LEGENDS: This is How Mothers Talk
AN: This is the first fluff of the Legends series. 7th story.
Characters: Chloe, Oliver, Dinah
Summary: The long overdue talk with Dinah gives Chloe a different perspective. Meanwhile, Chloe and Oliver shape their future.
LEGENDS: This is How Mothers Talk
The plush leather seats were cool on her back and her thighs. She grinned at the memory of their trip the night before, when Oliver drove them to the hilltop lookout in their luxury car.
"What are we doing here?" she said laughingly, eyeing the cars surrounding them full of students.
Oliver took off his seatbelt and knelt on the driver's seat. He reached behind them. Chloe watched him in the rearview mirror and was surprised to see the cooler sitting there. She had not even noticed. Oliver returned and handed her a flute, then popped the champagne bottle and poured for both of them.
"We both had very different experiences in high school," he told her. They had grown up too fast, and he had been in an exclusive boarding school while she was deep in Wall of Weird mysteries. "We never got to break curfew and look at stars in Lovers' Lookout."
Chloe doubted there was a hilltop lookout point in Kansas, but she did not protest. If Oliver wanted to be romantic, to recapture their youths, she would let him. Five years was a long time to have lost, and she would make up for the lost time in any way they could.
"If you want to recapture lost time, Ollie, maybe you should have brought canned beers and not a six hundred dollar bottle."
Oliver leaned forward to taste the champagne on her lips. He bit her lower lip gently. Chloe leaned back until the door handle dug into her back. This was, she was sure, not the ordinary high school experience she had missed. None of the popular girls in school ever had anyone as fine as Oliver Queen. She laughed when he said, "Why bring ordinary booze when I have an extraordinary date?" Chloe felt his free hand move to her thighs and swore that even though she had not memorized the makeout bases Oliver Queen had skipped a base or two.
The car slowed before the club. Chloe realized there had been a permanent grin on her face when he asked, "Enjoyed stargazing last night?"
Chloe blushed at being caught red-handed. She merely nodded, then told him, "Every minute of it."
The triumph in his eyes was enough to propel her out of her seat and have her locking lips with him. They were at the entrance of the restaurant, and Chloe realized how they held up the other cars when she heard the honking. Chloe flushed. At least Oliver did not mind.
Oliver nodded towards the restaurant. "Are you sure you don't want me to come along?"
She wanted to be with him, but this was not the best opportunity. Chloe shook her head. "No offense, Ollie, but this conversation would go a lot better if you weren't there."
Billionaires were the only people in the world who would not be bothered by the fact that he was holding other cars behind him. The valet glanced at the window, and then merely acknowledged Oliver when Chloe thought for sure they would ask them to move it along.
"It's about me," Oliver said.
"You are so vain!" she lightly teased.
"It's true," he insisted. "You're meeting with my ex-wife to talk about me."
"No," she corrected him. "I'm meeting with an old friend to catch up, to make sure we're still okay. Ollie, she's Connor's mother," she said, almost sounding like a reminder when between the two of them, the fact that Connor was not hers was an ever present truth. "I need to be in good terms with Connor's mother."
"Alright," he said. They trusted Dinah enough. Still, he continued, "Anytime you need me, I'm there."
"A phone call away," she agreed. She dropped a kiss on the corner of his lips, then took her purse.
The hostess had recognized the car, and immediately left her glass podium at the entrance and led Chloe to the space reserved for them. Chloe looked at the chic place, half full already. Chloe picked up the small card on the table and read, "Queen, party of 2." The table was still empty, so she first walked to the newspaper rack and picked up today's issue.
A text message from Dinah informed her that the other woman was running late. Connor's sitter got to her place ten minutes past the schedule. Chloe took the time to observe the place. There was a group of women in tennis outfits having a hearty post workout breakfast. There was another group of women in business suits chattering away. In another table there were two women in pearls and pastel dresses conversing away.
The clientele was Star City's elite. Chloe grinned, imagining Dinah as one of the proper socialite wives who dined there. The Dinah Lance she knew would have hardly fit in, especially with the nonsense white noise that Chloe filtered from the tables. The table behind her to the right was a group of women talking about celebrities.
But five years was a long time. Dinah Lance may have stuck out like a sore thumb, but Dinah Queen—
Chloe fingered the reservation card. Dinah had called in for a table. This was how this group still saw her.
Chloe held up the newspaper and read.
Conversations around her were hard to block out. She had been too used to the low hum of the computers in the Watchtower. When she jumped time she was tuned to every detail in the hopes that one of them was a clue to help her home. And thus she had not developed the ability to selectively hear.
A newcomer arrived to the table behind her.
"Girls, did you hear?" came the excited announcement. "Manuel at the valet service tells me he spotted Oliver Queen outside!"
A gasp. Chloe half-smiled at the thought that other women found him as exciting as she did. "Is he still here?"
"No." There was a disappointed sigh. "Apparently he drove off after dropping off a girl."
At that, Chloe's back straightened.
"Oh how distasteful. He does remember his ex-wife is a member of this club, doesn't he?"
"What else do you expect? I mean, the man dared to block off a day in the country club for a wedding, a week after his divorce was finalized."
Chloe's eyes narrowed.
"Talk about tasteless. He cancelled that wedding too. It's just another one of his parade of girls. Whoever he dropped off is one more notch on his bedpost. The man is incapable of commitment."
"Ease up on Queen, ladies," came one of those anonymous voices. Chloe wanted to check what she looked like, so that when it came time to bring the group down she would spare that last girl from her wrath. But she could do nothing. This was far worse than Watchtower going blind.
"Come on. Dinah was our friend. Oliver Queen was a playboy and he still is—hero or not. Can't keep it in his pants."
Chloe almost gasped out loud.
"I don't know. When he came out, he said he lost someone. Did you see that interview?"
"Everyone did. It was five years ago! Queen should be over it by now."
"Everyone who's going to get involved with Oliver Queen knows she's competing against that woman."
An interview. Chloe had not seen an interview. She had been informed that Oliver had since come out as the Green Arrow, and it amazed her to know what strength it took to give a face to those that the world called vigilantes.
Maybe she could ask Lois to help her track down that interview, if it said so much about Oliver's relationship with Dinah, or about his relationship with whoever came after. Her.
There was a quiet titter in the room. Chloe recognized the hushed murmur from the other table and she looked up to see the statuesque beauty who nodded towards her.
Dinah made her way to the table and picked up the card. She pursed her lips.
"Sorry I'm late."
When the waiter came to bring them the wine list, Dinah placed a hand on his arm and handed him the card. "Can you please tell Jeremy that my reservations should go under Lance from now on?"
Dinah looked back at Chloe and apologized. "I hope you didn't think I meant it in any way to make you uncomfortable."
Chloe looked at the card. She had fidgeted with it earlier. "I just—I appreciate that you were willing to come and meet with me."
Dinah shook her head. She leaned back in her seat and assessed Chloe. "Well I'm not a saint. If you asked me right after you came back I would have said no." Dinah shrugged, and Oliver wondered if the reluctance would ever be truly gone. "But I get that you and Oliver are together. My God, you and Oliver were together even when I was married to him."
"That's not true," Chloe protested gently. It was a talk she had not wanted to have with Oliver, but before she leapt she had needed to know how the fields were levelled between her and the woman he married.
"I was a third wheel and I felt it," Dinah interjected.
And for the first time, just between the two of them, Chloe said, "I'm sorry."
"I knew I was second choice," Dinah told her calmly. Chloe was glad they gave it time before they had the talk. "Everyone in the world who saw him after you vanished knew there was someone else." Chloe remembered the idle chatter from the other table. "I married him because I thought you really were dead, Chloe, and I assumed sooner or later Oliver would let you go."
Chloe took a drink of her water. She cleared her throat. "I don't know if this was such a good idea," she said faintly. "I know this sounds vague, but I wanted to make sure we were still friends, Dinah, for the men in our lives. I didn't want to rehash the pain I caused you."
"No." Dinah reached for her hand and squeezed it. "This was a fantastic idea. Oliver and I split up because we couldn't make it work. You were part of the equation, but you weren't the entire reason. If we were in love you know his relationship with you just wouldn't have mattered."
Just like the other loves of his life. Oliver had a passion and years of memories with Lois and Tess, and in the end, when he was with Chloe neither of them had been a threat.
"Maybe we should go someplace else," Chloe suggested.
"Why?" And then Dinah's gaze flickered. Chloe was amazed at how keen her observation was. It was what made Canary such an independent fighter. "The room is talking about us," Dinah concluded, "and they can't even hear us." She gave Chloe a playful grin. "If only they knew who you were, they would probably expect a catfight."
"I would never win a catfight with you, Dinah," Chloe said offhandedly. "I don't even have a computer, and that's my best weapon."
Dinah cocked her head to the side. "Do you honestly still think that?"
Chloe paused, then considered. "My best weapon is Oliver," she realized.
Dinah arched a brow. "I meant the entire team, including me." Her voice dropped. "But sure, I bet having Oliver charging in would be exactly what this entire room wants."
"I think they suspect who I am anyway. At least they probably know I'm his latest." Chloe's brows furrowed with the strange feeling in her chest—suppressed glee. She almost did not recognize it. Her life these last few years barely had any of the lightness that she had experienced since coming home. But if anyone knew levity—forced or otherwise—it was Oliver Queen. She allowed herself the pleasure of a gossip and related, "Five o'clock. They know Oliver dropped off someone earlier today."
Dinah glanced and said, "Oh, I know them!"
"I figure," Chloe muttered.
Dinah grinned. "Ladies!" she called. The women who had only just been talking about Oliver Queen turned to Dinah and waved. "It's been a long time."
"It has," one of them replied. "We haven't seen you since your divorce, darling. How are you?"
Chloe flushed. Dinah raised her brows. There was not a trace of anger or offense on her face. Chloe supposed Dinah had learned much about showing her emotions in public by being Black Canary or being Mrs Queen to a husband who almost seemed to love a dead woman more.
"As a matter of fact, I have been welcoming an old friend back to town," Dinah responded.
Chloe's eyes widened.
"Turn around, Chloe," Dinah advised. Chloe put on a smile and she waved to the ladies over at the other table. "I'm sure you haven't seen her before. She and Oliver are very private."
Chloe could not believe that Dinah was actually going to out her, right there.
"Oliver?" repeated one of the women. Chloe recognized her voice as the only one who attempted to defend him. "We haven't seen him in a long time."
"Yes. We have been busy lately. I'm sure you'll see him around more often now." Chloe did not know where the promise came from, but the words spilled out of her mouth. She looked at Dinah in panic. Dinah was more used to handling the socialites of Star City.
"I'll see you next time, ladies," Dinah said in effortless dismissal. They turned back in time to accept their food. She grinned at Chloe. "That comes part and parcel with being Mrs Queen, Chloe. It's irritating, but it balances out the life you already have. I assume you're going back to being Watchtower?" Chloe nodded. "Well, enjoy life's little empty pleasures. It will keep you sane."
And Chloe nodded, recognizing the advise for what it was. Lois threw herself into her career even more after finding out about Clark's secret. Oliver had a thriving business that went side by side with being Green Arrow. Dinah, after divorcing Oliver, had forged a hectic path with the Birds of Prey.
"You know what I want to do," Chloe whispered.
Dinah's lips quirked. "What?"
"They said I was one of the notches in Oliver's bed." She flushed. "That was insulting. I want to—" She shook her head. "Forget it. Oliver-"
"You know, you can tell the whole world the truth and it wouldn't change a thing with Oliver."
Chloe considered for a moment, then speared the romaine lettuce on her plate. Her heart lightened when at how the other woman seemed to be fine with their arrangement. Dinah was right. It was good that they waited some time before they spoke candidly about Oliver, and about what had happened.
No, she was not going to go and reveal to a random group of people that she was the girl that Oliver buried five years ago, no matter how it offended her that they thought so little of Oliver Queen. She once made a decision for herself and Oliver, a decision to jump in time to protect him. Once she had taken matters into her own hands and the results were the loss of a child and half a decade.
No, this was a matter she needed to discuss with Oliver.
Dinah told her about AC's marriage, and Bart's new mission. The topic trailed to fashion when Chloe commented on one girl walking in wearing a balloon skirt. The look on her face made Dinah laugh, and she walked to the magazine rack and gave her a crash course on the trends she had missed the last five years.
"Maybe you would even consider getting the bodice of your wedding gown cut asymmetrically like this," Dinah said lightly.
Chloe blinked at the other woman. As much as they had leapt forward that day in their friendship, that was not a topic she felt they were prepared for. But it would have been counterproductive to mention anything, so instead Chloe replied, "Maybe."
Oliver's ring still sat on the mantle, calling her every day, waiting for her.
The easiest conversation, Chloe thought, was when they spoke about Connor. It started off simply enough.
"We have him registered to attend Excelsior Academy," Dinah told Chloe. Oliver had mentioned the same to her. "But I have second thoughts. Excelsior produced Lex Luthor."
"And Oliver Queen," Chloe pointed out proudly, because as much trouble as Oliver may caused, in the end he had turned out to be a fantastic specimen in her eyes. That much was enough credentials for the boarding school.
"Connor likes you," Dinah said at the end of the meal.
"That's good to know," Chloe answered. "I love him." She gave a lopsided smile. "And not just because he looks so much like his father."
"Good." Chloe watched as Dinah reached for her glass, and saw the slight tremor in her hand. She zoned in on Dinah's face, and saw what had earlier escaped her. There was worry in her eyes, in the corner of her lips. "The Birds are caught in a highly time sensitive mission," Dinah said quietly. "I need to leave to take care of it. I want to know if you would mind taking Connor for a couple of months." Chloe opened her mouth to respond, but Dinah held up her hand. "I didn't want to talk to Oliver yet because I know Oliver would say yes. But I want to know how you honestly feel about this, Chloe. I will find someone else if it would be in any way uncomfortable for you, and Oliver wouldn't need to know that you refused."
"I would love to have Connor with us, Dinah."
"Until a few weeks ago, you weren't exactly—"
Chloe looked down at her hands. This one she would not defend, not when she had to say the words out loud. She was not prepared to tell Dinah about what she and Oliver had lost.
"When Connor came back from his weekend at your place, he asked me if you were also going to be his mom. I told him you'd be his daddy's wife."
"Oh," Chloe said softly.
"He asked me if he could call you mom," Dinah continued. Chloe held her breath. She did not know what to expect. The request had come out of the blue. And then she imagined hearing Connor say the word. "I hope you don't mind, Chloe, but I think Oliver is enough for now," Dinah said, with forced humor. "I told him he gets to call you Aunt."
Chloe's heart fell, just a little. She nodded. Dinah's hand gripped Chloe's tightly. "While I'm away and he asks you, please—"
"Aunt Chloe," she acknowledged. "I won't begin to presume that I'm Connor's mother, Dinah." The brunch turned sharply and quickly from the easy banter of earlier. Chloe wondered if word had reached Dinah of the last failed missions that almost killed Oliver, and realized she had no idea about the loss she had suffered.
"You can have Oliver. I don't have a choice in that. He's always been yours." And for once, Chloe recognized vulnerability in Canary's eyes. "But please don't take Connor too."
"I won't," Chloe promised.
The titter surrounding them escalated. Chloe looked up to see Oliver walk into the restaurant. Dinah drew back her hand and Chloe saw the mask fall over her face once more. Chloe brightened at the sight, and she proudly watched as he walked across the floor towards her.
"Ready?" he asked Chloe. Chloe nodded. Oliver turned to Dinah and kissed her cheek. "Looking lovely, Di."
"Guess what?" Chloe asked, pulling Oliver down to sit in the booth with them. "Connor is staying over for a bit while Dinah is on a mission."
"A bit?" Oliver asked in excitement. He glanced at Dinah. "Really?"
On the way home, Oliver animatedly thought up ways to entertain his son, considered trips and vacations and checked on landmarks in the city they had not yet visited. Chloe helped him out by looking up children's museums and zoos that were a drive away.
That afternoon, Chloe found Oliver swimming in the pool. He was doing his laps, and she watched the his strong body cut through the water for his exercise. Chloe grinned. She was going to ruin his regimen, but she did not care. She dipped a foot in the water. It was warmed enough under the California sun. Chloe disrobed and stood at the edge in her black swimsuit.
Oliver's swimming slowed and he stopped at the center of the pool, then appraised her. "Joining me, Chloe?"
"I have a favour to ask you."
He grinned, his face dripping with water. "I'm going to assume this is a huge favour since you've suited up for it." He nodded. "Jump in."
Chloe dove into the water and swam over to him. When she reached him, Chloe realized they were on the deep end of the pool. She wrapped her arms around his neck and Oliver held her by her waist. Chloe's lips rested on his. "Hey."
"Hey yourself." His fingers rested on the knot at her back. Oliver dipped his head and licked at the hollow at the base of her throat. "How can I help you?"
Chloe bit her lower lip. She reached back and steadied his hands. "Ollie, you have to stop telling Connor that he can think of me like his mother."
Oliver raised her head and looked into her eyes. "When he's here with us, you and I and Connor are family. It can't hurt for a kid to know there are many people who love him."
"That's true. But it can hurt for a mother to know she can be easily replaced."
Oliver sighed. "Dinah talked to you about that," he surmised.
"In her place, I would have been hurt too," Chloe said in her friend's defense. "So, will you do me that favour, Oliver? He's almost three. Let's not confuse the kid." She touched his face and placed a lingering kiss on his lips. "I can't tell you how much it means to me that you want to make me as happy as you can. But I can't do it at Dinah's expense." Just like he could not do it at the expense of the Chloe Sullivan who killed him. "Someday, when it's our turn, when we finally have another chance to have our baby, Ollie, you'll see. We don't need to hurt anyone."
He agreed. Chloe felt his fingers this time moving her swimsuit bottom. She gasped when he buried two fingers inside her. She brought her legs up to wrap around his hips. He walked over to the side of the pool. Chloe felt the tiles at her back. She reached with one hand between them and held his stiff member in her hand. Chloe's mouth parted when his fingers moved inside her. She slipped him out of his trunks and positioned him right at her entrance.
"Why not start today?" he said.
Chloe squeezed her eyes shut as he entered her. She was weightless under the water, and his movement in and out of her were languid, perfectly fitting for sex under the afternoon sun. Her hands rested on his back as he drove inside of her. When she came, she stifled her scream by gently biting into the crook of his neck. Oliver pumped in and out of her, coming inside her in a hot, endless release. When it was over her legs remained tight around his hips and he covered her body with his, keeping himself inside of her for as long as he could.