in the known world, and then the officer got lucky finding a tiny bit of pot while concluding his illegal search from the illegal pull-over.

Worth noting- Olivia and I were pulled over in the same car, at the same time, for the same reason, and only once. She was ticketed first, myself second. Same fines, in both cases, of 1360$ each. Our citations, however, differ massively. According the cop, we were pulled over in largly differing junctions, mile markers, and times (mine states I was ticketed a while before she was, even though they printed Olivia’s ticket a good 15 minutes earlier). From the knowledge of a local cop in my area, this type of illegal cop activity is to create the appearance of 2 seperate pull-overs to inflate a cop’s ticketing quota; the cop was able to make 3.5 grams of marijuana look like it was in two different places at two different times with two different people.“

misskittycoventry  asked:

Mars! I couple months back, you helped me out a ton by sharing a campaign to fundraise for my cat Rhapsody. I just want to update you that she's now up from 5 lbs to 7.5 pounds and she no longer has a heart murmur! If this keeps up, we'll be able to get the permanent treatment and I just want to say thank you for helping us.

THIS IS THE BEST THING IVE HEARD ALL WEEK. Literally made my whooole day.

Please give her a kissy and a pet from me and tell her I love her~~~~

Everyone please wish her well.

Service Dog Fundraiser!

Hey everyone! I plucked up the courage to make this fundraising campaign for the service dog I need. Donations are much appreciated, but certainly not expected. ://

If you are able to donate, your donation can go toward a variety of services! I think it’s unfair to not be providing a service for anyone’s future donations so here are some incentives:
✨$1: Five pendulum readings

✨$2-$5: One-three tarot card draws depending on the amount

✨$6-$15: A detailed ten card tarot spread!

✨$16-$30: Everything above PLUS a cool gift from my witchy collection! 💜

The Duke of Cambridge signs the visitors book at The National Memorial Arboretum after opening the new visitors centre | 29 March 2017

The opening of the Remembrance Centre follows a major fundraising campaign supported by numerous individuals and organisations, including Staffordshire County Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Royal British Legion.
Linda Sarsour Is Fundraising for Ohio Hate Victim Rahma Warsame
Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington and all around social activist Linda Sarsour has jump started a fundraising page for assault victim Rahma Warsame, 40, from Columbus, Ohio. Just shy of 4,000 supporters, the project is already 101 percent funded and has raised $110,634, surpassing Sarsour’s original goal of $110,000.
Giving to Charity is Not “Dumb”

There is a wretched person who concludes that Sam raises more money for his charities than Cait does because Sam’s fans are dumber and they are fools who donate money they don’t have because they are fangirls. Cait’s fans according to this person are more sophisticated, educated and well-rounded and therefore don’t donate to charities when they don’t have the money.  I’m pretty sure this person is referring to a particular fan but she is also speaking in general about all Sam fans vs all Cait fans.

I’m not going to go all out screen capping and refuting each point because I’ve been busy this week and I’m tired but I can’t let this attempt to demean fans who also make charitable donations go unchallenged.  This post was in a thread about WCC not reaching its fundraising goal yet so I’ll mention thoughts about that also.

WCC currently has a fundraising campaign and Caitriona has her Cait’s Charaids campaign going.  I don’t know how they are doing but evidently some fans think that they should have raised more money by now.  Some have even mentioned that Sam should be doing more to help Cait raise money.  Sam was criticized by a couple of fans for retweeting a Kickstarter tweet for Andrew Gower and Stephen Walters who are raising money for a project. Here are my thoughts:  

  • It’s not Sam’s job to help Cait raise money for her chosen charity even though Sam has tweeted and posted IG in support of Cait’s charity in the past. 
  • Cait doesn’t need Sam to “rescue” her charity efforts.  Cait is more than capable of promoting her own fund raising.
  • Sam does not ration his charity tweeting.  Retweeting the Kickstarter post does not mean he can’t tweet about any other charity. He was helping out former costars.

If Sam’s fans are stupid and foolish and Cait’s fans are smart and sophisticated what does that make fans who contribute to both WCC and Bloodwise? Are those fans middle class and moderately intelligent?  

Stop using Caitriona’s and Sam’s charities to promote your continuing Extreme Shipper agenda.  The only people trying to divide Outlander fans into competing groups are the Tinhat Shippers who are clinging to a sunken ship.  Most everyone else has moved on and are enjoying the end of filming on Season 3.  I’m looking forward to ComicCon in July and the promo tour that will happen in September.

World Child Cancer - Cait's Caraids 2017 fundraising campaign

So last year, many of you know that I raised some money for WCC through sales of the DollFrasers calendar, dividing 2/3 of the profits between Cait’s charity and Bloodwise, Sam’s charity. 

So when I saw that WCC were launching a new fundraising campaign I really really wanted to be involved, as well as being able to complete the virtual Voyager walk over the course of the summer, through many mini walks, hopefully with the dollFrasers, which I hope to document in photos! 

(Pic from the Gold Walk last year)

However, in the meantime I wanted to be able to do something more immediate to raise money for such an incredibly worthy cause, and so this is what I’ve come up with :

I am going to produce 2 pieces of original Outlander artwork - my usual pencil sketches, but featuring multiple faces - and then once they are done, I will auction them off here on tumblr and the monies from the winning bidders will be donated to World Child Cancer. 

Nice and simple, hopefully! So basically, watch this space…😬  

( And for those of you on limited budgets, if you are maybe interested in buying some of my artwork, I am planning to make some of my other sketches into prints - I’m just trying to work out the best way of doing it! (I’d love to hear from other artists on tumblr who have done this))

anonymous asked:

with the inauguration coming up i was wondering if you knew more about pete wentz and politics?? you seem to be the go-to person

well for starters pete’s been political since the moment he was conceived and we can always thank joe biden for that, both of his parents being legislative assistants during his first term (x)(x) + colin powell, ex-secretary of state, is his grandfather’s cousin. pete majored in political-science for three years while in college before getting serious with fall out boy and didn’t believe he had been politically active until 2008 while campaigning for obama despite his frequent prior involvement via music and publicity. pete and andy alongside fall out boy were also both apart of the band racetraitor in chicago’s underground music scene which “discussed issues like white privilege, class privilege, the war on drugs and biases in the us criminal justice system, inequities in economic globalization, and us foreign policies in latin american and the middle east. the name racetraitor was in reference to using one’s social and economic privilege to create a more egalitarian world.” (wikipedia being the best information accumulation, same for anything on arma angelus with tim mcllrath from rise against and eventually joe)

but many of fall out boy’s messages have generally always been mingled with political agendas and subtle cues all mixed up with relationship woes and the realism of mental illness, many times autobiographically.  obviously these things have always been the punk staple point and aren’t exclusive to fall out boy but particularly between 2001-2009 (and especially with folie a deux) there was emphasis. there’s been some analysis on how 9/11 was the catalyst for the foundation of early 2000′s emo as well.

folie a deux in particular though was written as a giant middle finger to the bush administration and this can be seen scattered throughout the album through a specific lense (x). as mentioned in the link i would suggest reading into the wars in afghanistan and iraq and the history that trails back to george w. bush’s father and their politics in the middle east. the album’s references are meant to be subtle and left to interpretation by the listener but many are very blatant like in 20 dollar nosebleed.

let’s not forget you’re crashing but you’re no wave from infinity on high which is about the trial of fred hampton jr. who was falsely accused of arson in a rigged trial in the aftermath of rodney king’s murder in 1993. fred hampton jr. was the son of fred hampton who was the leader of the illinois black panthers and was assassinated in his sleep by chicago pd. pete worked with a volunteer legal organization in chicago and worked with the case and was inspired to write a song that further emphasized him as a black nationalist.

often times pete’s vocal disdains would show themselves in humor or subtle references - particularly in these two videos: this interview where he mentions that people care and know more about the media and celebrities than they do about the war in iraq – and goes on to examine a doll of george w. bush saying, “i hate this guy. this is the guy who runs hell when the devil’s up here hanging out.” the second stemming from kanye west during the hurricane katrina relief concert where he says on live television “george bush doesn’t care about black people.” which pete again references in this video as a mock interviewer (3:50-4:05).

as mentioned before, pete was very politically active during obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. this involved encouraging voters to read about their candidates and developing a relationship with them and also to do something as simple as canvassing door-to-door as his father was doing in florida and columbus, ohio. he threw a campaign fundraiser in chicago, saying i have never really gotten involved in politics before. even in college, everyone just wanted to go out and get drunk and make bad decisions, sort of like we did when we elected george w. bush eight years ago. and to me, the goal of the event is to expose obama to people who may have misconceptions about him. for example, someone on our web site said, ‘i heard if he’s elected, he’s going to bomb the middle east,’ and i was like, ‘uh, no… that’s what our current president did.

Mother Has Arrived: A Review of Hurricane Bianca

For most Drag Race divas, their winnings are quickly spent on a dance single, a garish video, and a clusterfuck with a gaggle of rent boys. Thankfully Bianca Del Rio is not your typical queen.  Vying for legendary status, Bianca has ditched the usual disco orgies and taken a completely different tack to post-Drag Race success.  Enter Hurricane Bianca, her cinematic debut.

Most gays know Bianca Del Rio from her dominating win on Drag Race season 6, but Bianca was a star long before she set foot in the Interior Illusions Lounge.  Bianca had begun crowdfunding for Hurricane Bianca years ago, even before she ever auditioned for the great race.  After a plethora of fundraising campaigns, and a hefty paycheck from Mother Ru, Hurricane Bianca has finally arrived and it’s every bit the campy spectacle we hoped it to be.  Equal parts To Wong Foo,Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire, Hurricane Bianca is an ultra-campy, feather light satire of employment discrimination and small town homophobia.  

Del Rio plays the deliciously nerdy Richard Martinez, a NYC school teacher who moves to Texas for a teaching gig, only to be promptly fired when he’s outed as a homo. Enraged, Martinez teams up with a local trans woman to exact revenge on the town who wronged him.  Martinez returns to school disguised as Bianca and naturally hilarity ensues and hijinks commence.  There are gags, satire, drama, intrigue, and even a bit of skin via co-star Denton Blane Everett’s smooth twunk body.

In short, it’s good.

While there’s no doubt that Bianca is hilarious, I wondered, is she glamorous enough to be a movie star? Visually Bianca is best known for serving Mrs. Potato Head realness in a 90’s ball gown, so when I heard that she was going to star in a gay version of Mrs. Doubtfire, I had doubts that she could ever be that passable.  I’m glad to say I was wrong.  Though I didn’t think it possible, through the magic of dedicated hair, make up and wardrobe, Bianca looks the best she ever has.  She almost looks good!

Speaking of fashion disasters, Rachel Dratch is a sight to behold as the Kim Davis-esque tyrant Deborah Ward.  Dratch’s constipated, authoritarian pearl-clutching is one of the best parts of the movie. She is the perfect overdrawn villain and she has a wardrobe to match.   It’s astonishing that the filmmakers ever managed to find such a thorough collection of tacky, dated selections of Sears’s formalwear.  They must have raided Lady Bunny’s closet.  The costumers deserve an Oscar, or at least a Grabby, for Dratch’s incredible ensembles.

Del Rio is joined by Drag Race alums Willam, Shangela, Joslyn Fox, and Alyssa Edwards in the film.  I have to say, Bianca put these queens to work: Willam plays a slutty himbo, Shangela plays a sassy drag queen, Joslyn plays a bar queen named Joslyn, and Alyssa Edwards plays a drawling southern chanteuse.  Astonishing.  I’ve never seen such range.  Fuck Meryl Streep; these queens are redefining versatility.  Someone better get a Golden Globe out of this or I’m rioting.

Look, this isn’t Annie Hall or The Royal Tenebaums, but it is better than White Chicks, and that’s the standard by which I judge drag queen comedies.  The film doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know about homophobia or employment discrimination, but it’s funny and hopefully it will reignite a conversation about ENDA in the complacent, post-marriage equality gay community.

It’s good to see a queen broaden the scope of what Drag Race girls can do.  Hopefully her example will encourage other Drag Race winners to create their own productions.  While I won’t hold my breath for Tyra Sanchez’ film debut (sorry, a webcam show doesn’t count as a movie), it’ll be interesting to see how other Drag Race winners up their game following Bianca’s success.  Hurricane Bianca was almost entirely crowdfunded and it shows what can be accomplished when the drag community comes together to support a project.  This is only the beginning.  Picture it: Bob the Drag Queen in B.A.P.S. 2, Sharon Needles in Bathhouse of Horror, Kim Chi in The Joy Fuck Club.  Get those Kickstarter drives going ladies and make it happen!

FF#52: Opposites Attract

Opposites Attract
An Olicity Flash Fic One Shot

FF#52: Coitus Interruptus

So, apparently, he was an ear man.

And, no, that wasn’t a mistake, and it surprised no one more than Oliver himself.

Before having been presumed dead for five years, Oliver probably would have described himself as a legs man. He gravitated towards tall, willowy women - girls who, despite their height, were almost… delicate. The skinnier they were, the more masculine Oliver felt. Now, looking back at his younger self, Oliver realized how stupid that was, how stupid he was. Rather than trying to find someone he was physically, mentally, or even emotionally attracted to, his pre-island self had slept with women who made his ego feel better. Now, after being back in Starling City for a little more than a year, Oliver was trying to figure out what he really wanted, what he really liked.

At first, he had refused to date. Although his father sacrificed his own life in order for Oliver to survive and right his wrongs as a husband and father, to be a better man, Oliver was hesitant to jump into a relationship. While he wanted to make his dad proud and prove to be a more positive influence for his sister, five years away and essentially on one’s own, surviving rather than actually living, was a lot to overcome. The city and everything that came with it - all those conveniences that Oliver had once taken for granted - were overwhelming. So, too, were the reactions he received from friends and family, let alone strangers. Everyone wanted to know his story when all Oliver wanted to do was move along from it. He knew that he couldn’t forget the five years he was stranded on Lian Yu… and he didn’t want to, because those five years helped shape him into the man he was now, but, at the same time, they couldn’t be his focus. He couldn’t stay in the past if he actually wanted to live in the present.

So, instead of immediately throwing himself into the dating scene, Oliver took the time to get to know himself and what he - not his mother, not his best friend, Tommy, not even his deceased father - wanted. As it turned out, while the endeavor should have been something Oliver was doing again for the second time, he quickly learned that it was a first. Maybe it had taken him twenty-eight years, but Oliver Queen was finally comfortable in his own skin, satisfied with his own plans and goals, and he knew what… and evidently who… he wanted.

And she had the sexiest ears he had ever seen.

Now, granted, her ears weren’t the only thing about her that he found sexy. He liked the way she walked. With ridiculously high heels and in those pencil skirts he still couldn’t comprehend how a woman could move around in, he could watch her for days on end. Sometimes, it was a saunter. If she was in a hurry, then her steps came across as more like a march. His favorite was when, if he didn’t know any better, he’d swear she knew he was watching her, and she’d take her time, swinging her ample hips as she sashayed.

He liked her mouth and all of the smart, funny, and sarcastic things she said with it. Never before had he actually liked a woman for something other than what she could do for him, and, now here he was, gone for a girl who spoke so quickly and used words he’d never heard before, and, yet, that intelligence captivated him, made Oliver want to learn more and be better… not because she made him feel dumb or because he felt like he needed to change himself to be worthy of her but simply because she inspired him.

He liked her blonde ponytail, because, even when it sometimes felt like she was the shortest person in the room, he was always able to spot her as it bobbed along when she worked the crowd. He liked her shoulders. They were petite, and perfectly rounded, and they looked so unbelievably smooth to the touch that his hands actually itched to reach out and just… feel her skin. But he didn’t. Yet. However, the revelation that Oliver could feel attraction to a woman simply because her arms were bare finally explained why, in high school, girls weren’t allowed to wear sleeveless shirts. He had never understood that… at least, not until her.

He liked how expressive her hands were, how she talked with them, and how her nails were always a different color. He liked her nose and how it would scrunch up when she laughed or smiled. And he liked how she could reprimand someone - even him, most especially him - with a single lift of a finely shaped brow. It showed sass, and he liked her sass.

But, most of all, Oliver liked her ears. On the surface, the obsession seemed strange. He was man enough (now) to admit that. But, after thinking about the attraction, Oliver had come to realize that it was more about what all her ears represented and less about the ears themselves. Granted, they were cute ears, but he liked how, though she was always dressed conservatively enough at these events when he saw her, the long, dangly earrings she wore and the industrial piercing she sported showed that she had a small rebellious streak. Plus, because of her job, she always had one of those bluetooth earpieces in, so her hands would constantly lift to touch the device… so much so that, even when she didn’t need to use it, Oliver spied her nervously doing so out of habit. Without that quirk, that tell, she would have seemed too put together, too perfect, but the anxious tendency was relatable. It made her seem more human. And that - feeling unsure, having an idiosyncrasy or two, and feeling far too human sometimes - was something Oliver could sympathize with.

It was the only reason why, when he first found himself alone with her, he was able to locate the courage to not only approach but also strike up a conversation.

He was hiding.

There was no way to deny it, to sugar coat it. While Thea seemed to thrive under the spotlight and media attention that came along with their mother’s run for mayor, Oliver hated the additional scrutiny. Six years ago, it would have made him preen, but now…? Now, it just made him feel like his skin was too tight. Whether it was a political fundraiser, a campaign appearance, or, like tonight, a debate, the rooms were always just a little too hot and the people far too many. Oliver would not be able to take a deep breath again until he was once more in the safe and private confines of his apartment, and he, unfortunately, had hours to go before he could escape.

“Oh my god, I’m too young for this!” The exclamation was announced by a loud entrance and punctuated by the loading dock door slamming closed behind the sudden exit.

Oliver couldn’t help but smile. The words were overly dramatic, made even more exaggerated by the huff that came with them, but what made him grin was the identity of their owner. He recognized that voice. It was her. From where he was leaning against the edge of the building, his eyes previously glancing out into the empty and dark alley located behind the Starling Grand’s ballroom where the night’s debate was taking place, Oliver twisted his neck to the side to meet the sheepish gaze of the new arrival. He wished he knew her name, but, unfortunately, she never wore a nametag, and it wasn’t like he was going to ask anyone - and reveal his interest - for it. Hazarding a guess at what had her so agitated, he asked, “politics?”

She giggled. From the orange glow of the overhead emergency lights, Oliver witnessed her former frustration be replaced by amusement - amusement he put there. If he suddenly stood up a little straighter, his shoulders rolling back a little farther, he felt the pride was justified. “No. Hot flashes,” she responded. He must have looked confused, because she was quick to explain herself. “I mean, not literally, because obviously I am too young for hot flashes. Not that having hot flashes makes you old. I’m sure your mother has them, and I’d call Moira Queen a lot of things - maybe not to her face, mind you - but definitely not old.” She flushed, embarrassed Oliver would guess, and seemed to give herself a little shake. “And I’ll be shutting up now, because… awkward.” Biting her lip, the woman he’d secretly been watching for weeks at all of the bigger campaign events (she only seemed to cover the ones where both candidates were in attendance) apologized, “sorry about… that.”

While his own moments of self-consciousness were never caused by saying the wrong thing - not that she had in his eyes, Oliver wasn’t a stranger to the feeling of social discomfort, so, rather than dwelling on the moment and trying to make her feel better by reassuring her that he took no offense at what she said, he decided to simply steer them away from what she was viewing as a verbal misstep. “It is uncomfortably hot in there,” he agreed, nodding his head back towards the ball room. “You’d think a place that has been in business for as long as the Starling Grand has would know how to regulate its thermostat a little better.”

“From your lips to City Hall’s ears! I know it’s fall, and politics is a serious business, but I might just say ‘screw professionalism’ and wear a sundress to the next debate.” Okay, so now maybe Oliver wasn’t hoping for better climate control at these campaign events. “My dry cleaners will thank me.”

“The candidates should provide everyone in the audience with one of those handheld fans that also spray water.”

She groaned. She actually groaned at the idea, and, speaking of dry cleaners, Oliver’s dress pants all of a sudden were feeling a size or two too small. “Oh my god, that would be amazing, but, while your mom’s campaign can afford that, Mr. Diggle’s can’t.” While he hadn’t read any articles that claimed his mother’s opponent’s campaign was struggling financially, the reveal didn’t surprise Oliver either. John Diggle was a former army officer turned public servant who really did seem to be running for mayor because he wanted to make Starling a better place for everyone. He was a family man, a father, and, if Moira Queen wasn’t Oliver’s mother, he’d probably vote for John Diggle himself. The woman beside him suddenly shivering pulled Oliver away from his thoughts. “And it is now offical: my body is bipolar. I’ve been out here less than two minutes, and it’s gone from ‘get me naked now’ to ‘layers! I need more layers!’ I’m suddenly freezing!”

And as he looked down on those dainty shoulders that looked so smooth and soft, Oliver noticed that she had tiny, little goosebumps all up and down her arms, neck, and what was modestly exposed of her chest by the classy dress she wore. “Here,” he quickly offered, shrugging out of his suit jacket. Before she could protest - which Oliver could see she was about to do, he was already slipping the fabric around her small frame.

“I really shouldn’t,” she said, but, at the same time, he watched her pull the coat further around her body and… did she just subtly inhale his scent? Before he could fully absorb what he believed had just happened, she was saying, “now you’ll be cold.”

“I don’t really get cold. Not anymore.” It was a reference to his time away, and, yet, despite his family having to badger and cajole information about those five, lost years out of him, Oliver simply volunteered such personal insight to her freely and without provocation. The best part? She didn’t tense up, or ask for clarification, or demand more from him, or even wince sympathetically like every other person he’d ever talked with about the island. Instead, she just smiled at him and seemed to snuggle even deeper into his jacket. Encouraged by the moment, Oliver found himself flirting with her, “but, since I did do something for you, I think it’s only fair that you return the favor.” In response, she gave him one of those eyebrow quirks he found so intriguing. “You know who I am, and you’re wearing my coat, so it only seems fair that you tell me your name.”

“It’s Felicity,” she told him. Oliver could hear a soft, distant buzzing coming from her earpiece, and he watched, disappointed, as her hand lifted to the tiny piece of tech. He knew the interruption meant their moment together was coming to an end. As she slipped the suit jacket from her shoulders and handed it back to him, she added, “Felicity Smoak.” And then she was gone.

The second time Oliver spoke to her, to Felicity, came at the second debate. During the two weeks that had passed since their previous encounter, he’d noticed her several times at other, large campaign events, but there were always too many responsibilities and too many people between them for him to approach her. Plus, Oliver tried to be respectful of the fact that she was there to work and not to talk with him. The fact that the world and people in it did not revolve around him was perhaps the very first hard lesson he had learned while stranded on Lian Yu. Plus, while Oliver didn’t need to work in order to live like most people (one of whom he assumed was Felicity), he took pride in his career nonetheless and wanted to show that he recognized Felicity’s. In the past, both he and the press had often times taken advantage of each other. Though, now, they were certainly far from his favorite aspect of being a Queen, he couldn’t find fault with Felicity for being a journalist either.

As he slipped away from the crowds and made his way outside, Oliver found himself hoping that maybe Felicity would need a quiet, cool moment to herself, too, and, while he was out there, they’d be able to spend a few moments together again. When he first started to join his mother on the campaign trail, fulfilling his political duties as her loving son, her campaign manager and staff had fought Oliver on his ‘breaks.’ They wanted him front and center at all times but quickly learned that, whether they liked it or not, he would find a way to disappear for a few minutes… even if he had to dodge the security they insisted upon. So, they had quickly compromised and, as long as Oliver promised to come back (and he always did), they allowed him his fleeting moments of freedom.

However, as much as he wanted to see Felicity, he would have sacrificed the opportunity to ever spend time with her again if it meant she wasn’t already outside, struggling to breathe, and in the middle of what was obviously a very painful and very serious panic attack. So lost in her own fear and agitation, Felicity never heard Oliver come outside, nor did she notice his approach. She was doubled over and wheezing, clawing at her own throat and trembling. Despite his own traumatic past, Oliver didn’t hesitate to touch her.

Kneeling down in front of her so that she could see him… though he found her eyes tightly pinched shut, Oliver calmly spoke. “Hi, Felicity. It’s Oliver Queen. I don’t know what’s wrong, and I don’t know what happened, but you’re going to be okay. But we need to get your breathing under control again, alright. So, I’m going to stand up, and I’m going to walk around you, and I’m going to wrap my arms around your waist and pull you up so that you’re leaning against me. And then I want you to try to match your breaths with mine, okay? We’re going to count, and we’re going to breathe, and you’re going to be fine.”

As he did exactly what he had explained to her, Oliver was surprised to find how desperate he was to not only help Felicity but also to protect her. Even before all of the changes that had come with being lost at sea and then rescued five years later, Oliver had always been a kind person. Selfish, sure, but never maliciously so. Pre-island Ollie would have helped Felicity, too. However, once she was alright again, he would have walked away without a second thought… unless she wanted to give him her number so that she could later show him her appreciation. There would be no walking away tonight, though… at least, not emotionally.

Whether Felicity said she was alright or not, he’d still worry about her, and Oliver wasn’t sure how he’d push down the absolute need he felt to find out what had happened to upset her so much so that he could hunt it down and prevent it from ever hurting her again. The only person he’d ever felt so protective of before was his little sister, but how he wanted to shelter, to watch over, and care for Felicity was nothing like how he would treat Thea.

“That’s it. Breathe in. And then hold it. One, two, three. Now, exhale. One, two, three. In. One, two, three. Out. One, two, three.” After several minutes, Felicity joined in. Though Oliver would still direct her in what to do, she’d count with him. Eventually, her breathing was back under control, and her shaking stopped, but, still, he didn’t let her go. And Felicity didn’t seem to want him to let her go either. Where his arms were wrapped around her waist, she held onto his wrists, and, somewhere along the way, she had tucked her head into the crook between his neck and shoulder underneath his chin.

“It seems like I’m always making a fool of myself in front of you,” Felicity whispered. Her eyes were closed tight behind her square, two-toned glasses, but that did nothing to prevent Oliver from seeing the mortification written across her fine features. “You know, normally, I’m pretty put-together. I’m hard working, successful.”

“You don’t have to convince me, Felicity,” he reassured her. “I see the woman that you are, and she’s… remarkable.” This time, when a soft pink colored the apples of her cheeks, Oliver hoped it was from pleasure. “The fact that you let yourself be so open and honest with me? I take that as a compliment. I like to think it’s because you trust me.”

She pulled slightly out of his arms, enough so that she could turn around and face him. “And not just because I have a lack of a filter?” Oliver shook his head to negate her suggestion, and she grinned. “I think it’s because I don’t have a filter, but I like your version better, so let’s go with that instead.” Unfortunately, the brief bubble of humor disappeared almost immediately. Biting her bottom lip, Felicity looked up at him. “About what you just walked in on….”

“Felicity, you don’t need to say anything.”

“But…” she tried to interrupt him.

However, Oliver refused to allow her to do so. “As far as I’m concerned, what I saw was somebody who needed a friend, and I’m glad I was here for you. If you want to confide in me, know that I will always listen to you, Felicity, but don’t feel like you have to tell me anything.”

“It’s….” She blew out a harsh breath, rocking back on her towering heels. “It’s a really long, really complicated story.”

“Considering the fact that my long story takes place over five years on an island whose name translates into ‘Purgatory,’ it’s safe to say that I understand.” Again, Oliver found himself voluntarily talking about his ordeal with her, even in loose terms, and it just felt… natural.

Rather than commenting upon his confession itself, Felicity made one of her own. “You are nothing like what I expected, Oliver Queen.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“I think so… for both of us,” Felicity answered. And then she did this strange blink… which Oliver guessed was supposed to be a wink. It was awful and, consequently, adorable. “However, right now, neither of us have time for a long story… let alone two. We have a mayoral debate to listen to, but maybe….”

As her words trailed off, Oliver found it his turn to grin. Agreeing with her, he simply said, “maybe,” before they both turned to go back inside.

If Oliver ducked out for a break earlier than his body necessarily needed, he felt like he was owed the concession. For more than six months, he’d played the dutiful son. There were weeks when his life felt like it belonged more to the public than it did to him. His schedule had been so solidly booked that the only baseball he’d been able to take in that year had been over the radio while at work or in the car while driving to an event. In his opinion, the only good thing that had come from his mother’s mayoral run was Felicity Smoak. After yet another two weeks of only getting to see her from afar - never talking and certainly never touching, he was hoping tonight would follow the same pattern as the first two debates, and he’d run into her outside in the alley before the event started.

Despite their vast differences and even more varied backgrounds… or perhaps because of them, the two candidates for mayor, his mother and John Diggle, had together incited quite the political fervor in Starling City. While Oliver had never been one to pay much attention to elections, his knowledge usually limited to his father’s grumbles, gripes, and glad handing, the press had been quite vocal about how important this election was and had reported record numbers of voters coming out for events, particularly the debates. That’s why, for the third debate, Oliver found himself at the city’s indoor arena… only, unfortunately, he was not there for a sporting event.

As he stepped outside, silently closing the loading dock door behind him (the one benefit of being a candidate’s son was that Oliver had free reign to the places at these events that were not open to the public), he found Felicity leaning against the railing on one foot, the other she was twisting at the ankle in circles and flexing back and forth. “Tell me again why I wear such high heels?”

He didn’t know how she knew it was him, but he also didn’t waste the time in questioning her either. Deciding to be frank and taking the opportunity to jump right into flirting with her, Oliver answered, “because they make your legs look amazing.” While he now knew he wasn’t necessarily a legs man, that did not mean that Oliver didn’t appreciate Felicity’s legs, especially in her professional dresses, especially in her aforementioned heels.

“Nope,” she contradicted him. Dropping her right leg down, she started to balance on it while lifting her left and repeating her same stretching actions. “It’s because of how they make you look at my legs.”

Well, he certainly wasn’t going to argue with that. Instead, he instructed her, “come here,” nodding over to the part of the loading dock that wasn’t railed off. Before listening to his directions, Felicity watched him hop off the side of the elevated concrete slab. With a puzzled expression on her face, she just stood there, unmoving, while Oliver, meanwhile, shrugged out of his suit jacket.

As he went to spread it onto the dock for her to sit on, she yelled out, “what are you doing? You’re being dirty… I mean, you’re going to get all dirty. If you do that.” He ignored her protests. “Which you already did.”


Felicity rolled her eyes. “Well, since you asked so nicely….” He could tell by her twitching lips that she wasn’t really annoyed with him and, instead, was actually fighting a smile. Initially tucking her legs underneath her, she lowered herself down gracefully onto his coat. “You have me where you want me, Queen, so, now, what are you going to do with me?” Felicity’s eyes widened at her own remarks, but she also didn’t take them back.

Wordlessly, Oliver reached for her legs. Grasping them by the calves, he pulled them out from under her and then around so that they were hanging off the edge of the loading dock. Locking their eyes together and then refusing to break the contact, he stripped off first her left shoe and then her right, carefully placing them together beside her. She watched him avidly, her only physical response a quick dart of her tongue out to lick her full, fuschia lips. Lifting her left leg by its narrow, elegant ankle, Oliver extended it outward. As Felicity held it up for him, he wrapped his hand around her foot and, starting at the ball and working his way down the arch and to her heel, he kneaded the sensitive flesh.

Just as Oliver was about to switch to her other foot, Felicity released a deep, satisfied, extremely erotic moan. “It wasn’t until you actually touched me that I realized that, while I ache, it’s not my feet where I want your attention, Oliver.”

The admission was blatantly sexy, but, somehow, Felicity made it seem sweet as well… probably because it surprised her more than him, and, if he had been half aroused since he first saw her earlier, he was now painfully hard. As he dropped her foot, Felicity simultaneously opened her legs so that he could step between them. Starting at her ankles, he slid his fingers up, up, and up. Fast. Though Oliver would have liked to take his time, he had no idea how long they would have together. Granted, it was just the two of them at the moment, but somebody could come outside at any second, looking for either of them. While this wasn’t exactly conventional dating or the right way to start a lasting relationship, he had wanted Felicity for months, and maybe unconventional could be their thing. After all, his past was certainly atypical, and Felicity was the most singular, extraordinary - in a good way, in the best way - woman he had ever met.

In a matter of seconds, Oliver had his hands wrapped around Felicity’s hips, and he was pulling her towards and then off the edge of the loading dock, its height too high for what, without a conversation or discussion, he knew they were about to do. As he brought her towards him, he also pushed the skirt of her dress up to rest around her waist, and Felicity, seemingly reading his mind, wrapped her legs and arms around him, holding on tight. Oliver made quick work of unbuckling, unbuttoning, and then unzipping his fly, while Felicity made quick work of locating his wallet from his pocket, searching through it for a condom, and then exclaiming in triumph when she found what she was looking for, what they both so desperately needed her to find. And their team work only continued, because, as Oliver pushed her lace panties out of his way, Felicity sheathed him with the protection.

And then he was blissfully, deeply, fully seated inside of her.

It wasn’t until Oliver was already pulling out of her tight, scorching body and thrusting searchingly back in again that he kissed her. With Felicity already panting, Oliver was able to deepen the kiss immediately. It was wet, and sloppy, and kind of clumsy, but it was glorious. He was lost in the blur of desire and satisfaction surrounding them until Felicity ripped her mouth away from his and cried out, a note of pain mixing with her pleasure and making him realize that, in their haste and their haze, he had backed them up to the point where Felicity was leaning against the concrete of the loading dock, what was bare and exposed of her fair and lovely skin scraping against the hard and porous surface with every thrust of his hips up and into hers.

He didn’t stop, however; he couldn’t… unless she asked him to, which she didn’t. Instead, Oliver lifted his hands from where they were holding her hips and wrapped his arms around her back, not caring if, by the time they were both finished and a satisfied, sweaty mess, his arms could very well be bloody and raw. He didn’t feel a single abrasion either, because the slight shift changed their angle, and, now, every single time their hips met, Felicity would gasp just a little bit louder. Each beautiful, sensual sound she made drove him that much closer to his orgasm, so, luckily, he could tell - he could feel, and hear, and see - that Felicity was even closer.

Suddenly, her gasps turned into words. Lifting his gaze from where it had been staring possessively at the very spot where their bodies were intimately joining, Oliver was at first confused. “Yes. … Fine. … Just. … Steps. … And. … Walking. … And. … Wow. … Exercise.” While just seconds before both of her hands had been on him - one pulling on the short locks of hair at the nape of his neck and the other using her nails to bite into the skin of his right shoulder through his white, dress shirt, now, only her left arm was wrapped around his neck, while the right was touching her ear. Touching her earpiece. “Yeah, I… know, Digg. You have… no idea… how much… I… needed… this workout. I mean,… a workout.”

Despite the words, Felicity’s body was still very much in the moment. However, Oliver froze. Even when she tried to use her legs’ grip around him to encourage him to return to their previous movements, he couldn’t. Because he finally registered that her earpiece wasn’t a bluetooth device but, instead, a comm unit, and, during the entire time they were having sex, she must have been connected to….

“John Diggle,” Oliver realized, pulling entirely out of her. Though Felicity grumbled at his withdraw, he knew that the sudden disconnection didn’t hurt her. He made sure to carefully put her back onto his jacket which was still spread out on the loading dock. Loose and still obviously aroused, Felicity watched him in bewilderment as he briskly pushed himself back into his pants, condom still on and their combined juices making both his slacks and his hands a mess. Although Oliver would find a bathroom and clean up as much as he could as soon as he could, he was going to be uncomfortable for the rest of the night… not to mention on edge and unsatisfied.

Eventually, Felicity confirmed his suspicions. “Yeah. I was talking to John Diggle. We’re friends, though, so I call him Digg.”

“So, that’s why you’re always at these events?”

“Well, yeah, I guess I come to support him, but I’m also here because I’m kind of his campaign manager, Oliver.”

Spinning away from her and beginning to pace away, in his agitation, Oliver almost ran his hands through his hair until he, thankfully, remembered that he couldn’t. “You have to be kidding me!”

“Oliver.” When he didn’t turn back around to face her, Felicity demanded, “Oliver, look at me.” And he did. He wasn’t sure why, but he listened to her. No, scratch that; he did know why. He listened to her, because he was hoping she could somehow make this better. He needed her to make this better. “Why did you think I was here?”

“I thought you were a reporter.” He gestured to what he now knew was a comm device that always kept her contact with her candidate, the candidate who was his mother’s very electable opponent. “That you were always talking to your producer or your editor on that thing. I never imagined…. But you knew who I was,” he accused her.

“I did, and it didn’t matter to me, Oliver. After the night of the first debate, you weren’t Moira Queen’s son to me any longer; you were a sweet, really hot guy who I liked. A lot. And, after I told you my name, I figured you felt the same way. Well, not that I was a hot guy, but that you liked me for me and despite us being on opposite sides of this election.”

“I… I didn’t know.”

“Yeah, that’s now glaringly obvious,” Felicity quipped. “I’m not sure if I should be insulted that your mom and her campaign staff think so little of me that they didn’t even see the need to tell you who Digg’s campaign manager was or if I should use the fact that they underestimated me to my advantage.”

Unable to just hold his hands out in front of him any longer… like an idiot, Oliver shoved them into his pockets and then shrugged. “Maybe both,” he suggested. She smiled at his response, nodded in acknowledgment, and then slipped her shoes back on. Without prompting, Oliver went up to her. Wrapping his hands (they were at least dry now, and most of the fluids had been wiped off on his own pants) around her tiny waist, he lifted her off the dock and planted her back on her feet directly in front of him. “So, what now,” he asked her. And, then, recalling exactly where they were, who he was with, what they were doing there, and who he was about to have to go inside and face, Oliver groaned. Unfortunately, it was nothing like the sounds Felicity had previously made. “What am I going to tell my mom?”

“Tell her the truth,” Felicity resolutely stated, patting his chest once in reassuring tandem with her advice. “Tell her that you just had coitus interruptus with her opponent, the next mayor of Starling City’s, campaign manager and that, next time, you plan to see it through and better not leave a girl hanging.”

Any and all apprehension Oliver had previously been feeling disappeared when he realized that Felicity wanted more from him than just a quick fuck in a back alley to relieve some pressure. Sure, he had known that he wanted more, and he didn’t think she was that type of woman, but they had made no plans with, no promises to, each other. They were still standing toe-to-toe when he smiled down upon her, asking, “next time?”

“Well, yeah,” Felicity responded, chewing on the corner of her bottom lip. “At least, I’m hoping there’ll be a next time… after this seemingly endless campaign is over. I can’t tell you how nice it’ll be to go back to just one full time job.” At what must have been his confused look, she explained, “I’m not a professional politician, Oliver. I actually work for your family, in QC’s IT department. I volunteered to run John’s campaign, because I believe in him, he’s my friend, I knew he couldn’t afford to pay someone, and no one would work harder to get him elected than I would. Starling City needs John Diggle.”

Sadly, considering he was at the debate to support his own mother, John Diggle’s opponent, he believed Felicity might be right about who the city needed at its helm. But that was not what Oliver wanted to focus on, because his interest in Felicity was not dictated by who would eventually win the election. “So, until next time, then?”

“Yeah… next time. With a bed… and a ceiling over top of it. And dinner would be nice as well. Maybe a date. That is, I mean, if you would… want that, too?”

“Felicity, honestly, I’m not sure if I have ever wanted anything more.”

“You know, if anyone in your family should be running for office, it’s you,” Felicity shocked Oliver - both with what she said and with the rapid change of subject. That was another thing he liked about her: how Oliver always had to be vigilant around Felicity Smoak, how she kept him on his toes.

However, that didn’t mean that he necessarily agreed with her. “I highly doubt that, Felicity.”

“No, I’m being serious,” she proclaimed. And the sincerity in her voice kept him from rolling his eyes or pulling away from her. “Think about it, Oliver. You are the ultimate redemption story.”

“I didn’t do anything special, though - nothing that anybody else in my situation wouldn’t have done as well. I just… survived.”

“You did more than that, Oliver. You took a horrible situation and made the most of it. When you came back, no one would have blamed you for being angry, or bitter, or jaded, or intent upon making up for lost time, but, instead, you renovated your family’s old steel factory to create a youth center and homeless shelter in your father’s name.” Pausing long enough to make sure that he was meeting her gaze, Felicity then shocked him even further when she said, “while I might not be a professional politician, I can read opposition polling, and you, Oliver, are the reason why your mother has gotten as far in this campaign as she has.”

“I… I don’t know what to say except… thank you.”

“There’s no need. I didn’t do anything besides read the research that you wrote. Well, not literally,” Felicity conceded, rolling her eyes slightly at her own expense. “My programs compiled the research that others wrote about all of the things that you have done. But you did them, Oliver. Not the press, not your mother, not my programs, and certainly not me.” Then, throwing him for another loop, she confessed, “you know, we still haven’t selected a deputy mayor yet.”

At first, Oliver wasn’t sure why she was telling him this, but then he realized that it must be something that was worrying her, weighing on her, and he was both grateful and gratified that Felicity felt like she could confide in him. Maybe they hadn’t gone on their first date yet, but they already felt like a couple. Leaning forward, he dropped a gentle kiss against her forehead. Once he had pulled away again, Oliver attempted to sooth her concerns. “You’ll figure it out. I have complete faith that you’ll pick the best possible candidate, Felicity.”

Neither of them mentioned that, by admitting his faith in her, Oliver was also admitting that he believed John Diggle would win the election. Felicity beamed up at him. “You know, I think you just might be right.”

“Come on,” Oliver nodded towards the stairs off to the side of the loading dock that they’d need to take to get back inside. “The debate’s going to be starting soon.”

Felicity didn’t protest, so Oliver stepped away first. He could hear her following him as her heels clicked against the alley’s pavement. However, just before he could place his foot on the first step, he felt her much smaller hand slip into his and tug him back. “Oliver, wait,” she beseeched of him, and of course he did just that. Turning around, he was surprised to find deep lines of apprehension and uneasiness on her brow, wrinkling the bridge of her nose, and pulling down the sides of her mouth. Once they were facing each other, she locked together both sets of their hands, weaving her slender fingers through his much larger digits. “I need you to do something for me.”

“What? What is it?” Attempting to reassure her, he promised, “anything.”

“After the debate tonight, I need you to go to your mother and tell her that, if she’s keeping anything from you and your sister, then she needs to confide in you. Now. Before it’s too late.”

“Felicity, you’re starting to scare me here. Just tell me what’s going on.”

“I can’t. Or, at least, I shouldn’t. What I know, Oliver, it should come from your mom, not me and certainly not some opposition research that the other side, my side, leaks to the press a week before the election.” Taking a deep breath, she pushed onward. “But if she refuses to tell you, or you feel like she either lied to you again or held something back, come to me, and then I’ll tell you. You and Thea both deserve the truth, Oliver, and I care too much about you to allow you to find out your mother’s secrets from some shark of a reporter… even if it is technically unethical of me as Digg’s campaign manager. What’s more, I’d feel like an even worse human being and definitely a horrible maybe-girlfriend.”

“Wow.” Oliver had no idea what to say. “So, this is really bad, isn’t it?”

“I mean, it’s not great,” Felicity remarked, wincing. “But, if it’s any consolation, I know already, and it doesn’t change the way I feel about you.” With a quick shake of her head, she edited, “I mean, what I think of you.”

He decided, at least for the moment, to savor the progress he and Felicity had made that night and not focus on whatever bombshells his mother was hiding from him and Thea. Instead, he’d worry about his mom’s secrets tomorrow. After all, she was going on stage for a televised, political debate in less than ten minutes. There was nothing he could do about Felicity’s cryptic warnings now anyway. “As my definitely not horrible definite-girlfriend, I think you can say feel, Felicity.”

To support his statement with action, Oliver leaned in to kiss her one last time before they had to go inside. However, just before their lips touched, he could hear her comm unit come to life. While he still liked Felicity’s ears, he suddenly really hated that piece of tech. “Not now, Digg,” Felicity mumbled to the man on the other line, grinning up at Oliver as she looped her free arm around his neck. “I’m busy kissing your deputy mayor.”

Felicity was giggling when her lips touched his slack and stunned mouth. It took Oliver what he felt to be an earned and justified moment to adjust to her revelation, but he quickly pushed his shock aside, because, while perhaps he didn’t know how he felt about serving as John Diggle’s second-in-command, he did know exactly how he felt about kissing John Diggle’s campaign manager. He liked it. A lot.

He liked kissing her mouth, of course, but he also liked kissing her fingers, and her nose, and her bare shoulders. And, when Felicity tried to walk away and head back inside, Oliver found out that he liked to kiss the back of her neck where her bouncing ponytail could tickle against his face. As for her ears, well… he liked to take their lobes, their top ridges, and even her industrial piercing into his mouth and bite down… almost as much as Felicity seemed to like it.

Needless to say, they were late for that third and final debate… at Felicity’s insistence. And perhaps that’s what he liked about her most of all: that, in liking her, he had the ability to make her happy.

A/N: So, I know what you’re thinking when you see this one shot. You’re thinking that I should’ve been working on Bake for a Date with Oliver Queen. And you’d be right. But, on my way to work yesterday, this idea popped into my mind, and it wouldn’t leave me alone. It was good timing, though, because a friend of mine gave birth yesterday, and she declared that, in return, I needed to provide her with something new to read. Well, consider my small role played. As for Bake for a Date with Oliver Queen, I make no promises, but this is a long weekend, and my plan is to work on that story as well. Finally, you’ll notice that this one shot is entitled as a flash fic. While the prompt was indeed a flash fic prompt, this was definitely not written in an hour. I can write fast, but not thirteen pages in an hour fast. Several hours worth of writing time elapsed after my alarm sounded, but I don’t think anyone will complain about a story being longer than it should’ve been. At least, I hope not. Anyway, that’s it. Rambling over. Now, I hope you read and, hopefully, enjoy!