Pairing/Characters: Collie, Oliver/Dinah, Chloe/Bruce
Disclaimer: don’t own anything
Warning: slash, mentions of m/m sex
Summary: sequel to “Forever May Not Be Long Enough”. Three years after the story ended, Oliver and Clark meet up again. One of them is engaged and the other is trying to make his mark in the world. Now working together in the Justice League, what will happen?
Previous Chapters: Here
Bruce looked curiously at his girlfriend’s smile. She knows something. This new hero that so worried him, didn’t even get a reaction from her. In fact, she seemed . . . pleased at this new development.
“You know something.”
It was not a question but a statement and Chloe knew it.
“I know lots,” Chloe said smugly. “But if you are talking about our new hero, yes I do. He’s not dangerous, Bruce.”
“Chloe, you know I love you and trust your judgment on everything,” Bruce started.
“But you need to find this one out for yourself,” Chloe finished, with a smile. “I understand. You wouldn’t be my Bruce if you didn’t.”
Even though they had been together for almost a year, Bruce was still shocked at how easily she was able to read him. The blonde had come into his life like a tidal wave and shaken everything up. In the beginning, he tried to close up, afraid of her getting too close but she just held on tighter. Realizing she wasn’t going to leave him, he let her in completely.
And he hadn’t regretted it once. Asking her to move in with him had been a risk but it was a good one. She fit in at the Manor and he really liked seeing her on a daily basis.
“So,” Chloe said. “You going to run off to the Batcave and try to figure out who our new hero is and what he can do?”
He loved that she didn’t care about his workaholic tendencies. Granted, she had those same tendencies. Which is why they got along so well.
“Actually,” Bruce said, picking her up, “I think our new hero isn’t going anywhere. I will deal with him tomorrow.”
Chloe wrapped her legs around his waist. “And now?”
“Now I feel that I have some more pressing matters to attend to,” Bruce said, with a growl. “Would you care to find out what those are?”
“I would definitely be interested,” Chloe confirmed with a giggle. Bruce met Chloe’s lips and thus ended the conversation for the rest of the night.
The superhero could definitely wait . . . right now he had a girlfriend to please. And how he enjoyed pleasing her.
The next day ended up being quite busy but Bruce was determined to make time to find out who this Superman was. All he knew was that the man could fly but he had to know if he had more abilities than that. Only then could he assess his threat level.
His league had some extremely powerful people and more than one could fly but he knew all about them- their backgrounds, their abilities and even their weaknesses. This newcomer was a complete mystery. First, he had that horrible costume . . . who would venture out into the streets in that monstrosity, he had no idea.
Then again, he paraded around at night fighting crime dressed as a giant bat so he guessed he couldn’t really complain. But all that blue and red . . . Bruce inwardly cringed . . . he really preferred black.
Bruce knew he should really consult the League but he didn’t care to. He could find out about “Superman” for himself. Then the League could be informed about what was going on. But not a second before.
For Chloe, the weekend didn’t come soon enough. She hated that she was so busy on the weekdays but she loved her job and couldn’t complain. But when she found out the best friend she hadn’t seen for three years had returned and he was also the new superhero everyone was gushing about, it was difficult to stay patient.
Part of her wanted to just pick up a phone and call him, just to hear first hand that he was really back and safe, but she knew that their reunion had to be in person. She was a little insulted that Clark hadn’t called her first but she knew that he was probably busy settling in.
Not to mention that if he was partnered with Lois, he wouldn’t get a moment’s break. Chloe loved her cousin but every since she had become “Lois Lane, reporter”, the woman had been bossier than ever. That was one of the reasons that, when Chloe wanted to leave The Washington Post, she hadn’t even considered the Planet. Because working with Lois was definitely something she could do without.
Her excitement to see her best friend got her up early Saturday morning. Granted she still needed 3 cups of coffee before she was actually awake but even Bruce was surprised to see her awake before 10. She filled him in on her plans for the day and he just kissed her, and said to have fun.
Chloe knew Bruce and she knew he was secretly thrilled that she had plans for the day. That way he wouldn’t have to feel guilty for spending the day researching Superman. Many times, she had offered information on the new hero. Not his identity because she still couldn’t betray Clark like that but what he was able to do. But Bruce had refused her, claiming that he wanted to find out for himself.
He knew she was biased and if he was to trust this new hero, he needed to learn everything on his own. Chloe understood.
She made good time to Metropolis. On her way there, her thoughts drifted to a certain blonde billionaire. Did Oliver know Clark had returned? He had to; the Daily Planet article was impossible to miss.
Her heart ached for the blonde. Clark had no idea how much Oliver had suffered because of him and there were times when she was comforting Oliver that she really hated her best friend. And she hated herself even more, for participating in the plan.
Sometimes, Oliver would be so grateful for her presence and she just wanted to admit that she was part of the reason he was alone and miserable. That made her only more determined to see it through, to make sure Oliver recovered from his broken heart.
Setting him up with Dinah had been hard because if she had her way, Oliver would still be with Clark. It was difficult seeing Oliver with anyone other than her best friend. If she had her way, they would have been laughing about how Clark was doing in his training. She highly suspected if Clark had told Oliver about his training and then left without breaking up with him, he would’ve returned a lot sooner.
Three years seemed like a long time and Chloe wondered if Clark took his own sweet time with his training because he felt like he had no reason to rush. No real reason to return.
Cool down, Sullivan . . . just be happy you are going to see your best friend. Don’t go into reporter mode; you’ll have plenty of time for questions.
Finding Clark’s apartment was easy and when she was in front of his door, she was surprised at how nervous she was. Come on, this is Clark . . . your best friend.
The same best friend she hadn’t seen for three years. Taking a deep breath, she knocked.
“Come in,” the voice she knew too well said from inside. “It’s open!”
Slowly, she twisted the doorknob and entered the apartment, Looking around, she found it was a decent size and already set up.
Hearing footsteps, she saw Clark emerge from the bedroom. Seeing her, he gasped. “Chloe?”
That was all it took. She threw herself into her best friend’s arms and hugged him with everything she had.
“Clark,” she whispered.
He hugged her back. “Chloe.”
In that second, she knew everything would be all right. Because no matter how he had changed, he was still her Clark.
Clark removed himself from Chloe’s embrace, still shocked to see his best friend. He felt horrible for not calling but he had been so busy settling down that it completely slipped his mind.
Not to mention Lois was running him ragged and Superman kept him occupied.
“This is a surprise,” he said happily.
“Well, Mr. Daily Planet reporter,” Chloe said teasingly, “Someone wasn’t calling me the second they returned and I saw your byline on the front page . . . so I decided to pay you a visit.”
He blushed. “I’m sorry, Chlo . . . I was just . . .”
“Busy, I know,” Chloe finished. “I’m just thrilled you’re back. I missed you.”
“I missed you too,” he said sincerely. “Have a seat . . . can I get you anything?”
Chloe took a seat on the couch and shook her head. “I’m good, thanks.” She patted the seat next to him. “Sit down, Clark.”
He took the aforementioned seat and beamed.
“So?” Chloe asked eagerly. “How was it?”
“It was good,” Clark replied, knowing exactly what she was talking about. “I learned a lot . . . I’m really glad I went.”
“I’m so happy,” Chloe said. “I never expected you’d be gone for so long though. Three years, Clark. When you crossed the 2 year mark, I was so worried.”
“It did take longer than I expected,” Clark agreed. “But it was definitely worth it . . . I’m really sorry I worried you though.”
“I knew you were out there fulfilling your destiny,” Chloe declared, “I just missed you, that’s all.”
“I’m really happy to be back though,” Clark replied.
“And already taking the world by storm,” Chloe commented with a grin. “What do you say Superman?”
Clark laughed, not the least bit surprised. “I should’ve known you would’ve figured it out.”
“Clark, you’re running around without a mask,” Chloe said pointedly. “How could I not tell? However, that does explain the glasses. I never would’ve pictured you in tights though . . . the blue and red? Well, you did wear an awful lot of both colors back in Smallville.”
“I’m hoping the bright colors will distract people from my face,” Clark confessed.
Chloe raised an eyebrow. “The way that suit seems to fit you, Clark, trust me . . . nobody will be looking at your face.”
Clark felt his face heating up. “Chloe!”
“What?” Chloe asked innocently. “I’m just stating the facts.”
“You’re awful,” he said, shaking his head. “But yes, the costume is based off of a traditional Kryptonian outfit. The ‘S’ the Lois saw is actually the crest of the House of El.”
“And she gave you the name Superman,” Chloe concluded. “Of all the names . . .”
“I know,” Clark said, sighing. “Trust me, if I had the option, I would pick something else too. But Lois is rather . . . attached to my alter ego.”
“Are you serious?” Chloe asked, eyes shining.
“According to her, he’s ‘amazing’,” Clark quoted. “And she’s ‘in love’.”
Chloe snickered. “Good luck with that one, Clark. The Lois you are working with is much more persistent and stubborn than the Lois you used to know. She’s going to be bugging you for an exclusive.”
“That’s what I’m worried about,” Clark said. “These past few days, it’s all she’s ever talking about. Whenever she has a free moment, it’s ‘Superman this’ and ‘Superman that’. Maybe I’ll just give her that interview and get it over with. I know a lot of people have been wondering about Superman; this way, they might not be so skeptical.”
“Giving her an exclusive may only increase her emotions but it just may be good,” Chloe advised. “I mean, you can trust Lois to be a good interviewer.”
“I might do that,” Clark stated. He didn’t want to give Lois hopes but perhaps there would be someway to conduct the interview in a professional manner. Clark would make sure to give Lois no hints about any attractions . . . the last thing he needed was to put ideas into her head.
Sensing his concern, Chloe squeezed his hand. “Don’t stress too much about it. I’m sure everything will be fine.”
He grinned and nodded, slightly reassured. “You’re probably right. Enough about me though; how’s everything going for you?”
“My life is perfect,” Chloe admitted. “I never thought my future would turn out like this.”
“You deserve it,” Clark told her.
She smiled. “These past three years have been crazy . . . I don’t know where to start.”
“How about how you got to the Gotham Tribune?” Clark quizzed. “When I left you just got a job at the Washington Post.”
Chloe enthusiastically launched into her story on how she worked at the Washington Post and how she felt homesick. So when she got offered a job at the Tribune, especially an Assistant Editor-In-Chief position, she took it.
“I’m so happy things worked out,” Clark said.
“Me too,” Chloe responded.
“And how did you meet Bruce Wayne?” Clark questioned.
“Well, Oliver . . .” Her voice trailed off. His name hadn’t come up in their conversation and Clark knew Chloe was unsure of how to introduce the topic.
“It’s okay Chloe,” he said gently. “You can say his name . . . it doesn’t bother me.” Besides, I’ve already know he’s with someone else.
Chloe didn’t look convinced but continued anyway. “Well, Oliver set up an interview between Bruce Wayne and myself. Imagine my surprise when he actually asked me out later. I called Oliver for advice and he told me I should go out with him. I did. We’ve been together for almost a year.”
“Does he make you happy?” Clark wanted to know.
“I love him Clark,” Chloe responded. Clark smiled when he saw the way her eyes lit up when she said Bruce’s name. His best friend had found her soul mate and Clark’s heart warmed at the news. It was about time Chloe found a man who appreciated her like she deserved.
“I can’t wait to meet him,” Clark said honestly.
“And I can’t wait to introduce you,” Chloe declared. “Do you know, it was Bruce who showed me the article with your name on it? He remembered me talking about you and recognized your name.”
Clark chuckled. “I still can’t believe I’m working at the Planet . . .”
“Clark Kent, I always knew you were born to be a journalist,” Chloe said. “Even back in the good ol’ days at the Torch . . .”
“When I was writing the cafeteria menu?” Clark filled in, with a grin.
“And you did a great job of writing up that menu,” Chloe said, trying to keep her expression serious but ended up bursting into laughter.
One look at her expression and Clark lost control too, joining her in a fit of laughter.
When they both calmed down, Chloe observed his expression. “So,” she said softly, “Are we just ignoring my comment about Oliver?”
Clark’s stomach clenched. “I guess not . . . I suppose we should talk about him.”
“We don’t have to,” Chloe started but Clark shook his head fiercely.
“It’s best to get it out in the open,” Clark insisted. “Besides, we’ve never had any awkwardness between us and I’m not starting now.” He sighed. “How is he?”
“He’s really good, Clark,” Chloe told him. “I kept my promise . . .”
“I didn’t have any doubts you wouldn’t,” Clark replied.
“He and I have actually become close friends,” Chloe confessed, rubbing her hands together.
“I can tell, if he’s playing matchmaker for you,” Clark teased.
“Have you seen him?” Chloe questioned.
“I saw him,” Clark told her, “I didn’t talk to him. It was after I made my appearance as Superman. I saw him with this brunette woman . . .”
“Dinah Lance,” Chloe filled in. Apparently, Chloe knows who she is.
“Dinah Lance?” Clark repeated.
“Yeah,” Chloe said, “She’s . . . she’s Oliver’s fiancée.”
The revelation hit Clark like a ton of bricks. “Oliver’s engaged.”
“He is,” Chloe said softly. “How do you feel?”
Clark shrugged, trying to play it off like he didn’t care. “What should I feel? I’m very happy for him.”
“Clark, this is me,” Chloe said, “Don’t try to pretend. It has got to hurt.”
It did hurt but Clark knew he deserved it. He deserved this pain and he didn’t deserve Chloe’s sympathy. This was his doing.
“Chloe, this is what I wanted,” Clark said, trying to keep his voice steady. “I wanted him to move on and find someone else. And I’m glad he has.” Green eyes met hazel. “Is she nice?”
“She’s very nice,” Chloe told him. “I . . . I kind of introduced them.”
He gave her a wry smile. “I guess they hit it off.”
“They did,” Chloe confirmed.
“Thanks for being there for him Chloe,” Clark said sincerely. “I was so worried about him being alone . . .”
“I made a promise and I would never break it,” Chloe responded. “Besides, Oliver is a good man and I do like him.”
“You guys are good friends now?” Clark asked, amazed.
“I’m actually the best woman at the wedding,” Chloe told him, blushing.
“I can’t believe it,” he murmured. The two people he loved more than anything in the world were now closer than ever. And Chloe was the best woman at Oliver’s wedding. Who would’ve thought?
Misunderstanding his silence, Chloe asked nervously, “Are you upset?”
Clark furrowed his eyebrows, “Why would I be upset?”
“That I had such a huge part to play in Oliver’s moving on?” Chloe suggested.
“That’s ridiculous,” Clark said, frowning. “I mean, Chloe . . . this was my decision. I chose my path and I decided to not give Oliver the choice to wait. I’m relieved, actually, that he had you for a support system. You have done so much for me in the past and I’m so grateful to have you in my life. It’s only fair that he gets to experience the joys of having Chloe Sullivan as a friend.”
Chloe smiled, hazel eyes watery, as she pulled him into a hug. “I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too,” Clark told her. “But I’m back now and I’m not going anywhere.”
“Good,” Chloe said firmly. “You better not. Three years was long enough.”
Standing up, she grinned. “Now we’ve had enough of the talking . . . come on, I’ll treat you to lunch.”
“Sounds good,” Clark agreed and followed her out. The news of Oliver’s engagement remained in his mind but for now, he pushed it to the back of his thoughts.
He could think about Oliver later; right now, his best friend was there and wanted to spend time with him.
Clark ended up spending most of the day with Chloe, before she had to head back to Gotham City. He had a great time and they spent lots of time catching up and just enjoying each other’s company.
The rest of the weekend went by quickly. Lois demanded his time and dragged him out of bed on Sunday morning to go on a lead. Too bad the story ended up going nowhere.
Superman too was making more appearances and his name was showing up in more papers. Fortunately, the response to him was positive. People just wanted to know more about the mysterious new superhero.
Not for the first time, he considered offering Lois an interview.
If he was honest with himself, he would admit that he was purposely keeping busy. Too much free time would lead him to think about Oliver’s upcoming wedding. So he tried to concentrate on everything else, anything that would keep his thoughts from wandering to the blonde he still loved so much.
Monday came and Clark was back in the Planet.
The minute he entered, Lois was chatting his ear off, telling him about new leads. Yes, it was the start of another week and he was ready.
For Oliver, the weekend went on forever. He too was keeping himself busy, because if he let his thoughts drift, then it would go back to his former boyfriend. It wasn’t too difficult either. Dinah and he had a lot to do for the wedding, which they were hoping to have sometime the following year. They hadn’t exactly set a date yet. Dinah was waiting to hear back from a hall that she wanted to have their reception in.
When Monday arrived, he was happy because he could go back to focusing on work. Dinah and he were heading back to Star City within a couple of days but he had business in Metropolis so he had to stick around.
He worked from his penthouse that day and then, around lunch time, decided to go grab a bite to eat. It was such a pleasant day that Oliver decided he would just walk. Slipping into a pair of jeans and a brown long sleeved sweater shirt, he exited the penthouse. Dinah wasn’t around anyway and he could use some fresh air.
He was strolling down the streets, just casually glancing around when a figure caught his eye, causing him to stop in place. Oh God no.
Because across the street, seated at an outdoor café, having lunch and working diligently was none other than the man he had worked so hard to forget.
Clark Kent had apparently gotten glasses over the years but other than, he still looked the same. He hasn’t seen you, Queen . . . run, run now. It would be so easy to keep walking. The brunette was so focused on his work that he wasn’t even taking notice of his surroundings.
But Oliver found he couldn’t go. He wasn’t going to run away. No, it wasn’t him. Three years and it was time to face his past.
Taking a deep breath, he prepared to cross the street.
This is so peaceful. Clark had gotten tired of all of Lois’s yelling. He did like the brunette but there were times she just got on his nerves. Now, he was sitting at an outdoor café, having lunch and editing his article.
So concentrated he was in his article, he didn’t even hear the approaching footsteps and didn’t even take notice of the figure that stopped in front of his table.
“That must be one interesting article,” a voice commented, effectively snapping him out of his thoughts.
He lifted his head. “I’m sorry?” And then his voice died, as he met all too familiar brown eyes. Clark swallowed hard and only one word escaped his lips.