Within Enemy Lines
by Catheryne (tennysonslady)
Summary: Oliver joins the Suicide Squad in order to save Chloe Sullivan.
Characters: Oliver, Chloe, JL, SS
AN: Thanksgiving – So I want to thank all of you for welcoming my odd little self into the Chlollie fic world. I appreciate those of you who read the stories I write.
The concept of loving any other being more than one loved himself had been foreign to him until Chloe. Before he loved her, he had never thought of life. And then he loved her, and all he knew was the present, and all he wanted was a future.
When he held his daughter for the first time, Oliver opened his eyes to death. It was a jarring moment when he met that green stare and all Oliver could think of was dying. The past and shame. Dying and fear. And this little girl who had nothing except, right now, him—woefully inadequate but loved her completely. And suddenly, after all the pain and failures in his life, Oliver was finally unprepared to die.
He had bundled the baby in the blanket and bolstered her on either side with pillows. Oliver brushed his teeth, suddenly ashamed of the alcohol in his breath. He changed into civilian clothes and walked out unashamed holding the baby, then brought several changes of clothes for the newborn. The saleslady looked at him in awe and offered Oliver Queen a carrier.
"Mr Queen, is that—"
"My daughter," he said, his voice clear, ringing in his own ears. He took the carrier and paid for it, then made his way out of the store and called Emil at once, who wasn't a pediatrician over and over. At least he said it over and over as his disclaimer as he gave Oliver the name of a formula.
When everything he needed was at hand, and Oliver was certain that Star City's lifestyle and business sections were rattling with photographs and eyewitness accounts, he took the car and had himself driven to the tarmac to board his private plane.
The phone in his pocket rang. Oliver thought it would be Tess with an update and found himself staring at Lois' name in his caller ID. He had long ago ignored those calls. He had not been prepared to explain the loss, to apologize for his part. This time he answered the call. Instead of the frantic mess that was Lois the last few months there was a calm, fearful note to her voice. Almost like she was afraid that it would not be true.
"You're all over the web. You're twitter's top trending businessman," Lois said with forced humor—like she was trying not to hope. "You're more popular today than when you came out."
"Am I?" he said softly.
Oliver rested back in his seat and glanced at the carrier he had carefully strapped to the seat next to him. If he could bring her any closer he would have. He leaned over the baby and pulled down the cap he had bought, with frilly little flowers and drawings of giraffes on the cotton. He wished she would open her eyes although he knew she could barely see yet. He wanted her to open her eyes because when she did she looked so much like her mother.
"It's true, isn't it," came Lois' voice. It was not a question.
Oliver would not have paraded himself so thoughtlessly like that if it were not real.
"Where's my cousin?" Lois had not seen her in over a year. Oliver pitied her. And if he was going to move heaven and earth, tempt hell and kick it in the rear, then he needed Lois Lane. "Where's Chloe?"
"I'm working on it," Oliver assured her. Because he was going to give his daughter a mother—her mother—if it was the last thing he did. She was going to have a mother and a father. "Lois, listen—"
When the jet landed in Metropolis a few hours later, Oliver found Lois waiting at the tarmac bundled in her best effort to disguise herself. Oliver handed the light little bundle he held and curtly told her, "Keep her safe. Chloe and I are coming to get her." He promised, this time to the sleeping baby, "Soon."
And like she knew just what her father wanted, the infant blinked and gave her father another peek at the piercing green eyes.
"I love you," he whispered. And he meant it so much it physically hurt his heart.
With one last look, Oliver watched Lois enter the car he had hired and take his most precious possession with her. He took a deep breath as the car vanished down the road, then stood straight and firm. He could not imagine the strength that it took to be Chloe this entire time, and he was going to be half as courageous for the end his family deserved.
"Are they there?" he said into the phone when he made his way back to the Watchtower. He had asked Tess to gather the team together. It was time to save Chloe. It was their turn now.
He stood alone in the Watchtower with Tess. Even then, he prepared himself. Oliver changed into the green leather and imagined himself her knight, because that was what she called him. When he was set to leave, the door opened and he found himself looking back at the black masked figure of the Batman.
"You and me again," Bruce said, his voice deep.
Oliver heard the footsteps as they neared. A figure turned the corridor, and Clark appeared in his red and blue uniform. He nodded in gratitude. Clark responded, matter of fact, and Oliver realized no matter how far apart Clark and Chloe had grown Clark still saw it the same way he did when they were children, "That's my best friend."
It would have been the three of them, and Oliver knew they would be more than enough. They returned to the Watchtower where Tess worked to determine the new location of the headquarters. They would need to be smart, fast, and they had to have balls as large as Kansas to take on the entire headquarters and the resources of Amanda Waller and the government by the three of them.
But Chloe had been so much to so many, or a little essential part, that Oliver should not have worried.
When they came, they came like the flood. They came like a downpour. When Tess called and said her name, they converged around him like there was no other crisis in the world, no other danger they faced, no other thing mattered.
His throat closed at the costumed heroes—every one of them that hid from the world but made their way to the building that carried her code name.
Oliver had expected the Justice League, and there they stood proudly as the first team she had been part of. Victor leaned against the pillar that held the screen that monitored the new arrivals. AC sat back on the table where Tess worked. Dinah sat on the chair in front of it and cross long fishnet-clad legs. Bart stayed by the door with his hands in his pockets and his hood drawn. Jonn watched from the second floor with his arms folded across his chest. The Batman stood quietly at his side, observing the proceedings. They were her team; and they had come with every intention of finishing this mission and bringing her home.
Oliver did not expect to see the former Squad members, but understood immediately their presence in the room.
"I stopped him in a bank heist," Oliver heard Bruce say when the door opened and revealed a familiar face. "Told him he can spend his energy much better elsewhere."
Oliver found himself looking at a man he had only just encountered. He wondered what the League would think of the presence of an obvious villain in their own clubhouse.
"I know how to repay a debt," Deadshot told him when he walked into the room, the guns hanging from his wrists, shocking Tess Mercer into attention. But Tess had worked with the White Queen before and soon relaxed at the presence of men that Oliver had thought were villains. After all, Tess already knew that it was Deadshot who brought the baby home. Anyone who cradled a week old infant against him was bound to have humanity in him. Oliver was grateful for that small amount and the little attention he spared finding that girl while he grieved, because unknown to him saving Zoe went far into saving his own family.
"I wasn't staying in the jungle the moment I heard about this," said the Bronze Tiger when he walked into the Watchtower in his dark green wifebeater and muddied fatigue pants. "She brought us together."
And right after him walked in Nemesis, strapped, in costume but not in disguise. He nodded at Oliver, and at once Oliver knew not to expect his reason in words. Chloe had been his partner, the person he had trusted with his life mission upon mission they had been sent. From what Oliver had learned, she was the one who made him realize what organization was the Squad.
And then it was Nightshade, in her black catsuit, walking right beside Nemesis. "I didn't take her across dimensions only to have her locked up in wherever the new headquarters are." And then, with a brief glance at Nemesis, she turned to Oliver, "We cross so she can come home."
It was a large group, and they were almost full. Oliver knew it would be a challenge to coordinate the efforts, but he was grateful for the support. The more they were, the stronger they became. He cleared his throat, and before he could speak the door swung open and in strode the Hawkman, knocking Bart sideways when he spread his wings. Oliver looked on as the man dangled his mace. "Is the gathering over?" growled Carter.
"Gathering," Stargirl said, placing a hand on her hip. "You're so ancient, Hawkman. It's a party. I hope we're not too late!"
"You're not late," Clark answered from the other end of the room. "We were just about to present our plans to everyone."
Belatedly, Dinah stood as a handful of costumed women walked into the room. Dinah joined the small group, and the redhead new arrival told him, "We worked with Chloe a couple of years ago researching a lynchpin from Gotham." He had never even known she worked far beyond the scope of the League he had assigned to her.
Oliver blinked, fascinated at the number of heroes—yes, heroes even with the former members of the Suicide Squad—that were eager to save Chloe. This was what she had walked away for, he thought, and by the looks of it her effort had not been in vain.
Every small group had a leader. "We should break into smaller teams and coordinate our efforts based on those plans," Oliver suggested. He was surprised when the superpowered mass agreed with him. Inside Watchtower gathered the most powerful beings in the planet, and they agreed with him.
"You're the boss," Hawkman allowed.
He had the most to lose, Oliver realized.
Because if it all went to hell, it was Chloe who was going to be trapped inside.
So with a firm voice, and an attitude that brooked no nonsense, he demanded, "What can you bring to the table?" If they strategized like little children, then they were useless. He was not going to lose because of men and women who were irresponsible because they had power.
Sonic screams, martial arts, ancient weapons, superhuman strength. They had it all.
"We're dropping in from the air," Tiger offered, and Oliver recalled the prowess with which the Broze Tiger jumped from the helicopter. From the air with guns blazing, Oliver knew. And out of all of them, it was that team who would know how the HQ would be laid out.
"I can break through the windows," Hawkman offered.
The Birds of Prey would find a way underground, and meander through the tunnels that Oracle would plot from satellite images once they found out the coordinates.
"We're coming in from all sides," Victor said, putting the whole strength of the Justice League behind him.
Oliver was going to walk right in, and it did not matter that he and Bruce were the ones who were human, who were the most vulnerable of them all. He was going to save Chloe—this once it would be him and not the other way around. But he had a daughter now, and he was rational enough to look towards Clark and admit, "I need backup."
"I've got you," Clark responded.
The operation unfolded as smoothly as the action steps that Oliver pieces together on a board in the Watchtower. The former members of the Suicide Squad choppered and dropped in to the watch. One by one the heat signatures from the lookouts fell as Tess watched from the Watchtower. Oliver heard the narration in his earpiece.
Oliver lay in wait as Dinah's teammates called to the League that they had unlatched the secret passages. AC, Victor and Bart made their way and fought their way inside hand to hand. Many of the men in the inner sanctum were powered, and Oliver heard the grunts and the real punches thrown inside. Hawkman crashed into the walls and Stargirl blinded most of the guards where they were.
"Your turn, Archer," Clark said to him.
Oliver turned, then nodded. "If something happens to me, save Chloe," he said, even in his confidence he could not let go without leaving that one reminder.
"You save her," Clark responded stubbornly.
So Oliver turned to Bruce, who agreed at once, "We will."
"And if it's both of us—"
"Then the girl's an heiress," Bruce answered with a smirk. "She'll be fine."
The girl had not a single piece of paper to her name. His daughter didn't even have a name. But if anyone could make the entire world give an infant her due in billions, it would be Bruce Wayne.
"But you'd better come back with Chloe if you don't want your daughter to be as screwed up as you or me," Bruce said, his voice somber. "Or God forbid, Lex Luthor," he said. Oliver shuddered at the thought of a little girl with Chloe's face and the fortune and freedom of any of the three billionaire boys of Excelsior.
Oliver burst into a run, bowing against the fire exchanged by the different sides, as he pushed his way through the open courtyard and he burst into the main offices. Tiger gestured to him, and Oliver fell into step beside the man as they raced their way down the steps. In the crossfire Tiger was hit, and Oliver heard him back at him to go down two more levels.
When he did, Oliver encountered a white doorway. Oliver kicked it open and found himself staring at a large open space with two corridors to either side. Each corridor was lined with doors. A body fell from above, with a large gash on the head and a torn gut. Oliver looked up and saw Carter hovering above with a scowl.
Oliver kicked each and every one of the door to find the rooms empty. He heard the noises behind him and knew that Waller had been alerted that he was on the floor. Three men ran towards him with guns and Oliver blinked once to find them all on the ground. The red and blue blur slowed. Clark nodded. "Go. Batman and I will take care of them."
And they were coming from all sides, just as the League did to break in. Oliver looked at the endless rows of doors.
"Over here!" He found himself looking at a short girl with exotic eyes. The girl was wearing a Suicide Squad jacket. "Faster," she called out. "The White Queen is taking her."
Plastique, he realized. Chloe had told him about her once. She had been hopeful about the girl, but she had turned and was seduced by Waller's promises.
"I've no problem getting all of you vigilantes for the White Queen, but Chloe saved my ass."
At this, Oliver smirked and shook her head in disbelief. No matter how deep he went, he thought. Oliver ran down the direction that Plastique had indicated. He found Waller's guard dragging Chloe with towards a van. He hated vans. They had tied him up and blindfolded him once in a van. It was not pretty.
Oliver took an arrow from its sheath and stretched taut the compound bow and focused on Waller. He jerked in surprise when suddenly the guard and Chloe turned the opposite way. The arrow zipped through the air and buried into Waller's shoulder instead of her heart.
At the unexpected move, a shot rang out and Chloe screamed. Oliver's heart froze. He saw the red blood splatter over Chloe's face, her arms, her clothes. And then the guard fell over her, limp and heavy, bringing them both down to the ground. Chloe screamed and Oliver saw the dark red blood seeping on the ground beneath them.
"Chloe," he said gently, kneeling in front of her.
"No, no, no," she whispered, like a whisper, like a chant. Chloe gripped tightly to Waller's guard on top of her.
"Are you hurt?"
Her eyes fluttered open and her eyes widened. She sobbed. "Ollie," she whispered.
Oliver lifted the heavy body on top of hers and released her. And then he realized who it was with half of the mask off. "He's alive," he assured her. "They'll take care of him." And then Nightshade came and took Nemesis with her.
He pulled her up until they both knelt in the warm puddle of Nemesis' blood. His eyes darted, drinking in her face—tearstained and bloody as it was. His hands cupped her cheeks and he met her lips with his. Chloe was divine, and he drank from her lips like she was all the scotch he would need in his life. His arms then wrapped tightly around her. He was not going to let her go. Never. Never again.
"You saved me!" she said, laughing softly, grateful.
And her gratitude would be a tiny drop of an ocean in his heart. "Not just me. Everyone you saved came for you."
Oliver was reluctant to release her, but allowed herself that brief moment when she looked up and around her and saw, level upon level, on the ground and in the air every hero that had come out to Amanda Waller's headquarters. His chest filled with pride when Oliver stared in awe at every one of them who looked down at them with a smile.
Oliver looked up and noted that Carter held up a fist to his heart, and Chloe surreptitiously brushed at a tear that fell. Slowly, one by one, the rest followed.
"That's how they salute heroes," she whispered.
"Then they're doing it exactly right," he said in response.
Oliver looked back where Waller was twisted on the ground. But he could not kill her, not when she was so helpless and injured. Batman could not turn her over to the authorities when everyone knew for whom she worked.
Instead it was the Bronze Tiger who volunteered to take her. As long as she was far away from his family, Oliver did not mind.
Oliver stood and helped Chloe up. She looked back towards the infirmary and he knew she would be restless unless she saw. They walked towards them and found Nemesis awake and cursing out loud while a female doctor bandaged him as Nightshade held a gun to her head.
"He'll be alright?" Chloe said quietly.
The doctor nodded, and firmly planted herself where she would not need to speak more.
Chloe released a breath of relief. Nightshade lowered the gun. And then Oliver took her hand and brought it up to his lips. She pulled him to her by the edges of the green leather vest. And then she told him, "There's something I haven't said."
His heart warmed, because even silent he could see it in her eyes. He wondered how she ever thought she would be able to hide it from him. "I already know."
"So you said." Chloe took a deep breath, and then she confessed, "I love you."
And even though he knew, his heart stopped when she said them.
"I love you like I've never loved anyone before. I love you so much I would have died for you," she whispered.
He throat was tight. He nodded. "I know. Now do you think you'll love me enough that you'll try to survive for us?" Her eyes filled. He brushed his thumb over her cheek and caught a stay teardrop. "Can you do that for your daughter?"
She closed her eyes, then wrapped her arms around his neck, clinging to him. And then he felt her lips on his neck, kissing her way to his jaw. Every kiss was a whisper of love she had not uttered, even breath an apology. He turned his head and captured her lips.
"How is she?"
"Perfect," he told her. And with some thought, he recognized, "Like you." He would have his hands full. "I left her with Lois so I could get you," he said like he had merely swung to pick her up from the mall. "What did you name her?"
"I didn't," Chloe told him. "I wanted to wait for you."
And he fell in love with her all over again.
"Emerald," he whispered. Em. He could live with that. It was a beautiful name. Emerald Queen. She would make the world bow down to her in no time.
"For you," she agreed.
"No." He shook his head. "For your eyes. Because when Deadshot gave her to me, and she looked at me with your eyes—I knew she was mine." He grasped her arm, ran his fingers through her hair. She looked all the worse for wear, but they were together now. She was more beautiful than he had ever seen. Soon they would surround them, and he would thank each and every one of those who came to save her. "Let's go home," he said, and the word fell so easily from his mouth. "Home to Star City."
"Home," she answered.
And if he heard her right, there was no question or protest. They were coming home with their daughter.
When Chloe first saw their daughter again, Oliver found himself paralyzed by the doorway. Lois had exclaimed in surprise at the sight of her cousin, and Oliver was grateful they had the chance to wash away the blood and the sweat before they came. Seeing how the heroes had come to her when she needed them, and knowing her reasons for keeping him away, Oliver knew that whether he wanted it or not, the hero business was always going be part of her life.
But one thing he had asked her to swear, to which she had agreed and had him reciprocate, that the ugly part, the hurtful part, the dangerous part, would not come near the baby.
So Oliver watched from the doorway as Chloe took the baby from Lois. Their daughter burrowed immediately into Chloe, pressing a button nose into the pulsepoint in Chloe's throat, then curling into a tight little ball and nuzzling against Chloe's breath.
She knew she was with her mother.
Chloe pressed a soft kiss into the baby's soft tuft of hair. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye. "What are you doing there?" she asked softly.
She extended a hand towards him and Oliver closed his hand around his. "I just thought I wouldn't ever have the chance to see this." He touched the baby's cheek. "She looks like you." Her eyes were so green and they hid nothing. Nothing at all. Not even when she tried, and now she was so open the look in her eyes overwhelmed him. But she had only just come home, only just admitted how she felt, only just—
"One of these days I'll marry you, Ollie."
He closed his eyes in gratitude. Oliver laid his forehead against hers.
That was more than enough. For now.
But there was no rule that you shouldn't push the universe for everything.
"How about now?" he suggested gently.
He felt her lips press over his, and then slowly, meaningfully curve underneath his.