Sheep's Clothing

Summary: For Oliver, danger comes in all shapes and sizes… Late Season 9.

Disclaimer: Smallville's not mine, not even close, just borrowing Ollie and Chloe for a little bit.

I have no idea where this came from since Smallville's not my usual playground. I'm going to blame it on Justin Hartley and the awesomeness that is Oliver, and leave it at that.

Prologue


Oliver knew all about being alone. He knew equally well how to hide it. He'd spent years and years learning how, refining his mask, making it more and more solid, more and more permanent until he barely thought about it anymore. It was just a part of him, something he wore as easily as the tie he put on every morning. But beneath the mask… sometimes… just nothing.

He supposed it had started the day his parents died. In one moment, he'd gone from a happy, smiling, loved, pampered child, to an orphan with nothing but money to keep him company. Nannies and lawyers and all kinds of keepers had stepped in the to make sure he was taken care of, but even then, surrounded by people, he'd been alone. It was only to be expected when everyone you knew was paid to care about you.

He'd been sent to boarding school as soon as he was old enough. He'd found friends there, or more precisely, he'd found other boys in the same boat as he was, shuffled off by people who were too busy, too rich, or too distant to care about them. His mask had formed easily and naturally as he fell in with the other boys, all drinking and partying in their desperate attempts to get their negligent parents' attention. But Oliver didn't have anyone's attention to get. His parents were dead and no one gave a rat's ass about what he did. So he partied until he convinced himself it was fun. He drank until he was so far gone, he was barely aware that there were other people there. After all, even among a bunch of rich kids, he had enough money to make them all look like fast food workers. It kind of set a guy apart, even as it drew people to him.

Then the island happened. If he'd thought he was alone before, the island had changed all that. He'd learned exactly what it was to have nothing and no one but himself to rely on. He'd learned really fast that he knew absolutely nothing about basic survival, and that he was pretty boring company to boot.

In a way it had been refreshing. He didn't have to pretend, and his mask had slipped away. He'd been too concerned with not dying on that spit of land to care about anything else. He'd fought hunger and thirst and mosquitoes and sunstroke and no one to talk to but the bugs until he thought he would lose his mind. Loneliness had been his only companion, but then, by the time he'd been on the island, it was an old friend. He just didn't have to pretend he wasn't really alone.

When he got back to civilization, he'd felt almost like an island himself, completely cut off from the people around him. After his time away, the shallowness and vanity that surrounded him had been disgusting, almost repulsive. He'd tried to rejoin them, tried to become one of them, and he'd made a good show of it. His mask had reformed almost instantly.

Along with the mask, however, something else had formed, or rather someone else. Green Arrow had been born. Green Arrow was formed in solitude. He worked in solitude, brought justice in solitude and as a result there was no one to pat his back for a job well done. Oliver Queen had plenty of sycophants to tell him how wonderful he was. Green Arrow needed no one to tell him he was doing the right thing.

It was good. It was different. But it was most definitely a very lonely existence. So… status quo really.

Then came Lois.

The woman was a force to be reckoned with and she'd tempted him out of his loneliness. She'd lured his heart out of hiding, and shown him that there was actually a woman on this earth who didn't care how much money he had, only that he was a good man.

And then… when she knew everything… Green Arrow, his real purpose in life… she'd dumped him. Lois couldn't bring herself to be a part of what needed to be done. He'd never felt so alone as he had that night. He was used to women ditching him because he was a cynical, smart-mouthed, narcissistic, womanizing jerk, not because of who he really was.

Add the mess with Lex and Davis and Jimmy and it had been a downhill slide after that. Drinking, women, fighting… basically, anything but an attempt to be a useful member of society. It had taken herculean efforts to pull him out of a suicidal spiral of solitude and self-loathing.

But all of that… it somehow didn't compare to the predicament he found himself in now.

He'd imagined dying all kinds of ways. Unfortunately, flat out in the muck of a filthy Metropolis alley hadn't been high up on his list of Best Deaths Ever.

His back and chest were on fire. His attacker had dug the knife in two or three times, just for good measure. Oliver knew he'd hit a lung because the blood was bubbling from the wound. He could feel more of it in his mouth, cutting off his airway. His collapsing lung was going to make sure he died pretty quickly, he supposed, so that was good at least.

But he really hadn't wanted to die alone. He'd hoped to die at a ripe old age surrounded by his wife and children, or at least to go out in a blaze of glory saving the world from impending doom.

This? This was a lousy way to die. And he was going to die alone.

Oliver could feel the darkness creeping into his vision. For just a moment, he thought he heard a woman's voice calling to him. Wishful thinking had him hoping it was Chloe, but it was probably his imagination. At this point, he supposed, it hardly mattered.


Don't anybody worry. Oliver is far too pretty to die. More soon…