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26 April 2011 @ 09:43 am
Gift of Fate Chapter 8 (9/?)  
Summary: Oliver has been missing for two years, ever since his boat went down in a sudden storm. Chloe is still grieving for him. What will it take for her to move on and live her life again? What happened to Oliver? Will he ever come back? And who's behind the mysterious disappearances in Star City?

Rating: PG-13 for the most part, however there are sections that are NC-17 (my first attempt, for the record) for sexual content. This fic contains violence and language. Chapters containing sexual content will be preceded by a warning.

Spoilers: The entire series, basically. The basic setting is season six with a twist, but anything is fair game if it works for this fic.

Warning: Again, this is AU and is a continuation of my fic Twist of Fate, which you really need to read first or this isn't going to make any sense. There will sexual content and violence.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, I'm just playing around with them.

Previous ChaptersPrologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7

Banner by geek_or_unique 


Author's Note: Sorry for the delay in getting this up. It was just sitting there waiting for me to edit it, but I had two tests and an essay to take care of first and by then when I got around to it, I ended up re-writing the last half. Anyway, hope you like it. Review like your life depends on it because mind kinda does.

Chapter 8

There was an almost sickening thud as Oliver’s back hit the mat. Chloe winced. With a groan, Oliver picked himself up. Ever since he’d come up with the idea of becoming a superhero, he’d thrown himself into training and preparing. He’d outfitted a spare room as a gym, complete with targets. As soon as the gym was set up, he’d hired personal trainers to teach him different methods of fighting and to build up his strength, agility (he was really fond of yoga), and stamina.

It had been almost two months. Classes started at SCU in less than a week. Chloe had been surprised to discover that Oliver was in some of her classes. Apparently he’d forgotten to mention that going to college was part of the conditions of running his company. They actually started classes in just a couple of hours.

Oliver was in the middle of an intense work out with one of his teachers. Chloe couldn’t remember what exactly he was learning. She’d been there every step of the way. But sometimes, it was hard to watch Oliver get his ass kicked. It was happening less and less as time went on and of late, he’d been the one kicking ass. He’d already been a decent fighter courtesy of his trouble making days and he was a quick learner But she didn’t think she’d ever get used to seeing Oliver sprawled on the ground, groaning, even if it did afford an amazing view.

It had gotten hard to ignore the sexual tension she was feeling. Trying to be a supportive friend, she’d attended all of his training sessions. The sight of him in sweat pants or gym shorts, his chest bare and glistening with sweat, his muscles flexing and straining under the pressures of training, had stirred something inside her. He was really an impressive male specimen.

Chloe attempted to distract herself by looking over the schematics for Oliver’s latest bow. He’d come up with the idea to make one that collapsed in on itself for easy transport. It was a little impractical to think that he would be able effectively patrol the city with a full sized bow. It would make fighting in close quarters difficult, too. From what she could tell--she didn’t know that much about engineering--it looked like a solid design.

The sound of a fist landing on flesh made her grimace. She glanced up in time to see Oliver stumble backward, one hand clutching his ribs. He ducked a kick aimed for his head and managed to catch the other man in the gut. While the trainer was doubled over, Oliver kicked his feet out from under him.

“That’s enough for today,” the trainer said. “Well done.”

Grinning, Oliver helped him to his feet. The two men put away all of the equipment they had used and then the trainer left. Oliver grabbed a towel and wiped the sweat off his face. Chloe glanced up at him as he did. He shot her a grin as he moved to the targets and picked up his favorite bow. Trying to suppress the excitement bubbling up inside her, she set aside the papers she was looking at so that she could watch. There was something fascinating about watching him work a bow.

When Oliver had said he was good with a bow, it had been a major understatement. Despite the fact that he’d had to reteach himself on a makeshift bow he was pretty amazing. And he was getting better fast.

Archery was the one thing Oliver didn’t have a teacher for. Since it was basically going to be his calling card and his main method of defending himself, no one could know that he was perfecting his skills. It made matters harder. Oliver was forced to get pretty creative. There was only so much he could teach himself. But by getting creative and making some anatomically correct dummies, Oliver had been able to work out trick shots from difficult angles and practice hitting the body in a way that would do as little damage as possible. His favorite so far was a simple shoulder shot that wouldn’t do any serious damage but would stop anyone in their tracks.

He was also working on developing some trick arrows. Chloe had explained that Clark often patrolled from the rooftops because it gave him a good view of the city. It was a good strategy, but Oliver couldn’t leap tall buildings in a single bound. So Chloe had gone looking through the articles on the guy from Gotham. According to police reports and eyewitness testimony, he used a grappling hook to get from the ground to the rooftops. Oliver was attempting to design some kind of arrow to do the same thing. He had some other ideas for specialty arrows, but that was the one he was most concerned with.

Chloe loved watching him get into his archery. He was so serious about it, so a part of it. She often helped him with the designs. Neither of them were experts on design and engineering, but they both knew enough to come up with competent designs that someone else could actually figure them out. (Oliver had apparently diverted an R and D program to making his gear.) Hearing him talk about the technical aspects of archery while they were working together was fascinating. He loved it so much that his passion was catching. When he was practicing, he exuded an air of confidence and concentration. His body was tense, but he was in complete control of everything. It was effortless for him and the things he could accomplish with a bow often amazed Chloe. Even when he’d just begun and was still relearning everything, he’d been able to hit targets she hadn’t thought possible. In uncharacteristic humbleness, he’d shrugged off her amazement and gone back to practicing.

The sound of an arrow hitting the target jolted Chloe out of her thoughts. She looked up to see the arrow quivering in the target at the far end of the room. Oliver, knowing how impressed she usually was (he loved to tease her about that, even though her pride in him really just warmed his heart), looked over at her and grinned.

“I’ve seen better,” she shrugged.

Oliver rolled his eyes. “I’m not shooting for distance today, sidekick.”

She grimaced slightly. “Would you stop calling me that?”

“Nope.” He drew another arrow and shot. It landed less than a centimeter from the other.

“Jerk,” she muttered.

He grinned at her and turned back to the targets, quickly firing off several arrows within seconds of each other. Each one landed precisely. Chloe returned to her papers, ignoring the schematics she’d been looking at earlier in favor of some research she’d been doing. She quickly became so engrossed in what she was doing that she didn’t even notice Oliver come to sit beside her until he spoke.

“What’s wrong?”

Blinking slowly, she looked. “What?”

“You only get that look on your face when something is really frustrating you, so what’s going on?”

“Just those deaths I told you about the other day,” she sighed.

“Have you found any more cases that match?”

“Sort of,” Chloe said. “There have been a lot of cases of drug overdoses, but none of them were found naked. That’s a recent development.”

“But I thought we decided that it couldn’t be accidental ODs.”

“They weren’t, but they were classified that way. That’s how they would have showed up in the police database,” she explained. “So that was how I refined my search, but it wasn’t working. Instead, I searched for missing persons that matched the description of the people who were found dead.”

“The people that went missing didn’t have anyone to report them missing.”

“It was a long shot,” she admitted. “But I did find a few. People who’d recently lost their jobs and who were reported missing by friends. There wasn’t much to go off of, so I dug into their pasts. It helped me establish a pattern.”

“A pattern?” he repeated. She could tell she was enjoying stringing him along.

“They were all associated with strange events happening around them,” she explained excitedly. “It’s quite possible that they were meta-humans. A few of them even have connections to Smallville.”

Oliver’s mouth fell open. “You think someone’s abducting possible meta-humans?”

“It’s possible,” she said. “It may be a coincidence. It’s just a working theory. I’ll need more information to back it up. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to search all missing persons for signs that they’re metas, not with just my little computer. It’s going to be a while before I have any more information.”

“Anything I can do to help?”

“I don’t think so.” She sighed tiredly and ran a hand through her hair. “At this point, I think I need to find more of a connection between the victims. Hell, I don’t even know if something really is going on.”

“No. I think you’re right about that,” Oliver said. “There are too many inconsistencies and weird little things in these cases. You’re the one that pointed out that the nudity was an issue. And we both know that there’s no real cause of death. There’s something going on here and I know you’ll find it.”

“Oh, I’m sure I will. The question is, will what I find be worth anything.”

She did have a point. There was no way to tell whether or not she would find anything that would be useful. But he was pretty sure that she would find something and that when she did, things were going to change. He wasn’t sure how. He just knew it in his gut. And that meant he was going to have to be ready.

Sighing heavily, Chloe set the papers down and leaned her head back against the wall. “So how much longer are you gonna be getting your ass kicked every day?”

“Hey, it’s not every day,” he said indignantly.

“You’ve ended up on the floor every day this week.”

“I still won.”

“Barely. And you got your ass kicked more times than that.”

“You just have no respect for my ego, do you?”

She chuckled. “It’s too big as it is. Besides you can’t go out there fighting bad guys thinking you’re better than you are.”

At that, his eyes glinted mischievously. “Maybe I’m better than you think.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she challenged, arching an eyebrow.

“That I’ve been holding back lately,” Oliver admitted. “I’m taking a risk as it is hiring these guys train me. I don’t think it should be common knowledge that I’m working so hard to learn how to fight, or how good I am. And unfortunately, being who I am, the odds that someone will tell someone else about what I doing are pretty high. As it is, I can sell the story that it’s just a personal training regimen. But if I start really kicking ass, then someone is going to get suspicious.”

“So you’ve been pretending not to be as good as you really are to fool everyone?” Chloe asked, looking incredulous. “That’s stupid.”

“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” he pouted. “Letting blows past isn’t exactly easy, especially when it’s what you’re learning not to do. And it’s not as if I enjoy getting my ass kicked.”

“How exactly do you know that you’re as good as you seem to think?” she challenged.

Grinning, he stood and walked over to one of the dummies he used for practice and easily pulled off a move that he’d been struggling with just that morning. He quickly and naturally flowed through several other complicated moves that had also been giving him trouble. Triumphant smirk painted across his face, he turned back to Chloe.

“How’s that for proof?”

“Good enough for me. So I guess this means that you’re done with the training sessions?”

“Not quite,” he said. “I’ll have to go through the motions of setting up a regimen that I can work on without a trainer so that no one asks questions about why I suddenly stopped working with someone. But yeah, pretty much. I mean, I’m going to have to keep training. But it’ll either have to be on my own or with someone I can trust with the vigilante stuff.”

She thought for a moment. “I may actually be able to solve that. Let me check a few things.” Maybe one of the meta’s she met in Smallville would be willing to help. They definitely had the whole secret identity thing down. 

“Whether that works out or not, I think I’m set.”

Chloe smiled weakly. “I guess I don’t have to worry about you once you actually get out there.”

“I wouldn’t say that.” He moved to sit beside her again. “I mean, I’ll be able to handle myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need you watching my back.”

She leaned against him. “I know. I just meant that it’ll be easier knowing that you aren’t defenseless out there. Trust me, having a hero for a best friend is not as easy as it looks, especially when that friend is still in training.”

“Not for much longer.”

Chloe sat up and arched an eyebrow. “Really? You think you’re ready?”

“There are a few details to iron out,” he acknowledged. “But my costume’s almost ready, the guys at the R and D lab I reassigned have almost got the bows and arrows, including the specialized arrows, complete. I have to send them the schematics I showed you, and it’ll probably take them a week or two to get it done.”

“How soon?” she asked, her voice quiet.

“A week and a half at most. The board needs proof that I’m actually going to class and doing the assignments, so I need to focus on that. Besides, I need to wait for my gear to actually be ready. And I should probably practice moving in it and getting used to the new bow.”

“So, if all goes well, in less than two weeks, you’ll be protecting the streets of Star City,” she surmised.

Oliver nodded. “Hopefully. I don’t think the city can wait any longer. And maybe if I’m out there, I’ll be able to figure out what’s going on with the deaths you’re looking into.”

“Don’t waste your time looking into that. There’s nothing you’re going to be able to do out on the streets until I find some more information. You just focus on taking out as many scumbags as you can find while I figure this out.”

“There’s gotta be something I can do to help.”

“Until I can find a more solid connection between the victims, there’s nothing you can do. Seriously, just focus on taking out the bad guys you do find. I’ll worry about finding whoever’s behind this.”

Something was off. Oliver could tell. She’d been strangely subdued ever since he’d brought up the subject of actually going out there as a vigilante. He moved to kneel in front of her, forcing her to look at him.

“What’s wrong?”

“Absolutely nothing,” she said with a weak smile.

“Uh huh. Want to try that again, sidekick?”

Chloe stood, gathering her papers into her arms. “Really, it’s nothing. But if we don’t hurry up we’re going to late to classes and I doubt the board would be happy with that considering it’s still early on in the school year.”

In one swift motion, he stood as well and stepped in front of her, blocking her escape route. He glared at her. “Something is obviously bothering you and I have a hunch that that something is me. Now tell me what the hell I did so that I can fix it.”

“Really, you didn’t do anything. I’m just...I’m just worried in general. Okay.”

“Worried about what?”

She rolled her eyes in exasperation and one hand landed on her hip. “Are you serious? Do I have to spell it out for you? I’m worried about you. Clark gets in enough trouble and he’s practically invulnerable. I know that you can handle yourself and that you’re not defenseless, but I’m still worried about  you.”

Oliver felt his chest tighten as it clicked in his head what was bothering her and, though it kind of went against their “just friends” status, he pulled her into his arms, pressing her against his chest and and resting his chin on her hair. She stiffened slightly in surprise, but quickly relaxed against him. She didn’t return the hug, but she allowed him to keep his arms around her.

“I’m not going to die,” he whispered fiercely. “I may get hurt, we both know that. But I promise you, Chloe. I’m not leaving you again.”

“Not on purpose.” Her voice was muffled against his chest, but the pain was easy to hear.

Pulling away just enough so that he was looking down at her while keeping his arms wrapped fully around her, he fixed her with a glare. “Sidekick, you’re doing the same thing that I did after Veronica attacked us. You can’t spend all your time worring about the what-ifs. What I’m going to be doing is no different than what you do when you’re tracking down meta-humans.”

“I know,” she said miserably. “I know. I really do. I’m just worried.”

“I can’t exactly tell you not to worry,” he admitted. “But, I swear, I’m not trying to get myself killed. In fact, I’m going be trying really damn hard not to die. Do you believe me?”

Chloe nodded weakly against his chest and finally returned the embrace. Rubbing her back soothingly, Oliver pressed his cheek into her hair. It was the closest they had been for more than a few seconds since their decision to keep thing platonic and the small amount of cuddling they’d done on the plane. It felt good.

A few more moments passed before Oliver released her. “Are you all right now?”

“Define all right,” she laughed weakly. “My best friend is a vigilante. I’m as all right as I can be under the circumstances.”

Oliver knew that was the best answer he was going to get out of her, so he took it. She had every right to be worried. Hell, he was worried, too. But at least he seemed to have slightly cheered her up and gotten her mind of things.

“I’m gonna hit the shower,” he said. “Then I’ll make breakfast before we leave. How’s that sound?”

A real grin tugged at her lips at that. “Sounds good. I’ll hop in the shower, too and meet you in the kitchen.”

She slipped past him and walked out of the training room. Oliver watched her go, wishing to God that he was joining her in the shower.

***

That evening, as Chloe sat before her computer at the Register her thoughts drifted. It was getting harder for her to ignore Oliver. She’d known from the beginning that it was going to be hard to be just friends with him. But it was what he needed. She’d spent the two years he was gone, clinging to him instead of letting him go, she’d just never realized it until he’d come back. He’d spent those two years preparing himself for her to have moved on while at the same time depending on their relationship to survive. It had left him with some serious issues to work through. And she knew that he had to work through them before they could move forward in a relationship again.

But damn if it wasn’t getting hard to wait. It was a holding pattern she’d been in all her life. Waiting. First it had been waiting for Clark to notice her and now she was waiting for Oliver to be ready for something more than friendship. As great as having him back was, it wasn’t as great as being with him that way.

Sighing, Chloe pulled up her info on the mysterious deaths and started looking for some kind of connection between the victims. Hopefully loosing herself in research would be enough to distract her from how sexually and emotionally frustrated she was.

Chapter 9
 
 
Current Location: Science Building
Current Mood: boredbored
Current Music: H2P Lecture
 
 
 
jessicaj703: Chlolliejessicaj703 on April 26th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Nice chapter. I like how you're advancing the story with the details about Oliver's training and R&D. Your dialogue is quite good and flows really well. There are some clunky sentences in the descriptive paragraphs, though. Let me know if you ever want another beta - part of my job is technical editing. I'm really looking forward to see where the story goes from here! Keep writing! :)
Clareluminare91 on April 27th, 2011 10:11 pm (UTC)
I'd actually be really glad for the beta. I have someone I bounce ideas off of, but it's more about content than the nuts and bolts. I have a tendency to get over complicated. Comes from a class I took a while ago.

I'm glad you're liking it, though. I don't think enough people pay attention to the early phase of the GA.
jessicaj703: Chlolliejessicaj703 on April 28th, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
Let me know when the next chapter is ready and I'll happily give it a final edit. (I'm pretty bad at content, but I excel at spelling, grammar, flow, and continuity, which makes for a good beta and a very poor writer. :) I also love complicated sentences, but I'm an engineer and that never ends well in my line of work, so I've learned that generally, simpler is better (even though it's not always as much fun.) My email's jessicajenkins@gmail.com
modschomodscho on April 26th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
Great chapter hun ... I loved to read about Ollie's training and how it affects Chloe :)
He's really serious with the GA story and it's nice to read your interpretation of how he became GA.

Can't wait for more as always! ♥
Clareluminare91 on April 27th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. I was really in uncharted territory here because this is something I know nothing about. The training and everything, I don't know anything about that. I was totally winging it.
saurinasaurina on April 26th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
I've never read a story where Oliver's transformation in to becoming GA has been listed and it was a great read. I'm also intrigued by these deads that Chloe is investigating and can't wait to read more about it..:)
Clareluminare91 on April 27th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
That's exactly why I wrote it. No one has really done that. There have been mentions and hints, but no one has gone into it. Those leads of Chloe's will play a big part later on. This fic is turning out to be much longer than I expected :P
kiradamourkiradamour on April 27th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
Yay!! So happy you updated. Great chapter =)
Clareluminare91 on April 27th, 2011 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!! I'm so glad you're enjoying this