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01 June 2011 @ 01:43 pm
Fading Scars: Fresh Wounds Part 2  
Title: Fading Scars

Rating: PG. Some mature themes and mild language. Nothing too serious though.

Summary: Chloe keeps vigil at Oliver's bedside, trying to deal with her emotions, after he is branded by Zod.

Warning: None at this point in time, but I only have a rough outline of the fic, so that may change.

Spoilers: Season 9, specifically Sacrifice.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Smallville characters. I'm just playing with them. Please don't sue.

Previous: Fresh Wounds Pt 1

Fresh Wounds: Part 2

It was the pain that woke him. With every breath, it felt as though someone was pouring acid over his torso. Oliver groaned quietly and opened his eyes, blinking to clear his vision. He looked up, staring at the patterns the sunlight coming through the blinds made on the ceiling. There was a strange beeping in the background that he couldn’t quite place. A moment passed before he realized that he was lying in a hospital bed. The beeping was coming from the monitors that were surrounding him. Another beat went by before he realized that the pain in his chest was from the brand Zod had burned into his skin.

As his mind cleared marginally, he realized that someone was holding his hand, meaning that he wasn’t alone. He glanced around the room, but didn’t see anyone at first. He pushed himself up slightly, gritting his teeth when the movement pulled at the burned skin on his chest and looked down at the hand holding his. A smile tugged at his lips. He’d know that hand anywhere.

He shifted his weight slightly, so that he was resting more on his hip, and looked over the edge of the bed. She was lying on a cot, fast asleep. Her arm was draped up and over the edge of his hospital bed, her fingers laced with his.

Oliver stroked her hand with his thumb, smiling at down at her tenderly. He’d missed her while he was in Star City, taking care of his company. He’d never admit that to Chloe, though. Their relationship had taken him by surprise, but had swiftly become the most important thing in his life.

He had taken notice of Chloe the moment he’d met her and his estimation of her had only increased after she’d come charging into his penthouse, proclaiming that she knew about his alter ego like she was commenting on the weather and proceeded to lead him and the team through a dangerous mission. Her beauty hadn’t been lost on him, but at the time, he’d been dating Lois and had thought that he was in love with her. For the first time in his life, he’d found himself putting an attractive woman in the “friends only” category with absolutely no desire to change that status. Chloe was good company, especially since she was so accepting of his alter ego. She had quickly proven herself to be a lot of help to the team and as much as he liked the guys, Chloe had been a nice source of semi-mature conversation when he couldn’t take their good-natured bickering anymore. It hadn’t been long before he began considering her a real friend.

There had still been bumps along the way. Their friendship had been strained after he broke up with Lois, but Chloe had continued to offer ops support to the team and it had only been a matter of time before things became easy between them again. Despite the problems and the time they spent apart, Oliver soon found that he trusted Chloe implicitly. She knew him better than just about anyone. It was so easy to talk to her.

Thing had gone downhill once Davis entered the picture. Chloe had become more distant and he’d been an absolute mess after finding out that Lionel had killed his parents. It was a miracle that no one had noticed how screwed up he was or that he was drinking more than before. Anyone who knew he was Green Arrow knew that most of the drinking and the playboy act was simply a cover for his real after hours activities. Unable to admit to himself how bad things were, Oliver had done a damn good job of pretending that he was all right.

But, tricking himself and everyone else into believing nothing was wrong had probably made things worse in the long run. When Tess had shown up, he’d been unprepared to deal with the emotional repercussions that came with bringing up the past and Tess’ vitriolic feelings toward him. On top of everything else, Lex had come back. Oliver had been so on edge that when Lex came after him through Toyman, it had pushed him off the edge. At the time, killing Lex had seemed the only rational way to protect people. He’d felt justified in planting that bomb. Not even Clark’s disapproval when he found out had been enough to change his mind. It wasn’t until Jimmy, an innocent bystander, had been killed as a result of choices that he had made that he realized what he’d done. It was the first time he’d seen how far he’d strayed from the path he’d been trying to follow ever since he became Green Arrow. He’d gotten so lost in his own problems that he’d stopped seeing the consequences of his actions. The realization had almost destroyed him.

He had cut everyone out of his life, feeling like he didn’t belong anymore after the mistakes he’d made, and had set about completely destroying everything in an attempt to forget. It was why committing suicide had seemed so tempting. Tess had only dragged him back to Metropolis to address the board and Clark had only saved him because there were other people in the room.

He could never have guessed that Chloe had seen and understood the whole thing. When he finally figured out that she was the one who had orchestrated his personal day in hell for his own good, he’d been floored. The whole thing with Roulette had completely turned his life around and had helped him realize that he wasn’t as irredeemable as he thought. He’d been stunned to find that someone had cared about him enough to pull him out of his funk. Sitting outside the cafe afterward, he’d begun to suspect that there was something more between them than just friendship.

He’d pushed the thought away quickly. There was too much he had to do. He had to get his company straightened out and start patrolling again. Being friends with Chloe was going to have to be enough. It hadn’t been easy, though. He was acutely aware of how hard the past few months had been on her. She’d completely closed herself off. All of her time was spent insulated from the world in her Watchtower. Whenever they spoke, it was purely business. Still feeling guilty about leaving her after Jimmy died, Oliver had done everything he could to earn her trust and friendship back.

A few choice words from an old superhero who’d thrown him through a window had been enough to make him realize that he hadn’t been doing enough and that he’d been ignoring how he really felt. Oliver had started actively spending more time around Chloe. He made a point of making sure that their conversations didn’t always focus on the mission at hand. He stopped by Watchtower at least once a day and kept in constant electronic communication. At first, she’d looked at him like he’d lost his mind, but he’d just stuck around, slowly getting her to trust him again.

He hadn’t actually intended to seduce her that night in the Watchtower. He’d just been practicing when she’d walked in the door. Then she had give him an opening and he couldn’t help but take advantage of it. The last thing he had expected was for her to take him up on his offer. For a brief moment, he’d allowed himself to believe that she had actually opened up to him. Her many rules for their relationship the morning after had told him that he hadn’t made as much progress as he’d hoped. He’d ended up playing along with her while constantly toeing the line until he was eventually able to blur it out of existence.

In the months that had passed since then, Oliver had learned more about Chloe than he had ever known before. They had become better friends and he had fallen for her even more. He could readily admit that he was in love with her, but she couldn’t seem to allow herself to accept or even acknowledge what was happening between them.

Despite the current, less than ideal, circumstances, the fact that she was in his hospital room and been for the entire time he’d been unconscious spoke volumes, even if she wouldn’t admit it. Maybe he was closer to finally breaching her walls than he thought≥

Oliver sighed deeply and immediately winced. Between the painkillers still in his system and his own thoughts, he’d almost managed to forget that his chest had practically been burned off.

Trying to distract himself, he looked down at Chloe and realized that her arm had to be killing her. The way it was hanging off the edge of his bed couldn’t be comfortable. As much as he appreciated that she’d humored him when he’d insisted on staying on contact with her with her, -- he did slightly remember their conversation from the night before, despite the fact that he’d been ridiculously high -- he didn’t want her to be in too much pain. It was bad enough that he was injured.

Tightening his grip on her hand, Oliver called her name softly. She didn’t even stir. He repeated her name, with a little more volume. She groaned and turned her face into the pillow, burrowing into the cot. He chuckled. She was beautiful when she slept.

“Chloe,” he said again, even louder.

Her eyes fluttered open and she looked up at him. Smiling gently, she sat up. Pain flickered across her face when she moved her arm and shoulder. She stretched, working the kinks out of her muscles, then slipped her hand back into his.

“How are you feeling?” Chloe asked, stroking his arm.

“Not that great,” he admitted. “It feels like my chest was set on fire after an elephant walked on me.”

Frowning in concern, she reached for the button that controlled his medication. He grabbed her hand, remembering how quickly the meds had knocked him out the night before. Sleep was the last thing on his mind. “I’m fine,” he said quickly.

“Now’s not the time for your I’m-too-tough-to-feel-pain act,” she admonished, glaring at him. “First of all, I can see right through it. Remember, I was there after Hawkman tossed through you the window. You were whining about the antiseptic on your cuts and this is a hundred times worse. Second, you’re just going to make yourself worse. And third, you’ll thank me when the drugs kick in.”

“Yeah, but they’ll put me to sleep,” he protested.

Chloe shook her head. “Emil took you off the heavy duty stuff last night. You just had to get them out of your system. The new ones will just make you a little drowsy. They won’t mess with your head and they won’t knock you out.”

He remained unconvinced but his strength was still diminished and Chloe broke free of his grip, hitting the button to trigger the medication. A wry smile tugged at his lips as he watched her sit back. “You’re going to force the pills down my throat when they finally let me out of here, aren’t you?” he teased softly.

“If that’s what it takes. Of course, you could just let me take care of you.”

Rolling his eyes, he tried to push himself up off the pillows. But the movement pulled at his chest and he grimaced. “You mean like you do when you’re hurt?”

Chloe glared at him and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “What did Emil tell you about straining yourself? Your immune system is weak from the injuries and if you tire yourself out further, you can get a really serious infection. Are you trying to make things worse?”

“It’s not that bad. I can sit up on my own,” he grumbled, even as he fell back against the pillows.

She cocked an eyebrow and pressed the button on the rail, raising the bed into a sitting position. Oliver returned her glare. Her eyes narrowed further and she reached behind him, adjusting the pillow so that he was more comfortable.

His gaze hardened. “I shouldn’t be here. Neither of us should be here. We should both be out there fighting Zod. I shouldn’t be lying around like an invalid.”

And here I thought I had a little more time before the self-pity act kicked in, Chloe thought tiredly.

“Clark’s not going to do anything,” he ranted on, oblivious to the exasperated look on her face. “And you know it as well as I do! Someone should be out there who’s wiling to take the bastard out if something happens.”

“Well that’s not going to be you,” Chloe snapped. “I hate to break it to you, but for the time being you are an invalid. Ollie, you can’t even wear your gear in this state, let alone fight Zod or any of the other Kandorians. You couldn’t take down a drunk mugger. Now, it sucks that Clark won’t do anything about Zod. I’d like to think that after the way they attacked Checkmate, that Clark --”

“Wait a second,” Oliver interrupted, sitting up slightly and grabbing Chloe’s arm. “Zod took down Checkmate?”

“It’s a long story,” she said quickly. “Something about thinking that they were responsible for the death of his wife and unborn child. I didn’t get the details. The point is, I’d like to think that Clark would be more willing to do something to actually stop the Kandorians. Unfortunately, I don’t think he is. But until you’re on your feet again, we’re just going to have to make do knowing that he’s out there. It’s our only choice. The more you cooperate with me and Emil, the sooner you’ll be out of here, and the sooner you’ll be on the streets again. If I have to fight you every step of the way, it’s going to take twice as long for you to get better and you’re probably going to get worse before you do, which just means that we’ll both end up more frustrated than we are now!”

“The world is literally coming to an end in an alien apocalypse and you expect me to just lie in bed and do nothing?” Oliver demanded.

“Yes!”

His jaw tightened. “You know I can’t do that! I’m not going to be sidelined!”

“Is that what you think?” she said incredulously. “That I’m benching you? God, that’s not it! The fact is, you’re a liability like this.”

Oliver tried to protest, but she overrode him sharply. “I know you don’t like to hear it, but if you suit up and go out there in this condition, all you’ll do is get yourself killed, which will leave us a man down when the apocalypse actually does occur. If you don’t die, someone else will get hurt saving your ass. I know you want to get out there and do something, but there is nothing you can do like this. If you really want to help, you’ll get better and you won’t do anything stupid. Ollie, if the team loses you they’ll be completely destroyed and the world won’t stand a chance.”

He sighed, leaning back against his pillows. “I get it. You’re right. I’m a liability. I don’t like it,” he stipulated. “But I get it. I just...”

“Don’t like it?” she supplied.

Groaning, he failed to suppress a smile. “That about sums it up.” A strange look crossed his face. “You were just exaggerating about the team, right? They’d be able to function if something happened to me.”

“Oliver, you put the team together and saved them all in the process,” she said slowly, emphasizing each word. “If you go up against Zod while you’re injured like this, they’ll feel responsible for not stopping you, for not being there to watch your back when you needed it. Besides,” she added, “you’d feel the same way if one of them got hurt, then went out on a mission and got himself killed. You’d never let yourself forget it.”

Sighing, he dropped his head back and looked up at the ceiling. She was right and he knew it. But knowing it didn’t mean that lying in bed doing nothing while the world was literally ending around him was going to be any easier.

After a moment, he looked up. Chloe was staring a wrinkle in the sheet, pointedly ignoring him. He squeezed her hand to get her attention. When she didn’t look up, he took her chin in his hand, forcing her to look at him.

“I promise to behave,” he said softly. “I’m not going to do something stupid. I’m not going to get myself killed. I may be a pain in the ass patient, but that’s not going to change no matter what you say.”

A small smile broke across her face. It wasn’t the wide, light-up-the-room smile he was trying for, but Oliver would take what he could get. “Listen, I may bluster and rant about being stuck on the sidelines, but I really do know how badly I’m hurt and that getting better will take time. What bothers me is that I know there’s nothing I can do to speed up the healing process or help the guys with Zod and the Kandorians. Chloe, I won’t start patrolling again until Emil says I’m ready. I promise, okay?”

“Okay,” she whispered.

Despite the pain, Oliver leaned forward enough to lightly kiss her on the lips. He wanted more, but rather than start another fight, he leaned back again before she could admonish him for straining himself.

“Now,” he said. “Are you planning on actually telling me what missed while I was unconscious?”

“Oh, it was happy fun time,” Chloe said, a tired expression crossing her face. “While you were being attacked a psychotic alien, Tess broke into the Watchtower. She wanted to know what we had on the Kandorians. When Checkmate activated a tracker they’d planted in her body, it triggered Watchtower’s defense system. We got locked inside and in order to escape we had to destroy everything.”

Her voice caught slightly and Oliver held her hand more tightly. He knew how important Watchtower was to her. Despite the progress he’d made getting her back out into the world, it was still her safe haven. He couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard it had been for her to first lose the Watchtower and then find out he was hurt. She would never admit the way she felt about him, but whether she knew it or not, he’d seen how much she cared after Checkmate had captured him and it was enough for him to know that the past few days had not been easy on her.

She squeezed his hand in return and went on. “I ran into Clark here afterwards. He told me what happened to you and I’ve been here ever since, trying to access Watchtower’s databases, but the encryptions I set up require the request come through the Watchtower server, which is basically debris. I need Vic’s help to put it back together, so there’s nothing I can do until he gets back from his mission. When Clark came in and told me about what happened at Checkmate, I started trying to track down the Kandorians, but since their powers have been restored, they’re almost impossible to find.” She trailed off in frustration.

“You’ve been here the entire week, haven’t you?” he asked shrewdly.

She winced and looked at him sheepishly. “Out of everything I just told you, you decided to fixate on that?”

“For the moment. Why didn’t you go home?”

Chloe flushed and suddenly couldn’t seem to make eye contact. “Watchtower was destroyed. I didn’t want to drive back and forth to Smallville.”

“You have the key to my penthouse and the code for the elevator. Why didn’t you stay there?”

“My key was at Watchtower. I haven’t been able to bring myself to go back.”

Oliver watched her for a moment. There was something she wasn’t telling him and he got the feeling that it was something she wasn’t telling herself, not something she was keeping back intentionally. It had taken a lot of work to get through her protective walls as far as he had and in the process, he’d learned when to press her and when to back off. It was definitely time to back off. So he changed the subject.

“If all the Kandorians have powers, then why won’t Clark fight them?” he asked. “They obviously pose a real threat now.”

“Well, when you think about it, Clark has a point,” she admitted tiredly. “Zod’s practically got an army. They’re all superpowered, fiercely loyal, and they were literally soldiers on Krypton. We don’t stand a chance against them right now. Until we can find a way to take them out, the best thing we can do is keep from pissing them off and starting the war before we can end it.”

Oliver nodded solemnly as he digested her words. She had a valid point. There were at least thirty Kandorians that he knew of. There was no way the team could take them all out, especially without Clark’s help. He just didn’t like the idea of waiting for them to make the first move. He was more of the pre-emptive strike kind of guy.

Starting to feel uncomfortable with the way the rails were cutting into her leg, Chloe shifted on the mattress, trying to find a more comfortable position. Oliver raised an eyebrow. Shooting him a smile, she stopped moving. Careful not to strain himself and earn another rebuke from Chloe, he maneuvered himself over to the far side of the bed so that there was room beside him. He patted the mattress invitingly.

She shook her head. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

He pursed his lips. “Chloe, my chest is burned. Not my side, not my shoulder, not my arm. You’re not gonna hurt me by sitting beside me. At least this way you’ll be more comfortable. Besides,” his gaze turned lustful, “it’s been over two weeks since I got to touch you.”

She was unable to hold back a laugh at that. “And it’s going to be a lot longer before you get to touch me the way you’re thinking.”

“Which is exactly why I should  be allowedto touch you as much I can given my current state.”

If she hadn’t been so desperate to be near him -- something she wasn’t about to scrutinize -- she would have refused. As it was, Chloe slowly moved to lean against his side. He immediately wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her tight, resting his head against hers. She tried not to think about the intimacy of the position. It wasn’t something friends, or friends with benefits would do. But she found herself unable to care enough to even freak out about the fact that the lines she’d so carefully laid out between them were quickly blurring and disappearing.

Once she had settled against his side, Oliver smirked against her hair. He was definitely making progress. From their conversation, it was becoming clear that she felt the same way he did, that she’d fallen as head over heals as he had. But she still couldn’t admit it to herself. Her subconscious had recognized what she wouldn’t allow herself to know. Oliver once again had hope that trying to work his way into Chloe’s heart wasn’t a completely impossible task. Now that he knew she was weakening and that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, he knew that he was never going to stop fighting for her.

***

Oliver drifted in and out of sleep for the rest of the day. Though Emil had confirmed that the new meds he was on were not as strong as the ones he’d been on while he was unconscious, they were still enough to make him really drowsy. That coupled with how tired he was in general, meant that he was having trouble staying awake. It irked even though he was used to the drain on his energy that was part of the healing process. He wanted nothing more than to avoid the meds so that he could stay awake, but his chest really did hurt and he saw the worry in Chloe’s eyes when she noticed his pain. That was more than enough motivation for him to take the painkillers and deal with the frustration of not being able to keep his eyes open for more than an hour or so at a time.

When he was awake, he observed her carefully. She’d slid off his bed the first time he’d fallen asleep and had been working on her laptop ever since. Oliver didn’t need to ask what she was doing or see her computer to know that she was either trying to track down the Kandorians or she was still trying unsuccessfully to get into her databases. There were circles under her eyes, which meant that she hadn’t been sleeping well and that she’d been spending way too much time staring at the computer screen. One of the things he had observed about Chloe over the past few months as he’d tried to get to know her better was that she tended to obsess over her work when things began to overwhelm her emotionally. He only wished that he was in a better position to comfort her, but he got the feeling that anything he said wouldn’t be taken seriously since he was currently lying in a hospital bed.

He tried to make conversation when he was awake enough to make coherent statements. Chloe always answered easily, with her usual sharp wit and sarcasm, but she didn’t go out of her way to prolong the conversation. The rational part of his brain knew that she was probably doing it because she could see how tired he was and was trying not to keep him awake unnecessarily. The part of his brain that had gotten to know Chloe better than anyone else he’d ever met knew that she was trying to deal with all the emotions she was feeling. It was a further sign that he was working his way into her heart, but it also meant that she would be working to reinforce her defenses and would be holding him at arm’s length until she convinced herself that there was nothing going on between them besides friendship and earth-shattering sex. Usually, he’d give her the space she seemed to need until she sorted through things and let him back in. This time, he wasn’t about to let her shut him out.

Unfortunately, there was little he could do at the moment. The physical limitations of his wounds would not have normally stopped him. It would make things a little more difficult since he couldn’t chase her down, but not impossible. Not being able to stay awake was another matter. If he was doped up on drugs, there wouldn’t be much he could do to combat Chloe’s doubts. He was going to have to wait until he could stay conscious before that could happen. It would be a lot harder to force her to confront her feelings for him while keeping her from patching up the holes he’d made in her defenses if he kept falling asleep during the conversation.

That night when he lay awake, unable to sleep until the pain meds kicked in again, he took the opportunity to examine her more closely. She had pulled the cot nearer to the bed again and was lying as close to the edge as possible without falling off. Her hand was tucked beneath her cheek. She was curled up on her side, almost in a fetal position. It was another sign that she was feeling vulnerable. He ached to pull her into his arms and offer her what little comfort he could.

Oliver managed to roll onto his side. To his surprise, the change in position didn’t hurt as much as he thought it might and he had a better view of her.

One of the worst things about being injured was having nothing to do. At least this time, he’d have something to do. The downside was that trying to fully break through Chloe’s walls had the potential to completely backfire. It could send her running to the hills. He didn’t even want to think about what it would be like to lose her completely from his life. If that happened, he’d be worse off than he had been before she pretended to run him over with an eighteen-wheeler.

But she’s worth the risk, he reminded himself unnecessarily, all too aware of the risks involved in loving Chloe Sullivan.

Author’s Note: So I’ve decided that what I’m going to do is make this a series of one and two shots posted as a multii-chapter. They’ll all be posted under Fading Scars, but will more or less stand alone unless otherwise denoted. They will refer to each other and be a lose series. Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you have any questions.

Next up, Chloe and Oliver get to go home.


The Road to Recovery
 
 
Current Mood: hothot
 
 
 
queensilqueensil on June 1st, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
OMG!!!! I just want marry and make babies with this fic!!!!! *____________*

Girls, you just NAILED Perfectly!!!! AT least its exactly that how I feel about tehir evolution and feelings, exactly how I imagine this damn offscreenville pos-Sacrifice *Hostage was a SUCH waste ¬¬*

Seriously, Im proud of Chlollie everytime I read fics so beautiful and awesomely written like that. Amazing! #mademyday

PLEASE, post SOON!!!!!!
Clareluminare91 on June 25th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
wow! thank you so much for the comment. I'm so glad that you're enjoying this. I know it's been a while, but I'm writing the next chapter right now, so an update should be in the near future. I hope it's up to standard!
jesterlady: SVChlolliejesterlady on June 1st, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC)
Awww, so adorable. I want more and more of them together. I love how Ollie thinks about her.
Clareluminare91 on June 25th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Tissa: sv: chloe/oliver - escape - kissdtissagirl on June 2nd, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
Just read the first two chapters, I'm REALLY liking this story so far. Lovely insights into both Chloe and Ollie! Can't wait to see what's next. :)
Clareluminare91 on June 25th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's always so much fun to play with the holes in Smallville. I'm glad you like it!
saurinasaurina on June 2nd, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
I love that we got to hear Oliver's POV in this chapter. It makes the two chapters compliment each other all the while the story is still progressing.

Another thing I'm psyched about is; that this is the final weeks, days, hours before they actually take the step and declare their love for each other. So it's like getting an insight to their feelings and to what happened off-screneville before the events in Salvation and I couldn't be more happy about it. If I had a say in anything Chlollie related, I would have wanted this for them..:))

Thank you for sharing another wonderful piece of Chlollie fiction. I miss my OTP so much, so it's nice that people like you are still writing about them and in such an amazing way. Kudos girl..;))
Clareluminare91 on June 25th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
That was definitely my goal in doing the two different POVs. We get so little insight into what happened in offscreensville that I really wanted to fill in the blanks and explore what I thought they would be feeling. I'm so glad you're enjoying my take!