A short chapter for me, but I'm late with an update so here is what I have...


Warning:Lots of changes to the timeline. Consider all the seasons spoiled, but the story begins in an altered Season 6. Some swearing, maybe some violence that could read to rescues...

Disclaimer: Not mine, not for profit, for entertainment only.

Spoilers and changes to the timeline: Dark Thursday never happened, Lex is bad, but not evil (similar past to the show without the more extreme things, ie. he never kidnapped Chloe). He dated Lana to try to learn Clark's secret for a short time, but there was no marriage or baby. The larger issues of alien invasions will not play in this story, but there are still meteor freaks, and Lex's interest in meteor freaks. Chloe and Clark are 21, Lois two years older but the same year in college, Oliver and Lex are older (6-7 years).


Money can't buy love

Chapter 5

Chloe was lying on her stomach on a massage table, on a grassy patch of land just off the massive outdoor deck that overlooked the ocean and rolling hills of the estate. A white sheet and thin blanket partially covered her. The blanket kept her legs warm while the sheet was tucked under her sides to keep it in place, covering her up to her shoulder blades. Chloe loved the feel of the sun on her upper back despite Oliver's previous warnings about getting burned.

She would have been cold from the omnipresent ocean breezes except for a clear glass shield that made the outdoor living area usable for most of the year. A second massage table was next to her. Oliver had occupied it, his feet hanging off the end much to her amusement. Their massages had been almost finished when his phone had rang and Oliver went inside to take the call privately.

The masseuses had departed not long after to wash up, and Chloe had expected to be kicked out of her comfortable perch, but for the moment she was alone.

When they'd first arrived at his family home, Chloe had been overwhelmed with tenderness for Oliver. He'd survived so much and he'd done it alone. After his parents' deaths, Oliver and their estate had been overseen by an executor, named by his parents, but their wills had not specified a guardian for Oliver. The guardian had acted as executor of the estate, and handled paying for Oliver's schooling, but he had not raised Oliver. Oliver hadn't had a family.

As beautiful as his family home was, Chloe couldn't shake a feeling of loneliness. A melancholy that hung in the air. It should have been their home, filled with happy memories of birthdays and barbeques, laughter and arguments, but instead it had sat empty for nearly 20 years.

Chloe sighed and rested her cheek on her folded arms. Eyes closed, she let herself take in the sounds. The wind through the trees, forest animals scurrying here and there, the cries of seagulls both above and below, and always present, the sound of the waves, crashing and receding in a never ending cycle. It was beautiful, peaceful, a little sad, and a little wild. Chloe loved it.

She felt hands slide up her back and hummed her approval.

Oliver looked down at her, tousled short blonde hair, pale skin, the arch of her back. As he'd approached silently he'd gotten an eyeful of the side of her breast, the tempting curve of it partially revealed, partially hidden.

He kneaded her muscles, thumbs swiveling to loosen the muscles along her spine, drawing a moan of appreciation. "It's better if you remove the sheet, Ollie," she suggested, apparently at ease with his touch and him seeing more of her, having more access to her.

He slowly drew the sheet down, exposing the small of her back, stopping just above the swell of her bottom. He resumed his massage, enjoying the silk of her skin, the freedom to touch her, as much as she was if her little moans were any indication.

Without conscious thought his hands moved up her sides, thumbs pressing into her spine, but his fingertips dragged up until he felt the soft yielding flesh of her breasts.

He withdrew immediately, causing Chloe to murmur her protest. "Don't stop." Heat was pooling in her belly, her breasts were tight, but she felt languorous with desire, instead of driven by it.

"I..." Oliver said hoarsely, his chest tight with desire. "I should stop."

Chloe opened her eyes and tilted her head to see the stain on his face, the obvious reaction in his lower body.

He'd stopped the night before too. Never pushing, never going past some line that he'd seemed to set in his mind. Keeping their make out casual, never suggesting they adjourn to the bedroom. As she'd perched in his lap, wrapped in his arms, Chloe's heart had been pounding so loudly she was sure he could hear it. Her blood racing, her only thoughts had been of him and how it would be to be together. But he'd slowed down, let their bodies cool, then walked her to her door, kissed her gently then left her for the night.

Chloe's dreams had been dominated by Oliver and her desire for him.

Looking at him now, alone in a stunning setting, her body aching with need, Chloe realized that whatever fears she'd had about dating him, falling for him, being with him, had disappeared.

Pulling the sheet up to somewhat cover her nakedness Chloe sat up, facing him. "What if I don't want you to stop, Ollie?" she asked, her expression serious, her eyes steady on his.

Oliver was completely still, a stunned look on his face. Chloe smiled, pleased with her effect on him. But as the seconds ticked by and he continued to stare at her, she started to feel uncomfortable and moved to pull the sheet tighter around her, but his hand on her wrist stopped her.

"You have to be sure," Oliver said, tension thick in his voice. "I can't... don't..."

Chloe stood up, holding the sheet to her with one arm wrapped loosely over her breasts. "You know, if you'd have made a move last night you could have seen me naked then," Chloe teased with a soft smile. Her smile deepened as his remained rigidly still and silent. "I'm sure Ollie. I want this, here, now, with you. I want you."

The slow grin spread across his face didn't erase the seriousness in his eyes, but as her smile grew to match his, joy overtook the seriousness, making her want to laugh, happiness bubbling up from deep within her soul.

He framed her face with his hands, dipping his head down to kiss her, pressing a series of kisses to her lips, each longer and more deeply felt than the last until her laughter burst out, a joyous sound that chased away whatever ghosts haunted the place.

Oliver pulled the sheet away from her slowly, looking over her tempting curves for a long minute before sweeping her into his arms and carrying her towards a double wide, padded outdoor lounge chair.

-Smallville—

The flight home to passed quickly despite the fact that Chloe was traveling alone. The private jet took longer than traveling with Clark, but it was a lot more comfortable.

Chloe's stomach clenched. Oliver had to stay behind in Star City for work. He wouldn't return to Metropolis for at least ten more days.

It wasn't long, but Chloe rolled her shoulders to try to relieve the anxiousness that had settled at the base of her neck. She wanted to see him, be able to be with him. It felt so right to be with Oliver, even if it had only been a day since they'd first kissed.

She didn't want anything to mess with the feeling she had found in his arms. She didn't think Oliver was so shallow that out of sight out of mind would become an issue, but they each had complicated lives, and in order to see if they really had something real, they needed to be together.

-Smallville—

The following day, Chloe woke up to a text message from Oliver asking her to look outside her door. There she found a steaming hot latte and fresh blueberry muffin.

Arriving home that night her roommates were full of questions about who had sent the beautiful flower arrangements full of tulips and lilies. Chloe just smiled, her face glowing with happiness as she opened the small card to find a short message from Oliver. "I miss you, Ace."

The card wasn't signed, but Oliver was the only one who called her Ace, in reference to her desire to be a top reporter.

And so it went, every day there was as small gift, some token that let her know he was thinking about her. Chloe got into the swing of things, sending him random pictures or observations about her day. Even though he was over a thousand miles away, she felt close to him, and that closeness, the growing intimacy between them only expanded during the long talks they had each night.

"You know I don't think I've ever talked on the phone this much, not even as a teenager," Chloe laughed as she noticed that they'd been talking for over an hour.

"Really?" Oliver asked.

"Hmm, probably because my best friends were boys," Chloe said ruefully.

"How is Clark?"

"Good, I guess. He's busy, I'm busy, we don't see each other much anymore."

In Star City, Oliver frowned. He'd noticed a growing distance between the two old friends over the last year, and knew on Clark's part at least it stemmed from his desire to keep Chloe clear of any danger that Clark might be involved with. "People grow apart," Oliver said awkwardly.

"I guess," Chloe said sadly. "But anyway, it happens. I mean it's not like I've just been sitting around waiting for him to call or stop by."

"So, does that mean you haven't told him about us?"

"Us?" Chloe teased. "Is there an us?"

"You know there is, or should I refresh your memory?" Oliver said forcefully.

Chloe laughed. "Hmm, next time. I actually need to be getting to bed here soon."

"I guess I'll have to let you go, for now at least. One question, first."

"Shoot," she invited.

"How do you feel about French food?"

"Uhh, unsure. I've never really had it."

"I'll be back in Metropolis on Thursday," Oliver said, as if Chloe could have forgotten. "And I thought we could go see the new show and have dinner at Mon Petit." Chloe was silent for so long that Oliver thought the call might have been dropped. "Chloe?"

"Yeah… I… actually Ollie, I was thinking we could just hang out. Just the two of us."

"OK," he said slowly, wondering at the reluctance in her voice.

"I…" she said, hesitation thick in her voice, then she was speeding ahead. "I don't need grand gestures or expensive dates, I mean I love all the little things you sent this week, but… I don't need any of that Oliver."

"So," he said seriously, "I've been waiting for a long time to ask you this, Chloe. Your place or mine?"

Chloe laughed. "Well your place comes with two, no, three excellent advantages."

"Oh?"

"No roommates, no Lois dropping in, and a much better view."

"My place it is."

-Smallville—

The new couple settled into a relationship that was both stable and passionate and unexpected. Chloe was no longer surprised by Oliver's sensitivity, she'd long been fooled by his bright smile and happy go lucky attitude, but she'd seen glimpses of the real man behind his public image and spending more time with him only cemented her sureness that Oliver was a good man, a man with depth and real feelings.

Chloe loosened up around Oliver, no longer afraid of letting him see her nerdy side or bedhead and morning breath. She'd felt out of her depth with him at first, based on his wealth and experience, but she quickly gained confidence in herself when he'd seemed to love each new faucet of herself that she'd revealed either deliberately or inadvertently.

Within a month of Oliver's return to Metropolis, Chloe was spending several nights a week at Oliver's. At first she was careful about overstepping, knowing that Oliver hadn't had many longer term relationships. She made sure to pack up her clothes and toiletries each day, even after she started leaving a bag at his loft.

"Hey Ollie, have you seen my bag?" she called out. It was a Friday night, and she'd come straight from the Daily Planet and Chloe wanted to change into something more comfortable before the settled in for movie night. Chloe listened for his reply but instead she heard his footsteps coming up the stairs.

"Uh, yeah…" he said bashfully, "It's in here," he said as he opened a bottom drawer in his dresser. It was empty except for her bag which was obviously also empty.

"And my stuff?" Chloe asked slowly, looking at him to try to read his expression.

"I thought you might… it would be easier if you had some space for your stuff. Here."

Chloe smiled slowly, biting her bottom lip to try to contain the simple joy that filled her chest. "Oh yeah?"

Oliver's eyes cut to her and his tense shoulders relaxed. "Yeah."

"So…" she said, her eyes crinkling, "Where is my stuff?"

He pulled open the two drawers above the one with the bag and waved to the closet and bathroom. Her items barely took up a quarter of the space in either drawer. "I put it away." Chloe began giggling, causing Oliver to frown. "What?" he asked, eyebrows drawn together.

"You," she laughed. "You… you just seem so awkward…" her giggles overwhelmed her speech. Once she got herself under control, she tried to speak. "Where'd the smooth Oliver Queen go?"

Oliver scowled at her playfully, picking her up in his arms and tumbling them onto the bed. Chloe's laughter kept bubbling up, more so as he began tickling her and she squealed and tried to escape his teasing hands. After a few minutes Oliver had her wrists pinned to the bed as he settled his much bigger body over hers. Chloe widened her legs to allow him to settle closer to her, smiling widely even as her nerves tingled in memory of his playful torture.

"Say uncle," he demanded.

She shook her head, arching her body to press tighter against him. "No."

"You want me to make you beg?" he questioned, wiggling his fingers comically, causing her to sputter with laughter again.

"I have no problem begging you, but if I were getting to choose…"

Oliver grinned and lowered his mouth to slide down her neck. "Is that more to your liking?" he breathed softly in her ear.

"Yeah. I'd definitely be willing to beg for more of that."

His mouth closed over hers and as their tongues tangled together, Oliver felt her body soften beneath him, yielding to his strength. He released her hands and broke the kiss to pull her shirt up and off. "No need to beg. Not yet anyway."

Later they did manage to eat a late dinner in front of the TV, watching one of the two movies they'd picked out. They spent a lot of nights locked away alone in his loft. As if by an unspoken agreement, they both decided to keep their relationship quiet. Chloe didn't need the complications it would bring to her work at the Daily Planet, and Oliver knew a change in his lifestyle would result in unwanted media attention.

"Chloe?" Oliver asked later that night as they laid in bed together, naked limbs intertwined.

"Yeah," she said softly, he sounded serious and Chloe propped up on her arms to be able to see his face.

"What changed?" he asked. "Before you went to Star City. Before we started."

Chloe swallowed hard, her eyes meeting his. "Lois and Lana clued me in," she hesitated. "They said you had feelings for me, and I… I realized…"

"That it was true?" he supplied helpfully.

"Yeah," she huffed out a breath. "Yeah, but also, how I'd treated you…" Oliver opened his mouth, but Chloe shushed him, putting her small hand over his mouth to silence him. "Don't… let me say this. I should have said it awhile ago. I liked you and I was attracted to you before Lois clobbered me, but once I knew…"

Oliver rolled onto his side, wanting to be able to focus on her, see every bit of expression on her face as she struggled for words. He stroked a hand down her side, trying to calm her nerves and Chloe inched closer to kiss him quickly, wanting the comfort of the contact. "Once I knew, I think I said it was like a light turning on. I'd never even considered that we could be more than friends, before that. And once I did, I wanted to be sure, before we started this, I wanted to be sure I liked you for the right reasons, and not just because you liked me, or…"

"Chloe," he cut her off. "I never doubted your motives. You're probably the best person I've ever met. You're honest, and genuine, and you don't pull your punches." Chloe grimaced, but Oliver laughed. "Even when it hurt, you never left me in any doubt where I stood with you."

-Smallville—

"You're dating Oliver Queen?" Clark said disapprovingly before the papers that his arrival had stirred into the air had even settled.

Chloe made a grab for one paper in particular, putting it back on her desk and smoothing the crumpled edges. "And hello to you too, Clark. How've you been lately? It's been awhile, we should catch up." Chloe paused in her pointed conversation with herself to smile at her looming best friend. "Oh you'd rather skip straight to judging my personal life? OK then."

Clark looked down and Chloe looked at his feet almost expecting to see him scuffing his toe on the floor.

"You didn't tell me," he said plaintively.

"I haven't seen you for more than five minutes," Chloe said, pushing back her chair to stand up and walk to the small crowded kitchen to refill her cup of coffee. "And as it seems worth mentioning once again… probably not your best idea to breeze into my apartment unannounced. The apartment I share with three other girls. Just saying."

"Sorry."

"Sit down Clark," she walked him over to the couch and sat beside him, curling her legs under her and taking a long drink of her coffee. "I have good news," she said with a bright smile. "I'm dating Oliver. We've been together for about a month now. It's going great. I'm very happy."

Clark stared at her blankly as Chloe took another drink. Chloe smiled. "Now it's your turn."

"I don't think you should date him."

"But I am. How's Lana?"

"Lana's fine," Clark said in exasperation. "Oliver is not the kind of guy you should be with."

"Oliver is great, and he treats me better than anyone in my life ever has," Chloe disagreed. "Any concrete plans for after graduation?"

"No, I'm… still not sure. Lana's OK with us either moving back to the farm or staying here."

"That's nice. She's very accommodating. Does Lana have any career plans?" Clark looked blank. "Tell me you've asked," Chloe groaned.

Clark frowned. "We've been fighting a lot lately."

"About what?"

"About… never mind. I came here to talk to you about Oliver."

Chloe sighed. "I like Oliver, Clark. I may even love him. I probably do love him. But seeing as how it's only been a week and he's Oliver Queen, I'm not quite prepared to say those particular three words quite yet."

-Smallville-

Oliver was on patrol later that night, when Clark appeared beside him on a rooftop in Suicide Slums. "I thought I told you to leave Chloe out of this."

"And I have, at your request," Oliver replied with coiled tension.

"She won't be safe with you," Clark said accusingly.

"She doesn't know my secret, Clark. She's not in any more danger than she was being your friend and a reporter in her own right," Oliver said with forced calm.

"You're a target Oliver. As Green Arrow and as Oliver Queen."

"So I shouldn't have anyone? I should be alone forever? Like you?"

"Lana…"Clark said guiltily.

"Yeah Lana. So tell me how our situations are different?"

"Chloe will figure it out. She almost did before. She's…"

"Smart, persistent, intuitive, curious like a cat?" Oliver said ruefully.

"This isn't a joke, Oliver. Chloe's not like Lana, she won't turn a blind eye. She will figure it out and when she does she'll be in more danger than ever before. And it will be because of you. Can you live with that?"

Oliver gritted his teeth together. "I think you have enough problems with your own relationship, Boyscout. Stay out of mine."

-Smallville—


AN- Clark. Oh Clark.
I've received some criticism/complaints (not just now, but in all my Smallville stories) about my take on Clark, which I have to admit doesn't vary a lot from story to story. Mostly because my opinion about him is set, and my stories don't focus on him so I'm not looking for way to let him grow into a better person than I think the show made him. (Not to say that many of you don't agree with me about his character, because clearly many of you do)

But I will take a minute to try to spell out where my take comes from, esp as it relates to Chloe/Clark and distance/issues in their relationship.

First up, Clark never meant for Chloe to know about his powers, so him excluding her from stuff is not me making things up, but what the show gave us. Clark only involved Chloe when he needed her help (or to talk about Lana). So him deliberately not involving her (as in Money can't buy love) when he has other options (ie. Oliver and his team and resources) makes total sense. And I'm not judging Clark for it, he has a valid point- Chloe is in danger when she's involved. But he's a dick about it, in my opinion. He cut Chloe off in S9, but didn't seem to have any issues talking to Lois.

Second, Clark is controlling. He thinks he knows best (see all of season 8 and 9). He thinks that having powers makes him better than everyone else- again see the show for evidence. He harps on people for hurting others, but hello doesn't he think crashing a bus or throwing people into walls/cars hurts them?

Case and point for my first and second points: When he had the chance to rid Chloe of Brainiac, he did so (hero) but in doing so he decided what memories she got to keep, which is both controlling and evidence of his not wanting Chloe to know or be involved (dick move). His intention may have been good (to protect Chloe) but his feeling of entitlement to make that decision for her, when if he'd stopped to think about it he would have known it wasn't what she would want, makes him a jerk.

I never try to write Clark as a villain or Chloe and Oliver as perfect little pod people, but the whole Superman as Jesus and Clark Kent as savior of the world analogies annoy me, so I knock him down a bit by showing his character as I see him and not offering excuses for his behavior or having the other characters kowtow to his holiness. Oliver doesn't need Clark's approval, and Chloe doesn't need his permission. Period.

In case it wasn't clear just yet, I'm very certain in my opinions once I've made up my mind, not to say that I never change my mind, cause I do (all the time when warranted but I do usually respect differing opinions if you can back it up.