Smallville. Just a name, barely a dot on the map and still. It doesn't take much nowadays.

He's thinking about him. Again. He shouldn't but he can't help himself. He just can't let go. He hears his voice in the night, crawling along his bedsheets. He can feel the heat of his body curled against his. And sometimes when he's walking in the streets he can almost hold his hand. His mind, his body, his heart, it seems they're all so set on making him hurt.

They tell him it's okay to hurt. It's okay to be worried, to panic, to scream, and yes, it's also okay to cry. But he doesn't. Why would he need to? He's Oliver Queen, after all. He almost hears him laugh, almost sees him shaking his head at him. He's thinking about him again. Dammit, why does it still hurt like this? It's been years and still.

It's not like he's been mourning all this time. He's not that pathetic. No. Nobody's dead. Yet. A nasty part of him keeps saying that word. Yet. It's driving him crazy. No. Nobody's dead, and he's not mourning. He'd know if something'd happened. He'd feel it. But right now, he just feels dull. He wishes he could move on but he can't. Move on from what? Really, he can't. There's nothing to move on from.

He's been burrying himself in work, business and justice, day and night. He barely sleeps anymore. He hates waking up. Waking up makes him hopeful and hope, it makes him feel so helpless, so weak. He hates it. He hates not being in control. It's been so long since things went his way. Well, if he was honest with himself, he'd admit business is doing alright. And maybe the crime rates are lower since a while too. But it's still not enough.

He's becoming reckless, he knows it. He's thinking he's someone else. He's imagining himself invincible, just like him. It used to upset him to be mortal, to bleed and to hurt. He's come to terms with it now. Or he likes to think he has. He remembers the drug he started using, he remembers the drive he had to be better than him, or at least like him. He knew the risks, yet still took it. Sometimes, he wishes he was still that brave.

He feels like he's been played. It's a bad dream and he'll wake up from it. Maybe it's a bad joke, and there's a camera hidden back there. Or it's just a bad day and he'll make it all better when he gets home. Home. He's come to dislike the word. It sounds so hollow now, so empty of sense. He's not quite comfortable at the Tower anymore. And Star City, well, it's been too long since he called it home. He doubts he'll really be home one day. He thought he had, once.

Alone. That's probably the most accurate word that would describe him. He has friends, yes, but it's just not the same. Not anymore, at least. Bart, Victor, AC, Dinah, Bruce, Chloe, and even Lois. They're all great people, but it's just not the same. They all have their lives now, and maybe they come together sometimes, for work or weddings or whatnot, but it's just not the same. Without him, nothing's the same anymore.

He wishes they could go to the Talon again, chat about things and nothings, sip coffee all day long and not worry about anything else. He wishes he could take him around the world, by plane, boat or plain simple air, share his favourite places with him, and even teach him how to order caviar in Russian. Oh. There he goes again. It's like he does it on purpose, like he enjoys hurting. Maybe it's just that it makes him feel alive for a bit. It's becoming addictive.

It'd only been a month that time. But he'd still gone off almost every radar known to mankind. The moment he saw him in the alley his heart just stopped right there. What the hell was he doing? Why hadn't he come back? Why was he letting them beat him up? A million questions were rushing through his head. He remembers everything.

Provoking him had felt good. Fighting with him had been elating. Feeling his heart beat, smelling his blood, seeing him alive, better. Being so close to him was delicious. Feeling him against him, dirty, wet, bloodied, so real. He had loved the look on his face. Faith, as if he'd known all along he'd be there. And relief, as if he'd been waiting just a bit too long. He'd vaguely wondered as they retreated what he'd do with all the caviar but who cared anyway?

He doesn't really understand the concept of blind dates but when the Sullivan-Lane duo teams up against you there's really nothing else to do but to yield. Of course he'd had his fair share of flings once upon a time but generally they'd come to him, not him to them. But blind dates were something completely new, different and quite desperate, if he may say so himself. He's not desperate, at least, not that much.

Okay, so it's been a while since he's had physical contact with someone, anyone. Honestly, he'd rather not. He fears it might wipe away his scent, erase him permanently from his life. But Chloe and Lois have insisted so much, yes, alright, they threatened him. A lot. Oliver's a smart man, he knows how to pick his battles. This one, he was never meant to win.

Trust. He hadn't been able to put his finger on it before. But now, he knows what it was. Trust was what made him let his guard down in front of the cop that night. More than love or friendship it was unconditional trust. He trusts him still, trust that he'll be back. Someday. He hopes it's soon because he doesn't see himself living like this for many more years. Sometimes he can't even feel himself living at all.

He knows he shouldn't but he can't help himself. He tries to chase away the unhappy thoughts but he's a right failure at it. He has to face it. There're things he regrets now. He wishes there weren't. He can't fix them. He's tried, but he can't fix anything. He feels so useless. If only he could talk to him. He knows it's just wishful thinking but hey, it's worth a try. He doesn't regret coming to Metropolis that day though. He never does.

He'd been going out with Lois for a couple of weeks now, and he felt he already knew Chloe and Smallville. She talked about them all the time. He'd been really looking forward to meeting Chloe but Clark, well, he didn't know. He'd kind of pictured this guy as a nerdy farmer's kid who didn't really know how to dress nicely, or what it was like in the outside world.

He doesn't really like it when he's wrong. Thank God, it doesn't happen that often. And he's proud, too. He doesn't usually jump at the opportuniy to admit his faults. That time, though, when he'd finally got to meet him, he'd been more than pleased to say he was wrong. Well, true, Clark could've used a wardrobe change but he certainly wasn't dorky, geeky or anything like that. There'd been sparks right away. They were kind of bad sparks, if he thinks about it now.

They'd had a rocky start. From what he'd gathered Smallville pretty much always kept his cool, was nice to everyone, and always did the right thing. But there must've been something about him, about them, that made him crack. There was always this nearly palpable tension between them, it drove him crazy. What was it about him exactly that made Clark go beserk? They were always yelling at each other, lecturing, criticizing, admonishing. And eventually, yes, they'd make up, apologize, start over, find their way back.

It happened without them really noticing it. They'd been teaming up more lately, helping each other out, even protecting one another. They still fought once in a while, bantered, bickered, and even flirted sometimes. Well, the last one was pretty much just himself but he liked to think Clark wasn't that unresponsive.

It happened little by little. Maybe it started early, like when Clark stopped Lois from unmasking him, or when he messed with Chloe's computer to erase his files. It certainly grew when he confided in him about Duncan when he couldn't even bring himself to tell Lois, and when he stopped him from killing Lex. It grew stronger when they did their first League rescue mission together. He cherishes the memory and hopes still.

Maybe it became something else when Lois kissed him while dressed up as the Green Arrow. He'd felt a tug at his heart, but he was never sure of whom he was jealous. Things definitely changed at some point, though. Maybe it was when Maxima came, or when he saw him and Lois at the jewelry store.

He doesn't really remember how, when or why. He should but he can't. He'd always felt something special between them. Maybe they always were together. Common sense, you know. He still feels skin on his, lips laughing and hands everywhere. But for the love of him, he can't quite picture when it happened.

Was it unexpected, an accident or something he'd planned? Was it Clark or him, was it day or night, summer or winter? He tries to go back in time, as far as he possibly can but he can't find any answers. Clark's always there. He's always been a part of his life. He wonders now why he tried so hard to put a date there.

Smallville, he whispers. It's so bittersweet on his tongue.