kicking up mud

Blue is the sunlight filtering through trees in the morning. She’s a field of flowers; bluebells and daisies and snow drops and honeysuckle. She’s the drive to breakfast on a Sunday morning at 7am, yawning against your knuckle, turning your face into the sun. She’s pancakes with berries and yoghurt, honey and coffee and sticky vinyl tables. She’s oversized knitwear, hiding you face behind scarves, your hands balled up in sleeves. She’s kicking up leaves in mud-splattered boots and wind flushed cheeks and unapologetic laughter. She’s the hushed silence at the end of the night.

Gansey is the sound of a library at two am. He’s murmurs over coffee, the sound of a page turning. He’s the first stretch after you wake up, lazy smiles over pillows, that little laugh you do to break the silence. He’s the way you push your glasses up your nose, the embodiment of a whirring thought. He’s the burn in your lungs after running up a hill, gulping air like liquid life into your lungs. He’s grass and morning dew, light and fresh and just the right side of cold. He’s the trip in your gut when you miss a step, the pad of a thumb over a cheek. He’s looking at the stars on a clear winter night.

Noah is the first conversation in the morning. He’s the smell of cooking waffles, cream and sugar and syrup. He’s drawings in a foggy mirror, the steam pouring from a shower. He’s the biting chill of frost, the thrill of slipping on ice. He’s winter gloves and duffle jackets and laughing at each other being silly. He’s snowflakes stuck in your hair, your breath on a cold day. He’s art, paint smudged on your cheek, deliberate movements. He’s milkshakes when it’s too cold, brain freeze, pastel coloured diners. He’s pale pinks and washed out greys and cold blues. He’s the catch in your chest when you see something beautiful. 

Adam is dusty summers, tumbleweeds and shielding your eyes from the sun. He’s your favourite pair of shoes, reliable and soft. He’s the night someone puts their arms around you while staring at the stars, the sound of silence. He’s the way your lip twitches when you hear a joke you shouldn’t laugh at. He’s the smell of the ground after rain, water rolling down your spine. He’s the flickering lightbulb hanging loose from your ceiling, a single streetlamp on a forgotten road. He’s running when you have no idea where you’re going, the small exhale of breath when you come to a stop. He’s the gentle hush when you wake up beside someone you love. He’s the hands that hold you when you think you’re falling apart. 

Ronan is smoke and tyres and burning rubber. He’s the anticipation of a street light turning green. He’s soft whispers across your skin, teeth dragging over your lip. He’s a shout and a whimper, the two of them combined. He’s satisfied smiles and longing eyes. He’s digging up soil with your bare hands, dirt trapped under your finger nails. He’s confident winks and subtle touches, a steady hand at the base of your spine. He’s balled fists and shattered windows and blood splattered floors. He’s the sensation of being home in a place you’ve never been. He’s coffee and split lips and gold chains with crosses hanging just out of sight. He’s the chink of light through the window of a dark room. He’s the embodiment of Autumn; just the right side of falling apart. 

King in the North

(Jon x Reader)

Words: 1,993

A kinda-sorta sequel to this smutty bit here.

The shouts rumbled like thunder over the Bay of Ice. “KING IN THE NORTH! KING IN THE NORTH!” The very stones of Winterfell seemed to shake beneath the chanting, pounding of cups, and stamping of feet. “KING IN THE NORTH! KING IN THE NORTH!” And even from your far, far place in the hall, you could read the fear in Jon’s eyes.

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Preference #11 - How You First Met

You met Scott back kindergarten at recess. You weren’t in the same class so you had never met there, but one day out on the playground, while you were sitting under the slide in your little hideout, trying to make a fire with sticks, this little black-haired, wide-eyed boy came flying into your spot. He slid as he slowed himself and kicked up woodchips and mud, ruining your fire you were sure you were about to start.

 “Hey!” you shouted. He looked at you shocked to see someone there.

“Sorry!” he said. “Playing Hide and Seek.” As if that explained it all and excused him from barging in on you. “I’m Scott.” He smiled at you and suddenly you weren’t mad anymore. He was cute, or as cute as a little kid could be to you. You blushed a little, gave him your name and held out your hand like your daddy had taught you to do when meeting new people. He stared at it for a moment and looked a little worried.

“What?” you asked, embarrassed in case you did something wrong.

“My friend Stiles says girls have cooties and if I touch you, I’ll get cooties too.”

And just like that, the initial anger returned. Cooties?! You’d give him cooties! You scooped up some mud with a sour smile on your face and promptly smushed it in his face and told him to get out.

It was the first day of junior high math class where you met. The teacher had the seating chart projected onto the white board and you found your seat quickly. After finding your own, you looked to see who you were sitting next to.

“Stiles?” you questioned allowed. “Is that a guy or a girl?”

“Definitely a guy,” a voice said from behind your shoulder. A lanky kid with a buzz cut threw his backpack onto the desk next to yours and sat down with a wide grin. “I’m Stiles.” You smiled back and introduced yourself. “Pretty name,” he said casually.

“Thanks.” You both started unpacking your things and you saw him dump a handful of highlighters on his desk. You looked at him questioningly.

“I’m bad at math. And science. And school in general,” he laughed at himself. “So if you see me over here with my head about to explode, just ignore me and sweep me away when the combustion happens.” You giggled at him. He was spastic and high energy, but he was fun.

“Well, I happen to be pretty good at math.” You reached over and stole one of his highlighters. “I’ll help you out.”

“Really?” You nodded at him, playing with the highlighter absentmindedly. “You might regret that,” he teased.

“Probably.” You both laughed and he stole his highlighter back from your hands.


You were running late one day and when you got to your locker, one of your worst dreams came true. You couldn’t remember your locker combo. Your brain completely blanked and went fuzzy trying to find the numbers that made even the slightest connection in your memory as being familiar.

“Twenty-three, eighteen… no. Nineteen. No. Twenty-three, thirty… crap,” you mumbled as your fingers anxiously spun the dial of your lock. Nothing sounded right.

“Thirty-eight, two, twenty-three,” a voice said beside you. You looked over and a guy was standing at his own locker, taking his time getting his own books out. He was cute and smiling at you. You stared at him and squinted your eyes. “That’s your locker combo,” he said, pointing at the lock laying useless in your hands. He was right though. The second he said the numbers, they clicked firmly and clearly in your brain.

“How do you…?” You looked at him baffled. Did you have a stalker? His eyes widened and his charming smile vanished in an instant as he realized he sounded kind of creepy.

“No! Oh god no! I don’t watch you or… I mean I don’t…” he paused and sighed, trying to collect himself. It was kind of cute. “You whisper it each time you open it and I hear it and it just kind of stuck.” He shrugged and looked at the ground, clearly embarrassed. You had to smile.

“Thank you,” you said, giggling just a little bit. He looked up hopefully at you and smiled back when he saw you weren’t angry.

“No problem.” He nodded at you. “See you around?” he asked as he closed his locker door.


You never had an official “meeting” so to say. You knew of each other’s presences in school, shared some classes, generally just knew you both existed. He was your typical high school jackass jock it seemed like. He was loud with his teammates in class and was generally rude to his girlfriend and never gave you a second glance.

Until one day he did.

You were assigned to each other for a partner quiz; one of those stupid things where you work together to get the answers and share the grade. You rolled your eyes and after scooting your desks close together and being handed the quiz, ripped it from him and onto your desk to do.

He stared at you blankly as you worked through the first page quickly. You hated these things. You weren’t in school to argue with the idiots or to teach them when they didn’t understand tests. You learned to just do it yourself and get it over with. You finished it swiftly and when you were done, handed it back to him.

“There. There’s your A,” you told him confidently. His mouth hung open like a fish and he just kept staring blankly at you, taking the quiz and then staring blankly at it. “Problem?”

“Thanks, I guess,” he said dumbly. “I’ll go turn it in.” You nodded and picked up your book to occupy yourself while the rest of the class finished. When Jackson returned to his seat, you caught him looking at you.

“What?” you ask, looking up from your book feeling somewhere between embarrassed and annoyed.

“You’re interesting.” He smiled and you tried to ignore him and go back to your book, unsure of what to say. He kept glancing at you until class ended though.


 A/N: That whole doing the partner quiz thing for the jock part? Yeah. I did that in high school. Took it from him, filled it out, handed it back, and said “Here’s your A.” In other news… I’ve changed my Classics and from now on, Jackson will be replacing Derek and Peter (who have moved exclusively to the Adults preferences.)

“Thanks for helping me and my friends, Damian.”

Damian hisses his signature, “-tt-,” and says, “You aren’t welcome.  Do not anticipate me coming to your aid like this again.  And put a leash on those rabid dogs you keep calling friends.”  He points severely at her.

Maps snorts.  “No way, I live for this stuff!”

“This isn’t a game!” Damian says.  “You’ll die for this stuff if you don’t -,” he rummages around in his apparently bottomless sweatshirt pouch, “-cease this reckless behavior!” Before Maps knows what’s happened Damian has pulled the grapple gun from his sweatshirt and is thrusting it at her.  “Take this!”

Maps chokes on air and cradles the grapple gun like it’s a small child, staring at it with wide, wondering eyes.

“If you insist on gambling with your life at least learn how to play the game.”  Damian revs the engine of the R-Cycle.  “I have to go.  Bat… Father is waiting.”

“Bat-Father?” Maps says.

“I have to go!  Do not contact me again!” Damian does a really, frickin’ sweet donut in front of the gate, kicking up mud and leaves in all directions, and then tears off down the narrow path leading back to the city.

“Wow,” Maps breathes, and gazes lovingly at the grapple gun in her arms.

I’ve fallen so hard for this ship I don’t even know what to do with myself tbh.

(Sliiiiiight nsfw toward the end, but nothing graphic!)

The first time he kisses her, they are sitting beside a small campfire, wrapped in wool cloaks that help ward against the chill. They could’ve spent the night at a village inn; he told her he didn’t mind the extra bit of travel, but she’d been very firm about how she expected things to proceed now that she had joined him.

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Prompt from @melsanfo: AU. Oliver and Felicity each have a kid and their kids happen to be in the same kiddie soccer league. Daddy!Oliver gets a bit intense during one of the games and Coach Felicity sends him to time out. ;) after that he is smitten. I can just picture Felicity and the kids having juice boxes while waiting for Oliver’s time to run out.

AN: This was an interesting prompt to write. Mostly because I know next to nothing about soccer. I grew up on baseball and football so I apologize for any mistakes. I’m still not back to my old self writing wise so I hope this is okay. (I really hope you like it Melissa) Enjoy!

Kicking, Screaming & Passing (The Juice Boxes)

“Come on Dad! We’re gonna be late!” William urged him, jumping out of the truck and grabbing his backpack, his cleats kicking up mud from the early morning rain as he ran towards the field.

Oliver checked his watch, nearly rolling his eyes as his sons over exaggeration. It was a quarter until twelve, the time the match was supposed to start. They had plenty of time. Still he hurried after his son, doing his best to dodge the messy rain puddles.

“Oh thank goodness you’re here, I was afraid you weren’t going to show.” A clearly feminine voice exclaimed loudly, only softened by the distance.

“Sorry Coach,” Will apologized. “It’s my Dad’s first time bringing me to a game.” At that mention Oliver looked up in surprise and what he found was nothing like what he’d expected. Her curvy figure wasn’t hidden in the slightest by the slightly baggy white and red team jersey she wore, tan shapely legs seemed to stretch for miles past her matching shorts. Her blonde hair, that glinted golden in the sunlight was tied back in a neat ponytail, wrapped around its base was a red ribbon. This was the Coach William had exalted?

She patted William on the shoulder and took his bag. “It’s okay, now go warm up.” The young boy rushed to do her bidding with a smile as he went to join his teammates on the pitch.

Oliver didn’t know how but somehow he’d spanned the distance and was only feet away from her, close enough he could read the name on the back of the jersey-‘Smoak’- as she turned towards him allowing him to catch his first look at her face.

If he thought he’d been blown away by her body then he was wrong. She wore very little makeup save for the bright pop of red her lips were painted, despite that fact she was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Long lashes framed the crystal blue eyes that rose to meet his, and if sensing he wasn’t quite prepared for human interaction yet, she smiled. Which in all honesty nearly knocked him off his feet.

“You must be the punctually-challenged father Sandra warned me about,” she asked kindly, cocking her hip to the side and placing a hand on it, head tilting as her bright lips quirked.

After what seemed like an eternity-but in actuality was only three seconds- he gave himself a mental slap in the head, gathered his whits and spoke. “Guilty as charged.” He stepped a little closer. “In my defense, I’m kinda new at this.”

In reply she chuckled and shook her head. “The Dad thing or the being late thing?”

“The former. Being late is pretty much ingrained in me.”

“Well I’m just glad you made it…” Her eyes drifted away, a thoughtful look settling over her features before they moved back to him. “It gets easier, that I promise you.”

Someone yelled across the field and she turned at the name, hand coming up to shade her eyes. The man made a signal and she sent him a thumbs up.

Felicity, he’d called her. So that was her name. He couldn’t help but think, even after knowing her for only minutes that it suited her.

“I need to get the kids in,” She gestured to the stands. “You can join the other parents.”

Oliver cast a look to the bleachers, filled with supportive families. Ones that were whole and not broken like the one his son had. In all fairness Sandra had hidden William from him for nearly eight years leaving him to play catch up. Luckily the nine year old had accepted his presence in his life and he’d been able to get involved fairly quickly, more so after his mother transferred to Starling City. There was and never would be anything but William between him and Sandra. Still he couldn’t help but wish the boy could have a normal childhood, a family that waited on the sidelines for him.

His face must have shown his inner turmoil because Felicity was breaking into his thoughts a moment later. “You don’t know anyone up there do you?” He shook his head. “Well it just so happens one of my assistant coaches is out today. You could take his place if you’d like.”

He smiled gratefully. This woman sure was something. “Very much so.”

“Great, follow me.” She introduced him to Roy Harper, another member of the coaching team who gave him a jersey to borrow.

Soon after he was surrounded by kids, all of them thoroughly warmed up and already sweating under the afternoon sun as Felicity gave them a speech about working as a team and giving their all. It was clear to see that the kids looked up- literally and figuratively-to their coach and he couldn’t fault them for that one bit because she sure knew how to spin a phrase, albeit with an occasional cute babble tagged on.

“So who’s ready to play some football?” She shouted excitedly, leaving all the kids, and him and Roy to stare at her.

“It’s soccer not football Blondie,” Roy spoke up.

“Well technically it is football. England made soccer the sport it is today and called it such. When Americans took up the sport they came up with their own term to distinguish themselves from other countries,” a little girl that looked remarkably similar to Felicity interjected. After she realized what she had said her eyes swiveled to look at her teammates who were all looking at her as if that kind of outburst happened all the time.

William came up beside her and tossed an arm around her shoulders. “That’s pretty cool that you know that Jemma. Right guys?” There was a hum of agreement and the blush that had colored her cheeks red dulled to pink. She sent him a appreciative look before looking at Felicity and wrinkling her nose up adorably.

Felicity returned the look before clapping her hands together, “Okay guys…and girls huddle up.” They all gathered into a circle, hands around each other shoulders as Roy and Felicity walked around them.

“I don’t know what I’ve been told,” they shouted in unison.

“I don’t know what I’ve been told,” the kids repeated.

“But Roy’s lame jokes are getting old,” Felicity sung and the children all broke into laughter at Roy’s offended squeak of 'hey’ before they sung the sentence. He covered his mouth to keep his own laughter from exploding.

“Let’s get out and have some fun,” Roy and Felicity chanted.

“Lets get out and have some fun.”

“And show the old folks how it’s done.”

“And show the old folks how it’s done,” the kids finished with a shout of 'Go Meteors’ and took off onto the green except for William and Jemma, the latter of which walked to Felicity. Will came to his side and he gave him a high five.

“Is my babbling ever gonna get better Mom?” The little blonde asked and his eyes went wide. Felicity had a daughter? His eyes immediately searched her finger for a wedding ring and found none.

“It’s an incurable disease munchkin,” Felicity bent down, running a hand over her daughters hair. “I will tell you that the right people will love you for it.” The little girl gave a small smile, her eyes darting to look at him for a moment.

“She’s right. The best people are the ones who like you for you,” he added and she flushed again, looked down at her shoes.

Felicity pressed her lips together and gave her a quick hug. “See? Now go kick some Nighthawk Butt.”

William extended and hand and the two took off. In that moment he couldn’t have been prouder of his son. He was a better friend than he’d ever been to Tommy. He wager that it was due to the fact that there was just something about the Smoak women.

“Your daughter’s a sweetheart,” Oliver commented as he watched opposing team shake hands and then the coin toss take place.

“When she wants to be. Sometimes she’s as stubborn as a mule, just like her father. Thankfully it’s cute on her.” He saw Felicity swallow, her eyes growing hard. He knew that look. Wherever her mind was going needed to be avoided at all possible.

He recalled Williams earlier words about the team they were playing today.

“So can you explain to me why this opposing team is such a threat?” He visibly saw her come back from the darkness, a mischievous smile lighting her face.

“There’s been a rivalry between Starling and Gotham teams for years, way before I was coaching. I took over for Diggle the past two seasons because his wife had a baby,” she said in explanation before continuing. “Anyways legend has it that on a collaborated camping trip years ago that the Nighthawks filled all the Meteor’s tents with bats. Terrorized the kids and ever since they’ve been at each others throats.”

“That’s kind of intense. These are just kids.”

“I know it’s crazy. I’ve tried to get everyone back on peaceful ground again but the Nighthawk coach always stirs things up again.” Felicity rose on her toes and looked out across the field. “There he is, Slade Wilson. You see that man wearing the eye patch?”

He found the man she had described. A hulk of a guy really, with jet black hair and olive skin.“Yeah? What’s up with that?”

“Ah, well that’s another part of the legend. Apparently the same night as the bat incident someone stabbed him in the eye with a tree branch on accident.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

“Nope,” she popped the P. “Like I said…”



“Personally I think he was just running scared and stabbed himself.”

“Wow,” he breathed.

“Yep, suffice it to say he does not like us.” Almost as if he sensed he was being talked about Slade shot a look so dark their direction it made even him shake a bit in his boots. “Like at all.”

Oliver couldn’t imagine anyone not liking Felicity, and it kind of disturbed him that someone could be so vengeful to hold a grudge against a kids soccer team.

They fell silent as the game continued on and they each cheered for their own children and the team together as a whole. The kids played skillfully and worked together to get the ball to the goal. Even though the Gotham players liked to play dirty, their plays bordering on illegal the Meteor’s were still quite a few goals ahead of them. Around him Felicity and Roy shouted to the kids, sometimes offering advice others encouragement. He didn’t know much about the sport so he stuck with yelling terms of 'Good job’ and 'nice kick’.

When Jemma and William both scored a goal respectively he cheered, clapped and screamed along with Felicity and the rest of the crowd. Their good wishes must have been louder than the other parents because they both send their parents a look that said 'don’t embarrass me’ which was saying something considering it was a big field.

In the middle of the first half it clouded up and started to drizzle but still the kids kept on going, slipping and sliding in the dirt. By the end of the game he knew his son would be covered in the stuff and he was suddenly very glad he’d bought those seat covers.

The were midway through the second half when a player came through out of nowhere knocked Jemma down hard, her little ankle twisting as she fell before taking the ball from her and shoving through the other players. Surly the referee would flag the kid or do something. There was no way that the violent act the player had just done was okay. But to his shock nothing happened. Had the ref even seen what had taken place? Or was he ignoring it? Oliver’s anger spiked and had he not already been standing he’d have jumped to his feet. Beside him Felicity seemed to be frozen.

William who’d saw his friend fall took off her direction as to get the opposing players away from her. On his way there however he was faced with the kid who’d hurt her in the first place and before Oliver, or anyone else for that mattered knew it Will had punched the dark haired boy straight in the nose. The kid-Matthews- raised his hand to his nose, his fingers coming back red.

And that….well that was the calm of the storm because not ten seconds after that there was all out war as the field erupted into a fight. The Nighthawks players jumped on the Meteor’s, throwing punches, kicking and screaming. A glance at their coach saw that Slade was standing there, his gaze intent on the field, an evil smile on his lips and not even one muscle twitching to stop the fight.

A few seconds later he, Felicity and Roy were running out onto the field. Oliver to his son, pulling him off Williams, Felicity to check on Jemma, lifting the dirty girl into her arms and Roy stopping their teams members from hitting anymore Nighthawks. Finally the referee stepped in and everyone seemed to calm, the kids anyways.

As for what happened next, years later he still wouldn’t be able to recall it for himself. First it started with yelling at Slade, then apparently he punched him…multiple times while yelling some pretty mean things that he also didn’t remember. There also may have been a chant of 'fight, fight, fight,’ behind him…that also may have including a large amount of the Meteor’s parents joining in. But that could have been anything.

When he finally made it back to their side of the field Felicity’s arms were crossed and she was giving him a pretty scary look. Roy gave him a thumbs up from behind her causing him to choke on a laugh which in turn had Felicity turning to send a disapproving look the mans direction.

“Bench….now.” She drew out slowly, her words firm. He schooled his expression as he passed her taking a seat next to William and Jemma, her ankle already wrapped with another player holding an ice pack to it.

Felicity walked out onto the pitch, meeting the referees and the Slade halfway across. Her arms gestured wildly, and he could see her explaining their side, trying to smooth ruffled feathers.

It only took him a few minutes sitting there next the water cooler to realize what she’d done.

“Wait…did she put me in time out?”

“We call it Reflection. Gives kids time to think about what they’ve done,” Roy snickered as he passed by with stack of towels.

“If it quacks like duck and waddles like a duck, it’s a duck. This is a glorified time out and I’m not a kid.”

“Could’ve fooled me,” Roy said as he passed the cloths around.

He shook his head. “That little vixen.”

“Hot isn’t it?” At Roy’s comment he glanced at the woman on the field, smiling as he saw her putting her hands once again on her hips as she argued. Him and Roy exchanged a look before he turned his attention to his son and Jemma.

“You guys okay?”

“That was totally wicked!” Will said with a large grin, before pulling a face and spitting out a mouthful of dirt.

“I second that,” another player agreed, her braids dripping brown water.

“Did you see the way I punched that smug Adam?” Another boy said to the group at large. “That’s the last time he’ll say anything about my braces.“

“Oh what about Tessa? She totally ate grass. Serves her right for calling me a cow,” a girl with a face full of red freckles chimed in.

“What about you Jemma?”

“I think it’s better to fight with knowledge than with our fist…” Her teammates raised their eyebrows and she went on. “But it sure was nice to see Jimmy Muller run crying to his Mom.”

All the kids started laughing and he knew better to but he joined in anyways. These were kids that had gotten bullied too long by their opposing team. The laughter died down when Felicity returned, the players scurrying away to the other bench, including Will and Jemma.

It was concluded that the game would be forfeited and replayed when both sides had learned their lesson on fighting. She drew in a breath, closing her eyes and kneading her forehead with her hand. “What on earth persuaded you to punch the Coach that hates us already?”

“You saw what happened. Jemma’s made a majority of the goals today, Slade probably told that kid to intentionally hurt her. There was no way I was gonna stand by and let him get away with that.”

“Be that as it may, you can’t just go around punching people. You’re an adult and therefore set an example for these very, very, impressionable children.”

He sobered. She was right. Tommy had always said he was a bit of a hot head, that apparently hadn’t changed with fatherhood.“I’m sorry.” And he meant it.

“I know,” she sighed. “I’m very thankful for what you did in my daughters name, but now I’m gonna have to go explain to eleven kids why they’re not supposed to start fights. I wish Digg were here,” she finished, mostly to herself.

“Want me to-” He started, rising a bit from the bench only to be cut off.

“No, you stay right there.” She pushed on his shoulder making him come back into contact with the metal seat, her hand stayed on his shoulder longer than normal before she shook herself and pulled back, her face flushed. “Right there, until I say so, capisce?”

“I have no idea what that means but okay.”

Her pretty red mouth opened before snapping close again with a growl before she stomped away. She knew he was teasing her.

After a long chat with the team Felicity sent all the kids off to their parents, it seemed most of them had in fact learned their lesson seeing as most of them were contrite underneath the layer of grime. A few parents smiled their thanks as they left. The field and stands now deserted he was stil left sitting on the bench, having already tried to get up only to be leveled with another one of Felicity’s hard stares.

Eventually Felicity, William and Jemma all meandered over, sipping on juice boxes. Jemma leaning heavily on his sons shoulder.

"Do I get one?” He questioned, gesturing to the yellow box.

Jemma looked up at her Mom, who shook her head. “Sorry no juice boxes for brawlers.”

William punctuated the remark by sucking the air out of the box. Jemma grabbed the box from him and threw it away. He rolled his eyes at his friend with a mutter of 'girls’.

“What about when time out’s over?”

Felicity’s eyes narrowed and he shot her his most charming smile. Unfortunately she didn’t buy it and crossed her arms, having finished her juice and tossed it in the nearby bin.

“How much longer?”

“I think one more minute and then he’ll have learned Mom,” Jemma added, sending him a sweet smile which he returned.

“I’ll consider it Jem.” Roy reappeared with two bags and ushered the kids off to change.

“You know what I just realized we never introduced ourselves.” He said as a attempt to get back on her good side…though he was pretty sure all her sides were good.

Head out of the gutter, man. “I’m Oliver Queen.”

“I know who you are.” He blinked. She started to walk off, looking over her shoulder. “After all you are my boss.”

His mouth dropped open and it took him a moment to process before he was off his feet and running after her. Finally he caught up to her, placing a hand softly on her elbow to stop her. “Wait…boss?” Then it hit him. No way. “You’re F.M Smoak?” She was by far the most valued employee of the company, in the terms that she created some of their best technology. Except she was a silent employee, choosing to interact via her partner Curtis Holt.

Her answering smile was huge. “That’s me.”

He had about a dozen questions. Why did she not go by Felicity? Why didn’t she own up to her creations? Why was a brilliant woman like her coaching a children’s soccer league? Was she hiding from Jemma’s father? He wanted to get to know the mystery that was her so he settled on an easy one. Because there was no way he was gonna spook her.

“Are you telling me you put your boss in time out?”

“It’s Reflection,” she corrected quickly.

“Well then, since I had all that time to think, would you believe me when I promise that I learned three things?”

“What’s that?” Her head tilted once more and right then and there he wanted to kiss her.

“One: always set a good example for kids. Two: Never upset Felicity Smoak.”

“You’re learning…and the third?”

“Never miss an opportunity.”

Felicity paused, her eyes widening. “Opportunity?”

“To ask you and Jemma to join me and William for ice cream for starters.”

“And after that?”

"Whatever comes next,” he finished with a soft smile, trying to convey to her that he was serious. She eyed him warily, her face giving away none of her thoughts. His heart pounded in his chest and his palms began to sweat. Which in and of itself was a clue to how he felt about this woman.

The kids returned, Roy standing beside them taking one of the proffered juices from Jemma.

Felicity reached out a hand. “Come on, let’s go see about that juice box.”

He hesitated only a moment before taking her small hand in his. “And after that?” He parroted.

“Whatever’s next. As long as it’s not Permanent Assistant Coach.” She was teasing him now.

Oliver had never believed in love at first sight but somehow, deep inside he knew…he was going to marry Felicity Smoak. Not today, or tomorrow, or even next year, but someday.

He couldn’t wait for someday.

This work is part of the ‘We Can Be Immortal’ short collection on ao3 and can be found here (X)

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During the night a cold mountain rain fell, turning the dusty cobblestones of Atabekyan Street into a long, quaggy blotch, so that when the three-legged dog with the pepper-stump and heavy teats hobbled over to the front gate to meet the young foreigner once he finally staggered out into the chill morning air, skull throbbing with a grievous hang-over his neighbors had good-willingly inflicted upon him the night before, she was already soaked up to her haunches in mud.

Despite the protests of his landlady he had been leaving out dishes of cold cuts bought at the outdoor shuka-market for the dog, for he figured that she must have pups hidden away somewhere in the hollows of the nearby rubble that was all that was left of the neighborhood, house-fronts spilling out into the street in huge piles of pink stones.

“Ah, Mama Shun, dear, stay warm while I’m gone,” he said, bending down to pet her worn nape, hastily brushing away the fleas that rose up in a black mist to coat his hand.  

Far down the earthquake-rippled street the local children were out, shrieking, playing some sort of game of tag. He knew most of their names — Mayranush, Little Aram, Jbduhi, Takavor, Arpi, Isahag — and, off to one side, the small twisted girl that the rest of them shunned, Lusine-jan. She wavered in the morning air with her shaven skull and wide, unblinking eyes as the others kicked up spurts of mud in the numerous potholes. Unlike the others, in their summer dresses and raffish vests, Lusine was clothed for the on-coming winter, with heavy tights and a quilted, stained skirt. Like the three-legged dog she moved slowly through the street, weirdly jerkily, her downcast eyes avoiding his eyes as he passed by.

—  from Ghost City: a memory