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
“It’s funny that we both ended up here at the same time, huh?” Clark asked, trying to find the right words to start the conversation.
“Yeah,” Oliver said, a small smile gracing his lips. “It’s quite … ironic.”
“So,” Clark said, thinking of possible topics to talk about. “How has your day been?” Lame but it works.
“It’s been good,” Oliver responded. “I saw Chloe.”
“Oh yeah?” Clark asked.
“She was helping me make some wedding plans,” Oliver informed him. “She’s my best woman.”
Clark chuckled, despite the pain in his heart that occurred every time he was reminded of Ollie’s upcoming nuptials.
“She told me,” Clark said.
“I figured she would,” Oliver remarked, an emotion flashing in his eyes that Clark couldn’t quite place.
“Are the wedding plans going well?” Clark questioned politely. He really didn’t want to know but felt obliged to ask, considering the blonde was the one who brought the topic up.
“They’re going smoothly,” Oliver answered.
“That’s great,” Clark replied, trying to keep his tone cheerful. It should’ve been me.
It should’ve been you. Oliver couldn’t push the traitorous thoughts from his mind. Looking into those beautiful eyes, the thoughts came up on their own.
As far as Clark and his relationship went, Ollie believed he would always have regrets. Even before Clark had said he wanted to marry him aloud, Oliver had dreamed of their wedding. It sounded silly but Clark was the first person he had ever pictured settling down with.
Which was why it hurt so much more when Clark had stated his need for independence over the love they shared. Oliver would never understand what he did wrong … no matter how many times Chloe reassured him that it didn’t have anything to do with him, a part of his him still couldn’t quite believe it.
Because if he was so great, then why couldn’t Clark stay loyal?
Clark’s heart clenched at seeing a wave of sadness pass through the blonde’s features. Had he put that look there?
I’m so sorry, Oliver. Clark bit his lower lip, trying not to bring up any topics that he really didn’t want to talk about. Which basically meant anything to do with their past relationship.
“Did you and Chloe get a lot done?” Clark asked. Sticking to the wedding was good … it reminded Clark that Oliver was taken, that he was no longer his. Though it hurt, it was a pain that he had to bear … he deserved it.
“We got some stuff cleared up,” Oliver replied, oblivious to his thoughts. “She’s really helpful.”
“That she is,” Clark agreed, with a smile. The same smile that always came up whenever Chloe Sullivan was mentioned.
“She’s happier nowadays,” Oliver commented lightly. “Now that you’re back.”
“Oh really?” Clark asked. “Well … we have known each other for a long time. I mean … we are not used to being apart for so long. But I’m sure she was perfectly fine without me.”
“She was really worried actually,” Oliver told him. “I could tell … your disappearance took quite a toll on her.”
A burst of guilt ran through his veins at the thought of Chloe panicking about his whereabouts and safety. Oh, Chlo … I didn’t mean to scare you. And where exactly was Oliver going with this conversation?
“I doubt that,” Clark forced out. “She knew I was just traveling.”
“So that’s the story you’re sticking with?” Oliver questioned, “That you were traveling?”
“It’s the truth,” Clark said, his voice surprisingly steady.
“If you were traveling,” Oliver countered, emphasizing the word, “Then why was Chloe so freaked out? And if you were traveling, how come you didn’t keep in touch with anyone? Also, if you were traveling, why the hell did you see to disappear off the face of the planet?”
Oliver’s tone was calm and collected, as so not to draw any attention to himself but the questions had an underlying edge to them.
“I needed time to sort myself out,” Clark responded. Don’t panic, Clark … keep up with the story. “I had to get away.” He stopped. “And what do you mean disappeared off the face of the planet?”
“I tried looking for you,” Oliver told him, his gaze steely.
“You what?” Whatever Clark had been expected Ollie to say, it wasn’t that.
“I said I tried looking for you,” Oliver repeated, “After … after our breakup. It was to no avail though. Now, tell me, Clark … how can one man vanish into thin air?” Oliver stared at him, the look in his eyes intense and Clark had to force himself not to look away.
“Granted, you are not like any other,” Oliver continued. “But it still seems suspicious.”
“Why were you looking for me?” Clark wanted to know, leaving Oliver’s questions unanswered.
Oliver pursed his lips and suddenly stood up. Clark wondered if the conversation was over.
“We need to talk,” Oliver said firmly. “But I don’t think the conversation that will follow is appropriate in a public setting.”
No … no talking. I don’t want to. Clark may have matured in some ways but he still hated confrontation more than ever. Additionally, if they stayed in a public setting, he could limit the kind of talk they had. Somewhere more private wouldn’t make that possible. It’s also easier to run if we stay here.
“Are you coming?” Oliver questioned. “Because I am perfectly fine with continuing our discussion here … I’m sparing you the embarrassment by offering to move it to a more private location.”
Clark swallowed hard. There was no getting out of this one.
Nodding, he stood up. “Yeah … let’s go.”
Oliver appeared satisfied with his answer. Without a word, he walked out and Clark followed him outside.
“Where do you want to go?” Clark questioned as they started walking down the street.
“We’re going to my place,” Oliver said, not even glancing at him.
Stupid me … why did I have to go inside that café? This is going to be a disaster. It would be so easy to leave … he could be gone in a flash. Oliver couldn’t catch up with him if he tried.
But for the first time ever, he was not going to run. He was going to keep going … no doubt he would try his best to get out of the situation with giving the least amount of information but answers were going to be given. They walked in silence … neither saying a word. Entering the elevator of the Clock Tower, Clark was uncomfortable.
The elevator ride up to the penthouse was the shortest one he had ever experienced in his life. Then again, he wanted it to last longer so that they wouldn’t have to talk just yet. But the fates were not on his side.
Within what felt like mere seconds, the elevator came to a halt. Oliver pushed the gate open and Clark stepped out into the main room. He looked around … he hadn’t been here in three years and yet, it was exactly the same as he remembered it.
“Have a seat, Clark,” Oliver said, shrugging off his jacket.
Doing as he was told, he sat on one of the couch. Oliver took a seat in a chair across from him. This was going to be very awkward. Oliver … why can’t you just let this go?
Why can’t I just let this go? If he was smart, he would’ve let Clark go the minute he started the lying … but he wasn’t smart. He had more than three years worth of questions and it was about damn time he got some answers.
Before he could move on to his new life, he had to close the past … until he found out what was going on, he couldn’t do that.
From his posture, Oliver knew Clark was feeling out of place and he realized that the brunette desperately wanted to run away. But there was also a determination in his eyes proving that he wasn’t going anywhere. I still know him … I can still read him like a book. That shouldn’t relieve him as much as it did.
Dinah, remember? Remember your fiancée? The woman you are planning to make a vow of forever?
Ignoring the guilt that came up at the thought of his fiancée, he looked back at his former flame, who was staring at him expectantly.
Here we go. “Can I get you anything?” he asked, remembering his manners.
“No, I’m fine,” Clark replied, his tone guarded. Ollie knew that he didn’t give Clark a choice in coming with him but Clark hadn’t been giving him choices when it came to them in a long time so he just had to take a stand.
Oliver tried to think of an appropriate way to start off the questioning.
“Are you going to say something?” Clark asked, clearly impatient, “You did bring me here for a purpose, right? Or can I go?”
“You’re not leaving,” Oliver commanded, knowing fully that if Clark really wanted to go, he had no means of which to stop him.
But Clark didn’t leave … he stayed. Ollie decided to just get right into it before the brunette changed his mind.
“I have a lot of resources, Clark,” Oliver said slowly, “Yet none of them were successful in finding you … want to tell me why?”
“Want to tell me why you were tracking me in the first place?” Clark retorted.
Did you honestly think he was going to make it easy for you? That you could ask and he’d spill everything willingly? No, that wasn’t realistic … he knew that but a part of him had hoped Clark would be a little more forthcoming with answers.
“Clark, you had just graduated,” Oliver replied, “Though you never said it, I know you wanted to work at the Planet. All of a sudden not only were you not working at the Planet, you weren’t working anywhere. You weren’t even in the United States, let alone Kansas. Can you really blame me for being curious?”
Clark’s expression didn’t waver. “Yes, I can,” he said, “When my mom and Chloe don’t raise an eyebrow, I can. They both said that I was traveling … don’t you think that if I was in trouble, my mom would be worried? I don’t see why you would care.”
“Maybe they were okay with it because they got better explanations than that you were traveling,” Oliver argued, “One day you just disappeared, without even a goodbye. How could I not look into it?”
“How could I say goodbye?” Clark demanded, “We just broke up! You said you never wanted to see me again!”
“You cheated on me!” Oliver exclaimed, raising his voice, “I was angry … I had a right to be!”
“I never said you didn’t,” Clark responded, “I was trying to save you more pain. Our relationship was over … I really thought it’d be easier if I just left. I didn’t think you’d care enough to realize I was gone.”
“I was still in love with you when we broke up and you knew that,” Oliver hissed, standing up. “Then you just leave the country without a word? Didn’t you think that would affect me?”
“What was I supposed to do?” Clark asked, getting to his feet as well. “Come to you and say ‘oh, Oliver, remember that independence I chose over our love? Not only am I leaving our relationship to get it, I’m getting out of the country too! See you in a couple years!’ Is that what you wanted, Oliver? Is it?”
Oliver staggered back unconsciously at Clark’s words, staring at the younger man, flabbergasted.
Clark was visibly shocked at how much he revealed. The brunette lowered his gaze, a blush staining his cheeks. There was a long silence, in which neither man knew quite what to say.
“Was it that good?” Oliver found the courage to ask.
“Was what good?” Clark questioned, confused.
“Your independence,” Oliver reiterated, “Was it that good?”
“Oliver,” Clark began.
“I mean,” Oliver continued in a low tone, “It had to be good, right? For you to turn your back on our love … it had to be something worthwhile. Because you wouldn’t just destroy everything we built for nothing, would you?”
“Do you really want to do this?” Clark asked tiredly.
“This has been nagging at me since the day you walked out,” Oliver told him. “Was Julia that great? Was having your independence that important?” His voice dropped. “Or was our love just that unimportant?”
God, I deserve to be stabbed. The obvious pain in Ollie’s voice as he spoke about the feelings that he had long held inside pricked at his heart.
“Our love was never unimportant to me,” Clark managed to say.
“Then why?” Oliver questioned. He cleared his throat. “I am over this … I’m really happy with Dinah. You know that, right?”
“I do know that,” Clark replied. It really sucked but he knew it.
“I just want to clear everything up once and for all,” Oliver went on, like he hadn’t even said anything.
“I don’t know what to tell you, Oliver,” Clark said slowly.
Oliver lowered his eyes and Clark was at a loss for words. This conversation was just too uncomfortable. The ghosts of their past relationship were still haunting them both … or at least just him. He couldn’t talk about this.
So he made a move to the exit and Oliver didn’t stop him.
As he reached the elevator, Oliver broke his silence.
“It’ll always be like this between us, won’t it?”
Clark didn’t turn. “I don’t know.” He sighed. “I am sorry … I never meant to hurt you.” More silence and Clark took the moment to step into the elevator.
“Do you ever wonder?” Oliver asked. “Do you ever think about us and wonder? What we could’ve been?”
At this, Clark looked up, green eyes meeting brown.
“All the time,” he answered honestly.
With that, he closed the elevator gates and he couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as the elevator finally descended.
What have you done? He should’ve lied, at least about the last question. Why did Oliver go and bring back all painful memories? Why did he have to ask questions that would only hurt them both?
Now, he was certain that whatever tentative truce they had was gone. How were they supposed to work together now?
What have I done? Oliver stared at the spot where Clark had been standing, his words on constant replay in his mind.
“All the time.” What was that supposed to mean? Clark confessed to having thought of him … but what did that mean? Why do you even care?
He didn’t care … he was just curious. It’s not like it meant anything to him. So what if Clark had thought about them?
I don’t care. He didn’t … at least he thought he didn’t. No … I really don’t. I love Dinah, not Clark.
“I can be professional about this.”
Those were his words, said not too long ago. He had kind of promised to not bring up their past when it came to the League. Oliver had made that peace offering so that they could work together without having any issues … or at least they could try. It had been good in theory.
But now things were going to be awkward again … he just knew it. And he didn’t even get any real answers. All he found out really was that Clark still thought about him.
Then why was he so happy?
The next couple of days were the hardest.
Clark did his best to concentrate on anything that wasn’t Oliver but it was difficult. He spent more time saving people as Superman, tried to give all his attention to the Planet. But his thoughts always managed to wander back to the blonde.
He had never been more relieved when he found out Oliver went back to Star City. At the same time, he missed the older man … but knew that he had no right to. Fortunately, Oliver had not tried to contact him after that day. Clark was certain he wouldn’t be able to handle another meeting.
It wasn’t as if he didn’t have things to do. As Superman, he didn’t have much free time and combined with Lois being his partner, it was surprising he even had time to breathe. Since he became Superman, he saw Lois way too much for his own liking. Not that he didn’t care for his loud mouthed partner but there was only so much he could take of her at a stretch.
Of course, he made sure to give her quotes as Superman so he didn’t make it look like only he, Clark, was getting answers. That made her very happy and he was worried that she liked his alter ego even more but he knew it was a one of the down sides of the uniform.
He got a lot of unwarranted attention because of it. At least as Clark, he was fairly ignored so it really balanced things out. But he could really do without the “accidental” groping.
However, he was going a fairly good job of keeping his mind away from Oliver. The fact that the blonde was across the country made it even easier. He liked the separation … when he wasn’t in close contact, he could go on pretending he didn’t exist.
Too bad the separation wasn’t meant to last.