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ficlet: checking in

Title: Checking In
Fandom: Smallville
Pairing/Characters: Clark, Oliver
Rating: PG
Word Count: 580
Warnings/Spoilers: none/9.04 'Echo'
Disclaimer: all characters belong to the CW/DC Comics
Summary: Clark went back to check on Oliver.
A/N: for scifiland's 'different endings' challenge.

Am I doing the right thing? Clark wasn’t sure of the answer but that didn’t change his decision. Besides, he was already in the elevator; there was no turning back now.

He had left Oliver’s side to help make a save and even though Oliver insisted that he’d be okay, Clark hadn’t been as confident. After all, Oliver had been willing to die that night, an idea that still gave him chills. How could he possibly be okay? So after he had followed the sirens and anonymously assisted the police in catching the perp, he decided to check in on Ollie.

Stepping into the spacious apartment, he glanced around, finding Ollie on the balcony, staring out at the night. A few long strides and he was by the door, quietly watching, unsure of how to proceed.

"Well, don't just stand there, Clark," Oliver said, breaking the silence. "You can come closer. I won't bite."

Hesitating briefly, he closed the remaining distance between them. "How are you doing?" he asked.

Ollie shrugged. "Still alive. I guess that's all I can ask for right now." Turning, Ollie met Clark's gaze, brown eyes locking with green. "I have to admit that I'm surprised to see you again."

Swallowing hard, Clark admitted, "I was worried about you."

A wary look crossed over Oliver's features as he continued to stare at Clark. "Why?"

"Why what?" Clark questioned.

"Why were you worried about me?" Oliver clarified.

"After everything that happened tonight, are you really asking me that?" Clark retorted, incredulous. Immediately softening upon seeing Ollie's expression, he sighed. "Oliver ... I know I haven't been a very good friend to you lately, but I do care …"

"It's not your fault," Oliver murmured. "I haven't exactly been 'friend of the year' either. After how I treated you, I don't blame you for not being around. I’ve been pushing everyone away, I know that."

Not know how to respond, Clark paused, an awkward silence falling in between them. Finding his courage, he said, "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," Ollie agreed.

He finally asked the question that had been lingering on his mind all night. "When you stepped off the podium ... did you really ... did you mean to?" The words got stuck in his throat.

"To die?" Oliver prompted. "Yes."

Clark knew it but getting the confirmation still felt like a punch in the gut and the horror he was feeling must've shown on his face because Oliver frowned.

"Why?" Clark managed to say.

Averting his gaze, Ollie sighed. "I don't know ... in that moment, it just seemed ... easier."

Closing the remaining distance between them, Clark put a hand on his shoulder, trying to offer comfort the best he could. "Oliver ..."

"I know, death is never the answer," Oliver said automatically.

It was the vulnerable look in Oliver’s eyes that did Clark in. Without another word, Clark pulled him into a hug. Oliver frozen, completely taken by surprise but that didn’t make Clark let go. This wasn’t what they did; this wasn’t how their relationship was … but this was what Oliver needed. If he was honest, this was what Clark needed too … to know that Ollie was alive and safe.

Eventually, Oliver relaxed into Clark’s embrace, arms slowly wrapping around his torso, hugging him back.

Clark didn’t know how long they stayed that way. What he did know though was that Oliver would be okay.

He’d make sure of that.
Tags: category: gen, fandom: smallville, fanfic, friendship: clark-oliver, story: checking in
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