Title: A Fine Line
Rating: R for language. (Drunk Ollie is a pottie mouth!)
Pairing: Clark/Oliver, Clark/other implied
Category: Romance/First Time
Author's Note: I've been thinking about this pairing for all of season 8. But when Oliver's assistant used the words "lovers' spat" in reference to Oliver and Clark, well... This story is now officially necessary. I also feel compelled to mention that this is my first story ever featuring Clark with someone other than Lex. And while Clex always comes first in my heart of hearts, this is what the show is inspiring in me right now. Forgive me. :)
A/N #2: This is totally AU but takes place during Bride. Oliver is getting drunk instead of Lois. No Doomsday here. Sorry. Just your average, everyday barn wedding.
Spoilers: Arctic, Odyssey, Bride, possibly others.
First Lex and now Lana.
It was bad enough to find out that Lex might still be alive, roaming the planet somewhere, up to no good.
And still carrying a torch, probably. Despite Lex's deranged actions, it was clear that he was never really over Clark.
Then to run into Lana in Cuba, once Lana the Pink and Innocent, more recently Lana the Sleek and Dangerous, and now, Lana, of the Fancy New Hair-Do.
Also carrying a torch for Clark.
So why did you strong-arm her into coming to the wedding? Oliver cursed himself. She didn't want to be here. Wouldn't be here if you had kept your fat mouth shut.
But after putting a hole in that effigy of Lex, and after being dumb enough to let Lana witness that, Oliver had overcompensated. For what, though, he couldn't exactly be sure. Was it fear that Lana had seen him attempt to kill a man? Or was it something deeper, more irrational?
Like worry that Lana could tell his feelings for Clark had motivated the attempt on Lex's life.
Clark didn't motivate the attempt, Oliver corrected himself. I was avenging my parents.
So why did you have to prove to her that you don't care about Clark's lingering feelings for her? Why did you ask her to come?
That damned opposing voice wouldn't quiet down, no matter how much he had had to drink. If anything, it was getting louder.
Oliver took another deep swallow from his champagne flute as the wedding reception bloomed around him, plunky piano music seemingly coming from thin air, chirping laughter bouncing off of every surface in the barn.
He put down his empty champagne glass and picked up another full one, blatantly observing the wordless exchange of tragic stares now being shared by Clark and Lana.
This wasn't how things were supposed to unfold.
Oliver had planned to be honest with Clark.
He had driven to the farm during the wedding preparations to talk to Clark, but before he got there, his damned assistant had called him to tell him about Lex. It had then become a matter of urgency to get Clark to come with him, to convince Clark that Lex had to be dealt with once and for all.
But Clark refused to admit that there was even a problem. He knew how dangerous Lex could be, and still he looked Oliver right in the eye and basically said, "Not now."
As if there was any time to waste! Lex had to be stopped! Clark knew that better than anyone. And yet, Clark, more than anyone, was totally unwilling to do anything about it. It just didn't make sense.
It makes total sense, you jackoff, Oliver's inner critic drawled. You wanted to know if Clark was over Lex. Now you know.
And with another glance in the direction of Clark and Lana, still wordlessly gazing at each other, Oliver realized he had the answer to that question as well.
How annoying that Lex and Lana would make an appearance on the same fucking day. Could Clark's love life be any more confusing?
It was then that Oliver noticed Lois standing nearby, doing some blatant ogling of her own. Her arms were crossed tightly across her chest, and her throat quivered with unexpressed emotion as she watched the silent reunion of Clark Kent and Lana Lang.
"It's ridiculous, right?" Oliver slurred to Lois. "They've been at this for so long, they don't even need to talk anymore. They just go straight to emoting."
A choked sob escaped Lois's throat, and she dashed from the barn.
"Shit," Oliver hiccupped. "She's in love with him too?! No one told me I had to take a number and stand in fucking line!"
His voice grew more powerful with each word, so that by the end of his sentence he was yelling. Several party guests shot puzzled looks at him, but no one seemed to know, or care, what he was talking about. And predictably, Clark and Lana were too busy eye-fucking to even notice.
Oliver jumped as a hand came down softly on his shoulder, and he whipped around, assuming a sloppy fight stance.
"Whoa, put down your dukes, man, it's just me!" Jimmy put his own hands up in a show of peace. "Everything okay?" Jimmy eyed the champagne glass in Oliver's hand without much subtlety.
"The hell does it look like, Olsen? Of course everything's not okay! I'm the sad, drunk guy! Every wedding needs a sad, drunk guy, doesn't it?" Oliver spouted. He punctuated his statement with an enthusiastic gesture of his arms which resulted in losing his grip on the champagne flute, and it flew across the barn, landing on a hay bale.
"Oh, my God," Oliver went on, not noticing the glass. His face turned down unhappily. "Oh, man. I'm the sad, drunk guy. Oh, man."
He brought his hands up to his face in shame and embarrassment, feeling like he was about to cry. Jimmy braced himself for the coming onslaught of emotion, but then Oliver hiccupped again, and his cry face morphed back into generic drunk face.
Ever the reliable friend, Jimmy attempted to offer comfort anyway. "I guess you noticed the look that Lois was giving CK just now, huh?" he asked softly.
Oliver stared blurrily into Jimmy's four eyes—wait… two—wait, no… four… yep, four—and wondered if his feelings for Clark had become that obvious.
"Listen, man, I'm sorry things didn't work out between Lois and you," Jimmy went on. "But you're a great guy, you know? I'm sure you'll land yourself another catch in no time." Jimmy tapped Oliver's shoulder and nodded, seeming satisfied with his advice.
"You don't know what you're talking about," Oliver said, stumbling away from Jimmy and toward the refreshments table.
"Hey, come on, Ollie, I'm just trying to help," Jimmy said.
Oliver picked up an unopened bottle of champagne and popped the cork, allowing the excess foam to spray out over his hands before taking a deep drink straight from the spout. "Don't call me Ollie," he said, wiping bubbles off of his mouth with the sleeve of his tux.
"Don't you think you've had enough?" Jimmy persisted, his voice taking on a little more authority.
"You better hold onto tight to your new wifey," Oliver said, ignoring Jimmy's comment. "Seems like everyone is falling under the Kent love spell these days. We both know Chloe's not immune." He hiccupped again and burped softly.
Jimmy's face went white, and his fists clenched at his sides. He shook his head. "That's messed up, Queen," he whispered. "Enjoy your misery."
He turned on his heel and stalked away from Oliver who laughed stupidly as though Jimmy had just cracked a joke.
"This is bullshit," Oliver muttered, staggering toward the open door. He nearly tripped over another hay bale and laughed to himself. "Actual bullshit," he repeated. "Who gets married in a barn?"
He finally made it out into the cool autumn air and spotted the tractor parked nearby. Not wanting to walk all the way back to the farmhouse to be alone, he climbed onto the tractor and took a seat behind the wheel, loosening his tie and taking another long draft of the champagne.
Still feeling damp and uncomfortable from the muggy heat of too many people inside the barn, Oliver wriggled out of his suit jacket, mindful to keep the champagne bottle mostly upright, and let his jacket slip to the ground. He reclined slightly in the tractor seat, resting his feet on the steering wheel, and stared up into the sky. He felt startled when he saw the brilliance of the stars overhead, the nearly blinding half moon, and even a couple of meteors streaking by. He had forgotten how clear the night sky could be away from the city lights.
But as suddenly as his enjoyment had come, it was replaced by a feeling of envy for Clark. Envy for Clark's more or less traditional upbringing, for Clark's annoyingly abundant dating pool. Envy that Clark had been raised out here in such a quiet, peaceful place, full of love and starlight and haylofts and telescopes.
Another well of emotion began to flood up inside of Oliver, but this time, instead of an urge to cry, a completely different urge overtook him.
He began to sing at the top of his lungs.
"Stars shining bright above you!
Night breezes seem to whisper I love you!
Birds singing in the sycamore tree!
Dream a little dream of me!"
He paused to belch and take another drink.
"Say nighty-night and kiss me!
Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me!
While I'm alone and—"
Clark jogged out of the barn to see what was going on. He spotted Oliver lying back in the tractor seat with his feet resting on the steering wheel.
Clark made his way to the tractor.
"—blue as can be!" Oliver continued. "Dream a little dream of—"
"Oliver!" Clark yelled to get his attention.
"Oliver!" Oliver sang. "I mean me! I mean, Oliver is me! I'm me!"
"You're drunk," Clark supplied with a smirk.
Oliver glared at Clark, noticing him for the first time. "And you're spineless! You need to make up your damn mind!"
Clark simply smiled his good-natured smile at Oliver, somehow unable to be insulted by his words. It made Oliver insane.
"All right," Clark said reaching for the champagne bottle. "No driving for you. You can sleep here tonight."
Oliver yanked the champagne away before Clark could get at it. "Oh, great!" he shouted. "Great idea, Clark! A good old-fashioned slumber party. You, me, and your latest conquest, Lois Lane! Can we paint each other's toenails and talk about boys?!"
"My latest conquest? Jeez, Oliver, you have been drinking."
"Oh, don't pretend like you don't know how she feels, Clark," Oliver said, clumsily jumping off the tractor and getting up in Clark's face. "Don't pretend like you don't know about the lovelorn string of Smallvillians following you around like a row of ducking fucks!"
"Ducking…" Clark repeated, confused.
"Ducking…" Oliver attempted again, swaying on his feet. "Ducking… fucking… FUCK!"
"Okay, Oliver, I don't know what's going on, but why don't you give me the bottle, and we can talk about it?"
"What's the matter, Clark? You afraid of a little too much honesty? Sometimes I think this—", he held up the bottle, "—is the only way I can get your attention long enough to say what I really think."
Clark flattened his arms against his sides, clearly becoming uncomfortable. "What do you really think, Oliver?" he asked cautiously.
"How kind of you to ask," Oliver commented politely. "I'll tell you. I think that Clark Kent is a grade A chickenshit fence sitter, who not only can't decide on a person to be in love with, but who won't even stick to one gender!"
A shower of saliva accompanied Oliver's diatribe, and he gracelessly mopped his chin with his sleeve. Clark lowered his eyes, whether in sadness or anger, Oliver couldn't tell.
"You know that Lex was the only man I ever—" Clark began softly.
"And you're still hung up on him," Oliver interrupted.
"—and it was a long time ago," Clark continued, growing heated, "before I knew the kind of person he—"
"So, what. He coerced you?" Oliver jabbed.
"I didn't say that," Clark said. "And I'm not hung up on him. He betrayed me, and I hate him."
"You know what they say about love and hate, Clark," Oliver tsked.
"And I can't believe you would bring that up in such a hurtful way," Clark's voice broke. "I told you about Lex and me because I trusted you."
"You sure about that?" Oliver pressed. "'Cause you're starting to strike me as the type of guy who enjoys showing off the notches on his bedpost."
Clark was silent for a moment, his mouth hanging open. "Look," he finally said, "If this is about Lois and me, you should know that I have no interest in…"
"Yeah, well, she has interest," Oliver stated. "And so does Lana, 'cause, guess what, she came back. And so does Lex, I'm sure, if the bastard is still alive. I think it became pretty obvious that he still wants you when he tried to enchant you with his magic crystal ball."
Clark flinched painfully at the memory. "Oliver, you're way out of line right now," he warned.
"And to think I thought I had found an opening," Oliver laughed ironically. "Lana and Lex gone, Chloe getting married… But you like to keep them all dangling, don't you, CK?" Oliver emphasized Clark's initials like they were a curse.
"An opening," Clark said unsurely. "Oliver, what on earth are you—"
"I would never hurt you like Lex did," Oliver whispered, a sudden wave of emotion sweeping over him as stinging tears formed in his eyes.
Clark's own eyes widened as understanding occurred. "Oh," he breathed.
"Do you have any idea how hard you are to get a handle on?" Oliver pleaded.
"Don't call me that," Oliver said, wiping his sleeve over his eyes. He began to walk away from Clark. "I'm such a stupid fool. I'm sorry, Clark. I won't bother you anymore."
"Ollie, wait," Clark followed. "Is this what you were trying to tell me when you stopped by before?"
"Where is my fucking car?" Oliver half-sobbed, roaming aimlessly around the farm grounds.
"Is this why you wanted me to come with you to look for Lex?" Clark grabbed Oliver's arm and stopped his wandering.
"You can tell me that you're over him until the meteor rocks sprout legs and learn to riverdance, but I know he still has a hold on you," Oliver said, keeping his back turned.
Clark hesitated. "I just don't like the idea of flying off half-cocked and doing something we'll regret."
"You don't want to hurt him," Oliver stated.
Clark hesitated again. "I don't want to hurt anyone."
Oliver turned around to look into Clark's eyes. "He broke your heart," Oliver said. "Are you going to tell me you're completely over that?"
After a long pause, Clark shook his head, finally letting his walls drop. "No. No, I guess I'm not completely over it. Are you happy?"
Oliver shook his own head. "Your pain doesn't make me happy, Clark."
"Are you sure?"
Oliver was about to argue, but before he could respond, he felt his legs give out beneath him, and he landed on his ass in the dirt, spilling more champagne on the way down. He put the bottle down next to him and buried his face in his hands with a deep and ragged sigh. He was surprised to hear Clark hunkering down next to him and sitting at his side.
"You're going to mess up your tuxedo," Oliver said into his hands.
"Our friendship is worth more to me than my tuxedo, Ollie," Clark replied. Oliver felt his stomach leap at Clark's use of that stupid nickname. He lifted his head from his hands and stared at the barn, bright light and cheerful noises still emanating from the open door.
"Does that mean I haven't totally ruined our friendship?" he asked. He couldn't bring himself to look at Clark who remained silent for several more seconds.
"Why didn't you tell me how you felt before?" Clark said.
"I was waiting in line," Oliver quipped.
"Stop it, Oliver."
"I didn't think there was any point. I knew you didn't feel the same way. But then when you and Lex disappeared… Shit, Clark, I would've given anything to see you again. I didn't know if you were alive, I didn't know if you had taken…" Oliver paused, holding back his emotion. "…taken him back. And when finally I found you, I felt like things were different between us. Like, maybe… we were closer?" He glanced at Clark to check for a response, but Clark was gazing into the distance, thoughtful.
"But you were so young when you and Lex…" Oliver cleared his throat. "And, um, then Lana left you, and I didn't know if you were considering moving on at all, let alone with…" Pause. "Man, I'm drunk," he concluded.
Clark continued to stare at the barn, as if piecing together a massive jigsaw puzzle in his mind. His silence stretched on torturously until Oliver couldn't take it anymore.
"Jesus, Clark, say something. I'm cooking in my own juices here."
Clark shrugged his shoulders. "I mean… I guess I've thought about…" He scratched his face nervously. "I mean, I'm not really sure what gay or straight means for my… species, so when I have an attraction, I usually…" Clark folded his arms, feeling stupendously awkward. "I didn't know that you were…"
"That I was…" Oliver urged.
"…a fence sitter."
"Fuck you, I'm a fence sitter," Oliver argued quietly. "I'm not a fence sitter."
Clark shrugged again. "That's what you called me. You said I couldn't pick a gender. What about you?"
"Clark, I've picked a gender."
"But you and Lois…"
"I picked a gender since Lois," Oliver amended. "I decided that it was time to be my own man, not the man everyone else expects me to be."
"So… you're into guys," Clark stated.
"A guy," Oliver corrected.
"Hmm," Clark replied noncommittally.
"Yeah," Oliver agreed, rolling his eyes. "Hmm."
The distant strains of joy and good cheer continued to ring out from the barn. In Oliver's state of intoxication, the rhythmic clinking of glasses, the regular outbursts of laughter, and that obnoxious tinkling piano nearly put him into a trance. He was vaguely aware of a particularly overexcited shriek from the bride and could only imagine that Jimmy had shoved cake in her face or removed her garter or performed some other insipid wedding obligation. He suddenly wondered when he had become so jaded.
But before he could explore that thought further, Clark startled him by getting to his feet and reaching his hand out.
"What are we doing?" Oliver asked.
"I've decided that we need to finish this conversation when you're sober. Give me your hand."
Oliver shook his head. "I don't want to give you my hand. I want to talk."
Clark grabbed Oliver's hand in spite of his objections and pulled him to his feet. "Let's go back to the house," he said.
"The champagne…" Oliver protested.
"I'll get it later." He escorted Oliver toward the house, just forcefully enough that Oliver had no choice but to comply.
"Clark, please don't put me off."
"I'm not putting you off."
"It was hard enough for me to start this conversation…"
"I'll say," Clark agreed.
"And I would rather just get it over with now that we're in it," Oliver finished. "Please don't make me wait until tomorrow before you tell me what you're thinking."
Without breaking their stride, Clark planted a soft kiss on Oliver's cheek. "There," he said. "That's what I'm thinking."
They had arrived at the farmhouse, and Clark opened the door for Oliver. Oliver was nearly too stunned to walk through it, but somehow he made his feet cooperate with him. Once inside, he began his way to the living room couch, but in a sudden blur of color and sharp wind on his face, he found himself standing in the middle of Clark's bedroom.
"I'll take the couch tonight," Clark said. "You can have the bed."
Oliver blinked in disbelief. "So, just like that? You just speed me up to your room, tuck me in and everything is resolved?"
"Do you need me to tell you that I feel the same way?" Clark asked.
Oliver's mouth opened and closed like a fish out of water.
"I feel the same way," Clark said. Oliver lowered his eyes as he felt his face flush. "And besides, you're right. I've been sitting on the fence for way too long. It's time for me to make a choice. I mean… unless you want the couch…"
"No!" Oliver cried out a little too eagerly for his own taste. "I mean, no. The bed is fine," he attempted casually. "Clark, this doesn't make any sense. What are you telling me?"
"We'll talk about that tomorrow, okay?" Clark put a hand on Oliver's shoulder, and Oliver could feel the heat of it through his shirt. "Get some rest. I'm going back to the reception to help clean up." Clark turned to leave, but Oliver stopped him.
"What about Lana?"
Clark shook his head. "Lana is the past. I want to try this now." He gestured to the empty space between them with a sweet smile that made Oliver equal parts elated and inexplicably frustrated. How could this be so easy for Clark?
"You're unreal, you know that?" Oliver said.
Clark's smile became thoughtful, more intimate. "You're really something, yourself," he responded. Then his smile became mischievous. "And what a set of pipes you've got!" he declared jovially. "I had no idea you were a Mama Cass fan!"
Laughing out loud, Oliver crossed the room in two unbalanced strides and grabbed Clark's face roughly, pressing their lips together with a smack. Clark gasped but didn't fight the kiss, pulling Oliver into his massive embrace. They explored each other's mouths deeply, and it occurred to Oliver that he had never kissed so sloppily in his life.
But it also occurred to him that he had never been quite so attracted to the object of his kiss, so he let himself off the hook, pressing himself more firmly into the warmth against his chest. He reached inside Clark's tuxedo jacket and untucked his white dress shirt, feeling the gorgeous heat of Clark's skin against his hands, at which point, Clark disengaged and backed away.
"Slow down!" Clark giggled.
"Hey, if we're jumping off the fence, let's jump off the fence!" Oliver proclaimed and jumped into Clark's arms again with another ferocious lip lock. Clark broke the kiss a second time, breathless.
"This is why I wanted to have this conversation tomorrow," he panted. "I want to do this right. I want us to take it slow. To enjoy it."
"I am enjoying it!" Oliver exclaimed, and bounced forward again. He growled softly when Clark continued to deny him access.
"I've rushed into things in the past, Oliver," Clark said. "It didn't end well."
Oliver's smile fell from his face. "Lex."
"I know that this isn't the same thing," Clark assured him. "I just want… I just want us to be able to… I really like you, Ollie."
Warmth that he hadn't realized was possible spread through Oliver's chest and flowered into his extremities, tingling at the ends of his fingers and toes. His smile spread so wide across his face that his cheeks felt strained. He nodded his head.
"Okay," he said. "Okay. We'll take it slow."
"Okay," Clark repeated, echoing Oliver's goofy grin. "Good."
Clark put his hands in his pockets and rocked on his heels. "Well, you're drunk, and I don't want you to black all of this out tomorrow, so you better get some sleep."
"Yeah," Oliver nodded. "You're right."
"Yeah," Clark whispered.
"Well, good night," Oliver offered.
"Well, good night," Clark reciprocated.
They shared another warm look. Oliver marveled to himself at how horrible this day had started and how sweetly it was coming to a close. Clark ran a hand through his dark hair, and awkwardly made his way out of the bedroom, closing the door softly behind him.
"Fuck," Oliver breathed, smiling as he let himself drop onto Clark's bed. "No shit," he added.
He nearly jumped off of the bed in fright as Clark came storming back into the room.
"Goddamn it," was all Clark could say before ripping off his jacket, pushing Oliver down onto the bed, and climbing on top of him, covering him with voracious kisses.
"Mmmmmm," Oliver replied.