Banner By: Andrea
Oliver groaned and shifted the scratchy feel of sand rubbing against his arm causing his eyes to flutter open as he glanced around in confusion. He was lying on his right side, his head and part of his back against something hard.
He flattened his palm over the sand covered ground and pushed himself to his knees with a wince before standing slowly, his muscles and joints protesting at the movement. What in the world had happened?
A frown marred his face as he pulled his glasses off and pushed down his hood, eyes roaming over the room as realization hit him. Carter’s funeral. He glanced down and right in front of him lay Lois, to her left was Clark and beside him was Dinah.
He bent down, reaching for her to shake her awake when he caught sight of something moving out of the corner of his eye. His body tensed as he straightened up, hand immediately going to the bow at his side as he moved between two pillars.
As he was walking around the large stone, the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end, miniature bow pointed in front of him at the ready, a whisper of his name echoed through the room causing him to pause and spin around confusion on his face. But no one was there.
He shook his head thinking he must have taken a larger hit to the head than he’d thought. When he shifted, bow once again at the ready, rounding the pillar he came face to face with Zatanna making the young woman jump slightly as his sudden appearance. She placed a hand against her chest and the tension left his body.
“Jesus Oliver…what are you doing? You nearly scared me half to death. Why are you skulking around?” He scowled at her lowering his bow and hooking it back to the side of his uniform. “Me? What about you? Why are you hiding behind the stupid pillar?”
She rolled her eyes and pushed past him slightly as the room filled with several groans signaling that the rest of the team was starting to wake up. “I just woke up. I wasn’t hiding. I was thrown back here when we were knocked out…any clue what the hell that was?”
Oliver rubbed the back of his neck, shaking his head as he followed her out from behind the pillars and back towards where they’d put Carter’s body down. “No, but whatever happened I’m guessing it’s not good. As soon as we get everyone up I say we board the plan and get out of here. I’ll call Tess… ask her to bring Emil to Watchtower, give us all a once over.”
She nodded while bending down over Courtney whose eyes were just opening. The teenager frowned as she glanced between Oliver and Zatanna. “What happened?” Courtney sat up and Zatanna reached out a hand pulling her into a standing position as Oliver spoke. “No clue…we need to get everyone together and head out…”
When he saw her bottom lip tremble he moved forward nudging her chin up, eyes soft when he spoke. “You’ll come back with us…and you can stay with me until we figure out what’s going on…I don’t want you out there alone…”
Oliver swallowed hard. Carter would want to know that someone was looking out for Courtney and after all the older man had done for them they owed him…plus the small blonde in front of him might not be part of his team, but she was his friend.
She gave him a watery eyed smile, voice soft. “Thanks Oliver…” He nodded giving her a sad smile right as Clark called out to them. “Hey, you guys okay over there?” Oliver grinned and nodded, his eyes turning towards Dinah and Lois as they brushed the sand off their bodies.
“Right as rain, where are Bart, AC, Vic and J’onn?” There was a grunt from behind them, before a cloud of sand twirled up as Bart shook it from his body. He yanked down his hood before walking towards Oliver. “Dude…that was weird…I say we blow this popsicle joint…”
J’onn moved over beside the younger man, Victor and AC not far behind him as he nodded. “I’m inclined to agree with him. Whatever’s going on for this to happen someone had to know we’d be here…and there are very few people who know about this place.”
Victor frowned as he pushed a few buttons on his arm, but nothing happened. His voice caused the rest of the team to glance over their shoulders at him, “Something’s wrong, I can’t link up with Watchtower. Whatever that bright ass light was, I think it messed with my equipment.”
Oliver sighed and nodded, “Okay…does anyone know where the light came from?” Lois glanced behind her towards the sand near Carter’s body. The strange looking diamond shaped object was still there and had moved further out of the sand.
The top looked as if it were made from a foggy type of glass. It was attached to a small skinny metal poll that extended about three feet out of the sand. She motioned to it as she spoke, “Yeah…that thing right there. I was standing with Clark when I saw it rise out of the sand.”
She turned towards it, walked over and bent down hand reaching out to touch it. Clark frantically pulled her hand away an incredulous look on his face. She arched an eyebrow as he spoke. “Really Lo’ this thing just knocked us all unconscious and you’re going to touch it?”
He shook his head at his fiancé. Her exploration for answers was going to give him a heart attack, if that was even possible. Oliver walked around Courtney and headed towards Clark and Lois. He studied the object for a few minutes before looking at Clark.
“Think you can pry it out of the ground? We should bring it back to Watchtower…let Tess study it see if she can give us any answers.” Clark nodded, bent down and made sure not to touch the diamond shaped crystal on top.
His hands wrapped around the metal bar and he tugged. It took him a few seconds, but when the bar came out of the ground, the sand sunk in around it. He held it up and Oliver nodded as he glanced around the room. “Alright guys… pack it in, where heading back home.”
They nodded and Bart scrunched his nose, “Dude I’m not flying. Takes too long…I’m gonna run to Watchtower and let Ginger know what happened.” Oliver’s lip twitched. “She hates when you call her that.” Bart smirked and nodded. “I know.” He tossed his hood up on his head gave them a slight wave and took off.
The only thing left in his wake was a cloud of dust that Victor and AC were waving away with their hands. Clark cleared his throat and Oliver’s eyes fell to the dark haired man. “Maybe I should run there to, bring this to her. That way she can start analyzing and maybe have some answers by the time you guys get back.”
Oliver nodded, “Good idea…also can you run and get Emil? I want everyone who was here tonight to have a quick work-up at Watchtower before heading home. Better safe than sorry.” He nodded before moving over to Lois and placing a kiss on her lips.
“Go with the team…I’ll meet you back at headquarters.” She nodded and rubbed his arm gently, voice quiet. “I love you.” His face softened and he placed a kiss against the side of her head. “I love you too.” She watched as he disappeared before sighing and turning her gaze to the rest of the team. “We ready?”
Oliver nodded motioning for them to go ahead of him. He waited for AC, Victor, Dinah, Lois, Zatanna, Courtney and J’onn to head into the small hallway they’d brought Carter’s body down before calling out that he’d be right there.
He turned towards the slab with Carter’s body on it and bowed his head in sadness. They couldn’t even have one day to mourn the loss of a friend without something coming in to destroy the piece they’d created for him.
Oliver…His head jerked up eyes scanning the area. He shook his head telling himself he was hearing thing and had finally lost his mind, turning to follow the team out, when he saw it. At the edge of the pillar, down the hall was a shadow, but when he took a few steps forward it disappeared.
He frowned and starting walking down the narrow pathway to the exit. As he made his way outside and to the waiting plane, he couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that something just wasn’t right.
Oliver was in the process of tossing his white tank top over his head when he heard a small beep come from the direction of one of Emil’s machines. It had taken them several hours to get back to Watchtower and everyone had been exhausted.
It was slightly past three in the morning and he’d let everyone get their physicals done before him so they could head home. The only people still at Watchtower aside from him and Emil were Tess and Courtney. The teenager was fast asleep on the small couch in the main room.
He ran a hand over his face before raising an eyebrow in Emil’s direction. “Well doc, what’s the verdict?” He glanced down at his clipboard and shrugged a slightly baffled look on his face. “Nothing…everything seems to be perfectly normal.”
Oliver frowned, his voice quiet as he leaned forward slightly. “Are you sure?” Emil looked up from the clip board and studied the man in front of him, a hint of curiosity on his face as he addressed Oliver. “Is there a reason that would lead you to believe otherwise?”
He thought back to the tomb, the voice he heard calling his name and the shadow. Oliver opened and closed his mouth quickly before shaking his head and giving Emil a tired smile. “No…it’s just been a really long couple of days…I’m sure a good night’s sleep will do the trick.”
He nodded before starting to pack up his equipment. “If anything changes in the next few days just call me and I’ll come back.” Oliver hopped off the makeshift table and inclined his head. “Will do. Thanks again for coming out and staying this late to check everyone out.”
Emil turned and patted Oliver on the back as he grabbed his large bag and headed for the long staircase, smile gracing his lips. “The things we do for truth and justice.” Oliver gave him half a smile as he watched him descend the stairs before speaking to Tess quietly and then heading out the door.
She glanced up at him and he sighed while walking towards the stairs, hand gripping the railing as he made his way down. “How long has she been asleep?” Tess glanced at Courtney a thoughtful look on her face. “Probably about an hour or so.”
He nodded as he took in the semi peaceful look on her face. It was the most relaxed he had seen her since the news of Carter’s death made it to her and he didn’t have the heart to wake her up. His eyes traveled to the red head powering down the computers.
“You heading home?” She turned a hand coming up to cover her mouth as she yawned and shook her head. “I think a two hour drive to Smallville at this point would be ridiculous. I’m going to crash in the bedroom upstairs.”
Oliver nodded, that had been after all why he’d put two bedroom in Watchtower to begin with. If anyone was working late or they were running a mission in the early morning hours, which they tended to do, it made things more convenient.
“That makes sense. Courtney hasn’t gotten much rest in the past few days…would you mind if I let her stay here? I’ll stop by in the morning…well later in the morning with coffee and breakfast.” Tess waved him off. “That’s fine Oliver. You should head home, you look exhausted.”
He chuckled lightly. “I am. Have a good night Tess.” Oliver started to walk towards the door when he felt a small hand on his arm. He paused and glanced over his shoulder catching the wide-eyed look on her face. “What?” She motioned towards his pants concern on her face.
“Oliver…you’re still partially suited up…you can’t just…go out in uniform…I think that might sort of clue people in on who Green Arrow is…don’t you think?” He glanced down and sure enough he still had on his leather pants. He shook his head and grinned up at Tess.
“I’m so tired I didn’t even realize…I’m gonna go change real quick. Thanks…” She chuckled as he turned and walked back towards the stairs and spoke amusement in her voice. “No problem hero.”
He was only a few steps up when her words washed over him and his body froze. He turned his head slightly, confusion on his voice as he got the strangest feeling of déjà vu. “What did you just call me?” She arched an eyebrow in his direction. “Hero…it’s what I always call you Oliver…are you sure you’re okay?”
He swallowed hard to moisten his throat that had suddenly gone dry. He gave her a tight smile that didn’t reach his eyes before nodding his head and continuing up the rest of the stairs. “Yeah…I’m good. Just tired.”
But as he made his way into the back room to change he couldn’t help but think that the sound of the voice calling him that was off. It should have been in a slightly higher timber with a hint of warmth and affection to it.
Oliver didn’t make it home until around four and the minute he slid open the gate to his elevator and walked into the penthouse he let out a sigh of relief. Between Lois and Clark’s engagement party at Watchtower, Carter’s death, the funeral, and their mysterious blackout the only thought he could currently comprehend was sleep.
He walked through the hall and towards his bedroom. Once inside he stripped down to his boxers before pulling back the sheets, his body practically falling back against the soft but sturdy mattress. He breathed in a large breath and let it out slowly as he felt his body begin to relax against the mattress.
Oliver could feel his body getting heavy, eyes fluttering closed as he began to sink into a deep, restless sleep. The apartment was dark as Oliver shifted in bed, brows furrowing, eyes moving rapidly beneath his lids as images flashed before his eyes, his dreams taking hold of him.
The bubble of laughter could be heard before warm lips closed over his ear. Blonde curls falling against his face, the scent of vanilla and the deep aroma of coffee invading his senses as talented lips released his ear to press a kiss below it.
She lifted her head and looked down on him, emerald eyes bright with mischief. “It looks like someone’s wide awake this morning hero…” He grinned up at her cupping her cheek as he brought her lips down to his placing a hungry kiss on them before using his body to flip them over so she was beneath him, green satin sheets tangled between them.
He bent his head to her throat and placed a series of kisses down it until reaching her collar bone, amusement filled his voice as he met her eyes. “I’m always awake for you Sidekick…” She moaned beneath him the sound stirring something in his body as he pushed the sheets away from her pale skin.
Hands slipping and sliding across smooth planes of flesh, fingers brushing and caressing soft curves as her body arched against his, her pleading voice filling his entire body with warmth. “Ollie please…oh god…”
His lips traced every part of her he could reach, her legs around his waist as they moved together, sweat slicked bodies panting as he leaned his forehead against hers. “God Chloe…you’re so perfect…you feel…” his voice trailed off as she whimpered beneath him.
Everything around him starting to fade as he took comfort in her body. Darkened brown eyes once again met green and suddenly the look of pleasure that was on her face changed. “Oliver wake up…” Confusion fell over his face as he opened his mouth to speak, the voice surrounding him suddenly urgent.
“Oliver wake up now!”
Oliver’s eyes flew open his body jerking up into a sitting position as he panted, heart beating frantically against his chest as he glanced around his darkened room. He placed a hand against his chest briefly as he looked over at the clock on his nightstand.
Red letters glared back at him. It was five in the morning. He’d been asleep for less than an hour. When his breathing calmed down he slowly laid back down and stared at the ceiling as his eyes adjusted to the lack of light.
He could feel his body relaxing again as he went over his dream in his head. Blonde hair, green eyes and the scent of vanilla lingered in his mind. He’d never had such intense dreams before…especially ones that evoked such a physical response in him.
As sleep eluded him and he continued to star at the ceiling transfixed with the images from his dream, one question seemed to keep pushing to the forefront of Oliver’s mind. Who in the world was Chloe, and what was she doing in his dreams…
Chapter Two: I See Shadows