One thing I’m looking forward to seeing (hearing?) in the movies is Todd’s accent. Like I feel like I can imagine what it sounds like but when i really think about it I have no idea and I just wanna know so baddd
“‘And what other kind of man would you want leading you into battle?’ he says, reading my noise. 'What other kind of man is suitable for war?’ A monster, I think remembering what Ben told me once. War makes monsters of men.”
Felicity crouched in front of Tommy, her hands on his heaving shoulders, sweat dampening the cotton t-shirt under her palms. His head was bowed as he sucked in gasping breaths, little whining noises escaping his clenched teeth as he exhaled. His fists braced his weight on the floor almost close enough to brush Felicity’s purple, peep-toed heels.
Trying to project confidence and calm, Felicity licked her lips and slid a hand up the back of Tommy’s neck, her fingernails tickling the short hairs at his nape. “Tommy.”
He lifted his head, his eyes drowning pools of despair and tortured echoes as he looked at her. She slipped her hand around to cup his jaw, thumb stroking along his cheekbone, drawing him up out of the nightmares, anchoring him in the corner of the guestroom with her. “Look at me. Say it again.”
He inhaled hard, lashes fluttering in a long blink as he exhaled slow, some of the tension in his shoulders easing as he reached up to cover her hand with his. When he opened his eyes, he was finally looking at her, and there was a hint of determined steel behind the blue. “I’m not what they made me. I’m not a monster.”
His voice was raw, graveled from screaming, rough like sandpaper on her ears. Felicity swallowed hard and stroked his cheek again. “No, you are not. You’re Tommy Merlyn. You’re a best friend. You’re a brother, and a protector, and a good man.”
He searched her gaze, and whatever he saw there, he sighed like she’d given him relief, cold water in the desert. His forehead dropped against her knees, his hand leaving hers to curl just above her right knee, like he needed to hold onto her or risk slipping back down into the darkness that had been poured into him.
Felicity slid her arms over his back and rested her cheek against his hair, holding him together until he could do it himself. “You’re a good man, Tommy. You keep choosing to be a good man every day. It’s the only thing that matters.”
“I can choose,” he muttered into her shins, more to himself than to her.
They held onto each other for a long, quiet, breathing moment, Felicity’s hand moving up and down a steady path between his shoulder blades as Tommy resettled into his own bones.
Shifting to rest her chin against Tommy’s crown, Felicity smiled a little and said, “Oliver’s coming by in a little while. He wants to go through a few routines with you, if you think you’re up to it.” Tommy hesitated, then nodded, his nose bumping her knees. He made no move to pull away from her just yet.
Felicity bit her lip, then, hopeful, said, “Laurel wants to call, later. She wants to—to try just talking to you. On the phone, see if that works, with all of the resistance training you’ve been doing. Oliver and Sara think it could be a good idea, see how much progress you’ve made?”
Tommy was very still in her arms, then slowly started to sit up, forcing her to let go of him. He put both hands on her knees, squeezing as he looked at her, grim and uncertain. “What if I go off again? What if I can’t even—can’t even talk to her without going into Terminator mode?”
Felicity licked her lips, but nodded her chin just slightly, acknowledging his fears. “Then we deal with it. Oliver and Roy will be here when she calls, you know, in case of,” she made a face that was supposed to be threatening, but it just made Tommy huff a little laugh, his mouth curling in almost reluctant amusement. Felicity grinned back at him. “It could be good, Tommy. You might have made real progress, but we don’t know until we test it, right?”
He sighed, then nodded.
Her smile softened, her hands squeezing where they rested on his shoulders—for balance, for comfort. “She misses you.”
Tommy looked away. “I tried to kill her, Felicity. Twice.”
Felicity winced, squinting over his head as if the wall behind him had answers for how to handle broken men programmed to kill their ex-girlfriends. “She totally forgives you for that, though.”
Tommy snorted, cutting a sarcastic look at her. She just smiled.
“She knows it wasn’t you, Tommy.” She shook her head, holding his eyes as the ends of her ponytail bounced across her shoulder. “It wasn’t you.”
His mouth twisted bitterly, eyes falling to his fingers on her bare knees. “Really? Because those were definitely my fingerprints decorating her throat.”
Felicity huffed a little growl, taking hold of his jaw with both hands and drawing his face up to look at her. “That was not your choice, Tommy. You’re not what they tried to make you be. We just covered this.”
He took her hands, curling his fingers gently around hers and resting them both in his grip atop her knees. “Just because we keep saying it doesn’t make it true, Felicity.” He held her gaze, imploring, swallowing hard, and she knew what he was saying to her was… difficult to share. “I’m not—I don’t… it’s not like I, like I’m just gone when I’m triggered, Felicity. I’m not empty. I’m in here,” he lifted one of his hands, hers still wrapped in it, and tapped his temple, before returning them to her knee. “I’m just not in control. It’s like getting shoved in the backseat of my own brain. There’s something else behind the wheel but I can still see out the windshield. I don’t get to pull the breaks, or take my foot off the gas, I just get to watch the wreck go up in flames.”
Felicity nibbled her bottom lip. “That’s a very… specific metaphor.”
Tommy rolled his eyes and frowned at her, squeezing her hands. “I watched it, Felicity. I saw myself choking the life out of her, the first time. She was crying, begging me to stop, struggling to breathe, and my hands kept squeezing.” He looked down at those very hands, so much larger as they cradled Felicity’s. His thumbs stroked over her knuckles absently, his head shaking. “Wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.”
Felicity swallowed, eyes squeezing briefly shut as she shook her head sharply. Turning her hands in his, she pressed palm to palm and interlaced their fingers, squeezing for all she was worth. “But the next time, you came back, before you could pull the trigger. You got back in the driver’s seat, took the wheel, whatever.”
He scoffed in the back of his throat, still staring at their fingers. “Because you slapped me, Felicity.” He lifted his eyes, and there was fear and anger—and gratefulness, too—in them even now. “You stood in front of the fucking gun and you slapped me.”
Felicity lifted her eyebrows imperiously, tugging his hands as if she could physically drag him into believing in himself. “But the first time, you couldn’t come back to yourself at all! You had to be knocked out. Me slapping you wasn’t a—an off switch, or a magic trick. It was just an opportunity, a shock to the system that gave you the chance to take control. And you did. And you didn’t shoot me, you didn’t shoot Laurel. You popped the clip out of the gun and gave it back to Diggle.”
His eyes dropped again, but the lines of his face had softened, though still solemn. He was considering her argument.
Felicity smiled again and impulsively leaned forward to bump her forehead against Tommy’s. When she sat back on her heels again, he was looking at her with the usual amusement. “So, can I text Laurel and tell her she can call around five?”
He held her eyes for a moment, then let his lashes sweep down to hood them as he sighed, resigned. “Yeah. Yeah, tell her I’d… tell her I’m looking forward to it.”
Felicity beamed in triumph, standing up and pulling on his hands to haul him to his bare feet with her. “I will. She’s going to be thrilled.”
He shook his head—he always seemed to be shaking his head at her—lips curling as if against his will as he extracted his fingers from hers. He hesitated just before letting go, fingertips still curling against hers, just that simple, slight grip keeping her from turning and bouncing out into the house. “Will you…”
She smiled wider up at him, only a few inches shorter with him flat footed and her in heels. She dropped his hands, but he had only time to suck in a sharp breath before she stepped into his space and pulled up against him, arms circling his ribs in a sudden, tight hug.
He had barely wrapped his own arms around her shoulders before she was slipping out of them again, her warmth still seeping into his chest as she moved towards the door, hand finding the frame. “I’ll be there.”
He felt like he’d been watching every move Tommy made since his best friend was given back to them. And as the weeks evolved into months, he noticed the way Tommy gravitated towards Felicity.
It wasn’t quite the way that so many people just seemed to naturally attach to her. It was more focused, and yet more unconscious. Oliver was pretty sure Tommy had started it, but Felicity didn’t take long to begin reciprocating. Oliver couldn’t be sure how conscious she was or wasn’t of it.
But any time Felicity walked into a room Tommy was already present in, he looked to her immediately. He checked her status visually anytime he left a room without her. If Felicity was talking, Tommy was listening.
And if they were within arm’s reach, they were touching.
To be more accurate, Tommy was touching Felicity. He was, by and large, the initiator of contact. On days Oliver more rode the edge, he thought uncharitably that Tommy couldn’t keep his hands off her.
But it wasn’t that he was being… handsy. It was more as if Felicity was his living touchstone, and if he could just feel her arm or shoulder or waist under his fingers, he could keep hold of himself.
Felicity often reached back. If Tommy’s hand landed on her shoulder, her fingers would circle his wrist. If Tommy wrapped an arm behind Felicity’s back, she’d lean into his side. If Tommy fleetingly touched his arm, she mirrored the action almost precisely.
And if Tommy looked even remotely distressed, Felicity would be there, fingertips brushing the hair off his forehead, tipping his chin to make Tommy look her in the eyes, taking his hands or his arm or his waist.
It made Oliver uncomfortable.
It wasn’t the displays of affection that bothered him. Tommy had always, always been a tactile person, and Oliver—used to be, too.
It wasn’t even that Oliver was jealous. Not exactly.
What he was was worried.
There hadn’t been a better solution, at the beginning, than Felicity’s spare bedroom in her townhouse when Tommy first arrived and needed to be put—somewhere. And now there was just no good reason to upset the stability Tommy so clearly needed while the whole team pulled together to put him together again.
But for all that Olvier, Diggle, Roy, Sara, even Lyla and increasingly more occasionally Laurel rotated through the rooms of the house on a consistent basis, there was a great deal of time that Tommy and Felicity spent alone together.
Something about their constantly developing closeness—the way Tommy oriented on her like she was his magnetic north—made Oliver… nervous.
It looked, at first glance, like a good thing.
God, he wanted it to just be a good thing. These two people who were so important to him.
But what it felt like was trouble.
Like taking an innocent step and hearing that not-yet-fatal click underfoot.
Oliver just prayed—for as much as anyone with his encompassing lack of faith in benevolent higher powers could pray—that this thing with Tommy and Felicity wasn’t waiting for them to shift their weight wrong and blow them all to hell.