Genre: Humor/ Romance
Prompt: Picture by ellashy
Word Count: 3,127
Summary: Shopping. They'd only meant to go shopping! And then… "We're going to kick bad guy ass, aren't we?"
Shopping. They'd only meant to go shopping!
An average day, really. Well, actually, for them it would've been considered unnatural, seeing as they hardly ever got to do anything like walk through a busy mall on a weekend and browse for random household things. New furniture, more precisely. Moving from the Metropolis high-rise apartment in Queen Towers to Oliver's childhood home, Queen Manor, in Star City was going to take a lot of redecorating. Which was why they'd dedicated their Saturday and Sunday to finding something that would appeal to both of them. Oliver hadn't lived in the manor since he was old enough to strike out on his own and had left Excelsior behind. Too many memories, he'd said. But after Chloe had said yes to his surprise proposal, they'd agreed that moving into a home would make sense and seeing as he already had one there was no need to go house-hunting. Bad memories could be replaced with good, she'd hoped. And really, the house itself represented a very loving family that had once been there. Just because his parents had died didn't mean the time he'd had with them was any less cherished. There were plenty of bedrooms for guests (coughLoiscough) and for the future Queen children, of which they'd talked about at length.
Chloe could admit that becoming a mother hadn't exactly been on her priority list. She'd had a whole world to keep an eye on and a team of rough-around-the-edges heroes that needed more attention than one woman could probably provide. But provide she did. And if she were being honest, she'd admit that when she was ready to have kids there was nobody else she would want them with than Oliver. Three years later and some days she couldn't believe they'd gotten this far. She couldn't believe that they fit as well as they did. He boastfully told her, often, that he knew. He'd known long before her. But he had bided his time until the right situation had presented itself. She could almost thank Stephen Swift in his jailbait lunacy for getting her to the point where Oliver would seize his opening.
Regardless of how it came to be -which wasn't quite the most romantic story one might tell- they were happy now. And engaged. Something she honestly hadn't seen herself being again; not after the disaster that was her and Jimmy and the add-in of Davis. But Oliver had brought her to her favorite coffee shop, left her at their usual table, and went to get them their drinks. It had to be the largest cup of coffee latte she'd ever seen in her life. She later learned he'd bought it especially for the event and in green, of course. And had the barista spell out Marry me? in steamed milk. How was she supposed to say no to that? Shocked, she'd stared at him, eyes wide, mouth ajar, and he'd grinned, so self-assured, knelt on one knee and held out a ring.
And that was how she became engaged to Oliver Queen.
That was what brought them to the Star City Mall on a bright Saturday morning with too many ideas to put into order. Couches, armchairs, tables, art work, electronics, beds, linens, everything under the sun. They had to get it all.
"Remind me again what exactly is wrong with a decorator?" he wondered, already tired after three hours of shopping.
"Too impersonal," she dismissed, chewing her lip as she wondered over the color for the couch. Beige was acceptable, if not boring. Red was too bright and would stand out too much unless they filled the room with all bright furniture. She knew Oliver was leaning toward green, as usual. White… She could already imagine Bart spilling spaghetti sauce on it. What he was doing in her living room with a bowl of spaghetti sauce, she didn't know. It was Bart and if her head concocted it, it would probably happen. They had a nice chocolate brown… Hmm…
"Impersonal? My last three apartments were done by decorators. And I happen to think they looked great."
She cocked a brow and glanced up at him. "They were modern and impersonal." She blinked. "Do you want to sit on a kidney shaped couch or do you want to lounge on something you can actually relax on, comfortably?"
He frowned, sighing as he was beat once again by her logic. "Just for your information, I happen to think the shape of a kidney could be very relaxing."
"Fine, we'll get you your own couch, Oliver, and you can sit on your kidney-shaped couch while I sit on my normal couch."
Hugging an arm around her shoulders, he grinned. "Are you getting grumpy, 'Tower?"
She rolled her eyes. "I'm getting irritated. And I'm starting to think this store is out to get me!"
He chuckled, looking around. "I see what you mean. These people are pretty suspicious looking." He nodded toward the older gentlemen three couches and an armchair over… currently picking a wedgie out. "And her… I think she might've planted some sort of bomb in the fake fichus." The terrorist he was speaking of was eighty years old and riding a scooter in between furniture with a sour expression each time she had to stop and use her cane to try and move things out of her way. Bomber she was not.
"Okay, okay… I'm a little hungry."
He smiled lopsidedly. "I told you to eat breakfast."
"I didn't think we'd be here that long!" she sighed, shoulders slumping.
"We have all of tomorrow, too. And at least three more furniture stores to look through. Or we can take a long lunch and tackle this after a big plate of moo shu pork…" he suggested hopefully.
She laughed. "Fine… We get lunch and then we come back." She paused, nodding at her current selection. "I like this couch."
"Yes, how ever will you manage a marriage with me?" she wondered in faux-sadness.
"I'll survive," he assured, tilting his head to kiss her temple. "I call dibs on painting the living room though."
"Ollie! We are not painting it green!"
He only smirked.
They were half way to the food court when they heard the shots. On instinct, Oliver grabbed her close and covered her with his body as they knelt low to the floor, eyes scanning to see who was shooting and where from. The echo said it wasn't on the same level as them, maybe one down on the main floor. An alarm rang out and people began scattering. Immediately, Chloe started running through scenarios. Was this a random shooting; somebody angry at the world out to hurt people, anyone who happened to get in their way? Or was there a purpose? A plan of attack with an exit strategy.
"Mall index," Chloe told Oliver, standing and searching it out.
Brows furrowed, he frowned at the chaos around them. People weren't waiting for any cues to tell them what to do; it was every person for themselves. Locking their hands together, they rushed toward the computerized booth indexed with every store and what level they resided on. Chloe was only three stores in before she realized. "The bank," she murmured, and then had to repeat it louder as the screaming was drowning her voice out. "The bank! With all these people and so many exits, they'll have enough time to get in, get out and the police won't even know who to stop."
He nodded, seeing her thought process. "And if they get into trouble, they're not low on hostage selection…"
"So what do we do?" she wondered, chewing her lip.
Oliver looked around, face stoic and unreadable. There were mothers grabbing children, teenage girls crying, hysteria and fear in faces all over. She witnessed his hero persona as it came forward and couldn't hide a grin of knowing. Despite the chaos surrounding them, she thought Oliver was in his element.
"We're going to kick bad guy ass, aren't we?"
He smirked. "They have a sports outlet just around the corner," he told her, pointing. "We can stock up on protective gear. There's a gun and ammo store on the floor below. We'll have to move quick but if we can get to it in time, we might just have a good chance."
"Might," she repeated lightly. "Those sound like our kind of odds."
"You ready for this?" he wondered, looking at her in concern. "Say the word and we'll leave this with the local police."
"And miss out on all the fun?" She shook her head. "Besides… No offense to the SCPD but… We're so much better at this than they are."
He laughed. "That's my girl."
Forty-three minutes later, Oliver Queen and his fiancé walked out of the Star Mall knowing that when the police rushed in from the other side, guns at the ready, the only thing they'd find were six perps, tied up and without the riches of their long sought after heist. Blood dripping from a few (hopefully) non-fatal wounds, a white bandage tied at Oliver's upper left bicep, and a through-and-through still bleeding down her stomach, they walked with their arms tight around each other, glancing over at the crowd, whose eyes were on a different door with bated breath.
Despite the twinge in her ribs every time she walked, Chloe smiled. Oliver's arm lay heavy around her shoulder, his pulse still hammering beneath her thumb as she wrapped her hand around his wrist and forearm. His fingers drummed, stroking, along her forearm; content, happy even. "You're a masochist, I think," she told him.
He grinned over at her. "You laughed when they shot you."
Eyes wide and brows spiking, she argued, "I still say that was hysterical."
He chuckled. "We're not normal."
She pursed her lips to keep from smiling; was it weird she kind of liked that? While Suzy Homemaker was making a run for the exit, she and Oliver were trying to stop the bad guy and save a few lives. How could she regret not being normal if in the end there was this swell of satisfaction that built inside? All the years before Oliver, she'd seen Clark as the hero and herself as the information fountain; the woman who directed him to the fire. Like a call-in station for heroes. But with Oliver, she felt as though she had more purpose; like she wasn't meant to be on the outside looking in, but that she was owed her own heroic plateau and he was more than willing to share his.
"You think they'll track us down, ask any questions?" Oliver wondered, staring at the crowds of shocked and interested people, at the cops and the SWAT teams that stood at the ready.
"Little hard to… I disable the cameras, destroyed any footage with our faces on it, and the perps didn't see us thanks to our nifty masks," she told him, proudly. Said masks were tossed away in a garbage can, far away from the original crime scene. No doubt they would all wonder who had taken them out and this time there could be no praise for leather-toting vigilantes as they'd been dressed down and out for a day of Chloe and Oliver rather than Green Arrow and Watchtower. Not that she was complaining; she preferred to stay anonymous. And as long as spectators kept their eyes ahead, they wouldn't see the real humans slinking away on the right.
"How's your arm?" she wondered, peering over at him.
"On fire," he muttered, trying and failing to stifle a grimace.
"We'll have Emil check it out as soon as we get home," she assured, squeezing his waist.
He frowned suddenly.
"Does this mean we still have to come back here tomorrow? I'm really starting to miss my decorator …"
She scoffed. "Baby." Rolling her eyes, she shook her head. "We'll just try smaller shops tomorrow."
"What's wrong with ordering online?" he wondered, shoulders slumping. "You like computers, they like you, pick something you like and voila!"
She blinked at him. "Just for that, I'm going to actually listen to Emil when he says we should take it easy and not engage in any physical activities for awhile."
Dramatically horrified, Oliver shook his head. "You're a cruel, cruel woman Chloe Sullivan."
She smirked. "And we're not painting the walls green."
He drew a hand up to his chest in a wounded gesture. "I've been shot, I'm bleeding, and I didn't even get to make any snappy comments at the bad guys and now you're ruining what little hope I had left!" He stared at her. "Unless you wanted to rethink that whole withholding physical fun thing…" He nodded, smile tugging at his lips, "I could be convinced to forgive the other injustices, if I was at least allowed to celebrate our victory properly."
Laughing under her breath, she shook her head. "Just how much fun could we have if we're both trying not to touch where the other's been shot or wounded?"
"That's half the fun; you never know!"
"Like I said… you're a masochist."
Leaning over, Oliver pressed a lingering kiss to her temple. "Only for you."
Deciding to be flattered, Chloe leaned into his good side, letting her head fall to his shoulder. "Hey… where'd you park the car?"
He came to a sudden stop and together they turned to look at where the crowd was still standing, pointing, watching in awe as the police brought out their victoriously caught bad guys. "Somewhere in the middle of all that…" he mused, frowning.
"Huh…" She blinked. "Cab or town car?"
"Town car… less questions."
Nodding, she dug his cell phone out of his back pocket and hit the speed dial. Smiling, she said, "Hey Jackson, could you pick us up outside of Star Mall?" There was a pause and then, "Yeah, bring the car with the tinted windows… and maybe some iodine and bandages…"
Seeing him, she snorted. "Baby."
"You wait until we're pouring it on your wounds, Professor. Then we'll see who the baby is!" he grumbled.
"Yeah, actually can you pick us up from the back?" she replied into the phone. "Yes, we'll be going to Emil's office." Snorting, she rolled her eyes. "No, no I don't know if his assistant is available. Why don't you just ask her out to lunch?" Shaking her head, she added, "No, after you drop us off back at the house you can go for your lunch break… I'm sure she can find something to occupy her in the meantime…"
Oliver stifled a laugh.
"Are you on your way yet?" She sighed and then looked down at herself. "No, I don't think we'll need towels for the seats… And if we do and I'm wrong and there's somehow damage, I'm sure we could just reupholster it, okay?" Raising a hand, she massaged her temples. "You ever work for the Inquisitor, Jackson? You have a knack for asking a lot of questions… No, I'm not angry; I'm in need of a ride home… Okay, yes… Ten minutes." With a snap, she closed the phone and tucked it back into his pants. "Why did we hire him again?"
"You felt sorry for him… He reminded you of both Lois and Bart on a high sugar diet and no off button."
Her brows furrowed. "I must've been missing Lois that day…" she mused.
He snorted. "He's on his way?"
"Yeah… Ten minutes." Sighing, she looking up at him. "Think we can stay out of the limelight that long?"
"As long as we get rid of all this extra gear, I think we should be okay."
Her eyes narrowed playfully. "Trying to get me undressed already?"
His lips curled with a smirk. "Is it working?"
"A little exhibitionist but we'll see," she offered with a light shrug.
Chuckling, he moved in front of her and reached out to unlock the gun belt at her hips. As it dropped to the grass below, his fingers spread out, probing carefully at the bullet wound that still seeped beneath her protective gear. He dragged his knuckles along her skin slowly, gently. Before he could mask it, his expression turning dark and worried. "You're sure you're okay?" he asked, jaw twitching.
Reaching up, Chloe slid her hand up the sides of his neck before cupping his face. "No worse than you."
His brow cocked. "I did mention my arm felt like it was on fire, right?"
"I'm starting to think you have a low pain threshold… Not exactly good for a hero." Chewing her lip, she nodded. "We might just have to relegate you to a desk job."
He scoffed. "Blasphemy."
Arms sliding around her waist, he unstrapped the gun that hung from her shoulder and let it too drop away, unnoticed. There were only the hard, unforgiving plates of her chest armor then, which met with his own as he drew her closer. Dropping his head until their foreheads touched, noses bumping, he met her eyes. "Y'know… Just about anybody else in the same situation as you would've sprinted to the exit…" His mouth drew up lightly at the corners; limitless appreciation evident. "How'd I get so lucky that I found someone who'd always watch my back?"
Biting her lip, she stared up at him with the same affection reflected in her eyes. "Maybe I'm a bit of a masochist, too," she murmured.
He grinned. "Good. I can't see how that could possibly go wrong."
A honk sounded behind them and they turned to see Jackson in their town car.
"That was definitely not ten minutes," she muttered.
Oliver smirked. "Quicker he picks us up, quicker he can hit on Emil's assistant." Arms wrapped around her, he drew her toward the backdoor of the car and helped her inside. He had Jackson gather up the guns and stuff them in the trunk; they couldn't leave them lying around for just anybody to find. And together, arms wrapped around each other, heads tucked together, Chloe and Oliver drove off toward their personal doctor, discussing wall paper versus paint and the merits of light versus dark furniture.
"Okay, just picture in your head for a second," she told him. "One white couch, one bowl of spaghetti and one Bart Allen."
He winced. "Right… Dark furniture it is."
She grinned up at him triumphantly.
He looked down at her, a gleam in his eyes. "Forest green is dark."
With a groan, she rolled her eyes.
Ah, normalcy. What it was to others was not the same as it was to them. He wouldn't change a thing.