This story was Nominated for Best One-Shot and Best Angst Fic
Story Banner By: Andrea
Title: Memory Lane
Pairing: Oliver-Centric Oliver/Chloe implied
Word Count: 1,810
Prompt: Memory from Whitequeen15 written for the Summer Chlolliefest
Oliver parked the car and got out, glancing at his watch before moving toward the small park in front of him. He was late…again. Just another thing to add to the list of stuff she always did better than him.
The deep blue tie he wore was hanging haphazardly from his neck, the first few buttons on his dress shirt undone as his eyes squinted in the glow of the evening sun. He stopped several feet from the playground and took in the sight before him.
The breeze from the rocking motion of the swing blew her long golden curls around her face as laughter bubbled from her lips, echoing around the empty park. Oliver slipped his hands into his pockets and swallowed hard.
Laura had her laugh. He closed his eyes trying to push the memories at bay, but it didn’t work…it never worked. Six years ago, on this day Oliver Queen lost the love of his life. This was always a hard day for him, for everyone really.
It was the only day where everyone on the team went their separate ways dealing with what the day meant in their own way, but come night fall everyone would be back home. He’d spent the morning in back to back meetings just to keep his mind off of the date.
After his meetings Oliver met up with Bruce for lunch to discuss business before spending the rest of the afternoon in the Queen family plot in Metropolis. He still couldn’t believe it had been six years since she last stood by his side.
It still felt like only yesterday. They’d only been married four years when she’d sacrificed her life for him and the team and to this day a part of him was still furious with her. Why did she think things would be better without her?
What could possibly have been her reasoning? A loud shout and more laughter floated in his direction pulling him from his thoughts. He smiled as he watched his 9-year-old daughter pump her legs faster lifting her higher on the swing as the tall brunette watching her gave her a light shove every now and then.
Laura was the spitting image of her mother. Sure she had his nose, coloring and possibly a few of his more obnoxious personality traits, but everything else was her. He could remember a pair of curious green eyes so very similar to the one’s that now looked to him for answers daily.
Eyes of an amazing woman that when first cast upon him, tried to size him up like he was a puzzle or some sort of mystery that needed to be unraveled. But as time went by he watched as curiosity turned to friendly, which had later become trusting and love, before finally settling on what he liked to call her “all knowing” look.
Their daughter had the same look. She’d scrunch up her nose and give it to him every time he tried to feed her a lie or a half-truth, she was pretty intuitive that way…again just like her mother.
And it was in those moments when he ached for his wife the most. He’d give anything to see that look on her face one more time, to have her call him on his bullshit. There were only two people in the world who could read him like a book, well technically now there was only one.
He let out a deep breath and pushed his feet forward. He started walking toward the swing set and Lois glanced up and caught sight of him. Before she could say anything he pressed a finger to his lips and came up behind the swing.
The next time it came back he grabbed the sides stopping it mid-air. Blonde curls whipped around as she turned in the seat and squealed.
Oliver grinned as Laura jumped off the swing landing on her feet while he let go of the chains. She ran in his direction and threw her arms around him. He chuckled.
“Heya Ace, were you good for Aunt Lois?”
“Duh, oh my god you’ll never believe where I went today!”
He could see the excitement on her face. It was barely contained in her small body. God if Chloe could see her now…how big and smart and beautiful Laura was…his eyes burned slightly as he smiled.
“The Daily Planet! Aunt Lois had to hand in an article and she let me come. You should have seen it! It was…Dad I don’t even have words to describe how awesomely amazing it was. I’m sooo going to work there when I’m older. I’m gonna be the number one reporter just like Aunt Lois…I’ll have my very own super hero too.”
Oliver raised his eyebrow.
She nodded matter of factly.
“Absolutely, they’ll need someone to trust and they can trust me. I’d take their secrets to my grave. I’d never tell because sometimes…even the heroes need to be saved. You know?”
The glimmer of truth in her eyes and the spark of hope made his heart jerk painfully in her chest. He sucked in a deep breath and he couldn’t help the tears that pooled in his eyes as he turned away from his daughter…their daughter.
Every day she got more outgoing, more adventurous. Keeping her out of trouble was practically a full time job. She embodied everything that Chloe was, even her thought process. Normally it was refreshing, like a piece of her was still here with him.
But today…it just made it that much more clear that she was gone and realizing that was like losing her all over again. Laura frowned and touched his arm lightly.
“Dad…are you okay?”
Lois watched them with tears in her eyes as Oliver tried to pull himself together while nodding at his daughter. She took a shaky breath and thanked whatever gods were out there for Laura. If it hadn’t been for her, she was sure Oliver would have gone off the deep end.
After Chloe died, he broke down. Lost his faith in the mission, in the world, in the team…in himself. It was like he lost his purpose, his direction. She remembered how he used to lock himself away and drink himself into a stupor the first month or two.
At least until someone had kidnapped Laura right out from under him. She’d never seen anything as fierce as him the day he went after the man who took her. Had Clark and the team not been there she was convinced Oliver would have killed him without a second thought.
He cleaned up his act after that and though he wasn’t the same person he was less broken then before. Oliver turned back to face Laura who held a look of concern on her face. He gave her a tired smile.
She pursed her lips together brows furrowed and he saw her again. Memories of all the times Chloe made that face flashed through his head. Oliver closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose before opening them again.
Laura tilted her head to the side and sighed.
“It’s today…it’s about…Mom?”
He nodded, voice hoarse.
“It’s about Mom.”
She nodded and took hold of his hand.
“Are we going to have Mom’s dinner tonight with the guys?”
“Don’t we always?”
“Yeah…Aunt Lois you’re coming right?”
“Of course munchkin, I’m just gonna go find your Uncle Clark first and then I’ll meet you guys over at the apartment.”
Oliver shook his head.
“We’re doing it at the tower this year.”
Lois looked surprised and Laura’s eyes widened.
“Really Dad? Really?”
His lip turned up in half a smile.
“It’s time. I think you’re old enough to see it now. Besides…I think it’s time you got to know your Mom’s alter ego…”
Her eyes got ever wider than before.
“Mom was a superhero too?”
“Kiddo, your Mom was the biggest hero of us all…I’m gonna say goodbye to your Aunt, go get in the car okay?”
She nodded with a grin and ran toward his car as he turned to Lois.
“Thanks for watching her.”
“Of course. How are you?”
“Fine I guess.”
He knew she wasn’t okay, but he didn’t want to talk to Lois about it. She had Clark, he’d listen to her and help her grieve. That just wasn’t something he could do. He fidigeted with the keys and gave her a small smile.
“Well I should get going we’ll see you guys a little later.”
She nodded and he started to walk off when she called out to him.
He winced at the nickname and glanced over his shoulder.
“You’re not the only one who misses her.”
“You can’t keep doing this to yourself.”
Her voice wavered, pain etching the edge of her tone.
“It’s been six years Oliver…when are you going to start living your life again?”
He turned around fully to face her and she could see him attempting to control his anger.
“Lois…I understand this is a hard day for everyone, but until you’re in my shoes…”
“I lost her too Ollie…she was my cousin!”
“She was MY wife! Damn it Lois! I’m tired of having the same conversation with you. The truth is you can’t understand…you can’t ever understand what I’m feeling, what I’m going through, what each day without her is like. You have Clark by your side.”
He threw his hands up motioning around himself.
“I don’t have her here by my side anymore. Stop thinking you know what’s best for everyone. We all grieve in our own way. I’m back on track, I’m working and helping people and I’m there for Laura. What more do you want from me?”
Her face softened and she took a step forward.
“STOP calling me that! Just stop.”
Lois swallowed hard and nodded. He took a few deep breaths and quieted his voice.
“Laura’s waiting…I should go. I’ll see you and Clark later.”
He nodded leaving her standing there as he walked toward the car. He glanced up and for a second he could have sworn he saw her face full of laughter sitting in the passenger seat of the car and then it was gone. Replaced by the face of his daughter waving him forward impatiently.
Six years ago on this day Oliver Queen lost the love of his life… it was a loss he knew he’d never recover from, a wound that would never heal. But as he got in the car and glanced over at his daughter’s smiling face the pain in his chest eased.
Oliver smiled as he thought maybe just maybe, with time his wound would be just another scar he’d accumulated along the way.