Pairing/Characters: Clark/Oliver, 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
Over lunch, they stuck to superficial topics, such as Chloe’s job and Oliver’s work. Clark’s name didn’t come up once and for that, Chloe was relieved.
It’s too bad that it was only meant to be a temporary relief. After lunch, Oliver and she were talking about some decisions he was trying to make for the wedding.
“I don’t know, Chloe,” Oliver was saying. “I mean, I know I want to get her wedding ring engraved … but I can’t think of what to say.”
“You?” Chloe teased. “Mr. Eloquence himself? Who are you and what have you done with the real Oliver Queen?”
Oliver chuckled. “You’re funny … but I’m being serious.”
“Oliver, just speak from your heart,” Chloe advised.
“If it were only that easy,” Oliver sighed. “I want something meaningful … something romantic but at the same time it has to show what she means to me.”
“Ollie, it sounds like you’re thinking too hard,” Chloe stated. “Stop putting all this pressure on yourself to create the perfect words …”
“I guess you’re right,” Oliver conceded.
“I’m always right,” Chloe told him, beaming. “It’s about time you accepted it.”
“Of course, your highness,” he joked. “What ever was I thinking?”
“No clue,” she said, shrugging. “But that’s okay … at least you came to your senses … better late than never!”
Oliver burst into laughter and she tried to remain serious but one look at his face and she lost control too.
When they both settled down, she smiled warmly at the older man.
“Oliver,” she said cautiously. “Why did you really want to see me?”
“What do you mean Chloe?” Oliver asked, looking puzzled.
“You honestly didn’t ask me to come here to help you pick out an engraving,” Chloe said pointedly. Picking up and waving a brochure, she added, “Or to help you plan a surprise honeymoon. What’s going on Oliver?” His confused expression didn’t change and she knew that she was going to have to be more specific.
“Ollie,” she continued, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine,” Oliver said. “You’re my best woman … I just wanted your opinion on some stuff. Thought it’d be nice to spend some time together.”
“Aahh,” she said, the truth dawning on her. “Oliver … you know that nothing between us has changed right?”
Oliver ducked his head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about Chloe.”
“You think that just because Clark is back, we’re never going to see each other,” Chloe realized. “And that’s as far from the truth as it gets.”
“I wasn’t thinking that,” Oliver said, but there was a red tinge to his golden skin.
“You were,” Chloe said slowly. “I know what you’re thinking Oliver …”
“Forgot about the mind-reading,” Oliver quipped.
“I wasn’t your friend these past few years because Clark wasn’t around,” Chloe began. “We’re friends, Oliver and yes, I won’t deny I’m thrilled that Clark’s returned. But his coming back doesn’t change the fact that we’re friends. You don’t need to come with an excuse to see me … just call and say ‘hi Chloe, want to hang out?’ and I’ll be there.”
He gave her a half-smile. “I appreciate that.”
“We’re friends,” Chloe repeated firmly. “Don’t ever doubt that, okay?” He nodded. She hesitated for a moment but then asked the question that she had been dying to ask. “Ollie … are you okay … now that he’s back?”
Brown eyes met hazel and Chloe knew that Oliver hadn’t been expecting her to ask that.
“Chloe,” he replied. “I’m … I’m perfectly okay with Clark coming back.”
“He told me that you came to him for a truce,” Chloe said, trying to find the right words so as to not reveal too much. It was a delicate situation and she needed to frame her questions accordingly.
“We have to work together,” Oliver told her. “We’re both trying to protect the world … I can’t let our past interfere.”
“I know it was a difficult move for you to make,” Chloe noted. “And I want you to know that I’m really proud of you for making it.”
“Thanks Chloe,” Oliver said, smiling gratefully. He shook his head. “It wasn’t easy … I was definitely caught off guard when he revealed himself at the League meeting.”
“You didn’t know before?” Chloe questioned.
“Nope,” Oliver replied. He frowned. “Did you?”
“Yeah,” Chloe admitted. “I knew the second I saw that Daily Planet article.”
“I guess fooling you is impossible, isn’t it?” Oliver joked and while she saw an emotion she couldn’t quite recognize flicker in his brown eyes, she chose to ignore it and just grinned.
“Not when it comes to Clark, no,” she laughed. “In fact, Bruce was the one who showed me that article.” She rolled her eyes. “And that was how I found out that he had returned.”
Oliver seemed surprised. “You didn’t know before that?”
“I didn’t,” Chloe responded wryly.
“I could just imagine your expression,” Oliver commented.
“I was shocked,” Chloe agreed.
“I’m guessing Clark got an earful?” Oliver questioned.
“Yeah,” Chloe replied. “I went to see him that weekend and I definitely teased him for not calling me immediately …” She sighed happily.
“You must’ve been relieved too,” Oliver suggested. She met his gaze, confused.
“I mean,” Oliver added, “You were okay in the beginning … but after Clark had been gone for two years, I could see that you were getting anxious.”
How am I supposed to respond to that? “I was just concerned,” she managed to say, “I mean … I missed him. Two years without a word is a long time.”
Oliver’s eyes pierced into her. “Yeah,” Oliver agreed after a moment. “I mean … not knowing where he was must’ve concerned you.”
No, I knew where he was … I just didn’t know why he was there so long. She bit her lip but the signs that a lie was forming on her lips must’ve been evident in her eyes. Because Ollie’s eyes widened.
“You knew where he was.”
It was not a question but a statement.
“Of course I did,” she lied quickly. “I mean … he was out finding himself … everyone knew that, Oliver.”
“It’s more than that though,” Oliver noted. “I mean … that’s what everyone else knew … but is it the truth?”
“Would I lie to you?” Chloe asked, forcing a smile.
“To protect Clark?” Oliver asked, raising an eyebrow. “Without a doubt.”
She opened her mouth to protest but she closed it, realizing that it would be futile to protest. They both knew she would go to the ends of the Earth for Clark Kent. Lying was just the least that she would do for her best friend.
“Oliver,” she tried.
“Now,” Oliver said smoothly, “If Clark was just finding himself, it wouldn’t matter how long it took, right? I mean … he’s just traveling and we both know Clark is more than capable of taking care of himself.” He gave her a hard stare.
“However,” Oliver continued, “If he was doing something else, which caused you to do be worried if he took longer than you expected he would … that’d be a different story.”
“You’re being silly,” Chloe interrupted.
“Am I?” Oliver wanted to know.
“Of course,” Chloe said, regaining her composure. “Clark was out exploring the world … nothing more, nothing less.”
“Chloe,” Oliver started.
“Ollie,” Chloe said, “Please.” She stared at him imploringly. “Please don’t make me do this …”
“So you are lying,” Oliver surmised.
“All I can tell you is that he was finding himself,” Chloe said, a desperation in her eyes. “I … I’m sorry but I promised him …”
Oliver’s expression softened. “Okay, Chloe … I’ll drop it.” He hesitated. “But he’s okay?”
“He’s great,” Chloe replied, with a small smile. There was a slight warmth in his eyes but it disappeared just as quick as it came.
“Then that’s all that matters,” Oliver said finally. He cleared his throat. “So what do you think about the honeymoon brochures?”
“The honeymoon brochures,” Chloe repeated, “Right …” With that, they fell into easy conversation about anything other than Clark Kent. But even while he wasn’t being discussed, he stood between them like a brick wall.
What are you hiding, Chloe? Oliver, despite agreeing to drop the subject, couldn’t get it out of his mind, even as Chloe helped him make plans.
Over the course of Clark’s disappearance, he had seen Chloe get more and more worried. Especially at that vital two year mark. She had tried to play it cool, pretended in front of him that she was fine … most of the time, she didn’t even bring up Clark’s name in front of Oliver.
But he knew … it was the little things. Clark’s return had relieved a great stress within one Chloe Sullivan.
Now if he could only find out why she was so freaked out. What on Earth could Clark have been doing that inspired so much fear within the blonde?
Unfortunately, he figured that he would never find out. Chloe was very calm about the whole thing so he knew she had the answers he longed for. Clark must’ve told her all the details of what he had been doing over the past three years.
A question he had asked but never gotten the answer to. The ache in his heart proved that no matter how many times he said that Clark Kent meant nothing to him, it was obviously a lie.
To avoid raising suspicions, he went on as nothing had happened and Chloe was clearly too happy to buy into that act. But his thoughts never strayed far away from the topic. Even after Chloe was long gone, his thoughts were completely devoted to Clark, Chloe and the past three years.
Making him wonder … would he ever really get over Clark?
This is crazy. Clark was still trying to catch up with all that he had missed in this three year absence. His first findings were that Lionel Luthor was dead. Gunned down by a hired assailant. The man had never been caught and the murder had gone unsolved.
But there was no doubt in Clark’s mind to who hired the man and his mystery disappearance afterwards. Lex is getting better at covering up his messes.
Lex, who was now the head of LuthorCorp, which he had renamed to LexCorp and despite all of Lionel’s threats, still the sole heir to the Luthor fortune. Coincidence? He didn’t think so.
Proving it was impossible … people had tried and failed but Clark knew it in his heart to be true … Lex had had his father murdered.
There had been plenty of motive … Lex had never had a good relationship with his father. The senior Luthor had taken great pleasure in taunting his son and putting him through a stream of never ending tests and games.
Not to mention that Clark was certain Lex knew that Lionel had more information about Clark than he ever let on to Lex, which must’ve caused a great amount of jealousy and bitterness in the other man. Clark knew that Lionel showered more fatherly attention on him, due to him being Jor-El’s vessel, than he ever did on Lex.
Clark didn’t ask for the attention nor did it make him very comfortable the majority of the time but he knew that Lex would wonder what Clark did to get the care he always wanted from his father.
In retrospect, he pitied the bald billionaire … he regretted what had come of their friendship. He was young, a teenager who had just found out he was an alien … he hadn’t always made the best decisions. Lex was pretty messed up too … together, they were an odd pair. They both made mistakes and their friendship had come to ruins because of it.
Even while they were fighting, Clark mourned for the man that he believed Lex could’ve been. But those times were gone.
He was older now, more accepting of who he was and could look back on the past more clearly. Lex Luthor was no longer the man he once called a best friend … he had definitely gone over the deep end.
The fact that he had his father killed sent shivers up and down Clark’s spine. He didn’t even want to see what the older man was capable of now.
From what he had discovered, Lois had gone through great lengths to expose Lex on illegal activities but she had never had any solid proof to get Lex in trouble. Figures.
Lex had always been an adversary … Ollie’s team had been taking him down for years. But now, he wondered how much worse he had gotten. This new Lex Luthor was someone he was not used to and he fully prepared to find out everything he could to make sure he didn’t cause any real damage.
The Justice League would be a great assistance in that task. He had only been to one meeting and he already liked the League … he was glad he had taken Bruce’s offer. To work with people who had similar goals and a desire to protect humanity made him smile. Even if it does include working with Ollie.
Oliver … Clark swallowed hard at the pain that came up whenever he thought of his former lover. Three years later and his heart was still firmly in the hands of one Oliver Queen. It was frustrating that he couldn’t move on yet not at all surprising.
Three years ago, he had proclaimed, at least to himself, that he would always love Oliver. It seemed that he was right.
Needing fresh air all of a sudden, he decided to leave his apartment. It was nice to walk around downtown Metropolis. He thought he was wandering around aimlessly but his feet apparently had a mind of their own because he found himself stopping front of an all too familiar sign.
A café … but not any café. It was the same one that Oliver and Clark used to frequent together. It was also the same café where he knew Lois told Oliver about what she saw that night at The Black Rose.
Taking a deep breath, he entered and was hit with memories the second he stepped inside.
“Oliver,” Clark protested, “I don’t even drink coffee.” His boyfriend just smirked at him as they went to order their drinks. And Clark couldn’t help the smile that came up at that word … boyfriend.
It had been two months since Oliver had kissed Clark at his birthday party and Clark had never been happier. It was tough, because Clark was in school and Ollie had to go back to Star City so quickly. But both of them had wanted to give their relationship a shot anyway.
Now Clark was on summer vacation and Oliver had decided that he would work from his penthouse in Metropolis. They were still busy, with Oliver’s company taking a lot of his time and Clark doing an internship at The Daily Planet. But they made time for each other and being in the same city made it easier.
“I still don’t understand how you could be best friends with Chloe and Lois and not be addicted to coffee,” Oliver commented, effectively snapping him out of his thoughts.
“Well, the caffeine really doesn’t have an effect on me,” Clark reminded him, with a grin.
“Even better,” Oliver replied, with a smile. Seeing Clark’s skeptical expression, he added, “Trust me, Clark, this place is really good. And you like chocolate right? Order something mocha.”
The blonde looked so eager that Clark couldn’t bring himself to dampen the mood. So he went along with him, and even let Oliver order for him.
When they were seated with their drinks, Oliver insisted Clark take a sip first. He did … and was surprised to find that he really liked it.
“This is good,” he told him.
Oliver smiled smugly, taking a sip of his own beverage. “Told you so.”
Clark rolled his eyes playfully. “Yes, you were right.”
“Aren’t I always?” Oliver questioned, a teasing smile on his face.
Clark chuckled. “Maybe in your head … sure.”
Oliver pouted, making Clark laugh again.
“So,” Clark finally said, “Want to tell me the reason for this little outing?”
“I didn’t realize I needed an excuse to see my boyfriend,” Oliver joked.
“You don’t,” Clark agreed. “But you seemed really bent upon going out for coffee … it was a little strange. I know you and I know that there is a reason behind this so why don’t you just tell me now?”
“You know me huh?” Ollie asked, with a smile.
“Better than anyone,” Clark responded.
“Yeah, you really do,” Oliver said happily.
“Does this mean I get the explanation?” Clark questioned, raising an eyebrow.
Oliver nodded. “Don’t you always?” He paused before continuing, “Clark, to tell you the truth, I don’t have much experience with relationships.” Seeing Clark’s puzzled expression, he went on. “I have had sexual experience, with both men and women, sure. But as far as real relationships go, I’m still new.”
Clark was surprised at this little revelation.
“I mean,” Oliver said, chuckling, “I went to an all-boys school … and then I’ve always jumped from city to city, country to country … not much time to commit to an actual relationship. I’ve had girlfriends … but nothing that lasted more than a month. Lois was my first real relationship and we both saw how that turned out.” He stopped and met Clark’s gaze. “I don’t have any regrets there though,” he added hastily.
“I never thought that,” Clark assured him, reaching a hand forward to squeeze his lover’s.
“Now, with you … it’s so different,” Oliver admitted. A blush flooded his golden cheeks. “It may sound silly but I wanted to do “couple-like” things with you. Sitting around in a café, just spending time together sounded nice.” Clark beamed, his heart fluttering at Ollie’s sincere words.
“It is nice,” Clark told him. “And what you’re feeling is not silly at all.”
The two of them exchanged smiles and Clark felt that this was right. For the first time in his life, he was where he belonged.
Keep walking, Kent … that’s it, you can do it. Clark wanted nothing more than to run out, run away as far as possible from this horrible café that was bringing back all those memories.
But he didn’t … he wasn’t going to do that. Making his way to the counter, he placed an order … and asked for the same drink that Ollie had chosen for him five years before.
After receiving his drink, he went and took a seat. What am I doing here?
He didn’t know … for the life of him, he couldn’t answer that question.
Sighing, his eyes darted around the café … there weren’t many people around. Hearing a noise, signaling someone had entered, he instinctively looked that way.
And his eyes locked with the one person he couldn’t seem to keep his mind off of.
What are you doing here Ollie?
That was the same question Oliver Queen was asking himself. What started out as a walk to clear his head had landed him in front of a place he only knew too well.
A place that had once brought such good memories and a smile to his face now only made him frown. He hadn’t been here in three years and what was worse was that the last time he had there was when Lois had informed him his lover was indeed straying.
What possessed him to actually go in was beyond him but he had. To see Clark sitting there … sitting in their booth … it was a feeling he couldn’t describe.
It was like spiraling into the past … he could almost imagine that he just had a long day and he was meeting his boyfriend for coffee. They had done this so many times.
But he wasn’t … Clark wasn’t his boyfriend and he was engaged to someone else. To come back here and reminisce … it wasn’t right. Not when he was going to be married to a woman he loved.
Then why is Clark here?
Meeting emerald green eyes, he could see that Clark hadn’t expected to see him here either. But he had no plans to leave. Call it a matter of pride but Oliver just couldn’t walk out … couldn’t let Clark believe that he was running away.
He never ran and he wasn’t going to be intimidated by his former lover’s presence. So they both decided to frequent the same café on the same day … no big deal. Right?
Pushing the uneasy feeling that arose at being around Clark, Oliver strode determinedly to the cashier.
Placing his order, he couldn’t help but dart glances at Clark, who was staring straight ahead, as if desperately not trying to look at Oliver.
Be cool, Queen. He wasn’t going to lose his composure. He could be in the same vicinity with Clark and not freak out.
Yes, he could do this.
He had no other choice.
Don’t look at him … let him get his coffee and he’ll probably leave. God, Clark hoped so. It was difficult enough not just stare at him now. If he stayed much longer, Clark didn’t know if he would be able to resist temptation.
Besides, Oliver wouldn’t want to be around him anyway. At least that’s what he thought.
That’s why he was so shocked to hear a voice saying, “Mind if I join you?”
He looked up into those chocolate brown eyes, eyes that he was certain nobody else in this universe possessed and nodded wordlessly.
Oliver smoothly sat in the seat across from him. Clark was well aware of that he … that they were now in what they once upon a time referred to as their booth.
Three years ago, they would’ve laughed if they had landed up here at the same time randomly but now, there was no laughter. Both sat awkwardly, neither quite knowing what to say.
Clark still couldn’t conceive the fact that they had in fact shown up at the same place … that they had both thought to come here. Three years apart and the fates were still managing to conspire and put them together.
Too bad Clark couldn’t understand why.