Title: First In Line
Disclaimer: all characters belong to CW/DC Comics
Word Count: 1825
Summary: Victor helps Chloe and it turns into something more.
Author's Notes: thanks to my awesome beta boltgirl426 for all her help and coming up with the title! :D
“Need any help?”
Starting at the sound, Chloe looked up from her computer screen and smiled when she saw Victor Stone standing behind her.
“You know anything about hacking?” she asked teasingly. Truth be told, she had been struggling on this particular code for a while, and it was frustrating, to say the least.
“Well, I am mostly machine,” Victor stated dryly. Chloe tried to smile but felt a bout of sympathy for the man standing in front of her.
“Pull up a chair,” Chloe replied. As Victor did just that, she just watched silently. She debated for a few seconds on whether to say anything else, but then decided to go for it. “And Victor?”
“Yeah?” he asked, sitting down.
“You may have hardware inside of you, but it doesn’t make you any less of a man,” Chloe said softly. “Don’t forget that, okay?”
He smiled warmly. “I’ll keep it in mind. After a pause, he added, “Thanks.”
“No need to thank me,” Chloe told him, shrugging. “Just being honest.”
“It’s appreciated anyway,” Victor said seriously. A silence fell between them and he cleared his throat. “So let’s crack this code, yeah?”
“Sounds good,” Chloe agreed immediately, grateful for the change in topic.
They both concentrated on what they needed to do and with Victor’s assistance, Chloe managed to accomplish her task. Making sure not to leave any trace that they’d ever been there, she leaned back and grinned.
Turning to Victor, she said, “Thanks for the help.”
“No problem,” he said. “It was … fun.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You’d be the first to think that. The rest of them can’t get away fast enough when I’m doing this sort of thing.”
“I don’t know, I find it interesting,” Victor said honestly. “Plus, I got to watch the master at work.”
At that, she outright laughed. “Master. Right.”
“It’s true,” he insisted. “I don’t think this team could function without you, Chloe.”
She blushed slightly at his words. “I’m sure you’d be fine.”
“Not likely,” Victor argued, putting a hand on her shoulder. “We may not say it much, because, well, we’re guys … but we do appreciate you and everything that you do.”
She forced herself not to react at his touch, but it was difficult. After all, her boys were very handsome, and she knew that. It was just something she didn’t think of all the time … something that she didn’t allow herself to think of, to be honest.
“Well, you’re pretty good at the hacking yourself,” Chloe complimented, needing to shift the conversation in a different direction, before she began to dwell. “I am impressed.”
“To be honest, I wanted to learn more about the machines that I had a capability of breaking into,” Victor explained. “So I learned in my free time.”
Chloe and Victor didn’t spend that much time together, and she was now wondering why. Out of all the team, Dinah included, he was really the most down to earth and the easiest to relate to. Not only was he handsome, it turned out he was smart and sweet as well.
“How are you still single?” she wondered.
He looked surprised and that’s when she realized she said it aloud. Averting her gaze, she bit her lower lip, unable to stop the redness that was spreading across her face.
“That was unexpected,” Victor commented.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Chloe said, feeling shy, all of a sudden.
He watched her, with a thoughtful expression on her face. “It is nothing to be embarrassed about. I always welcome compliments from beautiful women.”
“And you’re charming too,” Chloe teased. Feeling bold, she added, “My original question stands.”
Sighing, he said, “I don’t know … I guess, after Katherine … I wasn’t really interested in dating. She loved me and she couldn’t handle, well … what I’ve become. I didn’t want to get my heart broken again.”
A wave of sympathy washed over her. “You’re a great guy, Victor. I’m sure there’s someone out there who will understand.”
“Maybe,” he said, not really looking convinced. “Love isn’t really my priority right now though. Plus, it’s easy to fade into the background, with these guys. You have Bart …”
“Who hits on anything that moves,” Chloe finished, smirking. “His type is ‘female, breathing’.”
He chuckled, brown eyes twinkling in amusement. “Oh, I don’t know. The poor guy might still be holding out for you.”
“He shouldn’t hold his breath,” Chloe retorted, rolling her eyes, causing Victor to laugh even more. Bart was adorable, but she only loved him like a little brother. “So, go on.”
“I was just saying that Bart actively pursues women,” Victor continued. “Oliver and AC just have to stand there and women come to them. So it’s easy to miss me.”
“You want me to honestly believe a star quarterback like yourself can fade into the crowd?” Chloe questioned.
“That was another lifetime, Chloe,” Victor stated.
“I can relate to that,” she sighed, thinking back to her childhood dreams of the Daily Planet and Pulitzer Prizes, which were no longer an option. Then again, that path wasn’t meant for her anyway.
“Any regrets?” Victor asked, snapping her back to reality.
“None,” she said, a little surprised at how much she meant that. “You?”
“Not anymore,” Victor confessed, gazing into her eyes. “That life would’ve been great, but … I’m happy with what we’re doing here. Saving the world and all that.”
“I can’t argue with that,” Chloe remarked. He quietly watched her and she was curious at what was going through his head. “What?” His expression shifted to one of confusion and she clarified, “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Just thinking,” he answered. “You asked me why I was still single. I was just wondering how someone like you was still single.”
“Excuse me?” Chloe hadn’t been expecting that.
“You’re beautiful, smart, witty … and yet, you spend all your time with us, cooped up in this Watchtower,” Victor pointed out.
She was started at his question and felt her heart skip a beat at being called ‘beautiful’. Stop acting like a teenage girl, she mentally chided herself. Then again, despite her quick wit and ability to have a snarky remark to any and all comments, she had never learned how to take a compliment.
Realizing Victor was expecting an answer, she said, “I don’t know … it’s not like the guys are lining up.” She grinned, trying to make a joke of it, but judging by the look on his face, she was failing miserably.
“I can’t believe that,” Victor said. “All the men in the world must be blind then.”
“I don’t know how your species thinks,” Chloe joked. Growing serious, she added, “And I guess I’m not really putting myself out there either. After what happened with Jimmy …” Her breath hitched, the old feeling of guilt coming back at the mention of her dead husband. She shook her head. “It’s hard putting yourself out there and getting your heart stomped all over.”
This time, it was Victor who was sympathetic. He felt for her, but he didn’t seem to pity her, which was something that she hated. It’s a shame there aren’t more men like him out there. Then again, Victor was right there and single, but she doubted he’d be interested in her. He probably saw her like the rest of the team did: as a sister.
With Oliver, Bart and AC, she didn’t care about being classified like that, but for some reason, she was now wishing Victor didn’t see her like they did.
“It’s hard,” he said, after a moment, completely oblivious to her thought process. “This whole love thing.”
“Yeah, I wish there was a manual or something,” Chloe replied, snorting. “Then again, we may need a special edition.”
“Love For Dummies: The Superhero Edition,” he quipped. She laughed.
“I’d like to order a copy of that, please,” Chloe said.
“Trust me, if it existed, I’d be first in line to get one,” Victor said dryly. “It’s a miracle we haven’t just started dating one another.”
“Oh, yeah, that would be a disaster,” Chloe snarked. “Imagine what happens if there were break-ups. Plus, unless a few of you want to start playing for the other team, that’d not exactly going to work out. Dinah’s the only woman and Zatanna is not even around long enough for you all to flirt with.”
“I’ll keep my heterosexual card, thanks,” Victor responded. “What about you?”
“What about me?” Chloe quizzed, her heart suddenly beginning to race.
“Are you off limits, Watchtower?” Victor clarified. Was he moving closer?
“I might as well be,” she managed.
“And why’s that?” he persisted.
“Obviously, I’m the big sister of this group,” Chloe claimed, trying her best to keep her tone light. “I’m not going around in fishnets so I doubt I’m going to get any attention any time soon.” Before he could argue, she added, “Bart doesn’t count.”
Oh, yeah, he was definitely moving closer. Victor took her hand in his, and Chloe barely stopped herself from visibly reacting.
“I, for one, find fishnets highly overrated,” Victor declared.
“And what do you prefer?” Chloe asked, leaning forward.
“Cute blondes in skirts who are good at hacking,” he responded, without missing a beat.
“Cute, huh?” Chloe teased. “Just a few minutes ago, I was ‘beautiful’. Downgraded already?” Flirting was something she hadn’t done in a while, but she was having fun.
“Gorgeous,” he corrected. “Stunning. Dazzling. Sexy.”
“You’re a smooth talker, Victor Stone,” Chloe said, tilting her head. “I never would’ve guessed.”
“What can I say?” Victor said, grinning. “I have many undiscovered talents.” Chloe loved that she was drawing out the playful side of the usually serious man.
“Care to share?” she asked suggestively, shifting closer. “I’m pretty good at keeping secrets.”
He began to close the remaining distance. “I could demonstrate … if you were willing.”
“I’m nothing if not willing,” Chloe murmured. She wasn’t sure who made the final move but the minute her lips met Victor’s, she knew that this was right.
Parting only when the need for air became overwhelming, they just stared at each other for a few minutes, neither daring to say a word.
Chloe ended up being the one to break the silence. “So … that was some demonstration.”
“I hope you mean that in a good way,” Victor responded, lips twitching.
“Of course,” Chloe assured him, a warm smile spreading across her face. Standing up, she held out her hand and was pleased when he took it, rising out of his chair. “I think you should show me some more of your … talents.”
“My wish is your command,” were the last words Victor spoke before she took the initiative and kissed him again.
As Chloe lost herself in Victor’s embrace, she thought, ‘maybe they wouldn’t need that book after all.’