Shortly upon Felicity's return from the bathroom, a doctor had come out and informed Laurel that the good Detective had survived his surgery, but he was still under strict observation in intensive care and thus couldn’t yet be visited.
Felicity really hadn’t meant to, was surprised she was even able to given her efforts to the contrary, but while they were waiting in the hours that followed, her exhaustion finally caught up with her. She fell asleep.
She was woken up sometime later from one of the dreams she’d been afraid of having and found Oliver’s jacket draped across her front. The vigilante himself was the one who had gently shaken her awake with a hand on her shoulder.
There was a question and concern in his eyes as her startled gaze flew up to meet his. He knew she wasn’t alright, knew what was plaguing her. He asked her silently what he could do. But, at least for now this was something only she could work through, something she had to make her peace with at least a little before she could bring herself to talk about it.
There was understanding in his eyes before Oliver agreed to drop the subject by saying, “They’ve moved the Detective out of the intensive care unit. General visiting hours ended ten minutes ago, but they’ve agreed to at least let us see him before we leave. Laurel’s in there now.”
Felicity gave a nod and stood, holding his jacket out for him with whispered thanks. Oliver reached out with both hands, one to accept the jacket from her and the other to take her hand that held it before she could let go.
His loaded gaze was waiting for her when she looked up and he squeezed her hand, running his calloused thumb over her knuckles. He would be there when she was ready to talk.
Felicity gave a small smile and nodded to tell him she would. He returned the gesture with one of his secret smiles, the ones the hopeful schoolgirl in her liked to think he reserved just for her, and squeezed her hand once more before he let his hands fall away.
Felicity breathed in deep in a failed attempt to settle the butterflies in her stomach--a mix of the nerves she usually got after a private moment with the vigilante and anxiety over seeing the detective--and followed Oliver as he turned to lead her down the hall.
It was difficult to reconcile the strong detective she knew with the pale and broken figure lying in the bed. The IV line, oxygen mask, and monitoring machines that surrounded him, all beeping away, served to reassure her that he was still fighting but also reminded her that he had nearly died that night.
It was hardly rational, she knew, but Felicity blamed herself. If she hadn’t given him reason to suspect her involvement with the Hood, the good detective never would’ve gotten involved with the city’s crazy underbelly, and then maybe he would’ve somehow been able to avoid the danger that had lead to… this.
She knew it wasn’t true. He was here because he’d been protecting Laurel. Nothing would have changed that. But, still…
Felicity’s throat swelled as she took in the broken form of one of the best people she’d ever met, and she knew the tears would come eventually, felt them build behind her eyes. She turned to find Oliver give her a consoling look, and the understanding in his eyes nearly broke her.
Felicity shook her head and looked away, telling him not to worry about her even as she sniffled. She motioned to Laurel, who was kneeling beside the bed and openly crying as she held her father’s hand to her cheek as though she’d kissed it before and had been unwilling to relinquish it afterward.
Oliver understood, so he squeezed Felicity's shoulder once and his hand ghosted down her arm as he slipped past her and approached Laurel. The woman was quick to accept the hand he offered her, and she held on tight as though he was the lifeline keeping she and her father afloat.
With no siblings and being distant from her mother, Felicity couldn’t quite understand what the woman was going through. Laurel had just lost Sara, the sister she’d recently thought dead, to the League of Assassin’s, and now her father, her only family left in the city, was horribly injured and at the very least confined to a hospital bed for the foreseeable future.
Felicity didn’t hear the Doctor introduce himself, and she barely registered when the man began to explain to Laurel everything that had happened since the Detective had been brought in much earlier that morning.
She did hear that they’d lost him twice on the operating table, and that was the last thing she could bear. With a tight chest and the unshakeable feeling that she was intruding, Felicity quietly backed out of the room.