Story: Never Say Goodbye
Pairing/Characters: Collie, Lollie, Chlimmy, Lexana, mentions of past Clana
Disclaimer: don’t own anything
Warning: slash, mentions of m/m sex
Spoilers: season 6, starts at 6x04, Arrow
Summary: That night at the penthouse was not the first time Clark met Oliver Queen. He has met him before but he just doesn’t remember where or when. But as the memories return, Clark finds out that his fateful summer in Metropolis is not as long gone as he thought it was.
Oh, shit, were the first two words to run through Clark’s mind. Oliver remembered . . . how did Oliver remember? Then again, he had been slipping for a while now.
His mind immediately flashed back to last night. “My Blondie.” His heart sank and his stomach tightened . . . Oliver heard him and he must’ve connected all the dots.
“I see you are not denying my claims,” Oliver pointed out. “So I can assume that I was correct? You and Kal are the same person?”
Clark nodded. “Yeah . . . we are. That was me three years ago.”
Brown eyes looked at him, filled with betrayal. “How could you do this to me?”
“I didn’t meant to . . .” Clark started, “I didn’t want to hurt you.”
Oliver laughed, but it was a cold and harsh. “You didn’t mean to hurt me? You lied to me . . . you pretended to be this great friend and listened as I poured out my heart, as I told you all my feelings for Kal. Was it funny for you? Did you find it amusing, listening to the confident Oliver Queen go all mushy and heartbroken over you?”
“No, Oliver, it wasn’t funny at all,” Clark said, “I wasn’t pretending to be your friend.”
“You always did enjoy messing with my head,” Oliver continued, “Even three years ago, I remember all the times I had to go after you.” He shook his head. “I KNEW, the minute I saw you in the penthouse, I knew that I had seen you before.”
“I didn’t know then,” Clark cut in, “When I saw you, I felt as if I had met you before too but I didn’t know where or when.”
“When did you remember?” Oliver wanted to know.
“That night,” he admitted.
“So you’ve been lying to me for quite a while now,” Oliver said.
“I couldn’t tell you, Oliver!” Clark exclaimed, “I mean, how do you tell somebody something like this? At first, we didn’t know each other well enough . . .”
“And later?” Oliver asked, “How about later? Don’t lie, Clark, you never planned to tell me and you know it!”
“No, you’re right, I never was going to tell you,” Clark agreed, “But I had my reasons. If I told you I was the same person that only three years ago broke your heart, would you have ever seen me the same way again?”
“I always thought you were so good,” Oliver said sadly, “So honest and so pure. I was wrong.”
“I am not perfect, Oliver, I never pretended to be,” Clark said desperately. “I’ve told you that before. If you thought that, then you never knew me at all.”
Oliver was silent. “Oliver, who I was then,” Clark said, “The person you met three years ago, that wasn’t me.”
“I should’ve known,” Oliver whispered, “I can’t believe it took me this long to figure this out. It was all there . . . why you were so desperate for me not to know about your summer in Metropolis, the shooting comment, your goddamn EYES.”
He met Clark’s gaze. “Tell me, Clark, was I one of those things you regretted?”
“No, never,” Clark said automatically, “You were one of the few parts of that summer I didn’t regret.”
“Do you actually expect me to believe that?” Oliver asked. He hadn’t moved from the spot on the stairs and Clark was worried that he would leave at any moment.
“You never called and you never wrote,” Oliver said. “You have an odd way of showing you care.”
“Things were different then Oliver,” Clark said, “I wanted to, you have no idea how much I wanted to but I just couldn’t.”
“You’re all talk, Clark,” Oliver snapped. “If you wanted to reach me that badly, you would’ve.” His eyes suddenly widened. “Hold on . . . three years ago . . . OH GOD.” His expression grew frantic. “Damn you, Kent . . . I could’ve been arrested! You were sixteen years old!” Oliver was glowering now. “You have no idea how lucky we both are that nobody knew back then.”
He flushed, guilty. “I wasn’t thinking.”
“Do you ever?” Oliver demanded, “I mean, honestly, Clark. Did last night mean anything to you at all? Or were you just playing with me again?”
“You don’t really think that,” Clark said softly.
“I don’t know what to think,” Oliver said icily, “You said the person you were when I met you before wasn’t you but last night, you were acting more like Kal than Clark. So I’m expecting you’re going to use the same excuse this time around.”
“Hold on,” Clark interjected, “I said I wasn’t myself but my feelings for you were always genuine. I never lied about the way I felt.”
“You just lied about everything else, right?” Oliver asked, his tone bitter and unforgiving. Never had Oliver looked at him with such hatred and it just killed him. That look could undo faster than kryptonite.
“Oliver, why do you think I was so reluctant to be with you?” Clark asked, trying to keep his composure, “Why do you think that I ran away?”
“So this is my fault?” Oliver demanded. “My fault for coming after you? Is that what you’re saying?”
“NO!” Clark said quickly, “No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m glad you came after me.”
“Then what are you saying?” Oliver wanted to know.
“I’m trying to explain!” Clark said.
“Then explain,” Oliver replied, looking at him expectantly.
He took a deep breath. “Oliver, that day we ended up in the same sandwich shop, you thought I was running away. You were right. I was running . . . I had run away. I was dealing with a lot of things at that time and I just needed to get away.”
“What would be so bad that you would run away from home?” Oliver questioned.
“My parents lost their baby,” Clark remembered, “And the explosion that caused it was my fault. Don’t ask me for details, not now . . . I’ll tell you sometime but not yet. They’d been trying to have a kid for years and I figured that they lost their real child because of me, there was no way they’d want me around anymore.” His throat tightened, as he recalled how he felt, the pain that he had gone through, the look his father gave him in that hospital.
Afraid to meet his gaze, Clark didn’t see that Oliver’s expression has softened and his eyes were now filled with curiosity.
“It sounds crazy but that was how I was feeling,” Clark said, “And then . . . Lex died. He was my best friend and suddenly, he was dead. I was supposed to be the best man at the wedding and I never showed.”
“You were upset when I mentioned his death,” Oliver cut in, “I could tell.”
“He was my best friend,” Clark repeated, “But I tried not to show too much emotion then. I was worried if I gave off too much information that you’d figure out who I was, who I really was.” The memories hurt but he knew he had no choice but to continue.
“The first time we met, I saved his life,” Clark said, “I guess a part of me always felt responsible for him. I saved him, sometimes he saved me . . . it was just the way our friendship worked. When he died, it hurt. And I felt horrible, because I hadn’t been able to save him. It all just added up. I was having relationship issues, I thought my parents didn’t want me and Lex’s death was just the final straw.”
“So you ran away,” Oliver concluded.
“I ran away,” Clark said, “I just wanted to go and party. I didn’t want to feel any attachments to anything or anybody. I wanted to forget, everything I did was to forget. It was going according to plan too.”
“And then what happened?” Oliver prodded.
“Then I met you,” Clark replied, “You intrigued me from the first time we met and I hated it.” He smiled wryly. “I was sixteen years old, Oliver. No matter how confident or cool I acted, I was in high school. I didn’t have any experience with women and I grew up here, in Smallville. Do you honestly think that gays, lesbians and bisexual can openly express their feelings? You were the first man I had ever been attracted to and that scared the hell out of me.”
“Wait a second,” Oliver said, “You said you didn’t have any experience with women . . . so when we slept together, you were a . . .?”
“Virgin?” Clark finished. “Yeah, I was. You couldn’t tell?”
Oliver looked stunned at the revelation. “No, I couldn’t. Wow . . .”
“Lana thinks that we were both virgins when we were together,” Clark said, “I was, but only with women. To this day, she thinks she was my first.”
“But she wasn’t,” Oliver said, a hint of a smug smile on his face, “I was.”
“Yes you were,” Clark responded, amused by Oliver’s arrogance.
“You were so different,” Clark continued, getting serious, “You were so much more real than all those women I danced with at the clubs. You made it so easy to open up and it was so easy to just fall for you. And that scared me because I promised myself I wouldn’t get attached. Promised myself because I knew that if I fell, I’d only get hurt.”
“But you gave in,” Oliver pointed out.
“You’re a hard man to resist,” Clark responded, with a small smile.
Oliver nodded seriously. “You’re right. I’m surprised it took you as long as it did.” His brown eyes were dancing and Clark preferred this to the cold treatment of a few minutes ago.
“But why then?” Oliver asked suddenly, “How were you so different?”
“Do you remember the ring I was wearing?” Clark quizzed and Oliver nodded. “That ring had a stone, the red stone was actually red meteor rock. Meteor rocks, no matter what color, affect me and red makes me lose my inhibitions.”
“The ring was glowing,” Oliver said, his eyes slightly glazed. “I’m assuming that’s how you can tell? Because the rock glows around you?” Clark didn’t say anything but Oliver took his silence as a yes.
Oliver bit his lip and Clark could see his mind working. “The drink was glowing,” Oliver said, meeting his eyes, “It was red and it was glowing just the slightest. It had meteor rock in it, didn’t it? That was the reason for the sudden personality shift.”
“Yeah,” Clark replied, “I didn’t know it though, with the drink. The ring, I put on purpose.”
“Because that was the only way you could block your emotions,” Oliver said softly, “That was the only way you could act without thinking, without anything stopping you. In a way, the red meteor rock is like a drug for you, isn’t it?”
Oliver Queen was a smart man, he had always known that but he was observant. He could tell him a little and the man managed to find out everything else on his own.
He didn’t answer the question but he knew Oliver didn’t need answers. The expression on his face was confirmation enough.
“By the time we’d met, I had been in Metropolis for a while.” Oliver had heard the beginning, the middle and now he deserved to hear the end. “My parents were looking for me and a few days after you left, my dad found me.” He choked, the memories taking over. “I almost killed my own father.”
“But you didn’t,” Oliver said, slowly moving toward him.
“The fact that I almost did is bad enough,” Clark insisted, “But you’re right, I didn’t. The ring was destroyed.”
“And you were back to yourself again,” Oliver concluded.
“Yes, and I just wanted to go home,” Clark said, “My mom was happy to see me and I guess I just moved on with my life. I wanted to forget that summer, wanted to forget all the horrible things I had done.”
“And you forgot me too,” Oliver said.
“It wasn’t easy, Oliver, trust me,” Clark said, “I missed you desperately. But I was underage and you didn’t even know me. It would’ve been impossible.”
“You could’ve said goodbye,” Oliver said.
“We promised never to say goodbye,” Clark replied, “And I just needed to get you out of my system and contacting you wouldn’t have worked.”
“It obviously wasn’t that hard,” Oliver said, “I never meant that much to begin with, did I?”
“You forgot me too,” Clark said, “We’ve known each other for months and you never figured it out.”
“I forced myself to forget you Clark,” Oliver said, taking a few steps forward, “That doesn’t mean it was easy.”
“But you never even thought about it,” Clark said.
“Maybe I didn’t think it was you because I never thought you would betray me like that,” Oliver retorted.
“I’m sorry,” Clark said, “I never meant to hurt you.”
“But you managed to get around to it anyway, didn’t you?” Oliver said, his tone frosty. “I don’t know why I even came here.”
It was as if they came in a full circle. They were right back where they started, Oliver furious at him and Clark not knowing what to say.
“Maybe you came because you care about me?” Clark asked hopefully.
He saw Oliver swallow hard. “I shouldn’t care about you. You don’t care about me. I’m just setting myself up for heartbreak.”
“How can you think that?” Clark asked, “I care about you a lot! Oliver, the reason I didn’t tell you before was because I had no idea on your stance on the whole thing! I mean, what if I told you about what happened three years ago and you didn’t care? You were dating Lois and for all I knew, you were crazy about Lois.”
“But then I told you,” Oliver said, “That night in the barn, I said how much Kal meant to me.”
“How much KAL meant to you,” Clark said, “I wanted you to see that Kal and I were not the same person. I mean, we are physically but the person you knew then is not the one who stands before you today. I was afraid that if I admitted who I was, you would think of me as Kal. And I didn’t want you to have feelings for me because you thought I was like Kal, I wanted . . .” He trailed off, unable to finish the sentence.
“You wanted . . .?” Oliver prodded. “Tell me Clark, you can’t go this far and not tell me.”
“I wanted you to have feelings for me because I’m me,” Clark said, his voice barely a whisper, “I wanted you to love Clark Kent, not Kal.”
“That would’ve never been a problem,” Oliver told him. “I knew you were something special from the moment I first met you. I just wished you would’ve been honest with me. Now I can’t trust you.”
It was over . . . he could feel it in his heart. There was no point in begging but he was going to do it anyway. Screw his pride, he couldn’t lose Oliver.
“Please Oliver,” Clark pleaded, “Just give me a chance . . . give me a chance to love you and I promise I won’t hurt you ever again.”
“I can’t take that risk,” Oliver said, looking regretful. “I’m sorry.”
Tears prickled at the back of his eyes. “Oliver . . .”
“You have too much power over me,” Oliver added, “It just wouldn’t work. Being hurt by you again would destroy me. And I can’t take that risk. I’m not strong enough to take a chance.”
“You’re one of the strongest men I’ve ever met,” Clark argued.
“Not really,” Oliver said, shaking his head. “When it comes to saving the world, I’m willing to give it my all. But when it comes to my heart, I’m not as courageous as you think I am.”
You and me both, Clark couldn’t help but think.
“I’m sorry,” Oliver repeated and Clark’s heart shattered at his words. He had never known it was possible to feel this much pain.
“Goodbye Clark,” Oliver said and made his way down the stairs.
Clark watched as the man he loved, the only man he’d ever love, walked out of his life again.
Then the first tear fell.