January 12, 2011

Shadows Chapter (2/5)


Banner By: Andrea

Chapter 1: Waking Up

Chapter 2
‘I See Shadows’

“We do not remember days; we remember moments. The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten…” --Cesare Pavese

Tess watched the screen in front of her as the photos she had taken of the device from Carter’s tomb site uploaded to the computer. It was after ten and Courtney had left for school a little over an hour ago, with the promise of returning to Watchtower at the end of the day.

She typed in a few commands and waited as several boxes popped up on the screen. Ever since the government had launched their anti-hero campaign due to Clark’s cousin Kara’s ‘visit’ small anti-hero groups had been popping up all over the place causing trouble.

And they seemed to have Oliver’s merry band of men as one of their main targets, which left Tess thinking that the device Lois found had something to do with one of those groups. She was in the process of enlarging one of the images when the double doors were pushed open and a tired looking Oliver walked in, a paper bag and coffee in hand.

He nodded in her direction before moving past her desk and to the main consol where he placed the bag down. He hadn’t gotten much sleep after the strange dream he’d had so when his alarm finally went off that morning, he’d ignored it and slept an extra three hours.

He smiled at the red head in front of him and shook the bag slightly. “I got bagels.” She returned his smile before glancing back at the computer. “Thanks.” Silence settled between them as Oliver glanced at what she was working on.

When he saw the photo of the thing that was responsible for their mini blackout interest filled his eyes. He motioned toward the screen, “Were you able to figure out what that thing is and what it does?” Tess shook her head.

“I don’t know what it is yet, but from what I can tell the only thing it does is cause anyone who is touched by the pulse of light to be temporarily knocked unconscious.” Oliver pursed his lips, but nodded. As she continued typing he leaned against the other side of the main frame glancing around the room before tilting his head to the side and speaking.

“Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask…do you know anyone named Chloe?” Tess paused in her key strokes glancing at him brows furrowed. “…No…should I?” Oliver shrugged and let out a light chuckle. He really needed to get some rest.

He reached over and pulled out one of the Styrofoam cups of coffee and held it out to her. “You’re coffee, just the way you like it Mercy.” She gave him a small smirk before taking it from him, a hint of amusement in her voice. “You brought me coffee? Since when do you bring me coffee?...what do you want?”

He arched an eyebrow at her. “I have to want something to bring you coffee? I was trying to be nice…if you don’t want it I’ll drink both.” He moved his hand to take it from her, but she pulled it away from him. “Don’t you dare.”

He chuckled as she brought the coffee up to her lips and took a large sip a small appreciative moan escaping her throat. And just like that Oliver felt himself get light headed as the room spun out of focus. He clutched the computer stand in a tight grip, slamming his eyes shut as images and sounds crashed through his head.

Large hands pushed open the double doors as he made his way into the center of the room, a cup of coffee in his hands. He caught sight of a flash of blonde curls from behind one of the computer monitors and grinned.

Her fingers were flying against the keyboard when he came up behind her, his arms wrapping around her midsection. She tilted her head to the side, green eyes filled with amusement as he swooped down and captured her lips in a light kiss.

She moaned shifting and moving in his arms until she was facing him enough to deepen the kiss. When they pulled back minutes later he brushed a thumb against the soft skin of her cheek, a wide grin on his face. “Hey you…”

Her eyes sparkled as they studied him, small hands sliding down his arms caressing them lightly. “Hey there Romeo…whatcha got in your hand?” He smirked as he pulled back from her. “Wouldn’t you like to know…”

She nodded before something behind her beeped and she immediately turned towards the screen. He gazed at her affectionately as she went about completing her task all the while still talking to him. “I sure would…”

He pulled his jacket off and tossed it aside before placing the cup of coffee down in front of her, his lips grazing her shoulder, warm breath hitting her ear as he spoke. “I brought you some coffee, thought my favorite Professor could use a boost.”

She rolled her shoulders back slightly a small ‘Mmm’ leaving her lips as she pressed send before reaching for the coffee. “Have I ever told you, how absolutely amazing you are?” He gripped her hips and turned her around until he was looking down at the warm expression on her face.

He shrugged slightly, but grinned, “It’s possible…but I never get tired of hearing it.” She rolled her eyes, humor in her voice, “I bet.” she leaned up pressing her lips against his. When she pulled back she was gripping the cup between her hands and giving him a cheeky grin.

He watched as she brought the cup to her lips taking a deep breath, letting the aroma of the beverage wash over her, eyes sliding shut as she took the first sip, a soft groan leaving her throat. He watched as all the tension left her body. And in that moment he fell in love with her all over again.

Her eyes fluttered open, relaxed and clear as she met his gaze. He swallowed hard to moisten his throat, voice slightly shaky, “Chloe…”

“Oliver…” He frowned that wasn’t the right voice…He opened his mouth again, but the peacefulness surrounding the moment faded and the blonde in front of him disappeared.

He blinked rapidly as a warm hand squeezed his arms gently. “Oliver..are you alright?” His gaze fell on the red head in front of him, confusion on his face. “Tess?” Worry creased her features as she gazed at the bewildered expression on his face.

“Of course it’s me…who else would it be?” Oliver took a step back from Tess as he glanced around Watchtower. It was the same room. The girl from his dream had been in this room…he shook his head, voice tense. “Chloe…”

The red head watched him closely and fear curled low in her gut. Oliver had been acting all kinds of weird since they had gotten back from Carter’s funeral. She was starting to think maybe something happened to Oliver that they hadn’t been aware of yesterday.

She spoke calmly as she held out a hand non-threateningly, “Listen…I’m not sure who this Chloe person is, but maybe you should come sit down for a minute and--” He cut her off, waving his hand as a frown graced his lips. “No…it’s nothing. I need to head into the office. I’ll talk to you later Tess.”

He walked around her and headed for the double doors. She called out to him, but he ignored her, shutting the doors distractedly behind him. Tess sighed as she stared at the closed doors. Something was wrong with Oliver…and she needed to figure out what the hell it was.

She pushed her coffee aside and started typing almost frantically. It was her job as Watchtower to make sure the team was taken care of…Oliver especially. Now where were those photos…


Oliver leaned back in his chair as he glanced at the laptop in front of him. He had just gotten off the phone with Courtney. The teenager was out of school and running home to pack a few things before heading to his apartment. He’d given her the access codes, told her he’d bring dinner home and to make herself comfortable.

It was slightly after four now and he still had two more meetings before he could leave. His eyes once again strayed to the laptop before finally pushing himself forward and bringing it out of sleep mode. He couldn’t help the curiosity that had peeked inside of him at the strange dreams or visions he’d been having since he’d woken up in Carter’s tomb.

He brought up his search engine and paused briefly before typing in, Chloe, green eyes, blonde hair…Oliver pressed enter and waited as the computer searched. He wished he had more information to go on…or a last name at least, but he would work with what he had.

Before it could show him the results of the search, there was a gust of wind causing him to look up while closing his laptop carefully. Clark stood in front of him smile on his face. “Hey Oliver.” He returned the younger man’s smile and motioned to the seat in front of his desk.

“Hey Clark…what brings you by…without an appointment…or knock.” His friend gave him a sheepish smile. “Sorry about that.” Oliver shrugged as he leaned back in his chair. “Hey I don’t mind…but I do conduct meetings in here. One of these days you’re going to burst in and someone is going to see you.”

Clark chuckled. “I always make sure you’re alone…but I was wondering if you have a few minutes…” His voice trailed off and Oliver glanced at the clock again before nodding. “Yeah I’ve got a little over twenty minutes before my next meeting. What’s up?”

His alien friend let out a long sigh before getting comfortable in the chair. “Well this morning Lois started talking about wedding stuff…she’s trying to get everything organized and make lists and plans…she wanted me to ask you if it was okay if she made Dinah her maid of honor…she wasn’t sure if it would be weird considering…well you know.”

Oliver frowned, no he didn’t know. He arched an eyebrow at his friend as he spoke. “Why would I care if Dinah was Lois’s maid of honor?”

“Well you’ll have to spend most of the night with her and we weren’t really sure with how things ended between the two of you if that would be a good idea.” Oliver was sufficiently confused. Sure there had been some flirtation with Dinah over the years, but nothing had ever actually happened with her.

Clark was giving him a strange look, similar to the one Tess had given him earlier and so to avoid further inquiries as to how he was feeling he cleared his throat and nodded. “Right of course…you know it’s fine actually. It’s yours and Lois’s day and whatever the two of you decide I’ll be completely fine with.”

Clark let out a sigh of relief and gave Oliver a large smile. “Thanks, I really appreciate that.” He nodded while pushing papers around on his desk, voice calm. “Sure…hey Clark can I ask you a question?” He gazed up at the younger man in front of him.

Clark nodded and smiled while motioning for Oliver to ask his question. “Do you know anyone named Chloe? Or have you ever met anyone named Chloe?” The dark haired man leaned forward slightly brows drawn together in concentration.

A minute or so later his face evened out as he shook his head, “No, I don’t think so…why?” Oliver debated whether or not to tell his friend about his dream, but decided what the hell. He could trust Clark and maybe he’d be able to help him figure it out.

Oliver leaned forward slightly, elbows on his desk as he spoke, voice low. “I had the strangest dream last night…I was with this woman…she was…amazing. She had these green mysterious eyes that sparkled with secrets…and this blonde hair with the softest curls I’ve ever touched…and when she looked at me…it was like she really saw me…inside and out...”

His voice trailed off as Clark raised an eyebrow amusement on his features. He could see the awe and intensity on his friend’s face while Oliver continued speaking. “I don’t mean she saw Oliver Queen the billionaire…or Green Arrow the Vigilante…it was almost like she just saw me…the combination of everything I am and accepted me for me…it was intense…wild and passionate…”

His eyes finally focused on his friend the images of Chloe fading to the recess of his mind as he heard Clark chuckle lightly. “Wow…sounds like some dream.” Oliver’s brow creased as he glanced at Clark and pursed his lips…voice quiet. “What if it’s not a dream…what if this woman is real?”

Clark studied his friend’s features noting the seriousness on them right as his phone vibrated. He glanced down and sighed before standing up. “It’s Lois…I need to head back to the planet.” He gave Oliver a small grin, “If she is real then it’s probably a woman you picked up at a bar while drunk. It’s not like that’s never happened…you’ve forgotten faces and names before Oliver…not to be crass, but that’s sort of what you do…”

Oliver’s jaw ticked as he shook his head, arms crossing over his chest. “Not this time Clark…not this girl…I wouldn’t forget her.” His friend lifted a shoulder in defeat. “We all have our weaknesses Oliver…yours just happen to come in the form of beautiful women…look I really gotta go, but I’ll see you later okay?”

He gave his dark haired friend a curt nod before another gust of wind filled the room and he was gone. Oliver pulled his laptop back open, typed in his password and his desktop started loading again. Seconds later he was opening the browser, heart beating at a slightly faster pace than normal.

It popped up and he let out a heavy sigh as a blank page stared back at him the words ‘no matches found’ printed on them. There was a knock at the door and his head shot up as his secretary stood in the doorway, smile on her face. “Mr. Queen, you’re four forty-five meeting is here…I put them in the conference room.”

He smiled at the petite woman and nodded. “Thank you Annabeth…please let them know I’ll be right there.” She inclined her head before shutting the door behind her. Oliver pushed away from his desk and stood, fixing his tie and jacket before moving around the furniture and towards the door.

He paused briefly when something bright and white caught the corner of his eye. He turned towards the glass shelves to the right of his desk and squinted. Was that a chess piece? What in the world was it doing out of the case? The chess set, that he hadn’t used in years had been his Father’s.

He kept it in his office, but never used it out of fear he might ruin the set his Father had loved so much. Oliver walked over to the shelf and lifted the small white queen in his hands. The minute his fingers wrapped around the smooth, cool marble his mind exploded with yet another series of images and sounds, so vivid he could barely hold himself upright.

She was seated at an outdoor café and he came up from behind her placing the white chess piece down on the table in front of her “Nicely played.”

The blonde glanced up from her newspaper as he made his way around the small table and stood in front of her, watching and waiting before taking the seat across from her. She didn’t say anything, just studied his movements with calculated eyes as he spoke.

“I started asking myself who knew about Lex, about toy man, the things I’d given up, what I tried to do…and then it all occurred to me. Dinah shattered the glass in the warehouse, Bart rescued me from the car, Victor faked the computers and Watchtower kept an eye on the whole thing…right?”

She let out a light sigh as she held her cup of coffee in her hand while speaking. Her voice clear and unapologetic. The voice of a woman who knew what needed to be done and had done it.

“You were living like you had a death wish Oliver. You had to face your demons if you were ever going to make it out a live and I had to push you over the ledge in order to pull you back.”

He nodded his head, leaning over the table slightly, his lips pursed. Though his shoulders were tense, his voice was slightly amused.

“Did you have to push with a three-ton truck?”

She leaned forward a hint of seriousness coloring her voice. “I didn’t think a tricycle would be a strong enough point. You’re a fighter Oliver.”

He smiled at the woman in front of him when she paused before continuing. “You fought for yourself and for a second chance.” He nodded again before a serious expression took over his face as he moved in so there was even less distance between them.

“Chloe, I’m not the only one you put at risk.” She sat back, confidence floating around her body as she spoke. “If you’re worried about our little club and Lex, don’t be. I played my cards close to my chest.”

He frowned slightly, not happy with her humor at the situation, but at the same time grateful and touched beyond belief that there was someone out there who would go through such lengths for him. “And Lois was what? Just another Ace up your sleeve?”

The smile left her face and he could see tension fill her body. “No, I never meant for her to get involved. She was chasing after you when she accidently ended up storming the field. That’s when Victoria went off script.”

His voice was soft when he spoke a slight tremor to it. “I could have killed her.” Green eyes softened, her head tilting to the side, but her tone was steady, with an edge of hardness to it. “No offense to your manhood, but I made sure your gun was loaded with blanks just in case.”

His eyes were red-rimmed and he gave her a sad smile as she brought the coffee to her lips and took a sip. He watched as the tension released from her body as she continued to speak. “I trust you Oliver…just…not that much.”

“Did Clark know about this?” Her brows furrowed as he gave her a look of filled with amusement and she shook her head. “You can’t be serious…Clark would never in a million years risk what needed to be done.”

He sighed and nodded as he looked away from the petite blond in front of him. “Well, he’s led a different life than we have, hasn’t he…”

When their eyes met again he couldn’t read the expression in hers, but they held their gaze steady on one another as he continued speaking, voice soft. “I can’t expect him to know me like you do. The places that I’d sunk to…the depths you must have had to go to, to bring me back…”

He watched her face soften before him, green eyes brightening with the hint of a spark and he found himself wondering how he’d never seen it there before. A small smile slipped onto her lips as he swallowed hard, his heart beating quickly, as he looked at her seeing an entirely different woman then the one he’d known for years.

“Thank you…”

“You proved it to yourself. Even with your face in the gutter you still had the hero in your heart.” Gratitude filled his eyes as he reached across the table placing his hand over hers. A jolt of electricity ran through his body igniting a fire within him that hadn’t been there in a long time.

She was right…he was better than what he’d become and starting now he was going to change that…determination filled him and in that moment he knew that the spunky blonde in front of him was exactly what he wanted. “You saved my life Chloe…both the myth…and the man.”

Her smile widened and she shifted her hand squeezing his lightly when the scene around him started to change…he frowned as Chloe opened her mouth…

“Mr. Queen…” His body was jerked back into reality by his secretary’s concerned voice, her warm hand on his shoulder as he released the white knuckle grip he had on the small leather chair by his shelves. “Mr. Queen…are you okay? Should I call a doctor?”

He shook his head swallowing hard, eyes burning slightly as he spoke in a measured tone. “No…no Annabeth…I’m fine. Sorry…tell them I’ll be there in a second and please cancel all my other meetings after this one.”

She nodded, brows still furrowed in worry as she left his office to do as he asked. Oliver lifted the chess piece to eye level, hands still shaking slightly at the intensity of what he’d seen and felt seconds ago. He took a deep breath and slipped the chess piece into his pocket before heading towards his office door.

It wasn’t possible to have daydreams that vivid, that much Oliver knew. It was almost like he was…reliving some kind of memory. Something was going on and Oliver wasn’t going to stop until he figured out who this mystery woman from his dreams was…because he had a feeling that all the answers lay with her…and answers were exactly what he was looking for…

Chapter 3: How We Were

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