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
Despite Oliver’s protests that he was fine, he was still taken away and his injuries were checked. They were mild bruises from the fall and he said that but his protests were in vain.
Mostly he didn’t want to leave because he still hadn’t heard a word about Clark. Thoughts of the brunette’s health were consuming him and he just wanted to be by his side. But he couldn’t certainly say that aloud, could he?
So he allowed himself to be checked out and he was relieved when it didn’t take very long. When he arrived back at headquarters, there was still no word on Clark, frustrating him immensely.
After what felt like ages, J’onn appeared, a serious look on his face. The rest of the team were sitting in a large conference table, Ollie the most impatient of them all.
“Well?” Oliver burst out when he was met with silence. “How is he?”
The rest of the team seemed shocked that the usually composed Oliver Queen was freaking out. Most of them didn’t understand. Dinah, however, remained silent, a guarded look in her eyes.
“Kal-El will be fine,” J’onn informed them, “The kryptonite is out of his system and I’ve taken him to sun to recover. Now he is sleeping.” The headquarters was equipped with everything, including bedrooms and at that moment, Oliver was grateful for that.
The rest of the team smiled at Clark being okay but it didn’t go unnoticed by anyone at how much more relaxed Oliver got when he heard the news.
“Kryptonite?” Bruce echoed.
“Meteor rocks,” Oliver explained, “He calls them kryptonite because they’re pieces of his home planet. On Krypton, they had a red sun, instead of a yellow sun. Here, the yellow sun gives him his abilities but pieces of his home planet cause him harm. He’s allergic to the green meteor rocks … it suppresses his powers and it has the potential to kill him.”
“How do you know this?” Hal asked curiously.
“I’ve had interactions with Clark,” Oliver said, choosing his words carefully, “Back when I was in Smallville … we trusted one another.”
The other members seemed satisfied with this answer. Bruce was staring at him suspiciously but Oliver refused to give any more details.
“He didn’t mention having a weakness,” Bruce stated.
“Would you?” Oliver retorted. “He barely knew us … at the time he agreed to join the League, he didn’t know that he had past experience with half the members. I doubt he’d give you information on the one thing in the world that can kill him!”
Bruce raised an eyebrow, amused. “I wasn’t attacking Kal, Oliver,” Bruce said calmly. “I was merely making a comment … it would help if we know these things so we can protect him better.”
Oliver’s anger deflated as he put his head in his hands.
“I know and I’m sorry,” Oliver said, ashamed, “It’s been a long past few hours.”
Bruce nodded and accepted the apology. But Oliver’s thoughts had wandered. He couldn’t believe how protective he felt over Clark. Still. In fact, he had been reluctant to hand him off to J’onn in the first place, even knowing that the Martian Manhunter was the only one could save the brunette.
Just remembering Clark helpless in his arms a few hours ago caused him to swallow hard. He had almost lost the younger man and the prickling sensation at the back of his eyes at the thought had him blinking repeatedly.
Why do I care this much? Well, Clark was someone he had known for a long time … it made sense that he would be worried. Plus, he loved him once. Once Queen, not anymore … it’s best to remember that those feelings are out the window. Aren’t you over him?
He was over him … he’d have been just as worried if it was any other member of the League. Really? Like that?
Ollie hated his mind for its traitorous thoughts and what worried him the most was that his subconscious was proving to be correct.
“Ollie?” Dinah’s gentle voice brought him back to reality. He gave his fiancée a warm smile and leaned forward to meet her lips for a light kiss.
“Yes?” he said, with a teasing smile, trying his best not to reveal his inner struggle to the woman he proclaimed to love.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“I’m great,” he assured her. She gave him a small smile and a nod but there was an emotion in her eyes that he couldn’t quite place.
“If you say so,” she said.
“I do say so,” Oliver replied with a lazy grin. Now that he knew that Clark was in the clear, he was feeling much better.
Now how do I sneak over to him and see for myself? Dinah didn’t really seem inclined to let him out of her sight. And it was deterring his plans.
She’s your fiancée … she was worried about you going missing. Give her a break. Stop trying to be a jerk and run off to see your ex.
Oliver realized that that was true … so with great difficulty, he pushed all thoughts of Clark Kent out of his mind and paid full attention to Dinah. It wasn’t as if he had to for very long anyway. Everyone was exhausted and after news of Clark’s safety reached their ears, they all headed to bed, most choosing to reside in the headquarters that night.
Dinah too was willing to go to sleep and they found the room that they had already deemed as “theirs”. They had clothes there so Oliver slipped into a pair of pajamas and climbed into the bed.
Though Dinah fell asleep rather quickly, Oliver was wide-awake. Even though he promised himself he wouldn’t, he couldn’t help it when his thoughts drifted back to Clark. He wondered which of the bedrooms Clark was resting in and had to resist the urge to get up to go see him.
Just one glance and that would be enough … he really wanted visual proof that Clark was okay. How he stayed put, he didn’t know but he managed.
The world was apparently on his side though because the following morning, Dinah had to go early and didn’t try to persuade him to go with her. Left alone, his inhibitions were long gone, having left with Dinah. So he got up, got dressed quickly and gave into temptation.
Finding Clark’s room was easy and he snuck inside, pleased to see that there was nobody else there. He grinned at seeing the brunette fast asleep on the large bed. Clark always looked beautiful when he was asleep and he remembered all the times he had awoken earlier or stayed up later just to watch Clark sleep.
The brunette had a content look on his face and he could hardly believe that less than twelve hours ago, he had been close to death. Grabbing a chair, he pulled it up to the bed and sat, silently watching Clark sleep.
This is so wrong … I shouldn’t be here. He shouldn’t, but he couldn’t resist. Unconsciously, his hand reached out, stroking Clark’s hair. The younger man’s lips curved into a smile in his sleep, eliciting another smile from Oliver.
“I see that he is doing better.”
The sudden voice startled Oliver and he turned toward the sound, heart sinking when he saw that Bruce was standing at the doorway.
Oliver blushed, feeling like a kid who just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Batman, whether in his Bruce persona or in the costume, always had a way of making him feel that way.
“Yeah,” he said, “I just … came to see if he was okay.”
Midnight blue eyes stared into him, as if they had the ability to see into his very soul.
“I’m not judging you Oliver,” Bruce said calmly. “I am just curious as to why you waited until Dinah left to make the personal visit.”
Oliver swallowed hard. “I wanted to spend time with her,” Oliver lied, “She was worried about me … I figured I could check up on Clark later.”
One look into Bruce’s gaze made Oliver realize that the brunette did not believe a word that was coming out of his mouth.
“You freaked out yesterday, Oliver,” Bruce remarked, “I’ve never seen you lose your cool like that. Is there something you want to tell me about your relationship with Clark?”
“There’s nothing to tell,” Oliver told him, nerves on edge.
“You know what you’re doing, right?” Bruce asked, not responding to Oliver’s statement.
“Know what I’m doing with what?” Oliver questioned.
Bruce looked pointedly at the sleeping man.
“You’re making a mountain out of a molehill there Bruce,” Oliver said, hoping his expression didn’t betray his uneasiness. “I’m just looking in an old friend.”
“I just don’t want to see you do something that you may come to regret,” Bruce told him, his tone gentler.
Oliver opened his mouth to say something but a noise coming from the bed drew his attention. Both Bruce and Oliver looked toward the bed, watching as Clark stirred and emerald eyes opened slowly, blinking a few times to adjust to the light.
The younger man moved and his eyes fell on the duo, eyes widening slightly upon registering their presence.
“Good morning,” Clark greeted them.
“Good morning, Kal,” Bruce said kindly. “How are you feeling?”
“Not too bad … still alive,” Clark joked.
“Good to hear,” Bruce replied. Glancing at Oliver, he gave them both a nod. “I will leave you two then … good day.”
“Bye Bruce,” Oliver murmured. Once the other brunette was gone, Oliver looked at Clark.
“Hi,” Oliver said, unsure of how to start the conversation.
“Hi,” Clark responded. “You look okay.”
“I was not the one on the brink of death,” Oliver reminded him.
Clark let out a chuckle. “I suppose you’re right … the details are a little fuzzy though.”
“What do you remember?” Oliver wanted to know.
“I remember falling into that trap door,” Clark recalled, “And the whole incident with the kryptonite. You wouldn’t leave me, even though I tried to get you to go. There was a lot of pain …” Clark trailed off, his eyes widening.
Oliver knew in that instant that Clark remembered his attempt at a deathbed confession. He could tell from the sheer embarrassment and slight fear that filtered into the brunette’s expression.
“Everything went black,” Clark finished. “And yeah … that’s it.”
“That’s because you slipped into unconsciousness,” Oliver told him.
“And what happened then?” Clark asked curiously. “How did we get out?”
“I … I got us out,” he admitted, “I used one of my arrows to get us back and the League was there a second later. J’onn saved you; he got the kryptonite out and took you near the sun to heal.”
“You saved me too,” Clark said, dazed. “Thank you … I owe you my life.”
“You’re welcome,” Oliver said, “But I didn’t do anything anyone else wouldn’t have.”
“Oliver, you didn’t give up on me,” Clark argued, “Even when I was willing to give up on myself … and I appreciate that. Don’t downgrade your own heroics.”
Oliver couldn’t help the smile that came up … it was such a Clark thing to say. Every time Oliver was modest about what he did or lamented about not being able to do more, Clark was always there to pick him up. That hadn’t changed apparently.
With Clark, it was so easy to fall into old patterns, easy smiles, jokes and laugh. It took extra effort to remember that he was engaged to another, that Clark and he had been over for three years.
Three long years that seemed to vanish into thin air when Clark had almost died. Because all he wanted to was climb into bed with Clark and just hold him for a while. His arms literally ached to touch the brunette again and the longing that ran through his veins was enough to drive him crazy.
“Oliver?” Clark’s voice snapped him from his thoughts. Oliver’s gaze fell on Clark.
“You look light years away,” Clark commented.
“Guess I got lost in my thoughts,” Oliver said, forcing a smile. “Sorry about that.”
“No need to apologize,” Clark assured him. “I just wanted to know where you drifted off to.”
“Nowhere important,” Oliver said, hoping Clark didn’t recognize the lie.
He didn’t and Oliver gathered the courage to ask what he had been wanting to since he got there.
“Clark,” Oliver said slowly, “What were you going to say?”
“What do you mean?” Clark asked innocently.
“Right before you passed out,” Oliver said, “You tried to tell me something … about Julia.”
He observed Clark carefully and he saw the nervousness that appeared on his expression but vanished just as quickly.
“I don’t recall.” A blatant lie.
“Clark,” Oliver persisted, “When you thought you were going to die, you thought it was the most important thing in the world, no matter how much I tried to tell you to stop … don’t tell me you could’ve forgotten.”
“I was delirious with pain,” Clark said, not acknowledging his statements, “I didn’t know what I was saying.”
Whatever answers Clark could possibly give was not going to change anything but the need for the truth was driving at Ollie. But before he could argue further, the door swung open and they were met with the panicked expression of Chloe Sullivan.
“Clark!” she said, running to his bedside. Engaging him in a quick hug, she added, “Don’t you ever scare me like that again, mister! I just got you back … I don’t intend to lose you this soon.”
“Sorry, Chlo,” Clark said, grinning at her. “It’s not my fault Lex has endless supplies of kryptonite.”
Chloe rolled her eyes. “Yeah, either way, I’m glad you’re fine.” She noticed Oliver. “Hey Ollie. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.” Her gaze darted between the two men, curiosity filling her hazel eyes, reporter instincts clearly going off.
“Hey Chloe,” he said.
“Oliver came to check up on me,” Clark hastened to say, “He was there with me yesterday … in fact, he saved my life.”
Chloe beamed at Oliver. “Well, Arrow, looks like you did good.”
“I do what I can Watchtower,” he joked. “Can’t let the boyscout die … not when we finally just got him in the costume.”
Chloe giggled and nodded. “Good point.” She was seated at the edge of the bed, completely comfortable and Oliver wished he could be there. At one point, he would’ve been.
But that time was long gone and it was about time he accepted that his place in Clark’s life was based on completely professional interests.
“Anyway,” Oliver said, standing up, “I will leave you two to talk … I have to get going. Don’t overwork yourself Clark.”
“I won’t,” Clark said. Their eyes locked for a second but Oliver was quick to break the gaze, looking to Chloe, whose expression had turned sympathetic.
“See you later, Chloe,” he said and she nodded.
With that, he turned and walked out of the room, his heart heavy and feeling completely unfulfilled.
Chloe’s laugh drifted to his ears as he gathered his things and he walked out. Stepping into the transporter, he was almost relieved when he reached the Hall once more.
If the whole incident had taught him anything, it was that Clark Kent had not lost his hold over him. The brunette still managed to evoke emotions in him that he long thought were dead. Clark would forever have a place in his life … and he idly wondered if he still had a place in his heart. After all he’s done, can I still have feelings for him?
And did he really want to know the answer?
Chloe stared at the face of the man in front of her.
“Are you okay, Clark?” she asked. From what she walked in on, she wasn’t sure if either of the men were fine but Oliver had left too quickly so she couldn’t find out. She silently vowed to check up on him later.
“I healed Chloe,” he said.
“I’m not talking about your physical injuries and we both know it,” she said firmly. “What did I walk in on Clark?”
Clark sighed. He could never fool his best friend and he should know that by now.
“Chloe, Ollie and I were stuck and I had kryptonite in my back,” Clark told her. “Honestly … I thought it was the end for me. The communicators weren’t working and there was just so much meteor rock …”
“Oh Clark,” Chloe said.
“Oliver didn’t lose faith,” Clark said, a small smile emerging, “But I did … I believed I was going to die. And Chloe … I almost told him about Julia.”
“You did what?” she gasped.
“I started to tell him about Julia,” Clark repeated, “That she was a fake … call it a deathbed confession. But all I barely got out was her name before I passed out.”
“That was enough to prick his suspicions though, wasn’t it?” Chloe realized. “He caught on to the name and now he wants to know what you were trying to tell him.”
“He was in the process of trying to get those answers when you came in,” Clark responded. “And by the way, you have great timing … you really saved me there. Thanks.”
“It was unintentional but you’re welcome,” Chloe said wryly. “Bruce just told me what happened and I figured I waited long enough to come see you.”
“Either way, it works out,” Clark said. “I don’t think he’ll quit though, knowing Oliver.”
“He won’t,” Chloe said, “Clark, he’s putting the pieces together … he already knows you weren’t traveling. The other day, he tried to get answers from me but I held out … I did slip up and say that I was covering for you though.”
“Oliver and I ran into each other at a café,” Clark told her, “And he tried to get answers from me too … he does know I wasn’t traveling for those three years.”
“Did he get anything?” Chloe questioned.
“Nope,” Clark said, “It was a horrible conversation … and it was so weird Chloe.” His eyes met hers and she witnessed the sorrow resting in the emerald green depths. “He was so upset too; he wanted to know if my “independence” was that good. I did a really good job of convincing him I didn’t love him.”
“You really did,” Chloe confirmed.
“You should’ve been there, Chloe,” Clark said, shaking his head, “Before I left, he asked me if I ever thought about what we could’ve been.”
“What did you say?” Chloe asked.
“I couldn’t help it,” Clark replied, “I told him ‘all the time’. The words just came out!”
Chloe squeezed his hand. “Clark, you can’t always hide from your heart.”
“But in this case, I have to,” Clark noted. “It doesn’t change the fact that he’s getting dangerously close.”
“Clark, I mean, there are still missing pieces to the puzzle,” Chloe replied, her expression turning thoughtful. “And he knows I won’t give them to him and to get to you, he’s going to need another opportunity to get you alone. That will not be easy.”
“I sure hope you’re right,” Clark stated.
“He’s not going to find out, Clark,” Chloe said firmly.
But even as she said it, Chloe Sullivan wasn’t sure that she believed it. And though he wanted to believe it, Clark could hear the slight anxiety creeping up in his best friend’s face.
While they both preferred to remain in denial, the truth of the matter was that at this point, they were on the Titanic and the iceberg was coming close.
Hopefully, they’d survive the crash.