Within Enemy Lines
by Catheryne (tennysonslady)
Summary: Oliver joins the Suicide Squad in order to save Chloe Sullivan.
Characters: Oliver, Chloe, JL, SS
AN: I would truly appreciate if you let me know what you think of this story. Every part will be told from one POV. This will be Oliver's. Part 2 is Chloe's. Then we alternate.
The mission was simple.
At least to Oliver Queen, the task at hand was simple enough. He suited up in his Green Arrow costume and put on his night vision goggles. The steady hum of the powerful machine underneath him was a comfort as he turned down the jagged road. There were no cars on the road, and the woman's voice in his ear, through his communication link was familiar.
It did not mean it was wanted. No. Tess had done a passable job taking over Watchtower operations, but not even if she singlehandedly saved every one of the members of the league would Oliver consider her a satisfactory replacement for Chloe. No one replaced Chloe.
And so it would begin—this mission that Oliver considered the most critical mission he had ever undertaken. It was a mission that would tear the team apart, put one vote over another. It was the first and the only time when Oliver used the informal power of his leadership and vetoed the majority vote. He was not proud of the way he had bulldozed the team, but circumstances were extenuating. If he was successful, then the tension in the Watchtower would be forgotten.
"About an hour down this exact road," Tess said into his ear, "up the hill."
Oliver did not respond.
"When you reach the tunnel two minutes down, you need to cut off communication, Archer." Oliver fought the urge to ask Tess not to use the code name. Chloe had said it so fondly before. But he tamped down the temper because he knew Tess would be the last to hear from him in that world. At least for a while. "Then you're on your own."
The week before, Victor and Bart had returned from a simple mission to South Korea, where they had been asked to retrieve video evidence of super soldiers. The mission had been a bust, almost. When they arrived, the storage room where the analog evidence had reportedly been stocked was busted open.
Super soldiers who leapt eight feet up into the ear with no issues, who swam twenty four hours and came up barely gasping, who took four to five rounds of ammunition without bleeding out.
And they had been beaten by another covert operations unit.
One thing they took home, even by accident, was a dirtied hoodie that belonged to Bart, stained with blood when he slipped on a puddle on the floor. It would have gone straight to the washing machine until Tess caught sight of the photographs that Victor had taken of the site. She had studied the scene, then demanded for the hoodie.
"If you want to know who beat us to the videos, we can run an analysis on the blood."
Strangers all, they found out, except for one.
"Archer," Tess said into his comm. link, "in this mission it's only you and me." Oliver clenched his jaw. He was going to forget the madness that had erupted upon the discovery that the South Korean facility held traces of Chloe's blood. Clearly, Tess would not let is so easily go. "I know you know it, but right now you're letting your feelings control your actions. In your shoes, I'd do the same."
He was not going to wait around to see how it unfolds. Chloe's blood was onsite in a job that was clearly the Suicide Squad's. Rick Flag had only attempted to throw him off scent, and now he was going to make damned sure no one would change his one destination, his one goal.
Trust. That was what Clark had asked for. He had asked Oliver to trust in Chloe, that she was on her own mission and that she would reach out if she needed them. His argument had been compelling, like all his other rhetoric on destiny and friendship. He had been idealistic enough to win to his side Canary, who prided herself on her ability to carry out individual missions.
But there was a bloodstain on Bart's uniform that screamed silently at him that whatever they thought this was, Chloe was no longer—if she ever was—in control.
Plan. That was Victor's rational decision. They would investigate the Suicide Squad, plot out and extrapolate their missions. It would take weeks, maybe months, but he was convinced it was the safest recourse. It was level-headed, the way they used to carry out missions together when he was at the helm. Aquaman and Impulse voted for Cyborg.
But Oliver would not sit on his hands as they drafted storyboards and imagined scenarios when he knew full well what the bastards were capable of. There was still a scar on his chest that twitched at the muscle memory of frying in elevated voltages shot straight through a metal prong.
There was one way he would be certain that she was safe.
Oliver narrowed his eyes as he neared the tunnel. This was the point when he needed to cut off from the guide in his ear. "Wish me luck, Mercy."
"You don't need it," her voice came through loud and clear.
Oliver took off the comm. and discarded it into the cement road. Now he was going blind, but his destination had never been clearer than it was at that precise moment. The destination was still close to an hour away up the hill, but even in the distance Oliver could see the solid building lit modestly as it sat upon the green.
No one from the League had ever seen those headquarters. Oliver took a deep breath and pressed down his foot so his bike would speed up.
Oliver Queen, with his unpopular choice, now worked alone. Chloe was a prisoner, and the only way out was him.
So the Green Arrow was joining the Suicide Squad.
The welcome was as he had expected. It was cool, business-like, and the hint of triumph in Flag's face made Oliver fist his hand. He clamped down the urge to hit him on the side of his face. As they walked down the cold corridors, Oliver observed the motion-sensor cameras that followed as they passed. He wondered who it was that watched his arrival.
Oliver glanced towards the gathered men and women towards the far end of the corridor. He recognized none of them, but two talked quietly, their heads together as they studied him with suspicion. He quickly swept his gaze on all the faces that looked on and found none of the familiar smile that he wanted to see, the eyes that shone and lit up the room whenever he walked in.
Of course. What had he expected? She was held prisoner, possibly still tending to the wound that she had suffered when they dragged her to North Korea.
Flag stopped him right outside a barely lit room. He opened the door, and Oliver quickly looked inside. He had perfected listening to the muted keypad sounds and Oliver suspected he now knew the code.
He was led, not too gently, to the empty room that was surrounded by lenses focused towards him. He had seen the like in one of the military projects that Wayne Enterprises focused on yet Queen Industries absolutely refused to bid on. Every camera was focused on each angle, enough magnification to focus on every single twitch, to capture every reaction. The walls were porous too, and Oliver had enough corporate espionage to know that ultrasensitive mics surrounded him and recorded every shift in his breathing, documented changes in tone.
"What is this?" Oliver demanded, with careful, measured voice. "I volunteered to join when you recruited me, and now I'm in an interrogation room."
Flag stepped backwards, in a display of allowing him space, when Oliver really knew the commander did not want anything serving a barrier between Oliver and the walls. "We have valuable assets in this place. We would rather know they're safe from you."
It was laughable, that reason. No one would ever think it was the Suicide Squad who needed to protect itself from heroes like him. Oliver threw back his hood and removed his night vision glasses, showing his face clearly to the cameras. The world knew him, and the light had turned on far too bright to need them. "How do you expect to know that?"
"Answer my questions," Flag instructed. "If you're lying, we would know it. And believe me, there's more than sensors behind the walls."
A racing heartbeat, a hesitant pause—anything could blow his head off at any moment. Oliver kept himself calm. The mission was simple. Save Chloe. These little hassles were nothing but complications that needed to be addressed.
"Do they know where you are?"
"They know what I plan to do," Oliver answered easily. There was only one other soul who knew, and he would not offer that knowledge despite his distrust of Tess.
Flag grunted. "We are protecting our location," he said. "Tell me, do anyone of the superpowered vigilantes know the location of these headquarters."
Oliver stifled a smile, and honestly enough he said, "No. Impulse, Aquaman, Cyborg and Boy Scout have no idea where this is."
Flag nodded curtly. "I can't tell you how surprised I was to receive your message that you've changed your mind, that you want to join us. After our last—encounter—I thought you were completely unwilling to consider our offer."
"In our last encounter I found out you tortured my girlfriend, and you told me she was dead," Oliver answered. He clenched his jaw, because as much as possible he would rather not talk about Chloe. Talking about her, thinking about her, send his pulse racing and his heart thundering. He simply could not survive a test that required calm rationality.
And then came the final question, "Tell me, Green Arrow. Are you here to take us down?"
"No," he said truthfully. "I'm here to work with you, to share my skills, to do anything this group will require me to do." Because if that was what it entailed to find her, then he would do it. "And I'm beginning to get tired of the entrance exams. Do you want the Green Arrow or not?" Oliver turned the tables on Flag.
Flag remained quiet, and Oliver spotted the red earpiece that served as his comm., and funnelled information on Oliver's assessment. The man turned to Oliver, then nodded. "What do you know—you're emotional just like you were when you came looking for Chloe Sullivan—but you're telling the truth."
Oliver did not allow his relief to show. He was going to ransack the place until he found out where they kept her, and he was going to save her.
"You've always thought we were villains, haven't you?" Flag asked him directly.
And there was no need to lie. "Yes. But it doesn't matter," Oliver told him. "I will still do whatever you need me to do. Things change," he said, by way of a curt explanation.
Rick Flag shook his head, then paused. He placed a finger on the earpiece. Then he said, "You're in luck. Two of our deep cover agents are touching down at the rooftop. They're free to come and go as they please, so we only see them occasionally. You can stand to learn from them. They're the ones who led the takedown in Peru." Dinah had nearly been killed then. And then, "Why don't you come with me?"
It would take time from his actual mission, but Oliver agreed. The more comfortable Rick was about his loyalty, the sooner he could roam the grounds freely. They waited at the roof as a helicopter touched down. Out came tumbling two men in full black stealth gear.
Oliver thought these were the agents, and furrowed his brows when the figures in black remained crouched on the ground. That was when Oliver noticed the glint of the handcuffs around their wrists.
"Are you prepared to meet the most productive of our recruits?" Flag asked.
Oliver watched as a shiny black Italian shoe touched the roof, and noticed at once the impeccable fold of the trousers. The man alighted from the helicopter, then raised a hand to acknowledge Flag. Then the man extended a hand and Oliver watched as a smooth pale arm reached out.
His heart stopped.
Even that, he recognized—in the dark of the night, in the distance, with only the moonlight that silvered her skin. He recognized.
Oliver watched as the world slowly unravelled before him. She slid off the helicopter, then removed the scarf around her head. Her hair was still a shock of gold, a little longer now, and when she smiled at her companion Oliver remembered the smile that lit up the room had only always ever been meant for him. Oliver saw her toss something to the random guard who neared her, and he swore the glint of the metal captured the moonlight so well it nearly stopped midair and blinded him.
She was no prisoner. In fact, she had been around and about, working for the Squad so well she had become their most trusted, their best.
"Fantastic work," Flag murmured. "Never expected anything less from her."
Oliver heard the pride in his voice, the cocky arrogance that relayed how he had one over Oliver.
"She's a natural, you know. You should be proud."
If he were in that interrogation room, the alerts would have been raised and Oliver swore he would have been shot dead before long. She had been safe, free to come and go as she pleased. She was not imprisoned or hurt. No.
Free to come and go.
And still, she had abandoned him.
There she was, in her elation, for a job well done, she made a show of pulling her well-dressed partner forward, and hands that were not his cupped her face and lips that were not his closed over hers. And then the man wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her up against him.
"I know he's proud, and they've only been partners for a few months."
Her companion had nodded towards them, and presumably she needed to see Flag. Chloe turned in their direction.
Her eyes met his.
The cheer turned to flint. Oliver watched as the emotions warred on her face. And then it settled to a cool, inscrutable expression. She walked towards them. Her companion placed a hand on the small of her back and walked with her.
"What are you doing here?" was her question.
Oliver focused on the way the man's arm vanished behind her, and he knew he held her. "Is that any way to greet me?" And then softly, he said, "I thought you were dead." Oliver swallowed the lump in his throat. She was healthy, vibrant, like she ruled this world much better than she did the Watchtower—like this fulfilled the emptiness inside of her that no work with the League could ever fill. And so, while Rick Flag and her companion settled into an easy discussion that summarized their mission critical updates, Oliver lowered his face until his lips nearly touched the shell of her ear. Her hand grasped his arm, and he felt her breath against his neck.
His skin crawled. He wondered if it was desire or disgust. Right then, he could not know.
"We all thought you were hurt," he whispered. "Turns out you were just a bitch."
She sucked in her breath. The hand on his arm dropped as if burned. It was her companion that returned to her side while Flag strode over to the prisoners they had bought. "Welcome to the team, Ollie," she pronounced in a low voice. Her voice took on a hard edge when she continued, "Now get the hell out."