Title: Up In The Stars
Rating: M
Genre: Angst/Romance/Family
Pairing: Chloe/Oliver
Prompt: #6 - Alone
Word Count: 1, 683
Summary: He couldn't take it.

Up In The Stars

The phone was ringing. Again. It couldn't go to voicemail though, that was too full. His cell phone rang after the home phone stopped, he ignored it too. Stared out at the expanse of black that was the sky. It wasn't like in Star City where the bright glittering stars could fill up seemingly every inch of your sight. Here, in Metropolis, it was much too bright to see anything but skyscrapers and gleaming billboards. The air was cold; he should probably go inside. He was a mere mortal, so unlike Clark Kent or a few of the other superheroes he knew, he could very well die of hypothermia. He didn't care though, barely felt it. Barely felt anything.

He didn't know how long he sat there; all he knew was that he was alone. Once upon a time, the apartment was filled with her voice. So beautiful; musical almost. Or maybe he only thought that. Now that it was gone, everything seemed far too quiet. Where was the laughter or the snarky comebacks that always sat at the end of her pink tongue? Buried six feet under now. In a casket made of the finest wood and softest green silk.

His heart clenched as he allowed himself to think about her; to let her face reenter his blurred, burning eyes, her smile to burn its place in his heart once more. He tried to be stoic; he tried not to show how much it hurt. But God, it did! It burned and ached and everything felt so empty; his body, his mind, his heart. He'd roll over in his bed, reaching for her only to find she was never there. Every morning he woke up, he made her a cup of coffee only to realize she'd never drink it. Three days he'd been doing this and each day was harder than the last. Her arms didn't wrap around him as the water of the shower poured down on him. Her slick, naked body never fit against his like it did every morning before.

He called her cell this afternoon. Got her machine and realized a second later that she'd never get the message. She'd never answer her phone. She was gone. Seemed that power of hers had to give out sometime. She couldn't keep giving her life and never pay the consequences. One time too many... He knew he shouldn't, but he hated whoever she saved. He hated them with a loathing that made his entire body burn. He wanted to kill them all over again and hope that by some miracle she came back.

He let his eyes close, inhaled the cold air around him and held it. Some part of him wanted to die right then and though he knew if anything, he'd just pass out from lack of air and in his unconsciousness his body would breathe for him, he held on until he was dizzy, until the ache in his chest wasn't from missing her but air itself. And he figured that fit somehow, because to him she was his air. And now he didn't know how to breathe or how to live or whether he even could.

Years ago, he would've said that love could never be so strong. It couldn't make a person feel so lost and alone that they could invert themselves so much they didn't even feel like they were really there. And then Chloe Sullivan grinned at him one day and he realized that he really loved that smile. And one afternoon her eyes seemed to glitter and he decided that there was a whole new reason green was his favorite color. The first night he ever made love to her, he swore he'd never touch another woman again, that he couldn't touch another woman again. There was something about those curves of hers that made him feel like he'd been searching for her along. That his hands were meant to grip her hips and his chest was meant to press against hers, those soft, firm breasts of hers rubbing against him.

He loved best when she was absolutely naked; not a stitch of clothing in sight. She was the most beautiful creature he'd ever seen in his life; all creamy white flesh, beauty marks spattering her. He could spend hours using his fingers to create pictures out of those.

"What are you doing?" she asked, tone amused as she looked at him over her shoulder. She laid comfortably on her stomach, her clothes tossed somewhere on the floor hours ago.

He was leaning over her, tracing the many brown beauty marks along her back, creating words and shapes and scribbles of nothing and everything all over her skin. "What do you think I'm doing?" he replied, grinning.

She rolled her eyes but her mouth quirked with a smile.

He leaned down, pressed a kiss to her spine and then up along her shoulder blades. "Right here," he whispered as if it was their secret. He ran his finger around in a weird shape she could only feel and not see. "That's the constellation Sagittarius."

"The Archer," she murmured.

He smirked, spreading his palm out along her back before gliding it down her body.

She rolled over, arm lifting to wrap around his neck. "Do you think that means I'm yours?" she wondered softly. "Marked from birth." She smiled. "Fate."

"I don't know." He leaned down, pressing his lips to hers in a long, drawn out kiss. When they parted, they were both breathless with half-lidded eyes, glazed with passion. "But I'm keeping you anyway."

She laughed before arching up into him and capturing his mouth once more.

They were together two years before he asked her to marry him and six months later she was Chloe Ann Queen. It wasn't easy; their job wasn't what he'd call a walk in the park. Add to that his responsibilities with Queen Industries and hers with Isis and they had a hectic schedule. But it helped that every night he came home to her, to find her in their bed, almost never wearing clothes, looking like a beautiful pixie, waiting for him to show her just how much he missed her, how much he loved her. He'd strip down to nothing, his work clothes or his Green Arrow gear tossed aside as he crawled in between the sheets to draw her body up against his. She'd stir, give a small sigh and then wrap herself in his arms, kissing his chest as her own welcome home. But he'd never have that again.

He opened his eyes once more, glared at the black sky and wished he was back in Star City, away from the place where his wife had lost her life for yet another victim. Where he could wallow in the comfort of their bedroom, where it felt more like her, like them. Here, it lacked the warmth... It lacked the homey feeling. It felt dreary and cold; lonely.

He felt the tear slip from his eye but didn't bother wiping it away. It was one of many; many already shed and many to come.

He wondered when somebody would show up with an uplifting speech. The "You're strong, Oliver, you can get through this." Or the "I know you loved her, we all did, but she wouldn't want you to do this..." He didn't want to hear them. If her best friend wasn't a superpowered alien that could tear through anything no matter how many locks he enforced it with, he'd lock everybody out and die in peace. Instead, he stayed in his lone chair, staring at the starless sky, wishing he had his Sagittarius beauty.

"Daddy?" came the soft voice behind him, followed by the soft patter of feet.

He turned to look at the tiny vision of Chloe staring up at him with her mother's eyes. He swallowed tightly. "What're you doing up, munchkin?" he asked, voice scratchy with a lack of use.

She didn't answer, instead climbing up into his lap and resting her head on his shoulder. She played with the buttons on his shirt, just like she used to when she was a baby. He didn't hear her crying but he felt the tears seep through his shirt. He wrapped his arms around her, ran his hand up and down her back. "Mommy's not coming back... Is she?"

His jaw clenched and he closed his eyes. "No, Hannah. She's not."

She sniffled, cuddling up against him tighter. "Daddy?" she whispered.

"Yeah?"

"You aren't gonna leave me too, are you?" She sounded so scared.

His heart clenched. "Never," he breathed, resting his head against hers. "You know your mom, if she had the choice she would've stayed with us forever."

"Forever and ever?"

"And ever and ever and ever."

She nodded, wrapping her small arms around him. "What do we do?" she wondered.

He'd wondered the same thing. "We live how mommy would've wanted us to," he replied.

"I think she would've wanted me to make you hot chocky," she murmured. "She always made hot chocky when we was cold!"

"How 'bout I make you hot chocolate?" he suggested.

She nodded, her soft blonde hair rubbing against his whiskered cheek. "But you gotta put marshemellies in it! 'Cause mommy said that's what makes the shivers go away!"

He tried to smile, remembering how his wife always said the same thing to their daughter when she made up her homemade hot chocolate for everybody. "I know, baby."

He glanced once more, up at the night sky with resolve. And he was sure he caught sight of just one star, blinking brightly high above, watching over. He climbed out of the chair, holding his daughter tight in his arms and he hoped Chloe knew that he'd love her forever but as alone as he felt, he couldn't be with her now. Not for many, many years, when his daughter was old enough to let him go. When it was finally his time; and then he'd join her. Up in the stars.