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Sober Chapter 8

At long last this story has been updated. I hope you all like the new chapter! Special thanks to my wonderful beta and friend, boltgirl426, who has quickly become my co-author in this particular story. In fact, she wrote a lot of this chapter for me when I was having difficulties! :D Enjoy!

Story: Sober
Pairing/Characters: Clark/Oliver, Oliver/Dinah, Chloe/Bruce
Rating: R
Disclaimer: don’t own anything
Warning: slash, mentions of m/m sex
Spoilers: none
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

Chapter 8

This was an extremely uncomfortable situation and Clark didn’t know quite what to say. Last time, he had been given an out but there was no escape now. He was in his own apartment and besides, it was immature and he had grown past the avoiding confrontation stage. At least he thought he had. Right now, he wasn’t so sure.

“Have a seat,” Clark said, finally finding the right words. “Can I get you anything?”

Oliver shook his head and sat down on the couch. “I’m fine, thanks.”

Clark nodded and sat down in the chair next to the couch, not wanting to be too close to Oliver. He didn’t think he could handle it.

Now what am I supposed to say?

Fortunately for him, Oliver started the conversation, clearly having his own agenda.

“Well,” Oliver said, “I figured that since the last time we tried to talk, we were cut off rather abruptly, I thought it would be a good idea to continue the conversation.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry about that,” Clark said slowly, “I just had to-“

“Go save lives?” Oliver finished. “I didn’t get it then but I figured it out once I found out you were Superman.” It was scary, that after all these years, Oliver was still able to read him like a book.

Oliver continued, unaware of his thoughts, “Speaking of which, that little revelation came as quite a surprise.”

“I always intended to do something with my abilities, Oliver,” Clark told him, “It was just a matter of when. The time was right.”

“So you disappeared for three years to go ‘find yourself’,” Oliver stated, “And then you came back and decided you really wanted to be a superhero?”

“Is there anything wrong with that?” Clark asked, keeping his tone neutral.

“Nothing wrong with it,” Oliver replied, “It just seems a bit odd, that’s all.”

“I was confused,” Clark said, careful with his wording as to not lie too much, “I needed the time to sort out myself.”

“Yeah and you needed your ‘independence’ too, right?” Oliver asked, bitterness evident in his tone.

Clark was taken aback. He didn’t think that Oliver would bring up their break-up so suddenly or so soon into their conversation.

Misunderstanding Clark’s surprise, Oliver quickly retracted, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that . . . that’s not what I’m here for.”

“What are you here for Oliver?” Clark couldn’t resist asking.

“To talk,” Oliver responded.

“About what?” Clark wondered aloud.

“I just . . . I wanted to settle things,” the blonde replied. Clark looked at him in confusion, watching as Oliver stood and began to pace before turning back to him.

“You being in the League could make things difficult between us, but they don’t need to be,” he told him and Clark’s eyebrows rose.

“They don’t?” he asked, feeling like a complete idiot for his lack of communication skills.

“I wanted you to know that I can be professional about this,” Oliver continued and Clark nodded in realization. The blonde was making a peace offering, assuring the brunette that he could be professional and cordial about his involvement in the League.

“So can I,” Clark agreed with a nod. Oliver nodded and looked at him for a moment. It was in that moment that Clark could have sworn he saw the old emotions in the blonde’s eyes. But as quickly as it had come it was gone and Oliver looked around the apartment, his hands slipping into the pockets of his jeans.

“So you’re settling in alright?” he asked, trying to be casual. Clark stood and nodded.

“Yeah . . . now I know how you felt trying to juggle being a man and a superhero,” the brunette admitted, watching as a smile graced Oliver’s features. The same smile that had always seemed to be reserved just for him, but Clark distinctly remembered seeing it as the blonde’s gaze had fallen on Dinah. That thought alone sobered him in an instant.

“You seem to be getting the hang of it,” Ollie told him and Clark nodded.

“Well I should go,” the blonde said. Nodding once more, Clark watched as Oliver reached for the door handle.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly, causing the blonde to stiffen quickly. Suddenly Oliver turned, looking at him with an expression of shock and confusion. Staring into one another’s eyes for a moment longer, the blonde nodded in understanding, his head dropping slightly as he turned once again this time pulling the door open as he left the apartment.

Releasing a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, Clark sat down, running his hands through his hair. How am I going to do this?

Dinah groaned as the elevator suddenly lurched and stopped mid-rise. This was the third time this week that the lift had stopped on its own and Oliver had promised to have someone look at it, but now she was stuck in the elevator and Ollie was out.

“Fantastic,” she muttered, reaching for her phone only to find that there was no signal available.

“Even better.” Looking around the elevator for some sign to the disturbance, her gaze noticed a slight bump on one panel. Running her fingers along the steel, she frowned, eyebrows knitting together as she realized that it was not solid steel. Something lay just underneath the top paneling, but of course, she didn’t have the strength to push aside steel.

A smile reached her features as she realized the tools she had bought as a gift to Ray for his birthday lay in the bag at her feet. Pulling out the silver box, she looked over the various tools. If the panel was soft enough that she could feel the space then there had to be a way to open it. Grabbing a steel prybar out of the bottom of the toolbox, she carefully began to work along the edges of the metal where reach panel fit into place.

Upon closer inspection, she realized that the metal had once been twisted off and molded back into place, but she couldn’t exactly imagine that Oliver would have done that. Hearing a pop, Dinah smiled as the panel came loose. Sliding it to the ground, she was shocked to see a DVD case lying against one of the electrical wires. The case could have been the cause of the problem, she assumed as she reached for the DVD.

Looking at the unmarked object, she shrugged and replaced the panel on the wall, giving it a few taps till it fit back into place. Pressing the button for the lift, Dinah grinned as it began to move, opening a few moments later to the penthouse apartment. Grabbing her bags, she stepped out and looked around.

“Ollie?” she asked, setting her stuff down. Looking at the DVD in her hands, Dinah couldn’t help her curiosity. Heading back to the entertainment area, she shrugged out of her coat before putting it into the DVD player. Sitting down on the couch, she pressed play, confusion marring her features as suddenly a slightly younger Clark Kent appeared in front of the camera. His face was sad and full of pain.

“I don’t think words can make up for how sorry I am right now,” the brunette began to confess. “You trusted me, loved me and I couldn’t be man enough to admit to you what was going on. I told you that I felt trapped and then there was Julia,” he said. Dinah watched the young man seem to let go of a deep breath.

“The truth is that I’ve never felt trapped and there was never any Julia. I created this elaborate ruse to end things with you because I didn’t want you to have to wait around . . . wait around for me to finish my training,” Clark continued.

“Because that’s where I’m going. I’m not going backpacking or to venture around the world for my independence. I’m going to become the man that my people, that my planet meant for me to be. The truth is that all I want to do is be with you . . . all I want is to marry you like we’d talked about. That’s all I’ve ever wanted Oliver,” he said and Dinah couldn’t stop the gasp that escaped her lips, hand rising to cover her mouth in shock. Fumbling for the remote control, she stopped the DVD, rising to take it out and put it back into its case. Clutching the disc in her hands, she watched as they began to shake.

Her Ollie and Clark Kent. It all made sense now. Why Oliver was so uncomfortable around Clark, why he had been shocked to see the byline. Oliver and Clark had been lovers . . . not just lovers, but stable, committed partners.

“Dinah? You home?” came Oliver’s voice and she quickly stood, sliding the DVD into her purse. Looking down at the ring on her finger, her gaze trailed to her purse once more. Frowning, she quickly stood and wiped the tears that had gathered in her eyes.

“Yeah I’m back here,” she called out as brightly as possible. Suddenly he appeared in the doorway, a smile gracing his handsome features.

“Hey beautiful, what are you up to in here?” he asked, sliding his arms around her waist as his head dropped for a long lingering kiss. Dinah smiled as he pulled away.

“I was just clearing some space to wrap Ray’s birthday gift,” she lied, looking over at the bags on the chair.

“Want some help?” he asked and she nodded.

“Yeah, I’m just going to put my purse away and I’ll be right back,” she told him. Oliver nodded as she leaned down picking up her purse. Gripping it tightly, she gave him a quick kiss before retreating out of the room. Turning back for a moment, she watched as he began to clear off the coffee table for room to wrap. Looking at her purse once more, she straightened and brought it over to the closet, securely putting it in the back as usual before closing the door.

Placing her hand against the door, she sighed. What am I doing, she thought. Inwardly she had a feeling that Oliver had no idea about this DVD. Her mind and her heart began to debate, quickly snapped back to reality by her fiancé’s voice.

“Dinah can you grab the tape, I think it’s in the drawer by the fridge!” Straightening, Dinah nodded.

“Yeah I got it.”

What am I going to do? Clark thought he could mature over the whole situation but just being so close to Oliver had done nothing except bring up feelings that he longed to forget. Three years apart had done nothing to kill his feelings. If anything, they were stronger than before.

That made everything worse because Oliver had clearly moved on and was happy with Dinah. The fact that he was mature enough to try to bring peace between them, despite the fact that it was Clark who broke his heart just proved Oliver was over him.

Somehow, he would have to manage . . . he could do this. He could act mature around Oliver at the meetings and their missions. At least he hoped he could. It really didn’t seem as if he had a choice. Besides, all Oliver wanted was a truce so working together wouldn’t be awkward. Oliver wasn’t extending his hand in friendship or anything so he wouldn’t have to hang out with him outside the League.

It would be fine.

Pushing thoughts of Oliver out of his mind, he picked up the phone to call Chloe back. He knew she would have questions and he was hoping he would be able to get some advice as well.

His best friend picked up on the second ring. “Sullivan.”

“Hey Chlo,” he said.

“Clark,” Chloe’s tone betrayed surprise. “I didn’t expect your call so soon.”

“Are you busy right now?” he questioned. He realized that she had her own life and wanted to avoid bugging her with his problems as much as possible.

“I’m free,” Chloe assured him.

“Sorry I cut you off before,” Clark apologized.

“It’s okay,” Chloe replied. “You did sound off though . . . want to tell me what’s going on?” He couldn’t hold back a smile at her words. She knew him too well.

“Actually,” Clark admitted, “I had a visitor . . . Oliver stopped by.”

Chloe gasped. “Oliver? What did he want?”

“He actually wanted to talk,” Clark said. “I ran into him a little while ago but at that time, I had to leave to go save lives.”

“You never told me you saw him,” Chloe interrupted.

“I know, I just didn’t know when to,” Clark explained, “It was really awkward . . . it was the Monday after the weekend we hung out . . . at that time, he didn’t know I was Superman. But he found out at the recent League meeting so he came over to settle things.”

“And?” Chloe persisted.

“He said he wanted to call a truce,” Clark continued. “Said that just because we were working together in the League, things didn’t have to be weird . . . he said that he could be professional, despite our past.”

“That’s really mature of him,” Chloe commented. “And you agreed?”

“Of course,” Clark responded. “How could I not? I mean, we are both working for a common goal, Chlo . . . I can handle being around him for the greater good.”

“Is that all you talked about?” Chloe questioned. “A truce?”

“Yeah,” Clark said, “It was a pretty short conversation. Why?”

“You didn’t talk about anything that happened three years ago?” Chloe asked. He could practically hear her frowning. “Don’t you think that before you two can have a clear future, you should settle the past?”

“Chloe, he didn’t ask,” Clark told her. “And I don’t see what’s the point in bringing up how much I hurt him . . . he’s moved on. I doubt he cares.”

“I think he cares more than you think, Clark,” Chloe said, her tone softening. “I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty but you weren’t here for these past three years. You have no idea how much he suffered before he got back on his feet.”

Clark’s throat tightened at Chloe’s words. “I just . . .”

“I know Clark,” Chloe filled in, “I know. But he doesn’t. Even if he has moved on, he can’t really close that chapter of his life . . . not when there are so many questions that remain unanswered. Perhaps, if you tell him everything, you two can finally have a clean start. If he knows the truth, the two of you can start rebuilding that trust that we know is still missing. There may not be romance in your future but at the very least, you could be good friends.”

“Impossible,” Clark said softly. Hearing Chloe about to protest, he went on. “Chloe, look, if I tell him what happened, everything will just get worse. This truce we have will vanish . . . he’s going to be furious.”

“Of course he is!” Chloe exclaimed. “He’s going to be mad, he has a right to be . . . but he deserves the truth. At first, it will be even worse, sure, but your friendship will be better off for it.”

“And your friendship?” Clark asked. “How will that turn out?”

“What?” Chloe was clearly not expecting that one.

“How much of the truth do you want me to tell him Chloe?” Clark asked. “Everything? Because if everything comes out, then he’ll know that you were the one helping me . . . that you were Julia. He already doesn’t trust me but you’re his friend . . . what will he think?”

“Clark,” Chloe said, but he could hear the underlying worry in her voice. She knew where he was going.

“Even if I omit that part,” Clark said, “He’ll know that I got help. Oliver knows me, Chloe and he would figure out that there was no way I could pull of something this devious all by myself. All he’ll do is ask more questions . . . and it will eventually lead back to you. I can take his anger, I can take his yelling . . . but I never want him to blame you for the choices I made.”

“He may not be angry with me,” Chloe said weakly.

“No, he’ll be upset,” Clark countered. “There’s no doubt about it. Chloe, you’ve been his support system for the past three years and you’re the best woman at his wedding. He considers you one of his best friends . . . to find out that you actually had a part to play in his heartbreak will devastate him. And Oliver knows me but I know Oliver too.” He swallowed hard. “He’ll think that you were his friend out of guilt . . . out of pity.”

“I didn’t do that though,” Chloe said frantically. “I do really care about him . . .”

“I know that Chloe,” Clark interjected. “But look at it from Oliver’s point of view . . . do you really think he’s going to see it like that?”

“No,” Chloe said, her voice barely a whisper. “He’ll hate me.” He could hear the tears in her voice and he was wracked with guilt.

“I’m so sorry,” Clark said sadly. “I’m sorry I ever got you involved in this idiotic plan . . . you went through as much pain as he did.”

“Everyone involved suffered, Clark,” Chloe told him. “And no apologies are needed . . . I agreed, didn’t I?” She paused. “You know, I’m all for the truth but I think this time it may just cause more damage than good.”

“I’m in agreement,” Clark responded. “So we don’t tell him anything?”

“We don’t tell him anything,” Chloe confirmed. “I did this for three years . . . I can keep doing this.”

“Thanks Chloe,” he said gratefully.

“So what else is new with you?” Chloe said, forced cheerfulness in her voice.

And he fell into easy conversation with his best friend, both pretending that a certain blonde billionaire wasn’t in the back of their minds the entire time.

Chapter 9
Tags: category: slash, collie, fandom: smallville, fanfic, ship: clark/oliver, story: sober
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