Thanks to miss_morrygan for the banner
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, And Perry White
Warnings: Mild Violence/Language
I own nothing!
Spoilers up through episode 10x2 Shield everything after that is AU.
Oliver kept his gaze locked on her as she insisted that they needed to stop their investigation into where she had been and what had happened to her while she had been there. She was protecting someone, of course she was, Chloe Sullivan always protected those closest to her no matter the danger it posed to her, and he was the perfect example.
He had no idea who this him she kept referring to was, but whoever he was he had obviously done something extremely drastic to save her from captivity, to save her life.
Oliver felt a mix of emotion at the man who he had never met. But more then anything he was grateful, grateful to him for protecting to her when he had failed to do so.
He knew that if Chloe was protecting him she had a reason, and after everything the two of them had been through together he knew he had to trust her reasons for wanting to keep what happened a secret, he owed her at least that much, she promised that the people responsible had been properly punished and would no longer pose a threat to her and those around her, her word was enough, he would let it go, for now at least, now all he had to do was find a way to convince Clark to do the same thing.
The silence surrounding the four of them was deafening but as he opened his mouth to speak Chloe's soft voice stopped him, she excused herself and headed out the glass doors and on to the balcony.
Oliver watched her retreating form and felt his heart clench as she walked away from him. He couldn't stand the thought of getting on his jet in the morning and hightailing it back to Star City, he had just found her again, and leaving was something he wasn't prepared for.
Oliver took a step toward the balcony but a hand suddenly around his wrist stopped him. He looked down into the hard eyes of Lois Lane.
"Oliver, don't you think it might be better if you kept your distance from Chloe… that is what she asked for after all."
Lois's voice was hard, harder then it had ever been with him and he understood and respected why, but he needed to go to her. He reached over with his other hand and gently pulled Lois's hand away, "I'm just going to check on her. I need to make sure she's okay."
"This isn't about what you need Oliver, this is about Chloe, and everything in her life is completely out of whack. Dreams and feelings that probably were the only thing to help her through her entire time in that hell hole have been ripped from her." Lois stood from the couch and blocked Oliver's path to her cousin.
"You know I never got angry with you for moving on. You and I were the only ones to hold out hope for her return from the 'dead' and the day you married Dinah Lance you left me standing out there alone, I was the only believer left. You married someone else… you can't expect her to throw her arms around you and willingly become some kind of mistress."
Oliver's eyes shot up cold and hard, "I would never ask that of her."
"But what do you think you're doing, you keep touching her and staring at her, it's not right Oliver; just being around you and knowing you're someone else's is killing her."
"I was never anybody else's but hers."
"Tell that to your wife."
Oliver flinched at the words, he knew Lois was right.
Lois reached out and placed her hand on his shoulder, "Ollie, right now you have two amazing women who love you, one gave her life to save you and the other pulled you from the darkest place I have ever seen you go, you owe it to both of them to be honest. If Chloe is who you really want to be with then you need to go and have a conversation with Dinah, she deserves at least that much from you."
"Lois, I'm going to Star City tomorrow to do just that, but right now I'm going out on that balcony to check on Chloe."
He stepped around Lois and headed out the glass doors, his breath caught in his throat at the sight of her leaning against the railing, the moonlight making her hair shine. He closed the distance between them and stood beside her. "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."
"It's a beautiful view," she said softly.
"Yes it is," he agreed not referring to the stars or the skyline but to the beautiful blonde beside him who had been missing from his life for too long. "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, unshed tears filled her eyes, and he wanted to throw himself from the balcony for being the one who put them there.
"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."
"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 want to know what I how 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." He felt her body tense as she said 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.
Oliver stood frozen in place, even though everything he had just said to Chloe was true. Dinah didn't deserve to hear it like that. He watched as Chloe wiped the tears from under her eyes and stepped away from him.
"I'm gonna ask Clark to take me back now." she said softly as she walked back toward the penthouse.
Dinah stepped in front of Chloe blocking her way to the door, "I really don't see the need for that Chloe; you've been around for every other part of our marriage, why shouldn't you witness the end of it."
"I really think you should keep this between the two of us," Oliver told her, "just let her by, we should talk."
Dinah gave him a short nod and moved aside but as Chloe walked past her Dinah held out her hand to stop her, "even though it may seem like it right now I really am glad you're okay, Chloe."
"Thank you," Chloe answered slowly as she walked back inside.
Oliver stood in silence waiting for the inevitable blow up, but when Dinah finally opened her mouth to speak the words he heard couldn't be farther from what he expected, "It's my fault." She turned on her heal and walked back inside the now empty apartment.
He stared after her for a moment not quite sure how to respond to what she had just told him. Oliver followed behind her in silence and stood just inside the glass doors as she sat on the nearest chair.
"It's my fault," she repeated softly, "I knew you would never stop loving her and still I held out hope that one day I would be enough… I know now that I never will be." She hung her head and the tears began to fall down her cheeks.
Oliver felt his stomach tighten. He had done this to her, Dinah was one of the strongest women he had ever known and because of his desperation to try and forget the only woman to truly have all of him, he had made her what she was now, a broken woman sitting in front of him. "Dinah, I'm so…"
"Don't apologize to me," she snapped. She finally looked up at him, "and please stop looking at me like that, I'm not weak, and I won't let this destroy me or who I'm meant to be." She lifted her hand to her cheeks and wiped away the tears that were now streaming down her face. "Do you know that you dream about her?"
He stared at her, of course he knew. Every night he was plagued by dreams of Chloe Sullivan.
He'd see her smiling in front of him on a street corner as she pulled his hand into hers and led him down the street…
He'd feel her back against hers as they both held onto his bow that first night at Watchtower…
What he dreamt about the most though, was the brush of her arm against his just before he was pushed into a dark vehicle, that dream always ended the same. He'd see Rick Flagg beating her like he had done to him, Chloe's beautiful features marred by cuts and bruises as she cried out for him to help her… too save her like she had him… Oliver shook away the painful images and looked back up at Dinah, "How did you know?" he asked lamely.
"You call out her name… sometimes you scream it out and other times it's barely a whisper." She paused for a moment and Oliver took the opportunity to slide in the chair closest to her, "The way you would say it, with such reverence… you never said my name that way, honestly I think it's the only times I ever heard your voice so filled with that kind of adoration."
Oliver sighed heavily there was no use denying it was all true, he loved Chloe every day she was gone, he had just been stupid enough to give up on her, "I do care for you Dinah, I love you, I just…"
"Never loved me the way you love her."
He nodded silently.
"I knew that going into this marriage with you, that's why it's my fault it's come to this. I saw it in your eyes on our wedding day, and every day before and after, but never so much as the day we got married, you wished I was her."
"I don't know what to say, Di."
"There's nothing left to say," She rose from the chair and handed him a small business card, "That's the name of my lawyer; I called him just after your plane left Star City. I instructed him to draw up the papers as quickly as possible so that we could take care of this as amicably as possible, He'll be calling you as soon as he's finished them." She stepped back and wrapped her arms around her slender figure, "I'll be leaving the team. I'm not sure for how long. I'm going to Gotham, so it shouldn't be too difficult to reach me if you guys need backup on anything."
Dinah turned away and started walking toward the elevator when the doors opened she stepped inside but before she could close the door Oliver stood in front of her, "It wasn't your fault," he said firmly, "this whole thing was me, and I am sorry."
She reached out and placed her hand gently over his cheek, "I think it's safe to say we both had our parts to play in this mistake." She rubbed his cheek with her thumb. "Be careful out there Oliver." She pulled her hand away and backed farther into the elevator.
Oliver stepped back and watched as the elevator descended.
Chloe stared out window of the barn loft, her arms crossed over her chest and her shoulder leaned against the frame. To her left Clark mirrored her position as they stood in silence; they had been just like this for more then twenty minutes already. Chloe knew what he was doing he was waiting for her to confide in him about what had happened and not just at Oliver's penthouse, but for the last four years, but couldn't talk about being held prisoner and as for Oliver she was no where near ready to discuss him… not yet anyway.
She finally glanced in his direction and sighed, "Clark I know what you're doing, but I can't talk about this… about any of it, I'm sorry."
"No I'm sorry, maybe you would feel more comfortable confiding in me if things hadn't been so tense between us before…"
"My death," she offered with a sad smile.
"For lack of a better word, yes," he cleared his throat uncomfortably, "Chloe, when Checkmate took you, the White Queen told me that I abandoned you and left my most valuable ally vulnerable," he inwardly cringed at the memory, "I spent months after that trying to deny it, I told myself that the reason I did it was to keep you safe, but that was never the truth… at least not the whole truth," He finally pushed off the window frame and moved closer to her. "Honestly it hurt to be around you Chloe; every time I looked at you I saw you in that black dress with your hand on top of Jimmy's coffin."
"You know Clark, you aren't the only one who acted poorly back then. I accused you of being inhuman for not going back to save Jimmy even though I knew what happened the last time you changed fate."
"You were grieving."
Chloe held up her hand to stop him, "If that was all I did then I could blame it on my grief, but Clark when you turned away from me and I found out you were still confiding in Lois… it hurt, and I was jealous."
Chloe turned toward him, "yeah well it was really hard for me when I realized The Blur had a new sidekick."
"I never meant to replace you Chloe."
"I know that now Clark, and believe me when I say I got over all of that a long time ago lets just say years of captivity tends to put thing into perspective."
Clark closed the remaining distance between them and wrapped his arms tightly around her. Chloe tensed for a moment it had been so long since she had been this close to Clark. She'd missed him, and long before she made the trade that forever changed her life.
Chloe pulled back and Clark placed his hands on her upper arms, "you know if you change your mind and decide to talk, I'm here, and you can tell me about anything."
"You know you're not the first person to make that offer tonight, and the truth is I'm just not ready to tell anybody, and honestly I don't know if I ever will be."
"I know that, but that doesn't change what I said, I'm here if you need me."
"Thank you," she stepped away from him and moved to sit on the couch, "there is one thing I need to ask you about."
"Anything," he said sitting down beside her.
Chloe swallowed hard, she had wanted to ask Lois about Oliver and how he really was but in light of everything that had happened earlier and Dinah's sudden appearance she wasn't sure how Lois would react to the mention of him.
"Before I showed back up… were they happy?" She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, torn between wanting to hear that he really was while another more selfish part wanted to hear that what he had said to her on the balcony was true, that if she hadn't disappeared he never would have married her.
Clark leaned forward placing his elbows on his knees and his hands under his chin. They sat in silence for several minutes, Chloe's heart beating at double speed.
Finally Clark leaned back then turned his body to face her, "Chloe, Dinah helped Oliver feel something… when Oliver first found out about the trade he was inconsolable, I had never seen him like that, I mean I say him self destruct before, but this was different… all he wanted was you back and he spent over two years just going through the motions. He still patrolled and ran Queen Industries, but it was like he was running on auto pilot."
Clark sighed heavily before continuing, "Then Dinah decided it was time to pull him from it, she spent all her free time with him did everything she could to make him feel anything, and after awhile it started to work."
Chloe felt her stomach tighten, maybe while what Oliver said earlier about never marrying Dinah if she had been there was true, that still didn't change all the things that the other woman had done for him. Chloe nodded and began to stand but Clark's had landed on her knee stopping her.
"I'm not finished."
"Okay," she said hesitantly sitting back again.
"The thing about Oliver and Dinah's relationship was that he was grateful to her, she did a lot for him, unfortuanally for Oliver he started to think that he could build a relationship based on gratitude, instead of love."
"Clark I know Oliver, he would never marry someone he didn't love."
"Maybe not but Chloe, there are lots of different kinds of love."
Chloe stared at him for a minute taking in the meaning behind his words. If what Clark was saying was true then that meant that Oliver loved Dinah, but he was still in love with her. She leaned forward and placed her face in her hands. That's what Dinah had meant earlier when she said she had always been in there relationship and might as well be there for the end of it.
The end of Oliver's marriage and her return was the reason behind it. Somehow locked away she had been the other woman.
The guilt was overpowering, her past with Oliver had caused so much pain to Dinah. Her teammate, her friend, the person who had helped him through the pain of losing her.
The look in Dinah's eyes when she had seen her earlier haunted her thoughts; she needed to focus on something else, anything else.
She looked back up at Clark, "I do have one other question."
"Of all the members of the team how is it you were the one who ended up wearing tights and a cape?"
His eyebrows shot up and she saw a small smile start to play at the corners of his mouth, "It's more aerodynamic that the black trench coat."
"Oh and that's another thing."
"Still the reporter… you know if you decide to take Perry up on his offer I'm sure he'll be pleased to know you still have it in you."
"Some things never change," she admitted, "but you're not getting out of answering, tell me about the first time."
Chloe sat back and listened as Clark. His face lighting up as he recalled the first time he flew through the clouds, and the first time he took Lois with him.
Chloe nodded at the appropriate intervals, but her thought were back to focusing on other things. Oliver was at the top of that list but not far behind were thoughts of Felix. Between her insists of them dropping their investigation, and the drama of Dinah's sudden appearance they had seemed to let it go, but she knew how they both were. It was only a matter of time until they started asking questions again she just hoped she could continue to push them away from the truth for as long as necessary.
Read Chapter 9 HERE!