Nothing Remained But Your Eyes
Characters: Chloe, Oliver, Zatanna, John Zatara, Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, Clark, Lois
Summary: At the end of his life Oliver Queen asked the most powerful sorceress in the universe to grant him one wish. Now he's living a new chance to retrieve what he once lost.
Her eyes were tired, her fingers close to bleeding. For the last few weeks Chloe had frantically searched the globe, exhausting every resource at LuthorCorp's disposal. The buyout had been quick, efficient, and completely secret. She could not believe that Lex had swiped the carpet right from under her.
And the bastard had the temerity to drop off the face of the earth and leave her to face the merger by herself.
"Sick, sick asshole," Chloe muttered under her breath. She held on to the anger and the panic. It was the only way she could hold herself up with the entire world caving in. If she were mad enough at Lex she would not crumble under the pressure, would not begin bawling at the nonstop images broadcast in CNN showing the blank dark surface of the ocean where they said that Lex's private plane had crashed.
Only Lex Luthor would be enough of a bastard to actually die after selling out his company to a stranger.
Chloe should never have agreed to Lex's fantastic idea to place her in such a critical role in the company. His board members should not have agreed. But after her role in Lionel's arrest and the public affairs nightmare that resulted she was the least of all evils. Now the very role placed her in a position that required her to face the buyer of LuthorCorp and make nice, pretend he was heavensent.
Although truth be told after looking at the last fiscal year's report and the early graphs of the previous quarter, this man was most likely truly their savior. The hero.
But that did not excuse the cowards and those lazybones from the board who excused themselves from the initial inspection and audit from the new owner's team.
"Miss Sullivan, your guest is here," came the cool, professional announcement from her phone.
"Please. He is a hardly a guest," Chloe replied, knowing the man would hear. It never hurt to get on the good side of any merger, after all. "Send him in."
Chloe pulled herself up to her feet. She closed the laptop, shutting off the news video of Lex's disappearance. It would not do well for the new CEO to find her spending her work hours so nonproductively.
He walked into the room in unabashed confidence, vibrating with assumptions and with an effortless white smile. Chloe felt the entire room move slowly. Her eyesight narrowed to one focal point, and his figure filled her vision. She heard the blood in her head as it sluggishly pumped her survival. Chloe swallowed.
He extended his hand. She kicked herself for being slow to reach for his hand. And then she raised her hand and he clasped over hers in a warm handshake. Chloe swore her palm burned and seared his—she was so warm.
She had to hold herself to a professional, business conduct. Chloe had watched enough of Lex's business meetings to know what to say.
So she opened her mouth, then greeted, "Wow." And she was breathless. Dammit.
At her word, the man's eyebrows shot up. "I must say, that probably summarizes all my initial reaction to the company. Oliver Queen," he introduced himself.
"Of course you're Oliver Queen," she said in a rush. Her brows furrowed, completely at a loss. She had done this before. With people who probably had far more money than Oliver Queen. "I'm sorry. I'm Chloe Sullivan. And I'm usually a lot better than this."
But her world had already stopped when he smiled.
Oliver shook his head empathically. "No apologies necessary. I know what you're capable of, Miss Sullivan." She cocked her head to the side, then straightened up upon realizing how she must look. Like some infatuated little girl. "I do my research before I spend billions, especially on a company as mismanaged as LuthorCorp."
"We had a rough year," Chloe started. It was a merger. There was bound to be cleanup.
"In a merger, there are always casualties."
And he was going to fire her. He probably came to her for that sole purpose and the starstruck Wow did not help change his mind or establish her as a credible professional. That would be fair. She was given her role straight out of college and only because of Lex's gratitude and the board's desire to save face.
"How long do I have?" she asked.
"We have until the end of the week to draft the separation papers of the rest of the board. You didn't think I would let you handle it alone, did you?"
"I'll do it with you."
Firing everyone else. Of course. But still she could not help the sharp thrill that raced down her spine. This was exactly what she needed. She was not normally like this. She had worked closely with Lex for such a long time, seen men as handsome as the Queen CEO. But her blood did not suddenly decide in any other instance that it was some heavy fluid in her veins. Not til now.
She licked her lips. "You want me to stay?"
"I want you to work for me," he stated clearly. And that was when Chloe realized that he still held her hand in his firm grip. "Understand-This will be the last job you'll ever have."
Chloe broke into a grin. She had all her defenses up, and the merger proved to be completely different than what she had expected. Although she had to admit, never having seen Oliver Queen up close, the hype surrounding him had been intoxicating.
"I'm no secretary, Mr Queen."
"You were Lex's VP. I wouldn't insult you like that. You'd work alongside me."
The proposal was irregular. Surely someone like Oliver Queen already had a right hand man. It was irregular, but still, oddly enough, strangely familiar. Chloe's eyebrow arched. "Your Sidekick?"
At that he gave her a lopsided grin as well. And Chloe wondered if he did not realize he was holding her hand still in what she thought could possibly qualify in the Guiness Book of World Records as the longest handshake in the world. "Your word, not mine."
She kind of liked the word.
"Obviously, Mr Queen, I'd like to talk terms." Well, she had balls. Everyone was getting fired and she wanted to push the envelope. Chloe was still pretty sure if she managed to piss him off and he dropped her he would be required to give her a settlement.
"Of course. I spotted a quaint little café nearby. Why don't you and I grab some coffee and talk this through."
That café. Near the watchtower that Lex had set up as her safehouse from his father. She still lived there now. There was a thread of excitement knowing he liked a place so close to home. Imagined how funny it would be to have him stand in the center of the living room in her watchtower. She pictured and thought how odd it would be. He would not fit well at all.
"A business meeting then."
Not a date. She didn't do dates. It would be especially odd to think of dating her own boss.
"Out of curiosity, what kind of terms are we talking about?"
"I want to be free to work on other projects. I would hate for my entire life to revolve around work and you," she pointed out. "I can't be stuck in the skyscraper too long."
"Plugged into the real world. Sounds fair," he said.
"And I would hate it if you started listing down conflict of interest."
"So no strings," he said slowly.
"I don't do strings."
"Well, I'm the type of employer who requires all of the attachments. But we can start off the way you want," he said magnanimously. "I'll wear you down yet."
"I don't think so." Chloe chuckled. She looked down at their clasped hands, wondered if she should pull away first. Lex never did have this problem with any of the contacts they had made in the meetings she observed. "I look forward to working with you, Mr Queen."
He smiled down at her, and Chloe wondered if he could see the warm adoration in her own eyes. She knew herself well and knew herself enough to know she would not be able to hide her thoughts well enough. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
Slowly, Chloe pulled her hand out of his. At the action, he seemed to work himself out of his own reverie. Oliver turned around and walked towards the door. He reached for the door, then turned back to her. Chloe looked back at him expectantly.
Oliver coughed into his fist, then said, "You strike me as someone who might enjoy an old book I found from one of the properties I acquired a few years back."
If she had a dollar every time a man said that to her, she would have one dollar.
"It's an old Egyptian mythology book."
"Why would you think that?"
Oliver nodded back at her, and Chloe glanced down in the direction he looked. She wore a golden scarab pinned to her blouse. Her favorite. She touched it gingerly. "I got it at the museum gift shop."
Oliver released the doorknob, then walked back into her office. Chloe leaned back on the desk.
"You know I went on a dig a few years ago."
"I remember seeing that," she said eagerly. Oliver Queen settled on the leather seat that sat in front of her desk. I was in the Isis and Osiris exhibit that you sponsored." She had come down with an allergy right after Lois told her that she was leaving, and Lex had to take her back home immediately after that. But she remembered the video documentary of Oliver Queen's expedition. It was a memorable piece.
"Were you? How did you find it?" He leaned forward, and he was so close to her again that she felt the waves of warmth emanating from his body.
Chloe blushed. She hoped he did not notice, because there was no valid reason to be so flushed right then. "It was pretty romantic," she admitted. "You made me believe in eternal love." The statement was so telling that she needed to add, "That being the subtitle of the exhibit that means you succeeded very well."
"Well that's what I'm here for," he said, his voice taking on a whisper soft huskiness that made her imagine a black sky and a universe of kisses.
It was getting late, and her assistant still needed to get home. She was going to sign the contract with Queen any way. "Goodnight, Ollie."
He blinked. She wondered where the nickname came from. Possibly from tabloids. Hoped he would not take offense. Instead, he appeared as confused as she. But he shook his head and smiled. "Goodnight, Chloe."
Oliver pulled himself up and sighed. She stepped forward at the same time. They brushed up against each other and Chloe looked up. Found him standing so close.
And his eyes. Brown and deep. So deep she imagined lifetime after lifetime hidden within.
His hands rested warm on her hips. Gently, he nuzzled his nose against hers. Chloe parted her lips and sighed when she felt his mouth brush against hers.
They were the same brown eyes that would hold her gaze when she accepted him into her body just a week later, the same brown eyes she would see when dreamed that night.
She would speak about those eyes when she stood in white lace and silk, hidden partly from the world behind a handmade veil. When she promised him forever, she would ask for return an eternity looking into those eyes.
In the throes of pain, when her body ripped and spasmed years later with a crowning child, when the world dropped away, nothing remained but his eyes.
And decades upon decades, kisses upon kisses past, Chloe sat at his bedside surrounded by her children and held his hand to her lips. "You're as beautiful as the day you walked into my life," she told him. The golden hair had turned silver then. She playfully teased at the strands with trembling fingers. The smooth skin of his face lined and curved. "You were my life."
"So are you," he said to her, and in those final moments he was ecstatic.
His eyes were warm and brown, memorable and Chloe burned them into her mind. "I'll see you soon," she whispered into his ear. And then, she smiled for him because her face was the last thing he would see. Chloe pressed her lips on his and waited until his breathing slowed. His chest stilled.
Death is the stone into which our oblivion hardens.
I love you. I kiss happiness into your lips.
Let us gather up sticks for a fire. Let us kindle a fire on the mountains.
And the world that had spun when she met the love of her life, the heartbeat that was steady and deafening, stopped. The colors dimmed around her. Chloe lived in the muted universe from that day on. It was a few years later that a lovely young woman walked into the house, with her pitch black hair and her engaging smile.
"I came for my father's book," she said.
Chloe nodded towards the ancient Egyptian tome that she had leafed through regularly since the day that Oliver had presented it to her.
The young woman took the book in her arms and turned to leave. She stopped, looked back at Chloe, then said, "This is priceless. And I'd like to give you something in return. Imagine there are no rules, no laws, and that you can ask for anything at all. What would you want, Mrs Queen?"
"I already had everything. It wouldn't be fair to ask for more."
Chloe rested her head back in her seat and closed her eyes. When she did, instead of blackness, it was Oliver's eyes she saw. The young woman left the room as unobtrusively as she came. Chloe took her slow, measured breaths until she felt the cool, comforting breeze tease her skin from the open window.
Chloe opened her eyes. And there he was, standing at the balcony, handsome and lean and young, wearing the green leather suit that she had adored so much. She stood up from her seat, as spritely and light as she could remember.
Oliver held out his arm to her. Without hesitation, Chloe stepped into that strong circle and he held her flush against his side. The Green Arrow released the arrow up into the black sky, lodged it somewhere she could not see and Chloe wondered if his arrow struck a star. Chloe wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss.
"Took you long enough, hero."
He grinned. Chloe pushed his glasses off his eyes. "Believe me, professor. I was antsy and impatient the entire time waiting." He captured her lips in a breathless kiss.
"Ready whenever you are," she told him.
"Then hold tight."
"I'm never letting go," she answered.
And cradled by his strong arm, Chloe flew from the balcony to the sky. She glanced back briefly towards the home she had shared with Oliver, saw her grown children gather quietly around the body left there. They were strong, her children. They were Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Queen, combinations of all the incarnations that they had forgotten once and now all remembered. With a fond wish for them all Chloe turned back to her hero.
They were coming home.