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.
He arrived home to find Bart already there. He immediately confronted him on what he learned but he failed to get answers. His demands only resulted in the younger man running out. Though he felt guilty at how brash he had been, he knew he had to protect Bart. And there was only one person who could help him now.
When he reached Chloe’s apartment, he found her in conversation with Lois. Fortunately, she had been on her way out so he was able to talk to her alone.
He didn’t know exactly how to start the conversation but when he made a cryptic comment about secrets, Chloe was on his case.
“Clark, what’s going on?” Chloe asked.
“I have a confession to make,” Clark said, “The guy who saved you at the planet . . . he didn't exactly get away. It's Bart.”
“What?” Chloe said, looking shocked, “Wait a minute. Bart can superspeed, too?”
“He's actually a lot faster than I am,” Clark informed her. “That's the truth. I'm sorry I didn't tell you.”
“It's fine,” Chloe said dismissively. “You were protecting him. It's okay. I mean, if anyone gets it, it's me. But why are you outing him now?” He gave her a weak smile; he knew Chloe would understand.
“I think he's headed for trouble, and I need to find him,” Clark said. “Can you GPS his cell phone?”
“Yeah, I can try,” Chloe said, “Do you have his number?” She headed to her computer and he told her the phone number.
As Chloe searched, he filled her in. “He broke into a Luthorcorp plant down in Mexico. Now I think Lex is on to him. If he tries to break into another facility . . .” He trailed off, but he knew she got the message and understood why he was so worried.
“No good,” Chloe said finally, “His phone must be off.”
“What about call history?” Clark suggested, “Can you pull that up?”
“Legally?” Chloe asked, with a smirk, “Absolutely not.”
She turned back to the computer and with a few quick strokes, she pulled up the history. Both noticed that there was a repeating number dialed to somewhere in Metropolis.
“There’s over a dozen calls to that number in the last 24 hours,” Clark pointed out.
“Let’s see who’s on the other end,” Chloe said. He watched as she did a reverse phone lookup on the number.
“Artemis Global Consortium?” he read. “Never heard of them.”
Chloe continued searching. “It's as subsidiary of J.L. International, which is a satellite company currently orbiting . . . Queen Industries?”
Clark felt as if he was going to be sick. “It's Oliver,” Clark said. “He's using Bart to attack Luthorcorp.”
“I can’t believe he would put Bart in danger like that,” Clark said.
“Well we both know they can’t stand each other Clark,” Chloe replied, “You don’t know how far he would be willing to go to get one up on Lex.”
“I just thought he was better than that,” Clark told her. “I have to go see him, find out what’s up.”
“Is that a good idea?” Chloe wanted to know. “Are you going to be okay seeing him? He did just break your heart.”
“I love him, Chloe,” Clark said honestly, “And it’s going to hurt like hell to see him. But I have no choice. Bart could be in danger and I have to make sure nothing fishy is going on. There are more important issues going on that take precedence over what I feel.”
“Good luck,” Chloe said encouragingly. “If he says anything or acts like an ass, you let me know and I’ll deal with him.”
“I don’t think it will come to that,” Clark said, with a smile, “But thanks for the offer. I’ll talk to you later.”
She nodded and he took off, heading to Oliver’s penthouse. Within minutes, he was in the elevator. He opened the door and found Oliver in the main room.
“Oliver,” he said, getting his attention.
“Look, Clark, whatever's got your tighty whities in a bunch, now is not the time,” Oliver said stiffly. His heart ached for a moment but he focused on his task.
“Where's Bart?” Clark demanded. “I saw his phone records. I know he's working for you.”
“Not for me,” Oliver clarified. “Working with me. There's a difference.”
“It's not going to matter when he ends up in jail or worse,” Clark said accusingly.
“Yeah, you don't know what you're talking about,” Oliver retorted.
“I know how much you hate Lex,” Clark said stiffly. “Is that why you recruited Bart . . . to help with your little vendetta?”
“No,” Oliver shot back. “To stop 33.1.”
His response caught Clark off guard. “You know about 33.1? Why didn't you tell me what you were up to?”
“Clark, do you check in with me every time you run off to save the world?” Oliver asked, anger creeping in his voice. “Oh, that's right. For a second there, I forgot. You like to wait for trouble to show up on your doorstep.”
Why do you have to act like such a jerk, Ollie? His sarcastic tone stung more than Clark would like to admit.
“That’s not true,” Clark said.
“Then why haven't you done anything to stop 33.1?” Oliver questioned.
“I was busy with another problem,” Clark said, remaining vague. He didn’t want to admit his lack of knowledge on 33.1. After the whole Seattle incident, Chloe had given him details but he hadn’t learned much.
“What could be more urgent than Lex Luthor developing an army of superfreaks, Clark?” Oliver asked. “That's what he's doing. He's starting a war.”
Yeah, well you try fighting a group of super powered criminal aliens whose sole purpose in life is to kill you and see how much time you have left.
But Clark didn’t say that aloud. He must’ve been crazy if he thought Oliver could be the one who would understand him. Because for all he trusted Oliver, he couldn’t tell him this, couldn’t burden him with his problems.
“What have you found out?” he asked instead, pushing all other thoughts of his mind.
“Not enough,” Oliver informed him. “Last night Bart infiltrated a place that was supposed to house the mainframe for 33.1. That's the last time I heard from him. So I reconned the target this morning. The place had been stripped clean. Everything's gone. The whole thing was a setup.”
“Lex has Bart,” Clark concluded. This was not good news at all. “We have to find him.”
“My team’s already on it,” Oliver told him.
“Your team?” Clark repeated, raising an eyebrow.
Oliver motioned behind him and Clark turned around, to see none other than Victor Stone and Arthur Curry making their way toward him.
“Not everyone flies solo, Kent,” Victor said.
Clark couldn’t help the small smile that came up on his face at the sight of his old friends. He hadn’t heard from either one of them and he was glad to see that they were doing okay. But he was extremely curious to hear about the team that they had formed and how they had gotten involved with Oliver in the first place.
He watched as the three of them got to work.
“A.C., check the Luthorcorp manifests,” Oliver instructed him.
“Gotcha,” AC replied.
“How long have you guys been working together?” Clark asked.
“I joined up about six months ago,” Victor said. “Ollie and Bart had already been doing their thing.”
“What about your girlfriend?” Clark asked. “Katherine?”
“Dude, don’t even go there,” AC chimed in.
“She gave it her best shot,” Victor said sadly. “But with all this hardware in me . . .”
“I’m sorry, Victor,” Clark said sympathetically.
“When Ollie found me, I was living on the streets,” Victor continued. “He gave me a warm meal, a roof over my head . . . and a reason to go on living.”
Giving Clark a smile, he looked grabbed a folder and went to sit down on the couch.
Clark’s heart warmed at Oliver’s kind act. His Ollie was not doing anything bad after all and he felt an immense amount of relief at that.
That was when Oliver walked in from the other room. He looked at AC. “Did he just say something nice about me?”
“Maybe he’s starting to rust,” AC joked.
Clark felt a twinge of jealousy at the easy camaraderie the trio had. He wished he could belong somewhere like that.
“A.C., how'd you fall into all this?” Clark asked, turning to the blonde.
“I got into a little trouble sinking a whaler off the coast of Japan,” A.C. replied, shrugging.
“A little trouble?” Victor echoed incredulously. “That's what you're going to go with? Ollie had to save your scaly butt from getting filleted.”
“I would have gotten out of it,” A.C. insisted, directing his response toward Clark.
“Oh really?” Oliver teased. “Before or after they packed you into a thousand little tin cans?”
“Well, at least he would have been dolphin-safe,” Victor offered, with a grin.
“Fish jokes,” A.C. said, shaking his head. “That's all I ever get are fish jokes. So how's Lois doing, man? Is she all right?”
“She’s doing good,” Clark said.
A.C. smiled and Clark smiled back.
“Okay, guys, sorry to interrupt the reunion,” Oliver interjected, “But we need to focus on locating Bart.”
“And how exactly did you get him involved in this?” Clark asked. “He's never been much of a team player.”
“Looks like you two have something in common, huh?” Oliver asked, with a smirk. “Actually, um, I was out on patrol in Star City one night, and I came across Bart. He was helping himself to a free meal. I could tell he was a good kid, you know? He just needed a little direction, so I offered him a job.”
He couldn’t disagree with Oliver’s thoughts . . . after all, hadn’t he thought the same thing a few years ago?
“Look where that got him,” he couldn’t resist throwing in but he was moved at Oliver’s ability to get Bart to stay. Something he had not been able to accomplish.
“So, um, what are you gonna do now?” Clark asked, as they stood outside the farm, Bart preparing to go.
“I don't know,” Bart replied. “I mean, it's a big world. I figure I'd check it out, see if there's anyone else out there like us. Maybe start, like, a club or a league or something.”
It seemed as if Bart had accomplished his task. Now it was a matter of making sure he didn’t die for his goals.
“I underestimated Lex,” Oliver agreed, oblivious to his thoughts. “It won't happen again.”
He took out a remote and a screen came down. “I've compiled a list of all Luthorcorp holdings within a 100-mile radius. Bart could be held in any one of those facilities.”
“That’s a lot of real estate to cover,” Victor said.
“I think I know someone who can help us narrow it down,” Clark told them.
He gave the group a nod and headed for the door. “I’ll be in touch.” Before any of them could respond, he was in the elevator.
Chloe was shocked when he told him everything that he found out. With a little digging, they found out about the Ridge Facility and the flurry of activity that had been going on there recently. Hearing the data, Clark nodded.
“It’s Bart,” Clark said. “Take everything and bring it to Oliver.”
“Me?” Chloe said, surprised, “Clark . . .”
“I can get to the Ridge Facility faster myself,” Clark told her. “I can't let anything happen to Bart.”
Chloe looked like she wanted to protest but didn’t, probably realizing once Clark set his mind to do something, it was impossible to reason with him.
“Okay,” she said, “But be careful. I don’t want you to end up getting caught like Bart.”
“I’ll be fine,” he assured her and took off.
Finding the Ridge Facility was easy enough and getting in was easier. He began to search the area, keeping his eye out for Bart.
Please, he prayed, please don’t let me be too late.
Meanwhile, Chloe was taking the paper and entering the penthouse. In the elevator, she looked at the security camera. She was nervous, she hadn’t been here before.
And a part of her was furious at Oliver. Clark may have made mistakes but the idiot hurt her best friend and that was unforgivable.
“Mr. Queen?” she called out, “It’s Chloe Sullivan. Clark sent me.”
The elevator door opened and she found herself face to face with Oliver.
“Where’s Clark?” Oliver asked.
“He went to save Bart,” she informed him.
“You know about Bart?” he questioned.
“We trust each other,” Chloe said, shrugging. “Clark tells me everything . . . well, almost everything. I did have to figure out about your green-leather fetish on my lonesome.”
Baffled was the only word she could come up with to describe his expression at that moment. But one glance into his eyes and she saw the hints of jealousy there.
Want to be Clark’s confidante too Oliver? She had to bite back to smug smile. Chloe had a feeling that Oliver Queen wanted to be a lot more to one Clark Kent than just a confidante.
“Oh by the way,” Chloe added, “I know about what happened between the two of you.” He opened his mouth to protest but she glared at him. “Clark’s made a lot of mistakes and no, he’s not perfect. But he has a heart of gold and he always does what he thinks is best. When he loves someone, he gives it his all. So a warning, Mr. Queen: if you ever hurt him again, you’ll see exactly how much pain your arrows can cause.”
She felt a thrill at his slightly intimidated look. “Okay,” he said clearing his throat. “Let’s stick to main plot there, sidekick. So what have you got?”
“Hopefully a solid lead on Bart,” she said, “Where are Victor and A.C.?”
Oliver hung his head. She looked to her left to see Victor and A.C. emerging from the shadows.
“Guess we’re not that good at the ‘secret’ part of this yet,” Victor commented.
“Yeah, but you’re great at getting caught by the villain,” Chloe pointed out.
They both looked a little stung by her remark.
“Anyway, I think Bart’s being held at a place called the Ridge Facility,” Chloe told them.
“That’s down by the docks,” A.C. piped in.
“It’s on our list of possible 33.1 targets,” Oliver added. With a press of a button, he brought up a schematic of the Ridge Facility on the nearby screen.
“All right, boys,” Oliver commanded, “You know the drill. Let’s gear up and get out.”
“Oh no,” Chloe whispered, observing the schematic.
“What now?” Oliver questioned.
“Lead shielding,” Chloe said. “This isn't just for Bart. I think the Ridge Facility's being used to refine meteor rock. Clark's in trouble.”
“Why would Clark be in trouble?” Oliver asked, worry etched into his expression.
“He’s allergic to the meteor rocks,” Chloe said immediately. Sorry, Clark, your safety comes first.
“Allergic?” Oliver repeated.
“If he’s around it, he loses all his abilities,” Chloe said, fear taking over. “It can kill him.”
For the first time, she saw the calm Oliver in a new light. His brown eyes were filled with terror.
He loves Clark, she realized with a start.
“Don’t worry,” Oliver said, “If he’s in there, we’ll find him. He’ll be okay, I promise.”
Chloe wondered if he was telling her or trying to convince himself.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to help,” Chloe said.
Oliver smiled. “Well, if you’re willing, there is a job I have for you.”
“Anything,” Chloe said.
After a few minutes of instructions, Chloe was set up at the screen, now the newest member of the team. Code name: Watchtower.
Clark, on the other hand, was doing some searching. He came across a door, with the word ‘Restricted’ on it.
Figuring it had to be a lead, he broke the door open. Immediately, he fell to the ground. He should’ve taken notice that the door was made of lead.
Because the room was filled with liquefied meteor rocks and he felt the effects instantly. Groaning on the ground, he looked around the room.
The exposure was more than he could take and the pain was unbearable.
He could only hope that Chloe had gotten the information to Oliver and they were on their way here.
Somebody, he thought frantically, somebody save me. He didn’t know how much longer he would last.
Oliver, his mind cried, I need you.