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Sober Chapter 9

It's been a while, yes, I know but here's an update at last! I hope it was worth the wait! Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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 9

A week . . . it had been a week since Clark had called to tell her that Oliver wanted a truce. The last seven days had sent Chloe Sullivan through a jumble of emotions. When she first heard that Clark hadn’t spoken a word of what happened three years ago, she had been upset. But then Clark had brought up his concerns . . . and as much as she hated to admit it, she knew they were valid.

“What a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive.” Chloe sighed. Wasn’t that the truth in this case? There was no way that they could get out of this situation without some major repercussions.

Oliver would be furious if he discovered the truth . . . and all that anger would not just be directed at Clark. Her best friend had been correct in assuming that Oliver would feel betrayed by her too. And who could blame him?

Chloe wished she could talk to someone . . . anyone about these feelings. But she couldn’t. Clark was having his own issues and Bruce didn’t know anything about Oliver and Clark’s past relationship much less the plan she participated in to help break them up.

Somehow, she managed to get through the workweek without raising any suspicions. Bruce had been watching her cautiously a few times but her boyfriend respected her privacy enough to know that if she wanted to talk, she would.

More than three years had passed since that fateful day in which Chloe agreed to help one Clark Kent break the heart of one Oliver Queen. And she had regretted her decision every day since.

Over the past few years, when it came to Oliver, she dealt with the situation by taking it one day at a time. The months after Clark had left, she had concentrated on bringing Oliver out of his depression. And it hadn’t been easy.

Chloe watched the clock strike midnight, as she waited in the living room of the Queen mansion in Star City, California. She had been idle too long and now, she could no longer turn a blind eye to what was happening.

Clark had been gone for almost three months and Oliver Queen was surely but steadily self-destructing. She promised her best friend that she’d take care of him but with her move to Washington, she had been busy. By the time she got on her feet and saw what was going on, she had been horrified.

It had taken seeing Oliver Queen in an interview to see how bad it had gotten. Sure, he looked as handsome as ever but one glance into his eyes and Chloe could tell how emotionally drained he was.

Now, she could only pray that she wasn’t too late.

The minutes passed by and Chloe sighed, growing more impatient and worried every second. She knew where Oliver was . . . he was out stopping crime as the Green Arrow.

Which did nothing to ease her tension. Because she had read the newspapers . . . the Green Arrow had been taking more risks lately. While Oliver Queen was rumored to be completely involved in his business and hardly taking a break, the Green Arrow was spotted doing more and more dangerous things.

It saddened her to see how Oliver was destroying himself and she knew that it had to do with a certain green-eyed brunette who was off fulfilling his destiny.

But even if the papers were exaggerating, she knew that the League wouldn’t. She had spoken with Bart, Victor and AC . . . all three of them had confirmed the rumors. Oliver had not been himself for months and the boys were clearly worried about their friend.

Whenever one of them brought it up with them, Oliver refused to give any answers, claiming that everything was just fine. That was obviously a lie. The blonde was quickly closing up and building his shell . . . that much was obvious.

Chloe couldn’t allow it to continue any more. She felt sickened that she contributed to Oliver’s current state but it was more than that. Oliver Queen was a good person, a kind person . . . and she couldn’t let him ruin himself. He had too much going for him.

So she decided to make the trip to Star City to see the man himself. She was desperately trying to stay awake but in DC, it was past 3 am and she was struggling to keep her eyes opened.

She didn’t even realize that she had fallen asleep until she felt gentle arms around her, picking her up. The sudden movement caused her to awaken and she found herself in Oliver’s arms. He smiled warmly at her as he carried her and they entered what Chloe presumed to be one of the many guest bedrooms. Oliver placed her on the bed and started to leave.

“Wait,” she said, sitting up. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep . . . don’t go yet.”

“Chloe,” he said gently. “I don’t know why you’re here but it’s late . . . whatever you have to talk to me about can wait until the morning. Get some rest.”

Her heart broke at the sadness that marred his handsome features. If she thought the pictures were bad, it was nothing compared to the reality.

The brown eyes that once sparkled were faded and Oliver’s golden complexion was pale and tired. Normal people wouldn’t have noticed but she had seen him at his best and this clearly wasn’t it. He looked so much older than his 29 years.

“Oliver,” she whispered

“Get some sleep Chloe,” he advised.

“You get some sleep too,” she retorted. He raised an eyebrow. “Can you honestly tell me that you’ve been sleeping?” she added in a challenging voice. “Because it certainly doesn’t look like it.”

“Chloe,” he began but she was quick to cut him off.

“If I have to sleep, you do too,” she demanded. “Either we both sleep or we’re talking about what I came here for right now.”

Oliver pursed his lips together but he knew that arguing with Chloe Sullivan was pointless. Especially when she was as determined as she was at that moment.

“All right,” he agreed. “I still maintain that I get enough sleep . . . but I will go to bed right now.”

“Promise?” she asked. “Do I have to come and check on you?”

“Promise,” Oliver said, chuckling. “Good night Chloe.”

She snuggled into the soft sheets and beamed. “Good night, Oliver.”

Waiting until he switched off the lights, she rested her head on the pillow. It had been a long day, the events finally taking their toll and within minutes, she was fast asleep.

Despite how tired she had been, the jet lag took over, waking her up around 8 am. She tried to go back to sleep but found she was unable to. So she got up and was surprised to see her bag sitting by her bedside. ‘Oh Oliver,’ she thought, with a smile.

There was a bathroom attached to the room and she quickly got dressed. When she went downstairs, she didn’t know exactly what she was supposed to do. Finding the dining room, she looked around, trying to locate the kitchen.

“Ms Sullivan?” a voice came from her right, startling her. Turning she saw a well dressed man standing there, holding a cup of coffee. He handed it to her and she accepted it.

“Thank you,” she replied. Taking a sip, she smiled. “How did you know the way I take my coffee?”

“Mr. Queen told us,” he was quick to inform her. “Can I get you anything else?”

“I don’t want to be any trouble,” Chloe responded.

He gave her a small smile. “It’s no trouble at all.”

“What does Oliver usually take in the morning?” Chloe asked.

“Mr. Queen usually just takes coffee,” he said.

“He doesn’t have breakfast?” Chloe asked. The man shook his head and she frowned. “Well that’s going to change today.” Remembering Clark once telling her Oliver loved strawberry pancakes, that is exactly what she requested.

The man whose name she later found to be Geoffrey, left, complying with her wishes.

Smiling, she took a seat at the dining table. Fifteen minutes later, Oliver joined her, a surprised look coming over his face at seeing her already up.

“Good morning,” she greeted him.

“Good morning,” he replied, taking a seat near her. “Did you sleep okay?”

“I slept fine,” she told him. “Did you sleep?”

He smirked. “Yes, mother, I slept.”

“Good,” she replied, satisfied. She would’ve said more but that was when the food arrived. Oliver was taken aback when a stack of pancakes was placed in front of him, along with his usual cup of coffee.

“I didn’t,” he started.

“But I did,” Chloe interrupted. She turned to Geoffrey. “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome,” he replied.

“Chloe,” Oliver started.

“I know you don’t eat breakfast,” Chloe interjected. “And that is wrong . . . you can’t go skipping meals, Oliver.”

“Chloe, I don’t know if you remember, but I can take care of myself,” Oliver said calmly.

“You may be able to take care of yourself,” Chloe argued. “But you’re not doing a very good job of it. Don’t try to protest . . . you’ve lost weight Oliver. It’s not healthy . . . I’m putting an end to what you’re doing to yourself.”

“Have you come here to babysit me?” Oliver quizzed. “Make sure I take care of myself?”

“Exactly,” Chloe confirmed, taking a bit of her pancakes.

“I’m doing fine,” Oliver insisted.

“No, you’re self-destructing,” Chloe countered. “We can all see it . . . the press, your team and even me, all the way in DC can tell. Now eat your pancakes and we’re going to talk later.” He opened his mouth to argue but she glared at him, effectively shutting him up.

She had won and they both knew it.

They had a peaceful breakfast after which, they settled into the living room.

“All right, Chloe,” Oliver began. “Why are you here?”

“I’m here because I’m worried about you Oliver,” Chloe answered. “What’s going on with you?”

“Nothing’s going on with me,” Oliver said, “I’m great.”

“You’re lying,” Chloe retorted. “You’ve been pouring yourself into your business, you hardly sleep, you don’t eat properly. And I’ve read about the Green Arrow’s latest escapades . . . tell me, Oliver, are you trying to get yourself killed?”

“First of all,” Oliver started. “I do run a company . . . and I’m doing what it takes to keep it successful. As for the Green Arrow, the crime is crazy Chloe . . . forgive me if I am doing whatever it takes to make the streets safer.”

“Oliver, your company is booming,” Chloe said, trying to soften her voice. “But you’re behaving like you’re the only person there . . . you have employees you know. And the Green Arrow can only do so much . . . these risks you’re taking . . . I’m scared for you Oliver.”

Oliver swallowed hard. “You don’t need to be scared for me, Chloe . . .”

“Yes, I do,” Chloe told him. “Because you obviously don’t care for yourself . . . and I’m pretty sure I know the reason why.”

“I didn’t realize you were a mind reader,” Oliver tried to joke, but it fell flat.

“Oliver,” Chloe said slowly, unsure how to approach the topic. “I know that . . . I know it’s been hard for you since . . . since the breakup.”

Oliver stiffened, his expression unchanging but the pain he was feeling shone in his eyes.

“People break up all the time,” Oliver said.

“Not like this they don’t,” Chloe reminded him. “Oliver . . . I know you’ve been trying to find Clark and that you’re not having any success.”

That was something else the team had told her. Oliver Queen was spending time and resources trying to track down her best friend. Of course, he hadn’t found anything. Clark was long gone . . . and he couldn’t be found. But Oliver didn’t know that.

“Yes, well his sudden disappearance made me worry,” Oliver said, the telltale lie written all over his face.

“I’m sure he’s fine,” Chloe said. “But we’re focusing on you . . . I know you really loved him, Oliver.”

“I did love him,” Oliver agreed. “He, unfortunately, did not love me as much. We broke up . . . and I have moved on.”

“Then why are you expending resources to find him?” Chloe questioned. It made her sad to see how much their plan had worked . . . Oliver had no idea how much Clark loved him. This was all so wrong.

“I just . . .” Oliver trialed off, clearly caught off guard. ‘He wasn’t expecting these questions,’ Chloe realized.

“It’s okay to hurt Oliver,” Chloe told him. “Clark hurt you . . . I know that. He may be my best friend but I care about you too.”

“You don’t have to act concerned about me,” Oliver said.

Chloe’s eyes narrowed and she moved from her seat to the one next to Oliver. “I’m not acting concerned . . . this is not an act. Oliver, we may have met through Clark but over these past few years, I’ve grown to consider you a friend. And right now, my friend is in pain and I hate that. Let me in, Oliver . . . let me help you. You don’t have to do this alone.”

That was all it took. Oliver’s cool façade cracked and his brown eyes shimmered with tears.

“Why Chloe?” he asked brokenly. “Why couldn’t he love me enough?”

Chloe’s throat tightened. “Oh Oliver . . .”

“I loved him so much,” Oliver said, his voice barely a whisper. “It was forever for me . . . I wanted to marry him . . . spend my life with him. I would’ve made him so happy. But no, he chose his freedom . . . his independence . . . Julia. I hate her, Chloe . . . I’ve never hated someone as much as I hate her.”

“I’m so sorry, Oliver,” Chloe said.

“Don’t apologize,” he commanded. “It wasn’t your fault . . .”

‘If you only knew.’ But she didn’t say that aloud.

“Didn’t he ever love me?” Oliver continued, oblivious to her thoughts.

“He did,” Chloe responded. “I know he did.”

“Then what changed?” Oliver questioned, meeting her gaze. “What made him stop loving me?” The tears that were filling his eyes finally spilled over. And Chloe couldn’t stand it anymore.

She pulled Oliver into her embrace and after a moment, he hugged her back. Stroking his back, she let him cry in her arms, each tear stabbing her in the heart.

“Why Chloe?” Oliver asked, through his tears, “Why wasn’t I good enough?”

“I’m so sorry, Oliver,” Chloe kept repeating.

“I loved him,” Oliver went on. “I loved him . . .”

And at that moment, Chloe Sullivan vowed that she would be the one to heal Oliver. She would mend his broken heart and she would help him move on. If it was the last thing she did.

She had managed to keep that promise. With her help, Oliver started to heal. He was reluctant to begin dating again but she insisted that he was still one of the world’s most eligible bachelors and he couldn’t isolate himself.

Introducing him to Dinah had been hard but she had met the pretty brunette and instantly, she knew they’d get along. Chloe was amused to find out that Dinah Lance was none other than the Black Canary . . . and she knew it was a good thing. Since she fought crime, she would understand Oliver’s need to do the same thing.

Everything had worked out well . . . Oliver had come to her when he was ready to propose. And as much as she hated doing it, she encouraged him. Dinah said yes like she knew she would and Oliver asked her to be the best woman, which took her by surprise but she accepted.

They were all living their lives and that was when Clark had decided to show up. It didn’t affect her much, other than the happiness she felt at having her best friend home. But she had no idea what it meant for Oliver . . . Oliver, who after 3 years was face-to-face with his former lover. The same lover who had caused him so much heartache.

With them working together, she knew that he’d be mature, hence him approaching Clark for a truce. But that was on the outside . . . what was going on inside?

She got her answers soon enough. It was in the form of a phone call from Oliver, who wanted to run some things by her and get some opinions for the wedding. It seemed he was back in Metropolis. It was the weekend so they agreed to meet for lunch at the penthouse.

Oliver told her he would pick up food so she should just show up. Even then, she was a bit nervous . . . she hadn’t seen Oliver since Clark had returned. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be too weird.

Exactly at noon, Chloe entered the penthouse and glanced around. She should be used to this. Calm down, Sullivan . . . don’t lose your cool. You can do this. This is Oliver . . . he’s one of your best friends. Just because Clark is back doesn’t mean that anything will change between the two of you.

But with the promise that she made Clark just the week before, agreeing to continue their stream of lies, she wasn’t so sure.

“Hey Chloe.” Oliver’s voice snapped her back to reality and she smiled at the blonde, who was walking toward her.

“Hi Oliver,” she replied. “How’s it going?”

“Not bad,” Oliver said, smiling. “And yourself?”

“I’m good,” Chloe told him.

“Lunch is ready,” Oliver said. “I cooked up something . . .”

“Impressive, Queen,” Chloe teased. “Let’s hope you don’t poison us.”

He mock pouted. “I will have you know I’m an excellent chef.”

“That you are,” she agreed. She had prior experience with his cooking and she knew he was good. She liked to joke around with him though.

“Glad to see you agree,” Oliver said smugly. “Now come along . . . we’ll have lunch and then I can get your opinion on some stuff.”

“Sounds good,” Chloe agreed and followed him to the dining room.

Though she was still slightly nervous, Oliver’s warm reception had helped ease her worries.

Somehow, she would have to bring up the topic of Clark . . . but it wouldn’t be easy.

Just concentrate on lunch and the wedding plans . . . if he doesn’t bring it up, maybe you shouldn’t either.

Maybe that was a good idea. Why stir up trouble unnecessarily? If Oliver didn’t show any signs of being bothered, then she should just go along with it.

Oliver was completely over Clark . . . he had a fiancée who he loved and he was living his life just fine.

Then why did she have a feeling something bad was going to happen?

Chapter 10
Tags: category: slash, collie, fandom: smallville, fanfic, ship: clark/oliver, story: sober
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