Story: In Love … All Bets Are Off
Pairing/Characters: Clark/Oliver, Clark/Lex friendship
Disclaimer: don’t own anything
Warning: slash, mentions of m/m sex, jerk!Jason (sorry, I do like him but I needed a villain and he fit)
Spoilers: AU but slight season 1-early season 3 mentions
Summary: Clark’s dad dies when he’s in high school. Martha and Clark sell the farm and leave to live with Clark’s grandfather, Clark transferring to Excelsior. Excelsior … where Oliver Queen rules the school. Oliver takes a bet that he can get the new guy in his bed … but what happens when he ends up falling in love instead?
Previous Chapters: Here
As they went through the library, Clark got more and more amazed by its large, diverse collection. Clark was also feeling at ease with Oliver as the duo spent time together. He knew he should resist but Oliver Queen was proving to be quite irresistible.
And Oliver seemed genuinely interested in him … he asked him all types of questions about his likes, dislikes and hobbies. Clark reciprocated with his own questions, which helped him find out a lot of information about the blond.
“What do you like to do in your free time?” Oliver asked.
“Well, in Smallville, I used to help out my best friend at the Torch, which was the school newspaper,” Clark said slowly. “And I lived on a farm … there’s always something to do there.”
“Why did you move here anyway?” Oliver questioned. “I’ve never seen someone entering this school so late.”
Clark sighed and carefully chose his next words. He didn’t want to reveal too much to this guy … in his mind, he was constantly reminded that he was still practically a stranger.
“My dad died recently,” Clark said slowly. “The farm … it was sold and we moved with my mom’s father, my grandfather. He enrolled me here.”
“I’m sorry,” Oliver said, “About your dad. You’ve probably heard this a million times already.” Clark met his gaze and saw only sincerity in those brown depths.
“Thank you,” Clark replied. He shrugged. “I don’t mind hearing it …”
“People will tell you,” Oliver said gently, “That it will get better. I know it sounds ridiculous … but trust me when I say it will. You may never forget the pain of losing him … you don’t forget the ones you love. While the hurt won’t go away completely, time does make it easier to cope.”
This was a side he had never seen of the blond. He just kept amazing him on every turn.
“You sound like you’re speaking from experience,” Clark couldn’t help but comment.
Oliver shot him a sad smile. “My parents died when I was ten … plane accident. I’ve heard all this before. So I’m pretty good at shelling out advice.”
Clark gasped, shocked. Oliver had lost both his parents when he was just ten? That was so young … he was still a child.
“I’m so sorry, Oliver, I didn’t know,” Clark told him.
“Don’t be,” Oliver said, shaking his head. “I mean … it’s not like you were expected to. Most people do ‘cause we all travel in the same circles and this isn’t really something that you can hide. It was all over the news too.”
What do you say to something like this? Clark had no idea and couldn’t, for the life of him, come up with the right words.
“Anyway, enough of all this depressing talk,” Oliver said, his voice cheerful, almost overtly so. “Do you know there is a school newspaper here? You should consider going for it.”
“Thank you,” Clark said suddenly, startling Oliver into silence. “For sharing that with me … I don’t think you go around telling people about your parents … do you?”
“No,” Oliver said softly. “I don’t.” And for that moment, Clark was shocked to see the blond looked almost vulnerable.
It was gone too quickly, as Oliver regained his composure. “So about the newspaper …”
Seeing that Oliver really didn’t want to talk about it, Clark nodded, going with the flow.
“That sounds really interesting,” he said, “I may join.”
“You should,” Oliver agreed. “Are you interested in journalism?”
“I am,” Clark said, “I want to pursue a career in it, actually.”
“That’s great then,” Oliver said, “This would look really good on a college application.” He grinned. “I’m working on those right now.”
“How’s it going?” Clark asked.
“It’s all right,” Oliver said. “The essays are kind of a bore but I’m managing.”
“What do you want to do?” Clark questioned. “If you don’t mind telling me, that is,” he added, not wanting to seem nosy.
“Business,” Oliver answered. “I want to take over my parents’ company …” He eyed Clark. “And not just because of any obligation either … I really do have genuine interest in running it. My parents really worked to make Queen Industries successful and I want to see their legacy last.”
Clark was awed by the amount of passion and determination he heard in Oliver’s voice as he spoke about his parents and goals. He’s amazing.
“I didn’t think of that,” Clark told him. “But Oliver, I think it’s really wonderful … what you want to do.”
“Ollie,” Oliver said immediately. Clark’s head tilted in confusion and Oliver grinned. “Ollie … my friends … they call me Ollie. You should too.”
Friends … does he mean that I’m his friend? We can’t be friends … it wouldn’t be right.
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Clark replied. “I mean … we’re not … friends. Best be that I don’t get too comfortable with you.”
“Why?” Oliver wanted to know. “And who says we can’t be friends?” Clark looked away and Oliver quickly realized the truth.
One word and Clark couldn’t bring himself to respond.
“Did he say something to you?” Oliver asked, “About me?”
“Lex is my friend,” Clark defended, “And he wouldn’t have to say anything … I’ve seen what you can do, Oliver.”
“You saw one incident,” Oliver protested.
“That has obviously happened numerous times,” Clark shot back. “I can’t be friends with someone who is so cruel to somebody I’m growing to care about … I’m sorry. You may be my guide and I’m stuck with you the entire semester but that doesn’t mean we’ll be friends. We can’t be friends … not now … not ever.”
Oliver’s expression was guarded but an accidental look in his eyes revealed what he was actually feeling. And the emotions in those beautiful eyes sent a knife through Clark’s heart.
“I’m sorry,” he said and then, without another word, turned and left the library.
This was for the best … they were getting too close for Clark’s liking. It was only right that he was establishing the boundaries right now.
But he wanted nothing more than to run back to Oliver and apologize repeatedly for his callous words. He had to fight the urge to just go and accept Ollie’s offer for a friendship … but somehow he resisted.
It was hard but he knew in the end, it really would be for the best.
A friendship between Oliver Queen and himself was a fantasy … a dream … a delusion, really.
It could never be … they were just too different.
And it’s best the ties before it was too late … before he got attached.
But a sickening feeling in his stomach told him that he may be too late already.
I can’t believe he did that. For the second time in two days, Clark Kent had walked away from him without a glance back.
The first time, he hadn’t known who he was but now … now, he thought they were really getting along.
He even told Clark about his parents … he hadn’t done that with anyone. What possessed him to reveal that particular tidbit to Clark, he didn’t know but the brunet had seemed so sad about his father’s recent passing that Oliver wanted to make it better.
So he shared with him something that he hadn’t talked about in a long time and had reveled in the brunette’s quiet acceptance. He understood, he didn’t pity him, which was good because if there was one thing that Ollie hated, it was pity. Clark’s reaction was unique and Oliver felt a special bond with him during that moment. To have him turn away after that was painful. This is why, Queen … this is why you don’t let anyone in. They’ll only hurt you in the end.
Yes, it was true … nobody would ever care about him … not in this whole damn school. His best step was just to maintain his power for the next year. Then he’d be done with this stupid school and he could go on to conquer whoever got in his path later, in college first and later, in the business world.
However, to keep up that control, he had a bet to win. Clark Kent may not want to be his friend but he was damn well going to be in his bed soon enough. At least once.
Heart hardened and expression determined, Oliver left the library at a strong pace ... he had plans to make.
Clark would not know what hit him.
I’ve been here for two days and already I’m a mess. How could he stir up so much confusion and drama within himself in such a short period of time?
At this point, he was at odds … pursuing a friendship with Ollie would only hurt Lex but he had a bad feeling that he had already hurt Oliver.
What should he do now?
He wracked his brain but was unable to come up with a solid answer. Slowly, he trudged his way back to his room.
Hearing his name, he stopped and spun around, forcing a smile when he saw Lex walking toward him. He was happy to see his friend but right now, he was internally conflicted and really just wanted to go wallow for a while.
“Hey Lex,” he said.
“Hi,” Lex replied. When he had caught up, he began walking again, Lex by his side. “So how was the rest of your day?”
“Good,” Clark told him. “’And yours?”
“Same as usual,” Lex answered. “So have you seen the entire school now?”
“Yeah, I think so,” Clark said. “I was just in the library … it’s really nice.”
“They have a good collection,” Lex stated. “I’ve been in there before.”
Clark hesitated for a moment and said, “I ran into Oliver there.”
“Oh yeah?” Lex said, his eyebrows raising curiously. “How did that go?”
“It went fine,” Clark replied. “I mean, he was nice enough … he asked me about my day … recommended I join the school newspaper.”
“If you want to get into journalism, it is a good first step,” Lex noted.
Clark couldn’t suppress a grin … that’s what Oliver had said too.
“I’ll try to look into it sometime this week,” Clark said. He paused. “Lex, I mean … is Oliver all that bad?” Maybe … maybe if I can convince Lex, I don’t have to choose between them after all.
“He is power crazy,” Lex said without hesitation. “Since he’s student body president, he thinks he literally runs the school and anyone that doesn’t fall at his feet is automatically outcast. If you don’t fit into his little criteria, he doesn’t give you a second look.”
“You really don’t like him,” Clark realized, his stomach sinking.
“I hate him,” Lex said vehemently. “He and his two pals, Geoffrey and Alden, have made my life miserable since I got to Excelsior … I have no reason to like him.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Clark said, trying to keep the disappointment from his tone.
“Where is this coming from anyway?” Lex asked. Seeing Clark’s expression, he paled slightly. “You do like him … are you two friends now?”
“No,” Clark replied quickly. “We’re not.” That was the truth … Clark couldn’t have made it more clear to Oliver that they weren’t.
“Do you want to be?” Lex asked. Apparently, he was a lot more perceptive than he looked.
“No, of course not,” he lied but he had never been known for his ability to lie. His face was “too honest”, according to Chloe.
“It’s okay if you want to be,” Lex said, his tone almost resigned.
“I shouldn’t, you know?” Clark burst out, “He’s a jerk … I saw what he did … you wouldn’t lie to me either. It’s just … he was so nice to me and I guess you could say he had some underlying motivation that I can’t just seem to figure out but the more time I spend with him, the less I consider him evil and I don’t know what to do because you’re my friend too …”
“Clark!” Lex exclaimed, “Breathe.”
Clark did as he was told and took a deep breath, trying to clear his head.
“Lex,” he began again, turning to meet his friend’s face but was surprised to see that Lex’s blue-gray eyes were sparkling with amusement.
“Clark, don’t beat yourself up over this,” Lex instructed, “If he’s actually being nice to you and you want to be friends with him, then go for it.”
“What about us?” Clark asked desperately, “I want to be friends with you too …”
“Then do it,” Lex told him. “It doesn’t have to be either or.”
“And you’d be okay with that?” Clark asked cautiously. “Really?”
“Sure, why not?” Lex said, “I don’t want to make you pick … besides, it’s not like you’re ditching me for him.”
“I’m not,” Clark was quick to assure him.
“Then?” Lex said, “What’s the problem?”
“I guess … there is no problem,” Clark said, dumbfounded.
“Good,” Lex said, chuckling. He grew serious. “Clark, I know that you said that Oliver has been nice to you but that doesn’t stop me from warning you. My experiences with Oliver have been much different than yours … just keep an eye out, okay? You’re a good guy and from what I can tell, you like to see the best in people. Be careful with Oliver Queen … I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I’ll be careful,” Clark vowed. He smiled. “Thanks for taking it so well.”
“Okay, enough of this mushy talk,” Lex commanded, “New topic?”
Clark burst into laughter but happily complied.
This conversation had not gone how Clark expected it to but he was pleased that he had been wrong.
He didn’t know how to fix things with Oliver though … should he apologize? Clark was nervous but tried not think of it.
Instead, he focused on hanging out with Lex. The two of them enjoyed the rest of the day together, all thoughts of Oliver Queen pushed away … at least for the moment.
Over the course of the next couple of days, he spent time getting adjusted to the school. He planned out a schedule that would allow him to do the make up work the teachers gave him without killing himself.
Even though his schedule looked tight, he decided to take up Oliver’s advice and headed to the school newspaper.
Once there, he had a discussion with the editor-in-chief, who seemed pleased at his interest in the paper. After being explained how the paper worked for a while and when the issues came out and whatnot, he asked if Clark was still interested. Getting an affirmative answer, he handed him an application.
The application was just a formality though, as the editor-in-chief explained. If Clark filled it out, he would be definitely welcomed on the staff, as they needed more people.
Clark was happy with the new information and left the journalism office, a smile on his face. As he stepped out of the door, he came face-to-face with none other than Oliver.
He hadn’t seen or heard from the blonde in days and he was starting to worry. Granted, he knew that their paths were completely different but he found himself missing Oliver.
“Hi,” Clark said.
“Hi,” Oliver replied. His mouth pressed into a firm line. “How are you?”
“Good,” Clark said, “You?”
“Not too bad,” Oliver replied,
“Look Oliver,” Clark said quickly before he could continue, “I want to apologize … for the other day.”
“You don’t need to do that, Clark,” Oliver said, his tone neutral.
“But I want to,” Clark insisted. He bit his lip. “I’m sorry, Oliver … I didn’t mean to snap at you like that. It was awful of me and I hope you can forgive me.”
Something flickered in Oliver’s eyes but it was gone before Clark could try to place it.
“It’s forgotten,” Oliver said smoothly.
Oliver’s tone was nice enough but there was something there that didn’t allow Clark to get comfortable. He nodded, just taking relief in the fact that Oliver was not angry with him. There was a pause, in which nobody knew what to say.
“I took your advice,” Clark said, breaking the silence. “I’m going to join the newspaper.”
“That’s great, Clark,” Oliver said encouragingly. “I’m glad you’re getting settled so quickly.”
“I am,” Clark replied, with a grin. Oliver smiled back.
“I hate to say this,” Oliver said suddenly. “But I have to go … I’ll see you soon, okay?”
“Yeah, that’s great,” Clark said eagerly, silently smacking himself for sounding like such a dork.
“Have a nice day, Clark,” Oliver said, walking away.
“You too,” Clark replied, watching Oliver leave. When he was gone, he turned back, ready to head back to his room.
He scanned the application in his hand as he walked. Too engrossed in the paper, he didn’t watch where he was going and only when he bumped into someone did he look up.
“I’m so sorry,” he started, meeting hazel eyes.
“It’s quite all right, Clark,” the other man said.
Clark’s eyebrows furrowed. “I’m sorry, have we met?”
“No,” came the response, “You’re the new kid, right?” Clark nodded. “Word gets around fast.”
“I guess we’re meeting officially then,” Clark said, with a smile. “Clark Kent.”
The other guy stuck out his hand and Clark took it.
“Jason … Jason Teague.”