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So this story will be a combination of tags to episodes and chapters of my own creation. This chapter is the latter.
Just a note, part of the inspiration for this chapter came from the song The Last Time by Taylor Swift feat. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol. I think it really fits in with what Oliver and Laurel are going through, so just give it a shot.
I don't own Arrow or any of the song lyrics.
Ch. 2: Same Night, Different Worlds
You find yourself at my door
Just like all those times before
You wear your best apology
But I was there to watch you leave
And all the times I let you in
Just for you to go again
Disappear when you come back
Everything is better
And right before your eyes
No past, nowhere to hide
Just you and me…
-The Last Time; Taylor Swift feat. Gary Lightbody
"Where are we going? Oliver, come on, just tell me!" Thea giggled.
Oliver chuckled. He had put a blindfold over Thea's eyes and was leading her gently by the arm through the Queen house.
"It wouldn't be a surprise if I told you, now would it?" Oliver responded with a smile. "Alright, now stop."
Oliver steadied his sister. "Okay, you can take your blindfold off now,"
Oliver stepped back as Thea reached up to untie the blindfold. When she could see again, Oliver held his arms out and gestured around the room.
"Ta-da," he smiled at Thea, whose jaw had dropped slightly.
"What is all this?" she asked, still stunned.
"I promised you a movie night, didn't I?"
Oliver went over to stand in between the coffee table and the flat-screen television. There was a stack of movies on the TV stand. He had stocked the coffee table with snacks: popcorn, ice cream, trail mix, chips, and several six-packs of coke.
Thea laughed and sat down on the couch. "Yeah, yeah you did. Honestly, I didn't think you would come through."
"Well, we haven't had any quality time since I got back. I thought it was time to just spend a night in, without having to worry about anything." Oliver said, taking a seat next to Thea.
His sister eyed the food on the table. "I'm gonna get fat if I eat all this."
"Well then we'll get fat together."
Thea picked up a spoon and the tub of ice cream. "I can deal with that."
She handed Oliver a spoon, and he gratefully took it. Oliver pressed a button and Forest Gump started playing on the TV. Oliver found that it was surprisingly easy to just get lost in the land of make-believe movies. He found himself not wondering what Laurel was doing, or what could possibly be going wrong without the man in the green hood out prowling the streets of Starling City. It was nice not to be worrying. It was nice just to spend time with Thea and laugh with her, like they did before he disappeared for five years.
Oliver was still awake halfway through their third movie, but Thea had fallen soundly asleep. He smiled at her. She looked so innocent as she slept. There were no troubles to bother her as she dreamed peacefully. It was a luxury Oliver no longer had. He almost always dreamed about the island. Nightmares plagued him, and there were nights when he didn't sleep at all.
Not wanting the noise of the movie to wake her up, Oliver shut it off and quietly cleaned up the empty cans and other trash. When he was finished, Oliver hoisted Thea into his arms and carried her upstairs to her bedroom. He laid her gently down in her bed, tucked her in, and left, praying that the small brotherly deed would somewhat make up for disappearing on her for five years. He hoped that she would someday forgive him for not being the poster-boy for brother of the year.
Oliver padded down the hall to his own room, deciding that he would try and get some sleep, considering the fact that he didn't last night. He lay down in his bed, eyes on the ceiling, waiting for slumber to overtake him. It was hard though. Without a movie in front of his vision and Thea by his side, he started thinking and worrying about everything. Mainly, though, he started thinking about Laurel. He wondered what she was doing right now. Was she thinking about him, too? Or had she completely forgotten about their kiss and confrontation from the last few days?
Nothing can ever happen between us. Oliver saw Laurel's face as her words rang in his head once again. Those words had been haunting him ever since she said them. And each time he thought about it, he thought of Laurel. He thought about the silky touch of her brown locks, the smoothness of her skin, the look in her hazel-green eyes right before she kissed him. Oliver shut his eyes and her beautiful face was still trapped behind his lids.
Without even realizing it, Oliver fell asleep, and yet, even in unconsciousness, Laurel was still with him.
Across the city, Laurel sat with Tommy on the couch in her apartment. They were watching one of those extremely cheesy, horrible movies on SyFy because Tommy found them hilarious. Laurel supposed it was punishment for making Tommy sit through all those sappy, romantic movies that girls always insisted on watching.
After Oliver had been cleared of any charges against him the day before, Laurel had taken the day off, which she never did. Everything that had happened with Oliver the last two days had just drained her of any ability to be productive. She had spent most of the day sleeping or watching TV. She had managed to at least shower and dress herself in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. Tommy had come over around 6:00, bearing Chinese take-out with him. Laurel had been grateful because she really hadn't been in any mood to cook. Since dinner, she and Tommy had spent most of the evening on her couch, alternating between watching bad movies, talking, and kissing.
Laurel found it easy to be with Tommy. He was easy to be around, easy to talk to, and he didn't mind them sitting in silence either. If he really held up to his declaration of being a one-woman man, he would make a great boyfriend. But Laurel knew she wasn't ready for them to become an official couple yet. Not when every mention of the word 'boyfriend' reminded her of the last boyfriend she had. And that last boyfriend just happened to be Oliver Queen.
Oliver, unlike Tommy, was somewhat frustrating to be around. He was…well, he was Oliver. He could make her so angry one moment, and the next, he would lower his voice, gaze at her with those beautiful blue eyes, and melt her heart with just a few words. And then there was the mysterious, scarred boy part of him that had been on the island. That was probably the part of him that frustrated Laurel the most. He just refused to let her in, and she hated not being able to help him. Then, of course, there was the Oliver that loved her, the Oliver that told her that she was the reason he didn't give up the island, the Oliver that kissed her and made her forget all about Tommy-
"I'm gonna grab a beer. You want anything?" Tommy's voice broke into Laurel's thoughts, and she jumped in surprise. Laurel felt herself blush, and then realized that was silly. It's not like Tommy could've known she had been thinking about Oliver.
"Um, no. I'm good. Thanks." Laurel replied. Tommy nodded, then turned and walked into the kitchen to grab himself a beer.
Tommy stayed a few more hours. Laurel was honestly relieved when he left, giving her a kiss on the cheek as he went. After she had started comparing Tommy and Oliver, she couldn't stop.
And her thoughts always came back to Oliver. Oliver's blue eyes. Oliver's soft hair that made Laurel want to run her fingers through it all the time. That shadow of stubble on Oliver's face that Laurel loved, but that Tommy always shaved off. It was all just Oliver, Oliver, Oliver. And his name, God she loved the sound of his name on her lips. She loved the sound of her own name whenever Oliver said it. Oliver was like a disease, and she was infected.
As Laurel climbed into her bed, she wondered where Oliver was now. She wondered if he was thinking about her. She wondered if he thought about their kiss, like Laurel had for the past 48 hours. Tommy popped into her thoughts every once in a while, but all her thoughts of Oliver overwhelmed those of Tommy like a tsunami. It was Oliver in her mind as Laurel drifted off into sleep.
Oliver was on the Queen's Gambit. It was the night of the storm, the night the yacht sank. Everything was the same in his cabin. The lightning outside, the rain pounding down, the bed, the wine poured for two…everything but the person he was with. Instead of Sarah Lance, it was Laurel. It was Laurel whose lips he kissed, right before the storm knocked the power out. Laurel was with him as the boat tipped, and they were thrown head over heels, crashing into things, still with the rain pounding above their heads. Laurel looked up at him, desperation and fear in her eyes.
Oliver reached out to her. "Laurel," he said.
Then the boat shook, another flash of lighting ripping into the side of the yacht, tearing a hole right below Laurel. Oliver knew what was coming. He knew it in his heart and soul, but that still didn't make it any less bad than it was. Water filled up in the hole as the boat tilted to the side and sunk.
The sinking yacht created a suction of water that led straight down to the ocean floor, carrying debris, furniture, and Laurel down with the ship. Laurel screamed, a scream that tore Oliver's heart to shreds and made him feel like he was choking.
"Laurel!" he cried out, but it wasn't enough. Her body was dragged into the water and forced under the waves; her last gasping breaths spent breathing in water.
"Laurel!" Oliver yelled, bolting upright in bed.
His legs tangled in the covers, his body covered with a thin sheen of sweat. It took Oliver a minute to remember where he was. He was at home, safe, not watching Laurel sink under the ocean. Oliver shook his head, trying to clear the awful visions and erase Laurel's screams from his memory. A loud boom outside made Oliver whip his head towards the window. Outside, it was actually raining, lighting flashing across the sky and thunder shaking the building. It seemed as if Oliver dreamed of the yacht sinking whenever it was raining outside. He hoped that would eventually go away. Part of him knew that the nightmares would never stop; the memories of the island would never cease or go away. Oliver would always relive those five years of his life wherever he went.
Laurel's drowning face flashed in his mind, and he climbed out of bed and threw on a shirt and grabbed a jacket. Oliver raced as quietly as he could through the house and out into the storm.
Laurel woke when she heard the knock on her door.
She was surprised she heard it at all with the storm raging on outside. Laurel glanced over at the clock on her bedside table. 3:02. Now who the hell would be at her door at three o'clock in the morning? She could probably guess, but it still surprised her when she threw open the door, and found Oliver there, soaking wet, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, a sodden pair of sweats, and a thin jacket.
"Oliver, what are you doing here? It's three in the morning." Laurel asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
"I-uh…could I come in?" he asked quietly.
Laurel looked up at him-with his hair dripping into his face and his shirt clinging to his chest, outlining each muscle-and knew she couldn't just leave him out on her doorstep. She stepped aside so he could come in. Once she shut the door to her apartment, Laurel looked at Oliver. He was glancing around the apartment, as if trying to remember why he had come here in the middle of the night.
"Oliver, you okay?" Laurel asked gently, turning on a dim light.
Oliver turned and looked directly at her. "No. Not really. I couldn't sleep."
"So you came here?"
"I had a nightmare," Oliver said, then paused. He was breathing hard, and Laurel noticed that he was shivering slightly.
"Why don't I run your clothes through the dryer real quick? I have some extras you could borrow for right now." she suggested. Oliver looked at her like she was crazy for a moment, before nodding his head. He peeled off his jacket and handed it to her.
Laurel tossed the jacket in the dryer and led Oliver to her room. Without looking at him, she rummaged through her dresser, and pulled out an old t-shirt and jeans from the back of the drawer. She turned around and saw Oliver gazing about the room, a sort of wonder in his eyes.
"It's still the same," he murmured. He looked back at her and smiled as she handed him the clothes.
Oliver looked down at the shirt and jeans, a look of puzzlement flashing over his features momentarily. "These are mine…"
Laurel looked down at the floor, hoping the dim light of her room would hide the red creeping up into her cheeks. "Um, yeah. I had them from…before…before you disappeared. I kept them. I just couldn't bring myself to throw them away if they were the last piece I had of you." Laurel struggled to keep her voice steady.
She thought back to a month after the Queen's Gambit had gone out and never come back. She had been worried about her sister, yes, but that had been the time when she still considered herself Oliver's girlfriend. She had remembered sobbing over him, holding those shirts as she tried to fall asleep at night. Even now they still smelled like Oliver.
Laurel looked up and found Oliver staring at her, his blue eyes intense. Then his mouth twitched up into a smile. Laurel tried, but couldn't return the smile. Smiling meant that keeping those shirts meant more than it actually did. She couldn't give Oliver the wrong idea.
"I'll get out so you can get dressed," Laurel muttered quietly, then walked out of her room. She turned to shut the door behind her, but not before she caught a glimpse of Oliver's chest. Laurel felt her jaw drop slightly as Oliver turned and she caught a look at his back, which had just as many scars as his chest. Careful not to make a sound, Laurel shut the door as quietly as possible. She leaned against the door-frame for a moment, needing to catch her breath. Not for the first time, Laurel wondered what had happened to Oliver on the island. What could have possibly happened that would result in all those scars? Laurel knew that he had been tortured, but still…
The door opened behind Laurel, and she quickly scrambled away from the door. If Oliver thought it was weird that she had been waiting right outside the door for him, he didn't say anything.
"Thanks for the clothes." Oliver said, handing her his sodden shirt and sweats.
"No problem," Laurel said, taking the clothes form him. For a brief moment, their fingers brushed against each other and Laurel's heart nearly stopped. Just the tiniest form of contact between them and Laurel's heart rate shot up and she was suddenly mesmerized by everything about him.
Laurel watched Oliver as he pulled back and went to sit on the couch. Laurel shook her head, trying to clear it of the fogginess. She tossed Oliver's clothes in the dryer and turned it on, enjoying the noise in the background to break up the silence between her and Oliver. Laurel walked over to the couch and plopped down in the seat beside him. They were so close that Laurel could see the flecks of gray and green in Oliver's eyes and could smell the rain and cologne off his skin.
"So, Ollie, was there a reason why you came here? You said something about a nightmare-" Laurel started, but Oliver broke her off.
"Yeah. A nightmare." Oliver got a faraway look in his eyes, like he was looking back into the past and didn't quite like what he saw. "I came by to make sure you were okay."
"To make sure I was okay? Ollie, you know that whatever you dreamt, it wasn't real. Okay? It wasn't real, Ollie." Laurel whispered.
"It felt real," Oliver murmured. He looked at her with his blue eyes full of pain.
"Tell me. Tell me what it was about. Maybe I can help. That's my job, you know? Helping people." Laurel asked gently. She didn't want to push him if he didn't want to talk about his dreams.
Oliver paused. "It was about you. Instead of Sarah…it was you on that boat. You were the one who drowned."
Oliver looked down, but Laurel could see the guilt and the pain and the sadness written in every plane of his body. She reached out and put a hand to his cheek. It was wet, and not from the rain. Laurel moved to draw her hand back, but Oliver caught it there, holding her hand to his cheek, rubbing his thumb against the back of her hand. Oliver looked up again. His eyes were dry, so whatever stray tears he had shed were gone.
"You were the one I couldn't save, Laurel." Oliver whispered, his voice breaking as he said her name.
Then Laurel did something that surprised even herself. She wrapped her arms around Oliver's warm body, her face buried in his shoulder. Oliver, recovering from his initial shock, wound his arms around her, wrapping her in a blanket of warmth. Laurel knew she didn't even have to say anything; all Oliver needed was the comfort of another human being. He needed the warmth and the comfort to counter the cold and loneliness from the island.
Laurel only wished that she could be that comfort, that warmth, all the time.
So there's chapter two! I will try to have the next chapter up soon!
And if there's something that doesn't quite sound like one of the characters or something I need to change about how I'm writing the characters, please tell me. I'm doing my best to sound like them, but I'm still working on finding their voices.
Don't forget to review! Thanks for reading!