Banner by sweet_jesus1
Title: Everything Changes With Time
Rating: PG-13 for now
Summary: 4 years after the events of Lazarus, Chloe Sullivan suddenly comes back to Metropolis. But her relief to be home is short lived when she realizes how long she's been gone and how much has changed…
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Oliver Queen, Lois Lane, Clark Kent, Dinah Lance, Bart Allen, Victor Stone, Author Curry, John Jones, Perry White
Warnings: Mild Violence/Language
I own nothing!
Spoilers up through episode 10x2 Shield everything after that is AU.
Chloe watched as her cousin stood from the couch and made her way toward the kitchen phone in hand.
She had to make sure that Clark and Oliver didn't try to find out the details of what happened to her while she was gone. If they did they might decide to go after Felix for the actions he took to save her. She couldn't let that happen. She owed him everything. He had helped her stay sane while she was held captive and then when it was necessary he risked his own life to save hers; she had to protect him…
She dug her nail into the concrete as she marked the day. Twenty three. She had only been there for twenty three days. She sighed heavily, only twenty three days and she had been beaten for information on her team mates nearly every other day.
Once Waller had realized that Felix couldn't get into her mind to extract the information she had resorted to what she called 'more old fashioned techniques' but she hadn't given in and she wouldn't no matter what The White Queen dished out she could take it.
The door to her cell opened and the woman walked in with Felix the mind reader in toe.
Chloe glared at the pair.
"Oh my God," Felix said crossing the room and falling on his knees beside her, "what the hell did you do to her?" he demanded as his eyes traveled over her beaten features, "I never agreed to be a part of something like this."
"No, you agreed to get the information I needed from her, you failed."
"I told you I would try again." he ground out. He stood and turned back toward Waller.
"Well consider this a little extra help for you."
"How does this," he pointed toward Chloe's battered form, "help me get you the information you want."
"The thought was that if she was weakened physically she would be weakened mentally as well."
"That's not the way it works."
"Well we can't know that for sure." she replied coldly, "try again."
Chloe watched the exchange between them the outrage that Felix was showing on her behalf was shocking to her. Normally she was very good at reading people, but she honestly had no idea what to make of him or his actions.
"It won't work," he insisted.
"Try anyway." Waller demanded, "Now."
Felix glared at her, "fine." He looked back at Chloe and locked his eyes on hers, but instead of the locking his hypnotizing trance on her like last time, he gave her a small smile and winked. She didn't feel the draw of him trying to penetrate her mind. Instead he sat there for several minutes only giving the impression that he was trying.
"Nothing?" Waller finally demanded from across the room.
"No," he stood, "I don't think there's any chance of getting in her mind. It's a complete block." he gave her another small smile, and Chloe understood what he was trying to do.
Suddenly Waller's phone rang, "Don't move," she told him before stepping from the room and closing the door behind her.
"Why did you do that?" Chloe asked quickly knowing Waller would return within a few minutes.
He knelt down beside her, "Shouldn't you just say thank you?" he whispered.
"Probably, but call it my old reporter instincts taking over, I suffer from an overwhelming and incontrollable curiosity," she answered honestly.
"Okay, honestly, just because I'm here working for Waller doesn't mean I want to be." he looked toward the door, "quickly before she comes back, is there anyone you need me to get in contact with? Someone who can get you out of here."
Chloe considered it for a minute then shook her head, "no." She didn't know for sure if this guy was on the up and up and really wanted to help her, or if this whole thing was some kind of set up to earn her trust, an alternate way to get information out of her.
The old 'make her think I'm a good guy, wear her down, get her to spill her guts technique'
"Are you sure?" he asked again softly.
"Yes, but thank you for what you just did."
Clark appeared in front of her pulling her from her memory.
"I need you to take me to the clock tower," she said quickly, "I really need to talk to you and Oliver. There are some things you guys should know before you take this investigation of yours any farther."
Clark's eyes shot from Chloe and Lois, "You told her," he finally said his eyes staring at Lois.
"Of course I told her, she asked me straight out what the two of you were up to. I couldn't lie to her. We promised each other, no more secrets, right Chlo?"
Chloe felt a knot of guilt begin to form in her stomach, she knew she was still wasn't telling her cousin the whole truth, but she had no choice, it was her turn to protect him. If they knew what he had done to save her they would have to turn him over to the police and she couldn't let that happen.
She tried to speak to offer her cousin some kind of false insurance that she would not keep the truth from her anymore, but she couldn't bring her self to lie to her, so she swallowed away her guilt as best she could, "can you take me please?" She asked turning to Clark
She knew her lack of an answer did not go unnoticed by Lois and that later when it was just the two of them she would have some explaining to do.
"Chloe, are you sure you ready for this?" Clark asked his eyes full of concern, "I mean just a few hours ago you were desperate to get away from Oliver now you want me to take you to where he is."
"I don't have a choice, now do I? The two of you are over there making some kind of plans to figure out the truth and before you do, we need to talk." She marched over to Clark, "Lets get out of here."
Clark scooped her up then turned back to Lois, "I'll be back for you in a minute." he said zooming off with Chloe holding on for dear life.
A moment later she was standing in the middle of the clock tower with Oliver standing in front of her. She could still see the pain he felt from their encounter earlier that day at the Kent Farm in his eyes.
Clark set her down but when she turned to face him she could feel her feet wobble beneath her. Clark shot out his hand and placed it on her arm until she managed to steady herself.
"God Clark, it is defiantly gonna take me awhile to get used to that again. You think maybe next time we need to do that we could go by air?" she asked hopefully.
"Sure thing Chlo, I'll be right back. I've gotta go get Lois." Clark told them before vanishing again.
Chloe stared at the now empty space in front of her. She was desperate to look anywhere but at Oliver. She could feel his eyes locked on her and as much as she wished it didn't she felt her body react to his gaze. Her heart began to beat faster, and she could feel the goose bumps start to spread across her body.
"Oliver, please don't," she hated the way her voice cracked as she interrupted him; all she wanted was to turn and face him, to wrap her arms tightly around him and forget about everything and everyone else. That's what she wanted to do that first night she came back, but she knew that wasn't an option anymore.
Oliver was married now and as much as she wanted to pretend he was hers, imagine that they were in a different time, a time when it was just the two of them, she knew she couldn't. She had to stay strong. She turned back to him, "we said everything we needed to back at the farm." She sighed deeply, "besides there are other things we need to worry about right now."
The next second Clark appeared in front of them, Lois cradled in his arms.
Chloe could not prevent the sigh of relief that escaped her; at least with the two of them there Oliver wouldn't make an attempt to talk to her anymore, not about anything but the topic at hand.
Lois's gaze darted between the two of them several times before her eyes landed on Chloe, "are you okay?" she asked taking a step toward her cousin.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes Lo, besides I had Clark to bring me here for a reason. I should probably get to it." She was shocked at how easily her body and demeanor seemed to slip back into Chloe Sullivan, Watchtower mode.
"Right," Clark said picking up on her need to change the subject. "So what do you need to discuss with us?" he asked as he made his way across the room and sat on the couch.
"I need the two of you to stop looking into where I've been," she answered simply.
"What?" Oliver asked his eyes wide, "why would you ask us to do that?"
Chloe twisted in his direction. She grabbed her side as the pain of her ribs hit her again, apparently the adrenalin from worrying about what they would discover had started to subside and as a result her pain had returned. "I need to sit down." she said as she lowered herself into the nearest chair.
"What aren't you telling us Chlo?" Clark asked gently.
Chloe sighed heavily causing another stab of pain to shoot across her ribs. She hissed loudly and a moment later Oliver was kneeling in front of her, "are you okay?" he asked placing a hand to her cheek tenderly.
"I'm fine," she grabbed his hand with hers and pulled it from her face. He stared at her for a moment the hurt he felt from her actions etched across his handsome features, but a moment later he seemed to shake it off with a quick nod of understanding as he stood back up, and took a step back from her.
"Do you need anything? A glass of water, or maybe some ice for your ribs?" he asked ignoring the looks on Lois and Clark's faces.
"I really am fine." she said softly as she forced a small smile.
"Chlo, maybe we should do this later" Clark said.
At the sound of his voice she pulled her attention from Oliver and back toward her best friend. "I said I was fine." she said it much more firmly then necessary and the second that the words left her lips she felt guilty for snapping at him. He was just trying to make sure she was okay. They all were, but what they didn't understand, what they couldn't understand was that after all the pain she had been through, a few sore ribs was actually a welcomed change.
"Look I can't tell you everything just that the people responsible for what happened to me have been punished and everything is over. They won't come looking for me or any of you. I need you guys to trust me on this and let it go."
"Why can't you tell us more?" Lois asked softly.
"Because I gave someone my word, I promised I would protect him and his secret. He saved my life, I can't betray him."
Out of the corner of her eye she watched Oliver tense but he said nothing so she continued, "What he had to do to get me out of there… it wasn't exactly something the JL would approve of," she admitted quietly.
"You might be surprised what we would approve of if it meant saving your life," Oliver said taking a step toward her, "tell us what happened."
"I can't." She looked toward the floor the guilt of keeping the truth from all of them was almost too much to bear, "I gave him my word."
They continued to stare at her not one of them speaking, the three pairs of eyes staring her down, the facial expressions of each of them was different.
Clark looked skeptical, Oliver confused, but the hardest one to see was Lois, her cousin, and her best friend, she was hurt, hurt that Chloe wouldn't confide in her, after everything Lois probably thought that she didn't trust her. She really did trust Lois though, and if there was anyone she wanted to confide in it was her, but telling Lois the truth meant pulling her into the secret, expecting her not to tell Clark, and that wasn't fair to either of them.
They continued to sit in silence until Chloe couldn't take the stares any longer. "Excuse me," she said as she slowly rose from the chair and walked out onto Oliver's balcony leaning on the railing she looked out over the Metropolis skyline. It was just as beautiful as she remembered.
For a second her mind wandered back to the trio inside, she hoped that eventually they could forgive her for not telling them the truth. She wanted so desperately to tell them everything but she knew they would never understand what had been done and why…
Chloe squinted as the sunlight hit her eyes. It was day sixty three of her captivity and this was the first time they had let her out of her cell for anything other then to shower. She inhaled deeply enjoying the small of the freshly cut grass and something else she couldn't identify. Salt water maybe?
When her eyes finally adjusted to the change in light she opened her eyes wide to take in her surroundings. She was in some kind of a courtyard, walls still surrounded her, but above her were clear blue skies.
"Chloe," a soft male voice said from behind her.
She turned toward him, "Felix?"
"How are you?" he asked taking a step toward her. His eyes ran over her face and she saw him stiffen at the sight of her most recently inflicted wounds.
She didn't respond just stared at him.
"Right, stupid question." He moved closer to her and lowered his head so their faces were only inches apart, "play along." he whispered.
She gave him a small nod in response.
"Would you like to sit?" he pointed toward a small picnic table in the middle of the courtyard.
She nodded again and let him lead her toward the table. They sat on opposite sides and she kept her eyes on him, waiting for some sort of explanation as to why she was out here.
Sensing what she wanted he began to explain in hushed tones.
"I convinced them to let me try to get close to you, told them that maybe if I could get close to you emotionally that it would help be get through to you mentally."
"And will it?" she asked suspiciously her eyes narrowed as she prepared to read his reaction and response to her question.
"No it won't, at least that's what I'll be telling them," he answered and she could tell that he was telling the truth, "We'll keep it going for as long as possible, maybe it'll buy us some time to try and figure out a way to get you free from this place, free from them."
"There's no way, I'm stuck here now," she said sadly.
"Maybe there's not, but that doesn't mean we can't at least try and figure something out."
"Why are you doing this?" she asked suddenly.
"Remember when I told you that I was working for Waller but I didn't want to be."
"Yes, but that still doesn't explain why you're risking yourself to save me."
"You're my redemption." he replied simply.
"I don't understand."
"I may not want to work for Waller now but I did join her little group of my own accord, and the things I've done… I need to make it right and helping you is the closest I can come to that." He reached across the table and grabbed her hand in his. She flinched at the contact. "Sorry," he said pulling his hand back. "Chloe I will find a way to get you out of here, now matter how long it takes."
"You know after you disappeared I would stand out here at night for hours. I'd look up at the stars and wonder if you were somewhere that you could see them too." Chloe turned and saw Oliver standing to her right.
"It's a beautiful view," she said softly.
"Yes it is,"
Chloe looked from the corner of her eye and saw that his attention wasn't directed at the stars or the skyline but at her. The feel of his eyes on her made her body tense, but she said nothing.
"I know you said you can't tell us anything, but I want you to know if you decide you're ready to talk to someone, I'm here, I mean if anyone understands that not everything is black and white it's me, right?"
She finally turned to look at him and their eyes locked, his features were soft and hopeful.
She had seen that look on him before, more times then she could count actually.
In the months before she had traded herself for him she had seen it, every time he tried to get closer to her, every time he tried to break down one of her walls, and every morning that she woke up beside him and found him staring down on her as she slept.
She wished she could to go back in time and kick her younger herself. The time they had spent together had been the best of her life but she had been so stubborn and afraid. That fear had kept her from telling him how much she truly cared for him, how much she loved him. She hadn't actually told him until it was too late, and even then it had been a shouted revelation through a walkie talkie and an email.
That's not how it should have been, she should have been in his warm arms and looking into his deep brown eyes the first time she said those words to him.
"I wish I could tell you the truth Oliver," she admitted, "but I can't."
"Okay, but this wasn't a one time offer, if you decide to you want to talk to me, I'm here."
"You won't be though, you'll be in Star City." 'With Dinah, your wife' she added silently.
"If you need me you call. I'll drop whatever I'm doing to get to you." he reached up and placed a hand on her hip, "I know that you don't want to be with me, that you can never forgive me, but maybe after some time has passed we could be friends because honestly Chloe the thought of you not being in my life makes everything hurt."
"Wait what do you mean 'I can't forgive you'?"
"I married Dinah, I didn't wait for you."
"Ollie…" for the first time since she had been back she made the first move and stepped toward him, she wrapped her arms firmly around his neck, "I'm not angry with you," she said against his neck, "I wish I was, it would be so much easier that what I'm feeling right now."
"What are you feeling Chloe?" He held her in his arms waiting for a response but when she didn't answer her pulled back and placed a hand tenderly on her neck his thumb resting on her cheek, "please tell me." he pleaded.
"Heartbroken Oliver. I feel heartbroken."
"No please don't, you wanted to know what I was feeling and now you do. Please let it go."
"How can I let it go? I love you and I know you still love me."
"What about Dinah? She's your wife, and she loves you." She felt her chest tighten at the words, "On some level you must love her too Ollie. Why else would you decide to marry her?"
"I care for Dinah Chloe, of course I do, but if I had thought that I would ever see you again, I never would have…"
"Don't," Chloe warned, "don't even finish that sentence. It's not fair to me and it's not fair to her."
"I'd have to agree," a tense voice called from the doorway to the balcony.
They both turned and found Dinah standing in the doorway of the balcony her arms crossed over her chest and her eyes narrowed as she stared down her husband.
Read Chapter 8 HERE!