Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: And finally...The ending folks. So sorry for taking too long. But the holidays turned out to be extremely busy for me and then school started before I could breathe. I did not have enough time to actually write this until recently and even then it was pretty hard to write. I guess I have become pretty attached to this one, been a long process. But everything's eventual and the end is finally here. I would like to thank everyone who read and reviewed this fic, despite the sporadic updates. Thank you so much for sticking with me throughout the entire process. I could never have made it without you guys. See how sentimental I get. But seriously, you guys rock and again I apologize for taking so long. And I will try to make it up to you guys, somehow (please read even after the words the end to find out how). Now, for the last time, one with the story...
"…a reason to go on living." Victor declared quietly as Oliver reentered the room.
Oliver's brows furrowed as he heard the words. "Did he just say something nice about me?" He shot the question to the two other occupants of the room.
AC grinned. "Maybe he's starting to rust."
Victor glared at AC but before he could comment on anything else Clark grabbed the other blonde man's attention.
"AC, how'd you fall into all this?" Clark asked.
Oliver crossed his arms across his chest and waited for the answer. It was an interesting meeting. He wondered how his friend was going to phrase his damsel in distress position then.
AC looked at him and then at Victor sheepishly. "I got into a little trouble sinking a whaler off the coast of Japan." He answered with such nonchalance.
Oliver chuckled quietly.
"A little trouble?" Victor countered incredulously. "That's what you're gonna go with? Ollie had to save your scaly butt from getting filleted." He added with a grin.
"I would have gotten out of it." AC retorted.
He figured he might as well join in the fun. "Oh really?" Oliver smirked at AC. "Before or after they packed you in a thousand little tin cans?" He joked good-naturedly.
"Fish jokes." AC raised his hands in exasperation. "That's all I ever get are fish jokes." He shook his head and focused his attention back on Clark. "So how's Lois doing, man? Is she alright?"
Clark was looking at the three of them in slight disbelief. "She's fine, I guess."
"Okay, I guess now that we're all caught up." Oliver used his most business-like tone so they could focus on their mission. "We need to focus on locating Bart." He was worried about the younger man.
"And how exactly did you get him involved in this?" Clark assumed the same position as him and looked at him expectantly. "He's never been much of a team player."
Annoyance rushed through him at the interrogator like stance that Clark has taken although; he couldn't help but understand where he was coming from. It was obvious that Clark saw Bart as a little brother, which was a role that Bart had in their group as well. "Looks like you two have something in common, huh? Actually, um, I was out on patrol in Star City one night, and I came across Bart. He was helping himself to a free meal. I could tell he was a good kid, you know? He just needed a little direction, so I offered him a job." He concluded simply.
"And look where that got him." Clark replied; his expression hardened into anger.
Oliver could not help but return the emotion. Clark was acting like everything was his fault. But there was a reason why Bart was given the name Impulse. "I underestimated Lex." He said admittedly as he booted up the large screen that was connected to his computer, giving the rest of the team the access to the map of the buildings that was owned by Lex. "It won't happen again. I've compiled a list of all Luthorcorp holdings within a 100-mile radius. Bart could be held in any one of those facilities."
Victor whistled when they saw the scope of Luthor's domain. "That's a lot of real estate to cover."
Clark's brows were furrowed as he stared at what they have to look into in order to find Bart. "I think I know someone who can help us narrow it down." His eyes meet Oliver's meaningfully.
Oliver was about to protest. He did not like the idea of involving Chloe with their missions. It was already dangerous dealing with Lex, getting Chloe involve, he didn't know if he could stand the thought that something would happen to her. And that he willingly subjected her to such dangers. "I don't think that's such a good idea."
Clark glared at him. "Can you come up with something better?" The challenge was in his entire tone.
"Limited involvement, Kent." He warned the younger man. He didn't bother explaining his words to AC and Victor, who were both looking at them with puzzled looks.
"Victor Stone and Arthur Curry are working for him, too?" Chloe burst out incredulously. Oliver was keeping a lot of secrets, way more than she was if they were comparing notes.
"Yeah, Oliver's been busy." Clark nodded meaningfully towards her computer.
Her best friend dropped by the Daily Planet and just dropped the bomb on her about her boyfriend's circle of friends and that they needed her to locate one of their own. She had to focus on the task at hand instead of the betrayal she felt; brought on by the fact that Oliver did not seem to trust her at all.
"Is there anything in your Luthorcorp intel that can help us find out where Bart's being held?" Clark asked as her fingers flew over the keyboard.
"I don't know." She sighed heavily. Her brows furrowed as she thought back on her investigation of Dr. Casselli. "Oh wait, when I had my feelers out for Dr. Casselli, I managed to shake loose some internal documents. In the last few days, there's been a flurry of equipment transfers to a place called the Ridge Facilities on the outskirts of Metropolis." She typed even more furiously as she had an idea of where Bart may be.
Clark was watching her type over her shoulder. "Doesn't Luthorcorp move equipment all the time?" He wondered with the slightest degree of skepticism.
She shook her head. "This isn't just a couple of forklifts, Clark. Half a ton of lead shielding, electrical pressure plates, more than $20 million worth of equipment to measure high-velocity particles." She uttered forcefully.
"It's Bart." Clark muttered quietly. "Take and everything and bring it to Oliver."
Chloe looked at him with apprehension. "Clark-"
"I can get to the Ridge Facility faster myself. I can't let anything happen to Bart." He interjected, as if sensing that she was about to protest.
She nodded and in a blink of an eye he was gone. Chloe steeled herself to the upcoming confrontation with Oliver. She had no idea what to feel after everything that Clark just disclosed. She took a fortifying breath and started to gather her stuff. The mission was important. She was not going to let her boyfriend issues get in the way of helping someone, even if she had to work with said boyfriend in order to get it done.
"Mr. Queen, it's Chloe Sullivan." Chloe uttered in her most business-like voice.
It was not difficult to act detached. For the first time in months she was unable to just enter the watchtower at will. Oliver was sure keeping everything secure. It hurt that she was barred from a place she thought of as her own home. "Clark sent me." She added sardonically.
"Limited involvement." Oliver grumbled under his breath as he finally keyed in the password so she could come in. "Where's Clark?" He asked, resigned to the fact that she was truly involved in everything now.
Chloe strolled into the tower and spared him a dismissive glance before looking for the other two members of his team. "He went to save Bart." She answered curtly when her search came up empty. She folded her arms across her chest and looked at him reproachfully.
"He told you about Bart?" He posed the question quietly. He preferred to have the confrontation with Chloe at a latter date. But it seemed like the powers that be were against him. Here she was, and it was becoming increasingly apparent that she was there to stay.
She glared at him. "We trust each other. Clark tells me everything." She looked at him meaningfully. "Well almost everything. I had to figure your secret all by myself." Chloe was almost unable to meet his eyes for fear that he would know just how much she was hurt by his inability to trust her.
Chloe shook her head at his attempt to explain himself. "Now is not the time." She said lowly. "I have a solid lead on where Bart might be." Her voice rose significantly, hoping to draw AC and Victor out. "Where are AC and Victor?" She asked directly since the two seemed less inclined to show themselves.
Oliver shook his head. Clark seemed intent to ruin his relationship with his best friend. He took a deep breath. He could not blame Clark for his relationship problems. He chose to keep so many things from Chloe.
AC and Victor finally came out of hiding. They both stood beside Oliver and were smiling sheepishly, seemingly unaware of what was going on in Ollie's head.
"Guess we're not that good at the whole 'secret' part of this yet." Victor said ruefully.
"Yeah, but you're great at getting caught by the villain." Chloe replied sarcastically.
Victor and AC looked stung by the remark.
Chloe took a deep breath. She was stating the truth. But there was no reason that she should just blurt out what she thought, with no consideration for the other party. "Sorry, just not having the best of days." She did not bother looking at Oliver as she said the words. "I think Bart is being held at a place called Ridge Facility."
Oliver bristled slightly at the comment. He stared at his girlfriend, waiting for her to acknowledge him, to no avail.
"That's down by the docks." AC said excitedly, bringing Oliver out of his own world.
"It's on our list of possible 33.1 targets." He murmured distractedly as he walked towards his desk and clicked the mouse a couple of times to get the map on the screen right next to Chloe. "All right, guys. You know the drill. Let's gear up and get out." He spoke in his most authoritative tone.
Chloe finally looked at Oliver and she had to admit that he commanded respect, even out of the Green Arrow gear. She returned her gaze on the screen when her eyes clashed with his. What she saw worried her considerably. "Oh no." She whispered almost to herself.
Oliver was beside her in an instant. "What's wrong?" His hand landed on the small of her back and he looked at her worriedly. AC and Victor also turned to look at her.
For the first time since she arrived, Chloe looked at Oliver with no hint of animosity, just pure unadulterated worry. "Lead shielding. This isn't just for Bart. I think the Ridge Facility's being used to refine meteor rock. Clark's in trouble." Her voice trailed off as she considered the repercussions of what she just said. Clark was usually invincible but his invincibility ended when confronted by kryptonite.
Oliver looked at AC and Victor, the two left to prepare for the mission promptly. He dropped a kiss on top of Chloe's head. "We'll get them out of there." He whispered reassuringly.
She nodded in return. "I want to help." She stated firmly.
"I don't mean going there myself." She interjected before he could fully form his argument. "There must be something I can do." Chloe looked at him, slightly pleading. She needed to do something. She couldn't stand idly by and wait until the men folk saved the day. She knew that there must be a way that she could help.
Oliver looked at her thoughtfully. "Okay."
Oliver shot off an arrow where two guards were manning the facility. He waited until the arrow emitted the gas, knocking out the two. "Green Arrow to Watchtower. We're in position."
"Okay." Chloe adjusted her earpiece as she stared at the screen in front of her. "There should be a security access panel near the east door. According to this schematic, you need to very carefully rewire the sys-"
"Or... I could just jack in and shut the whole perimeter down." Victor interjected before she could fully complete her sentence.
"You can do that?" She asked incredulously.
"Courtesy of an upgrade, much thanks to Robin Hood." Victor replied in a slightly sarcastic but appreciative tone.
Oliver rolled his eyes as he focused on the mission but he then he could have sworn that he heard a scoff from Chloe's end.
Victor shot him a confused look. "Accessing perimeter security, perimeter neutralized."
He smirked at his teammate's actions. It never ceased to amaze him, the talents Victor and the rest of the team possessed. And he couldn't help but feel proud that he was surrounded with such men (or boy in Bart's case) who were determined to make the world a better place. "Aquaman, you're up." He muttered through the communicator just as he and Victor started to close in on the facility.
A couple of minutes passed and the AC responded with an affirmative on the successful perimeter breach. He and Victor ended up in front of a steel door. The two of them exchanged looks and Cyborg just shrugged and kicked the door down.
"You'd make one hell of a can opener." Oliver declared good-naturedly.
"And you'd look good on a bag of green peas." Victor retorted in the same tone.
"Guys, focus please." Chloe interjected, a little impatiently.
Oliver cleared his throat. "All right, we're in. Which way?" Perhaps he should invest on a communicator that would be able to restrict conversations, and maybe it could give him some privacy with Chloe whenever they were on a mission. He shook his head at the turn of his thoughts. This was a one time deal; he shouldn't get ahead of himself.
"The refinement vault's 100 meters southwest." Chloe answered promptly. "Still no word from him." Worry tinged her entire tone.
"If he's in there, we'll get him out." Victor replied reassuringly. "Let's go." He said as he started for the direction that Chloe told them to go.
Oliver grabbed his arm to stop him. "You've got a different mission." He reminded the younger man.
"You're the boss Robin Hood." Victor gave him a look before taking off towards the opposite direction.
"Wait, what mission?" Chloe asked loudly. "What are you doing?" She asked again when she received no answer. She started pacing back in the watchtower and once again hurt that she was still out of the loop.
Oliver could hear the impatience in her tone; he would have to atone for all his sins later. For the moment they had evil plans to foil. "Switching to silent running, stand by for instructions." He murmured for Chloe's sake. "Aquaman, do your thing."
He took off towards the direction that Chloe gave him, where Clark was probably trapped. He darted to the nearby column when he spotted two guards who were about to have an encounter with the Green Arrow. When they were finally close enough he sent a kick to the first guard's stomach and landed a punch on the other. Once the two were neutralized he took off running again.
"Hey, you're not supposed to be here!" Oliver heard another guard tell Clark, who was lying on the ground quite helplessly.
"Neither am I." He said just as he aimed for the back of the guard's neck and shot off a small arrow. The arrow emitted a mild electric shock and the man promptly fell to the ground. Oliver took quick steps towards Clark and helped the younger man to his feet. "Come on." He murmured just as he dragged Clark out of the room.
"I'm alright." Clark finally spoke once he was completely out of distance from the refined meteor rocks.
"You sure?" He looked at him critically. Once he was convinced that Clark was telling the truth he focused his attention on Chloe. "Green Arrow to Watchtower, Boyscout's out of the woods."
"Thank god." Chloe finally stopped pacing and gave into a weak smile. "Good job, Arrow."
Oliver smiled at her compliment. He heard the relief in her voice as well as the pride. It made him feel infinitely better. He started to walk away and Clark automatically followed after him.
"Boyscout?" The annoyance was loud and clear in Clark's tone.
He scoffed at his expression. "If you hadn't run off you could have picked your own codename." He uttered in disapproval. "You don't want to play for the team, that's just fine. Just be smart about it."
"Point taken." Clark replied grudgingly. "Where's Bart?"
"Impulse." He almost hissed the codename. Clark really needed to learn to be more covert about other people's secret identities. "He didn't get to pick his codename either. Watchtower will guide you to where he's probably being held." He handed Clark a communicator.
"What are you going to be doing?" Clark looked at him questioningly.
Oliver switched on his voice modulator. "What I do best." He started for the long hallway and began placing tiny explosive devices.
They finally got Clark out of trouble. Chloe focused on the map in front of her and deduced where they were keeping Bart. "Watchtower to Boyscout, let's find Impulse." Chloe said confidently.
Oliver finally finished placing the explosives on the hallway and started for the opposite direction. He pulled to a stop when he saw the one and only Lex Luthor.
"I don't care. I want a level-one lockdown. No one gets in or out!" The man practically barked into the radio he was holding.
"Little late for that." He smirked at the bald man. "You have ten minutes to clear your men out of here before I blow this place out the map."
"You!" Lex shot him the sharpest look.
"You remembered, I'm touched." He shot back sarcastically.
"Well, it's a little hard to forget. Last time we met you tried to put an arrow in my chest." Lex retorted coldly.
"Just trying to return the favor, after all you tried to put a bullet in mine." He countered easily. "Bygones?"
"Go to hell!' Lex responded, for the first time losing his cool.
"You first." Oliver rejoined and he shot off an arrow in Lex' direction. The weapon grazed the side of his face before it embedded itself on the wall behind him. Lex' attention was on the arrow, so Oliver took the opportunity to make a run for it.
"…yeah, I just—I just need a minute to catch my breath." Bart was telling Clark when Oliver reached them.
"Not to be insensitive, but you're gonna have to catch it later." He said as he patted the younger man on the back. "Aquaman, Cyborg, rendezvous alpha confirmed." He steered them towards the exit that they were taking.
"Watchtower, have all Luthor's men cleared the building." He asked Chloe once they reached outside. It was imperative that no one remained in the facility.
Chloe looked at the screen intently. She had a feeling something big was going to happen and the urgency in Oliver's tone was enough to tell her to check and double check before she answered. "The last heat signatures are moving away from the North." She finally answered after making sure.
Clark suddenly grabbed Oliver's arm. "Wait a second. What are you doing?" He shot him a very confused look.
Oliver's brows furrowed. "What do you think I'm doing? You want more of your friends to end up there?"
"Yeah, I'm voting no on that one." Bart piped in.
"Clark looked at him then at Bart. "Watchtower, are you sure that everyone's out of the building?"
Chloe shook her head smilingly. Clark was such a…boy scout. Oliver was just right in his assigning the codename. But she was wholly behind not letting anyone die. She was positive that Oliver was on the same wavelength. "One hundred percent positive." She answered confidently.
Victor and AC finally reached them. Clark looked at him again before nodding. "All right, let's do it."
Oliver nodded, with the tiniest hint of condescension as he pressed a button that triggered massive explosions behind them as they walked away.
She watched as the screen before her suddenly lit up. She shook her head in awe. "Whoa."
The five men were ways away from the facility. Oliver looked them over. Bart did not look worse for wear. Clark seemed to have fully recovered from the meteor rock exposure. AC was wet as a fish, but that was nothing new. And Victor was looking pretty satisfied; Oliver gathered that his mission was accomplished. "Alright men, let's head back to HQ." He said with a nod. "Watchtower, we're on our way." He told Chloe, to give her fair warning. Internally, he was dreading heading back. But if the guys actually came with him, they may act as a buffer against Chloe's impending wrath.
"Copy that." Chloe responded as she started fixing everything back to normal.
The team released a collective sigh of relief. All of them turned off their communicator as they prepared to unwind after a grueling mission.
Clark was looking at him intently. "Why don't we head back to the farm? I'm sure Bart would need all the food he could get." He focused his attention on the three other men.
"I'm in!" Bart answered almost immediately.
Victor and AC nodded in agreement.
Oliver frowned. But before he could voice his protest, Bart was already gone; AC was already heading for the water and Victor for his motorcycle. Only Clark was left.
"You and Chloe need to talk." Clark declared before he too took off.
He shook his head in frustration. "Meddling farm boy." He muttered to himself.
Chloe waited around the penthouse for the guys. She couldn't wait until Clark got there so he could take her back to Smallville. She wasn't ready to have a heart to heart with Oliver. Her anger and her hurt feelings would probably make her say things that could never be taken back.
She slumped on the couch. Part of her could understand why Oliver kept most of his secrets. She truly got that. But he knew… he knew that the meteor-infected were her expertise. Sure, she kept some things from him, but majority of them were Clark's secrets. If she had the liberty to disclose the information, she would have.
Maybe he didn't know that. Maybe it just boiled down to the fact that he didn't trust her.
The elevator finally opened with a ding. Chloe stood up and was expecting to see the five men stroll into the penthouse. Only Oliver, in his Green Arrow glory, walked in.
"Hey." Oliver greeted her quietly.
Chloe just looked at him blankly. She stared at him for a long minute before she realized something. "Meddler." She murmured darkly.
Oliver gave her a small smile as he lowered his hood and took off his glasses. "He thought we needed to talk."
She shook her head. "We do. But I'm not really in a very talky mood." She said just as she started to gather her stuff.
"Chloe, I know I've kept a lot from you-" Oliver began.
Chloe put a hand up to stop him. "No, you didn't just keep things from me. I could actually live with the fact that I don't know everything there is to know about you." She looked at him with such disappointment. "I get that you have secrets…but you push me away." She lowered her head so he couldn't see the tears forming in her eyes.
"I've already gone through feeling like I don't mean anything to someone I loved, but you…" She finally raised her gaze to meet his. "You made me feel worse." She whispered achingly. "I thought…I thought we were building something. But you just, it's like you were no longer here with me." She looked at him tearfully. "You just pushed me aside like I meant nothing to you."
"That's not true. Chloe I-"
Chloe shook her head. She wasn't ready to hear what he had to say. The feelings were too raw. "I told you I can't do this right now." She brushed away her tears hastily. "You need to decide." She secured her bag on her shoulder. "You need to decide if this is still what you want… if I'm still what you want." She averted her gaze from his, unwilling to see the truth in his eyes; that she was not the one for him.
Oliver watched as Chloe turned her back on him and started for the elevator. He ordered himself to move, to speak but his body was not cooperating. Just as Chloe was talking he kept telling himself to interrupt, to tell her that he loved her. To no avail.
The moment she turned her back on him she regretted it. She should stay. They should work it out. This was not how it was supposed to end. They were never supposed to end. What she felt for the man behind her, she never felt it for anyone else, and it could not even be compared to what she felt for Clark. 'Stop me.' She quietly pleaded to him.
He watched as Chloe pressed the button of the elevator and the door automatically opened. He watched as she stepped in. He knew then, if she walked away now, there was no going back. If she left they would break.
Sure, they could probably try and save their relationship tomorrow, maybe they would have a few more months together. But it would not last, because he was too much of a coward to put himself in such a vulnerable position. And he would end up in the same place he was before he met Chloe. He would have to go back to his old ways and pretend that he didn't need anyone, not someone he loved more than life itself.
Oliver started walking, just as the elevator doors were closing. He was not going to back to the empty life he used to live. He was not going to lose the one woman who embraced every part of him. He shot out his arm to keep the doors from closing fully. "I love you." He declared with such earnestness.
Chloe looked up from her misery when the elevator doors did not close as she expected. She saw a hand and she felt hope. She looked at Oliver and watched with such fascination as he said the words that she last expected to hear.
"I love you." He said again as he stepped into the elevator. His hand shot out to press the stop button so the elevator would stand still. He closed the distance between them and settled his hands on her shoulders. "I've never been able to tell any other woman that. I've never even felt it. Until you."
Chloe felt her tears fall down her cheeks and Oliver cupped her face with both his hands and wiped them away with his thumbs.
"I didn't mean to push you away." He lowered his gaze in recrimination. "I just felt selfish."
Chloe's brows furrowed at the statement as she took his hands from her face and secured them in hers.
"I was willing to give everything up. This life, the mission." Oliver jerked his head to the penthouse's direction. "I just want to be with you and when I'm with you, the world fades."
"But I would never ask that of you." She answered quietly.
"I know." Oliver squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"Because it's my life too, Oliver." Chloe told him with such passion.
"I know." Oliver focused his stare on their joined hands.
"I love you." Chloe declared softly.
Oliver looked up at her declaration. He thought she did, but he was never entirely sure. "Despite the fact that I am such a colossal coward?" He asked as he tried to insert some levity in their exchange. Declarations of love are typically joyous occasion; this one was the exact opposite. While he was happy to discover that their love for each other was wholly mutual, it pained him to remember that he caused Chloe so much sorrow.
Chloe looked him in the eye and nodded solemnly. She was not going to make light of the situation. Oliver loves her and she loves Oliver. What caused them to finally admit to those feelings should not be taken lightly.
He touched his forehead against hers and breathed in deeply. He felt whole. For the first time in his life he felt like there was nothing missing. "I don't ever want to lose you." He murmured as he closed his eyes, hoping he could keep this moment forever.
She let go of his hand and placed hers on his cheek. "You won't." She uttered with such confidence.
Oliver opened his eyes and looked straight into her hazel orbs. "I almost did. I don't want you to regret loving me. I don't want to do things that hurt you and push you away from me." He placed a hand on top of hers, hoping to convey how much he meant the words he said.
"I will never regret loving you, Oliver." She knew it with such conviction. "Because even if you sometimes hurt me…in the end you make up for it, you never have a simple reason for keeping things from me. But I do want you to trust me…I need you to trust me." Chloe declared with such passion.
Oliver brought their joined hands to his lips and placed a gentle kiss on hers. "I do trust you. But sometimes, I get this intense desire to protect you… from everything."
She shook her head in response. "I know how bad this world is. And I appreciate you wanting to protect me from it." She said quietly. "I can take whatever the world throws my way, but I need you on my side." Chloe only realized how true her statement was the moment she uttered it.
"I am." Oliver's grip on her hand tightened considerably. "I will always be on your side, because I need you to be on mine as well." He smiled ruefully.
Chloe laughed weakly. "We're becoming a little too sappy for my taste."
Oliver shook his head. "I think we're just the right amount of sap. I love you so much." He said again just before he leaned in for a kiss.
"So the Daily Planet is running with the story that a gas explosion destroyed the 'vacant' Luthorcorp building down by the docks." Chloe said as she hung up the phone.
The team had assembled at the Kent farm the night before and they were still there this morning. Chloe and Oliver just joined them, but her boyfriend was still on the phone making some final arrangements. She smiled in recollection of what happened the night before. Their declaration of love led to full disclosure of what Oliver was truly up to…among other things.
"Vacant?" Clark's brows furrowed. "Looks like the Luthor cover-up machine is in full swing." He said disapprovingly.
She patted his arm comfortingly. "Well, at least we got Bart out before Lex ran him into an early grave." She shot the younger man a small smile.
"Come on, no worries. I had plenty of juice left." Bart declared as he sped from beside AC and stopped right next to her.
Chloe grinned at him. He was laying on the charm pretty thickly as he placed an arm around her shoulders.
"Could have fooled me the way you cleaned out Mama Kent's fridge." Victor interjected sarcastically.
'That's cause I like to stay fueled up." He looked at her suggestively. "Just in case I need to spring into action." Bart sped from her left to her right, securing his arm around her pretty possessively.
Chloe was about to remind him that she had a boyfriend when said boyfriend walked into the barn, his mouth open, about to say something important she was sure.
Oliver's eyes narrowed when he saw Bart hanging all over his Chloe. 'Mine.' His mind said territorially. Bart's remark about the hot reporter was making sense. He could actually forgive Bart for having such good taste but the resounding mine still echoed in his head.
"She has a boyfriend." Oliver said as he walked towards the two. He firmly took Bart's arm around Chloe's and gave the younger man a hard look.
Bart looked slightly confused. "I know, Clark told me a number of times already. But a man can dream right?" He smiled at her. "Besides, said boyfriend's been MIA." He grinned mischievously.
Oliver shook his head. "A mistake he will not make again." He informed Bart coolly as he placed his arm around Chloe's waist.
Bart's eyes widened the moment Oliver moved.
Clark just chuckled quietly. AC and Victor exchanged knowing looks.
"Bossman!" Bart said accusingly.
Chloe placed a hand on Oliver's arm. "I'm afraid so." She said regretfully.
"B-but." Bart looked at the couple and then the guys.
Clark clapped him on the back. "It's no big deal. These two have been going out for like forever."
Bart just looked at him incredulously. "But I saw her first."
"And now you know why we call him Impulse." AC stated ruefully. He shook his head at the younger man's tone.
Chloe felt a little sorry for Bart until he said that he saw her first. "I'm not something that you can call dibs on." She said tartly.
"No, you're not." Oliver pulled her closer against him. "But I have to admit, Bart has good taste." He gave him an understanding look.
Bart sighed heavily. "I can't believe Chloelicious is dating you." He seemed sincerely crestfallen.
An understanding smile dawned on Chloe's face. "Sorry?"
Oliver reached out and patted Bart's back in the friendliest manner he could muster. "She's not really sorry." He informed the other man.
Chloe dug her elbow against his stomach. "Oliver!' She admonished, she was trying to be sympathetic. She had no idea that Bart would react the way that he did and she was sincerely trying to cheer him up.
He simply planted a kiss on her temple and smiled at her indulgently. "Don't worry about him, Chloelicious. Bart here is a big boy, he'll recover." He gave the younger man a meaningful look.
Bart met his gaze and Chloe was quite amazed to see him transform from the whiny kid he was behaving a minute ago to a more mature version. "I sure will!" He declared loudly. "Besides, if big green here ever messes up," He sped from beside Oliver and appeared once again next to Chloe. "You'll know who to call." He took Chloe's free hand in his and placed a kiss on the back of her hand.
Chloe laughed at Bart's antics and at the frown that Oliver was sporting. "I do." She said seriously. "Clark's my best friend and he has dibs on anyone who hurts me." She smiled in Clark's direction and her friend's answering chuckle was her answer.
Bart dramatically clutched his hand to his heart. "You truly wound me."
Oliver rolled his eyes. "Shall we focus on another business entirely?" He gave Chloe an amused smile before he turned back to his team.
Chloe cleared her throat. "We went over the information that AC and Victor hacked from the 33.1 mainframe last night." She lifted her gaze to Oliver who nodded in return.
The four other men were listening avidly.
"Lex doesn't seem to be satisfied playing in his own backyard." Oliver said gravely. "Luthorcorp is starting up divisions of 33.1 all across the globe. Wherever there's evidence of people with abilities, there'll be laboratories to do experiments on them."
"We can't let that happen." Clark declared with such conviction.
"We won't." Oliver replied in pretty much the same tone. "Our first target is a large facility on Corto Maltese." He looked at AC, Victor and Bart. "You guys know the drill." He nodded in their direction. "Wheels up in 30 minutes."
"Guess it's time to pack in our gear." AC said in a less than enthusiastic tone.
Oliver's brow rose at the quiet complaint. Chloe merely rolled her eyes and smiled at him in return. He returned the bright beam and was about to lead her out of the barn so they could say goodbye in private.
"You coming, amigo?" Bart posed the question to Clark eagerly.
Every one of them stopped. Oliver and Chloe exchanged looks.
"Yeah, you got to come with us man." AC added, clearly warming up to the idea.
Victor nodded in consideration. "We could use the big guns."
Oliver looked at the younger man and waited for the response. He already had a similar talk with Chloe and already knew the answer.
"I want to be a part of this, I really do." Clark began in the most reluctant tone.
Chloe watched her best friend as he tried to tell the rest in the nicest way possible the same thing she told Oliver the night before. That they still had unfinished business in Smallville…in Metropolis.
"There's a problem…that I caused. I have to take care of that first." Clark muttered gravely.
She felt pride. Clark was wallowing in the rivers of guilt before. Listening to him now, she knew that he finally moved beyond the blame and was definitely ready to face the challenges ahead.
Oliver nodded conciliatorily. "This isn't the end of the story, Clark. The team will be here, whenever you're ready." He held out his hand for the younger man.
Clark shook his hand and nodded in turn.
"Now I'll be taking a walk with my girlfriend, until you guys are ready." Oliver shot the three other men a look before holding his arm out to Chloe, which she took readily. The two of them walked out of the barn before anyone could comment.
"I'm going to miss this place." Oliver remarked as he gazed around their surroundings.
Chloe laughed quietly. "You barely spent time here." She said teasingly.
Oliver looked at her fondly. "But those times that I was, I was here with you." He replied pointedly.
She shook her head as she leaned against him. They talked about his move their night before, when they found out what Lex was exactly up to. It felt so clinical last night. But today, it felt all too real for her.
"Are you sure you can't come with me?" He stopped walking and faced her.
Chloe met his eyes reluctantly. The decision not to leave was hard enough; recapping said decision was not making things any easier. "Can you imagine what my dad would say if I said, hey dad, I'm going to go globe trotting with my boyfriend, which is really a mission to dismantle all the 33.1 that Lex Luthor is building all over the world." She stated so perkily.
Oliver pretended to look thoughtful for a full second. "He probably wouldn't like the idea." He conceded quietly.
"Besides, I still have the Planet and school will probably open soon." Her mood dropped back to forlorn. "I'm going to miss you." She said as she laid her cheek against his chest.
"And I you." Oliver enveloped her in his arms. He closed his eyes and relished the moment. "It's going to be fine." He murmured reassuringly.
Chloe pulled back. "Fine?" She gazed at him skeptically. "Long distance relationships are hard." She declared with such conviction.
Oliver nodded. "I heard that it is. But we'll make it work." He said confidently.
Her eyes narrowed at him. "How can you be so sure?"
"Because I am." He met her gaze head on. "I believe in us, Chloe." He pulled her closer to him and leaned his forehead against hers. "We've had our ups and downs. But we always pull through. I need you to believe in us, too." Oliver said with such intensity.
Chloe inhaled deeply. "I do."
Oliver looked at her ardently. "Then we'll be okay."
Chloe gave him a tentative smile. "Besides, our chances are much improved by the fact that you're a billionaire." She gave him a meaningful look.
He smiled at her. "I can always fly back to you."
"Or you can always fly me to wherever you are." She volleyed back, her enthusiasm was picking up.
"And one day, you'll join me." Oliver declared with such confidence.
"And together, we'll fight the good fight." Chloe finished for him.
The two of them looked at each other with such adoration. Oliver pulled her closer and Chloe settled comfortably in his arms. He raised a hand to caress her cheek tenderly and she leaned to his touch. They eyes were both shining with love for each other.
Their lips were about to meet.
A loud honk sounded from a car.
Oliver and Chloe looked at the direction of the sound. Oliver glared at Bart, who was the obvious culprit and Chloe just giggled.
"Let's get a move on!" Bart yelled enthusiastically.
AC, Clark and Victor seemed to be trying to control their laughter.
Oliver rolled his eyes and focused back on the woman he loved. Another honk was the team's reply.
"Those guys." He said tiredly.
Chloe just smiled before placing a hand on the back of his neck and pulled him in for a kiss, despite the insistent honking.
AN2: I can't believe this fic is over! So sad. But I also mentioned that I will be continuing Chloe and Ollie's story. It will be entitled 'So Close', I finally decided on that title. It will be different from this one, because I am going to try and shake things up. I won't be posting them in the correct order. I'll be picking them randomly. Or rather, I'm going to have the first pick and then it's reader's choice: the very first person to review this chapter will get to pick the next one and then the process shall start all over every time I post. Not only will that reviewer get to pick which episode I'll write, this person can also pm me endlessly until I post the chapter and can give me some input during the writing process. This will be a way for me not to let my fics go wayside. And it's also an opportunity for you guys to get what you want. That said, I picked the episode Abyss for the first chapter in So Close. Here's a sneakpeek...
He sat on the barn steps, patiently waiting.
He eyed the box in his hand and wondered. He hadn't been waiting long when he finally heard footsteps. He tensed at the forthcoming confrontation.
Clark Kent walked into the barn and his gazed landed on Oliver. Oliver could tell that his presence was not the least bit surprising to the younger man. He probably heard him, somehow.
"Clark." Oliver nodded in his direction.
Clark gave him a puzzled look. "Ollie?"
"Chloe's in Metropolis." He answered the unvoiced question.
"Okay. So what's up?" Clark looked at him questioningly.
Oliver got up from his perch and walked towards the other man. "You didn't tell me." He muttered lowly.
Clark picked up a bale of hay and started on his chores. "Tell you what?" He looked like he had no care in the world.
Oliver wanted to make him stop, to make him focus on the conversation at hand. He was unable to comprehend how the man in front of him can act like everything was normal. "You didn't tell me what you did to her?" He bit out, barely able to control his anger.
Clark finally stopped and faced him fully. "I had no choice." He said in a hushed tone.
He snapped at those words. "You always have a choice, Clark." He looked at him in disbelief. "You just prefer to be the coward that you are."
The younger man's eyes flashed dangerously at his words. "Coward? Do you know how hard it was?" His jaw tensed considerably.
"How hard what was?" Oliver asked derisively. "How hard it was to fuck with your best friend's mind and take away the very essence of who she was?" His clutch on the box tightened.