Disclaimer: all characters belong to CW/DC Comics
Word Count: 2474 (this chapter)
Spoilers/Warnings: set in s7, AU/slash
Summary:After a strange dream, Ollie wakes up in a world where everything is different.
Author's Notes: thanks to my lovely beta, boltgirl426!
Previous Chapters: here
“Clark Kent doesn’t exist.”
The sentence kept repeating itself in Oliver’s mind. He was really relieved that he took a seat, because he wouldn’t have been able to stay standing after that little announcement. Seeing his confounded expression, Victor frowned in concern.
“Oliver? You all right?”
“I’m fine,” he said softly, but the words sounded flat, even to him.
“Dude, you look as far from okay as anyone can get,” Bart told him.
“You know you can talk to us, right?” Dinah asked gently.
“I know,” Oliver reassured her. “I just … this isn’t really something I can talk about. I’m still trying to process everything.”
He cared for his team, but he hated showing weakness in front of them. Oliver wanted to be the strong one, even if he was the only member without abilities. That’s why he couldn’t let them see him like this.
Standing up, he offered, “I’m going to make some dinner. Anyone hungry?” Oliver needed a distraction, and cooking would take his mind off this situation.
“Nah, we have to actually get going,” Victor informed him.
“Where are you going?” Oliver asked, frowning.
“Back to our regular lives,” Victor replied.
“Yeah, I really need to spend some time in water,” AC added.
“Oh, okay,” was all Oliver was able to come up with.
It was uncharacteristic of him to be anything less than quick-witted and eloquent, but even he could only take so much. Also, he didn’t understand why the team was off so quickly. Usually, they hung around for a couple of days before leaving. To be frank, he liked having them around, and he hoped his behavior wasn’t what was scaring them off.
“You going to be all right, Ollie?” Victor asked cautiously.
Plastering a smile on his face, he said, “Don’t worry. I’m a big boy.”
It took a couple of extra minutes to convince them of that, but he managed to somewhat relieve their anxieties, and even promised to call in case he wasn’t feeling well. He was used to taking care of them, so this was odd, but it was nice to have people who cared about him, though he would never admit it aloud.
Once they were gone, he made a simple dinner for himself, and went out on patrol. Despite whatever else had changed, the fact that crime was still prevalent hadn’t. He stopped two muggings, and a robbery in the first hour.
By the time he got home, it was late, and he was sore. He took care of the major wounds, but then gave in to the exhaustion and fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow.
He was back in the ice palace. He looked around, searching for the one person who should be there, hoping that Clark hadn’t disappeared from his dreams too.
“About time you showed up.” Oliver spun around at the sound. Clark stood there, with an amused expression on his face.
Oliver had no idea what prompted him to do this, but he closed the distance between them and hugged Clark with everything he had. Clark stood still for a second, clearly stunned at Oliver’s actions, but responded to the hug after a moment.
This was just a dream, but Oliver felt better seeing Clark, holding Clark. Taking a deep breath, he took in the familiar scent of apples, vanilla and something that was just pure Clark. For the first time all day, he allowed himself to really smile.
“Oliver,” Clark murmured. He liked the way Clark said his name.
Reluctantly, Oliver removed himself from Clark’s embrace. He had never hugged Clark before, and he was amazed at how right it felt to be in his arms. ‘Don’t think like that, Oliver; you have more important things to concentrate on … like finding out why you can only see him in your dreams.’
Right. If he ever wanted to see Clark outside his dreams again, he needed answers, and he needed them now.
Meeting Clark’s eyes, he said, “What’s going on, Clark?”
“I warned you there was an emergency,” Clark began.
“But you didn’t say that emergency was you not existing anymore,” Oliver interrupted.
Pursing his lips, Clark told him, “That was something you needed to find out on your own.”
“Really? Because I could’ve used the warning,” Oliver argued. “Chloe thought I was a prank caller and now my own team probably thinks I’m crazy!”
“Oliver,” Clark stated calmly. “Would you have really believed me if I had been upfront with you and told that I don’t exist anymore?”
Pausing, Oliver took a minute to consider Clark’s words. “No,” he finally admitted. “I probably would’ve dismissed this as a weird dream.” Seeing Clark’s lips curve into a knowing smile, he added, “I hate that you know me like that, by the way.”
“You’re not the first person to tell me that,” Clark retorted.
Oliver chuckled at that. Growing serious once more, he asked, “So how do we fix this?”
“I have no idea,” Clark confessed.
“Seriously?” Oliver said incredulously. “You have no idea who could have done this? It must be some pretty powerful person who can just remove your existence …”
“I wish I could give you answers,” Clark replied, sounding both apologetic and frustrated. “But I don’t remember much of what happened to me.”
Leaning against one of the solid panels, Oliver groaned. “That doesn’t help at all.”
“I’m sorry,” Clark offered.
“It’s not your fault,” Oliver said immediately. “You didn’t ask for this any more than I did.”
“Maybe Chloe can help you,” Clark suggested.
Oliver shook his head. “No, I called her. She didn’t know me, and like I said before, she thought I was a prank caller.”
“You can meet with her in person,” Clark persisted. “I mean, Chloe might’ve changed, but I’m sure that she will still have that same curious streak. If she thinks this is a story worth pursing, she’ll help you, I’m sure of it.”
“Or the headlines will suddenly read ‘Oliver Queen has gone crazy’,” he pointed out dryly.
“I don’t think Chloe would do that to you,” Clark insisted. “Look, at least try contacting her. Maybe you can meet her under the pretense of an interview and then prove that the phone call was not a prank.”
“I guess it’s worth a shot,” Oliver said, though he wasn’t fully convinced. Of course, he would be looking up Chloe’s history before he met with her.
“Be careful,” Clark advised, oblivious to his thoughts. “Like you said, we’re dealing with someone very powerful here. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“Why me?” Oliver said suddenly.
“What do you mean?” Clark asked, tilting his head.
“Why me?” Oliver repeated. “Why am I the only one with these memories?”
Clark hesitated. “I don’t know … I don’t remember picking anyone specifically. But maybe I thought you were the only one strong enough to believe in yourself, no matter what the rest of the world said.”
Feeling touched at Clark’s confidence, Oliver smiled. “I won’t let you down … I’ll find a way to bring you back. Just you see, Clark.”
“I know,” Clark responded, without missing a beat. Then the smile on his face faded. “But Oliver, sometimes the villain is the last person you’ll expect. Also, I feel like I have to warn you.”
“Warn me about what?” Oliver asked curiously.
“Not sure,” Clark answered. “But I think you’re going to have to make some difficult choices in the upcoming days.”
“How much worse can it get?” Oliver wondered aloud. Realizing what he said, he glanced around, wishing he could knock on some wood or something (not that he believed in superstitions like that), because those really were famous last words.
“Just … think with your head, not your heart,” Clark said slowly.
“That’s what I always do,” Oliver informed him.
“It just … may not be so easy this time,” Clark replied, both his expression and tone serious.
“Then I’ll keep what you said in mind,” Oliver promised, though he wasn’t sure if it would be much use.
Clark nodded. “And now it’s time for you to wake up.”
This time, Oliver was ready, and when everything began to fade away, he called out, “I’ll come back soon.”
“I’ll be here,” were the last words he heard Clark say.
Oliver’s eyes snapped open. Squinting at the alarm clock, he frowned when he saw that it was only 3 am. Sighing, he closed his eyes and after tossing and turning for a bit, he fell asleep again. This time, he didn’t dream.
However, he ended up waking up a few hours later, and realizing that he wasn’t going to be able to get any more sleep, he got up. Freshening up, Oliver went downstairs and made himself breakfast.
After breakfast, Oliver went to work out, which always made him feel better. A shower followed the workout, and he was ready to begin his day. Oliver was grateful it was Saturday, because now he could get some work done, looking into Chloe and reacquainting himself with his own life. The idea that he didn’t know his own history boggled his mind, but he had to be safe. He couldn’t afford any more slip-ups with his team.
Settling down in the study, he started his research. Usually, it was Victor or Chloe who handled anything computer/research related, but neither of them were options at this time. Fortunately, he had developed skills over the years so while he couldn’t do any major hacking, he could find out what he needed.
It seemed that in a world without Clark, Chloe didn’t stick around Smallville very long. She had graduated from Smallville High, and gone to Metropolis University, not even looking back. Now, she worked at the Daily Planet, alongside Lois. The two of them were partners, and published many articles, some together and others separately.
What he needed to do was meet up in with her in person. Remembering Clark’s suggestion, he decided that he could set up an interview to see exactly what Chloe was like these days.
Checking his schedule, he decided that he could make a trip to Metropolis. Though he didn’t want to trouble his secretary, he needed to get to Metropolis as soon as possible, and he knew that it would seem more official if she set up the interview for him. That way he wouldn’t be accused of being a prank caller again.
Dialing the familiar number, he crossed his fingers and hoped that Sheila was still in his employment.
When a familiar voice answered, he had to refrain from sighing in relief.
“Sheila, it’s Oliver, Oliver Queen,” he said. “I’m sorry to interrupt your weekend …”
“Oh, that’s all right, Mr. Queen,” Sheila replied cheerfully. “What can I do for you?”
“Well, I was thinking about making a trip to Metropolis next week,” Oliver explained, “And I was hoping you could set me an interview up with that Daily Planet reporter who keeps calling …” He didn’t want to give out too much information, and feigned ignorance on the name.
“Chloe Sullivan?” Sheila replied.
“Yes, I think that’s her,” Oliver confirmed.
“I can definitely do that for you,” she told him. “When were you planning on leaving?”
As soon as possible, was the thought that crossed Oliver’s mind, but he didn’t say it aloud.
“Probably on Monday,” he said instead. “I checked my schedule and I don’t have anything that’s I have to be in the city for.”
“I will set up an interview then,” Sheila said.
“Thank you,” he responded gratefully.
“Is there anything else you needed?” Sheila questioned.
“No, that’ll be all,” Oliver assured her. “I’ll leave you to your weekend.” They exchanged goodbyes and Oliver hung up, feeling slightly better. He didn’t know if he was on the right track, but at the very least, he was doing something.
Now, he just had to keep thinking. Who could possibly want Clark out of the way? He vaguely knew that Clark had encounters with a lot of people who have made attempts on his life, but this person didn’t kill him. No, they eliminated his existence completely.
Who would gain if Clark wasn’t around? He wondered. One name came to mind: Lex Luthor. But Lex didn’t have any abilities. There was Dark Thursday. That was over a year ago, but it never was explained, at least to Oliver, how Lex gained and lost those abilities.
If he could lose them that easily, maybe he got them back? But that still didn’t make sense. A lot of people had powers. Either way, if anyone knew people who had that kind of abilities, it would be Lex. Those 33.1 labs were filled with people who could do crazy things. Maybe this one was one of them?
At the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to look into it, right?
In fact, he was going to do just that, but voices coming from the living room startled him out of his thoughts. Who was that? He certainly wasn’t expecting anyone. Maybe it was his cook, coming back from the break that Oliver told him to take before leaving for his last mission. But it didn’t sound like Eric at all. In fact, he could swear he heard not only a male voice, but also a female one accompanying it.
Standing, he made his way to the room cautiously, unsure of what he would find. Were people trying to break in? Glancing around, he didn’t find any object that could be used as a weapon and silently prayed that this was all a misunderstanding.
When he got to the living room, he froze. A beautiful blonde woman was standing there, next to a tall dark haired gentleman, surrounded by luggage. Both were chatting comfortably, standing like they belonged there.
“Um … hi?” he said, gaining their attention. Both turned at the sound, and Oliver felt all the color drain from his face.
Because even if it had been over twenty years since he had seen them, he would recognize these people anywhere.
“Oliver!” The woman yelled delighted. She practically ran to him and gave him a hug. Unsure of what else to do, he hugged her back.
“Laura,” the other man said in an amused voice. “Let your son breathe.”
“Hush, Robert,” Laura chided, not noticing Oliver’s discomfort. “I haven’t seen my baby boy in over two weeks.”
Robert just laughed. “Your baby boy is 28 years old.”
“Even when he’s fifty, he’ll still be my baby boy,” Laura declared.
All Oliver could do was stare at them. He wanted to pass this off as a sick joke, but he knew that these people were exactly who he thought they were. Laura and Robert Queen … his parents. His parents were alive.