"This would be easier if you weren't wearing pants."
Felicity blinked, staring at Oliver. “What?”
He paused, and she can almost see him mentally rewinding the conversation. And then … he went red.
Oliver Queen most definitely blushed. Because he had just said something that was worthy of her, Felicity Smoak, Queen of the Innuendo.
“I—I just meant, if you were wearing a skirt or a dress, I could do this better …” he said weakly, his hands still holding the cotton pad and bottle of iodine he had been using to clean her scraped knees. Her heel had broken on her way into the Foundry, sending her to the ground hard. Oliver had seen it and had immediately scooped her up—almost completely literally, her feet had definitely left the ground—and brought her down here.
“I know what you mean—” Felicity said, before she stopped to laugh. She clapped a hand over her mouth after the first giggle escaped her, because she knew Oliver wouldn’t take this well, but—but he was so adorable. All worried about her skinned knees, acting like she hadn’t patched up bullet holes and arrow wounds in him under his many protests that they ‘weren’t that bad.’ But that some minor skin abrasions on her merited a full-on medical assault.
He shifted his feet, looking sheepish and a bit embarrassed, then he shrugged and set down the pad and the iodine, before reaching for her waist.
Her laughter died immediately when she felt his fingers popping the clasp of her dress trousers. “Oliver?”
And she had not meant her voice to come out so breathy and sex-kitteny. But … but he was unbuttoning and unzipping her pants, and yes, they were dating now, but this—this had definitely not happened yet. Not that they hadn’t had sex, but—but this felt different! More intimate than all the ways he had slid inside her, staring into her eyes and making her feel like the center of his world.
Okay, maybe not. But … what was the problem?
“Stand up, Felicity,” he said softly, his voice very amused. Like he knew exactly where her thoughts had gone, and—that just wasn’t fair. Half the time she didn’t understand her mind, yet he always seemed to know what she was thinking.
So she stood up, letting her pants fall to the ground. But neither of them noticed, because they were too busy kissing now.
Eventually, Oliver finished cleaning and bandaging her knees. Although the kisses he peppered over her kneecaps did more than the iodine and bandaids to heal her, Felicity thought.
“Dr. Gowan –
so nice to meet you. I’ve heard so much about your work.”
The doctor – a
bespectacled, older gentleman carrying a battered satchel – doffed his cap.
is all mine, Nurse Randall. And I’m pleasantly surprised that you’ve heard of
kindly, noticing the mud splattered on the neurosurgeon’s olive trousers. “Well,
reading your studies of the impact of combat injuries on the cerebellum are an
interesting way to spend the time here at Chu Lai. We’re a bit short on other
forms of entertainment.”
Dr. Gowan shook
his head. “Well then – I’m impressed. And as for our soldier here – Joe told me
a bit about him, but perhaps you can fill in the details?”
Can you help me wheel him to one of the examination rooms? I don’t want to
disturb the other patients.”
And a few
moments later they had carefully guided Jamie’s bed to the room adjoining the
doctors’ offices. Dr. Gowan had politely introduced himself to Jamie – who had
gripped his hand and whispered something in return – and now in the spare room,
he pulled up a wheeled stool directly to Jamie’s side.
“…and it seems
to be some kind of dysphasia, as he’s lost the ability to speak English. But he
hasn’t lost his ability to speak Gaelic – and he can understand English
perfectly well. His back is healing well – no infection – so I doubt the injury
is contributing to the condition.”
glanced up as Joe Abernathy padded into the room and sat behind the desk, but
proceeded with his examination of Jamie’s vitals.
“That’s good –
move your eyes to the left. Now to the right. Splendid.”
He jotted down
his observations in a dog-eared notebook, so worn from use its shape had
conformed to the angles of his battered satchel.
“Now – Captain
Fraser. Tell me about your family.”
his brow, but began to speak.
eyes darting between Dr. Gowan and Dr. Abernathy – but always returning to
Claire. Short, quick. Piercing her heart.
After a while
he paused, glancing to Claire. She recognized need when she saw it, and quickly
rose to help him sip a cup of water.
and Jamie’s heads swiveled to Dr. Gowan.
Dr. Gowan repeated.
told me you spoke Gaelic, Ned!” Joe exclaimed. “You could have saved us a lot
of trouble – ”
surprise, the older man blushed. “Oh no no no, I don’t really *speak* the
language. My great-granddad immigrated from Edinburgh, and taught me a few
words when I was small. I just asked Captain Fraser about his mother.”
was soft, full of feeling.
This was a man
who loved women, Claire realized. And not for the obvious reasons – because he
genuinely cares. He reveres them.
revere you, Claire.*
But she shook
the thought – warm but traitorous – from her head. No. No – she had to keep to
what she’d said to him earlier.
But why did
she feel such a gaping hole in her chest?
“Well. No obvious
signs of trauma – and he can answer questions asked in the same language. His Gaelic
is perfect – were you taught from birth?”
wincing as the motion pulled at his wounds.
“So – I assume
you already did an x-ray when he came in? To check for bleeding on the brain?”
“Yes – and there
was no swelling that we could find.” Joe tapped his fingers on the desk,
pulling his collar away from his neck with his free hand. Despite the fans
lazily circling overhead, it was impossible to escape the near-oppressive
humidity. “But that was three days ago – I hadn’t thought of doing another one.
You think it would be a good idea?”
hurt – and I’ll be staying the night anyway. Nurse Randall – could you make the
Any time to just be near Jamie – as long as he couldn’t touch her. She wouldn’t
be able to honor her promise if she was touching him.
She rose. “I’ll
leave you three to it – will go speak with Alec.”
She smiled at
them – and Jamie’s eyes, open wide, followed her to the door.
now – and Claire was finally off duty.
Drs. Gowan and
Abernathy had invited her to dinner in the officers’ mess – a rare treat. Ned
had wanted to hear more about her interest in his work – and finally able to
share her clear love for all things medical with an esteemed doctor, Claire was
in her element.
“See, Ned – I told
you. She’s a natural. She’d be a shoo-in for any medical school that wanted
her, especially after spending time at Chu Lai. There isn’t anyone else I’d
want next to me in the OR than this gal here.”
blushed – and her heart had lifted at Joe’s praise. She worked so hard to be
recognized for her brain, and perhaps with the goal of attending medical school
front and center in her mind, that could take her focus away from Jamie.
But when Joe
had gone back to the bar to get them another round – the booze was certainly
better here than in the mess hall – Dr. Gowan had hunched across the table.
“I told you my
Gaelic isn’t perfect – but I know enough. And Captain Fraser – Jamie – when I
took him for the x-ray, he gripped my hand and asked me to tell you something.”
heart skittering in her chest.
“What did he
say?” she breathed.
“Let me get
this right – the language is actually quite formal. Ah. He said that you take
very good care of him. He said – tell her I’m grateful. Tell her I trust her to
make the right decision. And tell her that I understand.”
She released a
shaky breath, laying her trembling palms flat on the table. Frank’s gold ring
jeered at her in the fluorescent light.
“Claire – it’s
none of my business. I won’t pretend to understand it – but that man is *drawn*
to you. That is something very, very rare. And I recommend you take the gift
that is being offered.”
serious?” Joe slammed down three more tall beers. “This party is just getting
swallowed, suddenly incapable of speech.
Two hours and
five drinks later, Claire – surprisingly steady – decided to walk the long way
back to her quarters.
If by the long
way, she meant walking through the recovery ward.
What was it
that drew her to him so? Yes, he was good-looking. Yes, he was clean-cut – a Marine
Captain, and a brave one, after all.
His voice was
beautiful. His hands were beautiful. His flaming hair was beautiful.
They had never
truly had a conversation – so why did she feel she’d learned more about *who*
he was, and in three days, than she’d ever learned about any other person?
And then her
feet had led her to his bed. From the gentle rise and fall of his bandages she
could tell he was in a deep, restorative sleep. The painkillers undoubtedly
helped – but he needed as much rest as he could get.
What did he
stop herself, she stepped to his side and knelt to be eye-to-eye with his
heartbreakingly beautiful face.
her fingers reach out to gently tuck a few loose strands of hair behind his
And felt her
heart stop as his lips curved into a smile.