January 17, 2011

Shadows Chapter (3/5)

Banner By: Andrea

Chapter 2: I See Shadows

Chapter 3
‘How We Were’

“Memory is a way of holding onto the thing you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose…” –The Wonder Years

It was five o’clock in the morning and Oliver sat in the middle of the couch in his stripped pajama pants and t-shirt, fingering the small white chess piece in his hand. He couldn’t sleep, and anytime he tried all he saw was her. It was unnerving and yet at the same time…he was curious to know more about the green eyed blonde who kept popping up all over the place.

The sound of a door opening caught his attention. He glanced up only to find Courtney making her way down the hall, eyes red rimmed as she sniffled slightly. She froze when she saw Oliver on the couch, wiping her face quickly, voice hoarse when she spoke.

“Oliver…I’m sorry I didn’t wake you…did I?” He studied the teenager in her baggy drawstring pajama pants and pink tank top before shaking his head. “No…I’ve been up for a few hours now…are you okay?” She bit her bottom lip and glanced between Oliver and the kitchen with a shrug.

“Sure…” He sat there for another minute before pushing himself slowly off the couch and heading towards the kitchen. He flicked on the small light above the stove and eyed her over his shoulder. “I was just about to make myself some hot chocolate…any chance you might want some?”

The petite blonde gave him a grateful look before moving over and sitting in one of the stools at the kitchen island. She sat in silence as she watched Oliver get out the milk and a pot before measuring out two mug of milk and pouring it into the pot.

He turned on the stove and then walked over to the cabinet pulling out two packages of hot chocolate. He leaned against the counter in silence as he watched the milk on the stove. Courtney cleared her throat lightly, voice soft.

“Thanks again Oliver…for letting me hang out here for a few days.” He nodded resting his arms against his chest. “Anytime … you know, you might not be an official member of the Justice League, but you’re always welcome here. We really appreciate how you’ve helped us out in the past…and hopefully by now you know that you can come to us if you need anything.”

She nodded her gaze on the table as he spoke. She could feel the moisture gathering in her eyes at his words. Courtney liked Oliver. She knew that he and Carter hadn’t always gotten along, but mostly that was because they were so much alike.

Strong leaders, fierce protectors, but softer on the inside then even they realized. She glanced up to find Oliver watching her and she gave him a watery smile. “Thanks Oliver…that means a lot.” He returned her smile before reaching out and turning off the stove.

He opened the packets of hot chocolate, dumped them into the two mugs and lifted the pot off the stove before pouring the milk between the mugs. He placed the empty pot in the sink and stirred both drinks until it was mixed together.

When he turned her eyes were on him and he held out one of the mugs to her. Courtney took it and he motioned for her to follow him to the living room. She plopped down gently on the couch next to him and for several minutes they just sat there in silence as they watched the sun rising through the balcony doors.

Courtney was the first to break the silence, mug clasped tightly between her hands, voice barely a whisper, but Oliver heard it. “I miss him…” He swallowed heavily at the pain in her voice. He couldn’t imagine what it was like for her to lose Carter.

After everything that had happened with Icicle, Carter was the last person she’d had left. In an act of revenge Icicle had killed most of the other known members of the Justice Society leaving Courtney and Carter as the only living members that still had contact with each other.

And now, after sacrificing his life to save Lois, Carter was gone and Courtney was alone in the world. She kept her eyes on the doors as Oliver spoke. “That’s understandable…I know that Carter and I…we didn’t always get along, but I respected him…for the person and the leader he was.”

She turned, pulling her feet underneath her body as she addressed him. “I know…and even though you might not think so…he thought the same of you. He used to say you were cocky and arrogant…but you had heart and with time everything else would come…”

Oliver felt his throat constrict at the thought of Carter saying that about him. Their many disagreements and arguments were all mostly superficial and he probably hadn’t ever admitted it out loud, but he had enjoyed their easy banter and the way they constantly teased each other.

It had just become habit even after they grew more comfortable with each other. He pulled in a deep breath and met Courtney’s gaze. He could feel his eyes burning slightly as they brimmed with tears. “I hope he knew that even though I wasn’t always the nicest person…I considered him a friend and an ally.”

She gave Oliver a small grin. “He knew…” Silence settled between them once again as they gazed out the glass doors to the balcony, the sun making its way over the city. “You know when I first met Carter I was just a kid. Barely seven and I was terrified of him.”

Oliver chuckled as the young woman sitting next to him immersed herself in the memory of her friend, voice animated, eyes bright. “He was this…grouchy, overly assertive, mean guy who barked orders and just had this over all bad attitude.”

She rubbed her fingers against her cup as she paused, but Oliver didn’t interrupt. He gave her time to collect her thoughts before continuing. “One day Sylvester had to go do something…and he wound up leaving me with Carter as a last resort.”

Courtney grinned, “It was a disaster. I made such a mess and Carter was getting so frustrated with me because I kept running away. The last time I ran away from him, I banged into something and fell. I got a pretty bad cut on my knee…I still have the scar to prove it…”

Oliver watched as her eyes softened as she saw the memory unfolding before her. Her voice continued, but quieter, “I was hysterical, but I remember him picking me up and sitting me on the JSA meeting table. He patched up my leg and then he smiled and his voice had warmed, all the anger gone. He told me it was my first battle wound and I did such an awesome job at being brave that I’d surely make an amazing hero someday…”

Courtney turned to Oliver a sad smile touching her lips. “That’s what first made me start dressing up in Sylvester’s costumes and pretending to fight crime…I wanted to be just like them…” Her voice trailed off as tears prickled the corner of her eyes.

“What am I going to do? Without Carter there is no Justice Society…I have no family…no one left who cares. Carter…he was always checking up on me…making sure I went to school…that I trained, but most importantly he gave me something to be a part of…he gave me a purpose…somewhere to belong…”

It was then that the tears fell as she stared at the man in front of her, no longer trying to be strong. “I have nothing left…” Oliver shifted pulling the teenager against his chest as her small frame was wracked with sobs. He rubbed her back soothingly as he whispered words of comfort to her.

A little over ten minutes later when her sobs had subsided slightly and she was gripping onto his chest as she calmed herself, he spoke lightly trying to ease the tension in her. “That’s not true you know…You might not have anyone left in the JSA…but you have us. And the Justice League would be honored to have you as our newest member…”

She turned and glanced up at the grin on his face before hugging his midsection tightly. “Thanks…you’re a pretty cool guy, you know that?” He laughed lightly and gave her a one armed shrug. “It’s possible I’ve been told that before…but I don’t mind hearing it again.”

Courtney pushed herself into a sitting position and rolled her eyes and Oliver couldn’t help his mind flashing back to a similar gesture with a green eyed blonde and suddenly his smile was gone. Courtney noticed the change in his demeanor and she frowned.

She watched his fingers moving inside his pocket and she arched an eyebrow and nudged him. “What’s in your pocket?” He glanced at her and hesitated before pulling out the chess piece that he had shoved in there earlier when she’d first come out of her room.

She glanced at the white queen before giving him a questioning look. “You’ve been planning with that since dinner last night…where’d you get it?” He shifted so he was leaning forward, arms against his legs as he held the small piece between his fingers.

“It’s a part of my Father’s chest set…” When he didn’t elaborate she ran a finger across the top of the smooth surface, voice soft. “It’s nice…why are you carrying it around?” He looked over his shoulder at her debating whether or not to tell her.

He wasn’t sure he wanted to sit through another reaction like Clark’s. He leaned back and took a deep breath before meeting Courtney’s eyes. “Ever since what happened at Carter’s funeral…I’ve been having these really intense…dreams…or maybe they’re memories…I don’t know. They’re all different and yet they all have one thing in common…”

She waited patiently for him to continue, knowing he’d tell her at his own pace. He swallowed heavily to moisten his throat. “A woman…her name is Chloe…and she’s all I can see…all I can think of…I don’t know why and I don’t know what’s going on…but I think it means something.”

She studied his features and she could tell that he believed what he was saying. She’d never heard of anything like that happening before, but with the things they had seen…she didn’t think it sounded impossible. “Have you tried looking for her?”

Her question startled him. He had expected her to laugh or make a joke, but she sounded completely serious. He opened and closed his mouth twice before finally being able to get out a sentence. “Yeah…I mean I tried, but I don’t really have much to go on…Just a first name and the fact that she has blonde hair and green eyes…”

Courtney grinned at that as she nudged him and took a sip of her hot chocolate before speaking. “Is she pretty?” Oliver smiled and leaned back on the couch getting more comfortable. “You have no idea…she’s…amazing or I feel like she is…does that make sense?”

The teenager nodded before turning away from him and looking back at the window with a sigh. “I’m going to have to start getting ready for school soon…” Her voice trailed off and Oliver pursed his lips as an idea came to him.

“You know…after everything that’s happened it’s okay to take a day or two to deal…what do you say we play hooky today…I think I still have a Wii around here somewhere from when Bart stayed for a few days…I don’t know about you, but I could use a mental health day…”

Courtney spun her head in his direction a smile pulling at the side of her lips, “Really?” He nodded. “Really…but before I challenge you to a guitar hero duel I say we head back to sleep for a few hours…”

Courtney pushed herself up and smirked down at Oliver. “Oh you are so on! I’m awesome at that game!” He nodded before following her lead and standing. “Mmm so you say…but we’ll see…” She put her mug in the sink and then started to head down the hall when he called out to her.

“And maybe we can grab breakfast in the morning…well later in the morning….what do you say?” Courtney chuckled as she made her way to the guest room calling over her shoulder, “You’re buying Mr. Queen…”

And as the door shut behind her he got dizzy, stumbling back slightly his hand jerking out and gripping the couch as he was yet again bombarded by a series of images swirling around his senses as everything around him changed.

She sat in front of him glancing around the small dinner awkwardly. It was late and the dinner rush was over. J’onn had left ten minutes ago and he could see her wracking her brain for a way to bow out now that their other friend was gone.

She bit her lip and right as she opened her mouth to say something, he cut her off. “Sidekick…relax…I don’t bite, well not unless you ask nicely…” He winked at her and she rolled those perfect green eyes at him before he continued speaking.

“Would it kill you to spend a little down time with me? I mean really keep this up and you’re gonna seriously have me thinking I’m losing my touch.”

She chuckled and he gave her a soft smile. Convincing her to come out of her ivory tower and away from her computers had been a feat, one well worth the effort…at least to him. Originally when he’d planned to ask her out to dinner he’d expected her to be alone…

Unfortunately things hadn’t turned out the way he planned, though with J’onn gone they were looking up. She reached up a small hand brushing a strand of hair behind her ear and he caught himself wondering what it would feel like to run his hands through her blonde locks.

He cleared his throat and pushed his plate of half eaten pie forward. She arched a perfectly shaped eyebrow and he smirked. “This place has the most amazing pie…try some.” She shook her head and waved him off.

“I’m pretty full Oliver…but thanks.” It was his turn to roll his eyes as he pushed the fork into the pie and pulled a forkful off holding it out to her. “Oh come on Chloe…live a little…” She blinked and gave him an odd look.

He spun the fork around in the air a few times and he watched as she attempted to hold back a smile while he made ‘choo choo’ sounds. Finally she let out a short sigh and leaned forward slightly letting him slid the fork into her mouth.

Their eyes met as he pulled the fork slowly from her mouth, her tongue reaching out to lick off the last of the pie. She swallowed hard as he gathered more pie on the fork and then placed it in his mouth. They were quiet for a few minutes before he broke the silence. “Good pie…huh?”

She licked her lips and nodded voice slightly breathless, “Yeah…good pie.” He smiled at her another piece of pie at the ready in front of her on the fork as she leaned forward…

The images dissipated…fading around him leaving him gasping for air as he stood on shaky legs. A few minutes later when his breathing had calmed down he straightened himself up and headed for his bedroom convinced now more than ever that the only way to put an end to these…visions or whatever they were was to find this Chloe woman and figure out what the hell was going on.


Tess paced the length of Watchtower as she dialed Oliver’s number for the sixth time. After four rings it went to voicemail and she let out a frustrated sigh. It was close to three o’ clock in the afternoon and she’d been trying to get in touch with him all day.

It was getting to the point where she was legitimately worried about him. He had been acting strange since the night he came back from Carter’s funeral and then today when she’d called his office, his secretary had said he cancelled all his appointments for the day and wouldn’t be in.

She was literally minutes away from leaving Watchtower and heading over to his apartment. She glanced at her watch and right as she was about to call Oliver again her cell phone rang. She looked down at the number and glared, answering it quickly and pressing the phone to her ear.

“Where the hell are you and why haven’t you been answering my calls?” Oliver winced at her tone and pursed his lips before speaking. “Sorry…Courtney and I decided to take the day off.” An incredulous look took over her face as she stared at the phone in her hand.

Had she heard him right? Oliver Queen was taking the day off? She’d spent the day looking for him meanwhile he was playing hooky with a teenager? Her voice hardened as she spoke, “Listen Oliver, it’s really great that you’ve decided to find your inner child and all, but you have responsibilities here. You can’t just go AWOL on us…”

Irritation filled his tone as his hand gripped the phone tighter, “Oh please, get off it Tess, its one lousy day. Stop being so damn dramatic. I just called to check in and make sure everything was okay. After all your missed calls I thought something might have been wrong.”

Her hand clenched against the computer console, sarcasm coloring her voice. “Oh, you thought that did you? What was it that tipped you off the six calls…or the two 911 messages I sent you?” Oliver snorted and rolled his eyes as he spoke.

“Now that I can see it’s obviously not an emergency I’m gonna go…I’ll check back in with you later.” Tess frowned speaking quickly, “Oliver please come to Watchtower so I can check you out real quick. After what happened yesterday I just want to make sure you’re okay…”

Tess’s voice trailed off and Oliver sighed lightly. “I appreciate your concern, but I’m fine. If anything changes I’ll let you know.”

“Oliver--” But he cut her off abruptly with a quick ‘Goodbye Tess’ before the dial tone blared in her ear. She shook her head and stood there for a few minutes going over her conversation with Oliver. Something wasn’t right. And it was time they got to the bottom of what was really going on.

She lifted her phone back to her ear and dialed Clark’s number. He answered after three rings. “Hello?”

“Clark it’s Tess…any chance you think we can get the team together for a meeting tonight…it’s about Oliver…I think he’s in trouble…”

Chapter 4: I See Shadows

1 comment:

  1. I don't like Tess here. Although, i gotta say, this is really good! :)


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