The highly anticipated sequel to After Hours is finally here!.

Rating: E

Summary: Six months after her assault, Felicity Smoak returns to Starling City to face the men who hurt her and the love she left behind. But things are far more complicated than they seem. A life-changing decision puts her at odds with herself and a new threat far more destructive than Cooper Seldon and Ray Palmer makes it even harder to keep her secret under wraps until the trial ends.


Chapter 3: Interlude

May in Starling City always started out cold and wet. As the winds blew in from off the ocean, they carried with them the moisture from the Pacific, dousing the city in several inches of rain and on rare occasions snow before moving eastward, leaving behind thick grey clouds that obscured the sun for days on end. Today was one of those days as Oliver Queen stared out the windows of his 39th floor executive suite near the top of the Queen Consolidated building.

As his eyes scanned over the bustling city below him, his mind wandered. These past four months had been the hardest he’d ever dealt with. His best friend’s death almost six years prior paled in comparison to what Oliver felt now. Ice flowed through his veins, chilling him down to his core. The sadness, the loneliness that surrounded him put his heart in a deep freeze which only thawed when he thought about one person: Felicity Smoak.

There hadn’t been anyone in his life Oliver had missed more. Although they had only just begun to know each other, her presence in his world had filled it with a brightness he’d never experienced before. She was the light in the darkness that had enveloped him ever since Tommy Merlyn’s death. No one had ever touched him like Felicity had. No one had ever managed to see past his scars and healed his soul like she had.

And now she was gone, taken away from him by his own mistakes and clouded judgment. All Oliver wanted to do was take care of her, but instead, he’d pushed her away, and for that he was truly sorry. So much had happened in those days at his family’s cottage following her release from the hospital. He’d tried to push her to talk to him, to tell him what was going on, but it had only caused Felicity to withdraw. Instead of helping to bring her out of the darkness, he’d pushed her toward it. The guilt he carried over his actions still followed him around like one of the dark clouds that hung over the city, only it felt more oppressive as it settled deep into his bones and reminded him day in and day out that the hell he was experiencing now was of his own making.

Read the rest on AO3.