Chapter Seven: In The Light of The Morning
‘The Doctor in Sheep’s Clothing’
Doctor Regina Wright swallowed hard as she stood in an office at Metropolis General Hospital and stared at the file in front of her. She glossed over the data transcribed in the file as she flipped through the numerous pages, her heart heavy.
Ever since her Mother had passed away from a rare genetic disease when she was a teenager, Regina had strived to become the best in her field, determined to one day come up with a way to cure or rather eliminate genetic mutations within different strands of DNA.
But when you worked at a local hospital where funding was allocated by need it was difficult to get money for a project that wouldn’t provide immediate results. People heard the words research, genetics, DNA and they shied away from them.
So when she’d been approached by Doctor Scott Bernstein, nearly a year ago with an offer from his employer to keep her project going and offering her a top notch research facility, though the offer was strange and didn’t exactly seem on the up and up she had accepted it.
Now here she was several months later wishing she hadn’t. Had she known then what she knew now, Regina would have run faster than Superman himself to get out of the crosshairs. But instead she was stuck in the middle of a project that had turned into something straight out of the movie Frankenstein.
She had set out to change the world, bring forth a new age where people would be able to create families without having to worry whether or not their child would be born with a genetic defect of some kind. A world where people wouldn’t have to lose sleep over the unknown.
After years of researching she was finally able to complete her project with the funding she’d received from her anonymous boss. Regina Wright had created a way to use Recombinant DNA to modify human genetic material. No scientist so far had ever attempted to use genetic modification on a human, but she found a way to do it.
While Doctor Bernstein worked on his own portion of the project, Regina had designed a way to manually chose each strand of DNA allowing them to omit certain mutated genes should there be any before merging two different DNA sequences together, allowing them to basically grow or form their own person.
The process of course required a healthy male and female to initiate it, but after gathering their DNA and extracting the so called ‘strong’ genes with dominate characteristics and what not they could essentially create an embryo that was genetically perfect.
She had seen her discovery as a practice that could help people start a family, a breakthrough that could save potential parents or children from having to deal with the same tragedy that she’d had to deal with as a child.
But all of that had come crashing down on her when she found out how they planned to use her technology. Regina had unwittingly taken part in a project that made it possible to use this… technique to violate people in the worst way possible and if she wanted to stay alive, she’d do what she was told or she’d end up like the others.
The sound of footsteps coming down the hallway spurred her into action. She pulled the note that she’d written earlier in the day from her pocket and slipped it into the file before hastily putting it back making sure it would draw attention to itself.
If she had to spend her time working for a mad man, participating in practices she felt were unethical, then the least she could do was try to warn someone. She’d been anonymously contacting a reporter from the Daily Planet for weeks, but when she realized she knew the next target personally or at least indirectly, she decided to take a higher risk.
As the footsteps grew closer she glanced around the room making sure nothing, but the file was out of place before going out the back door closing it lightly behind her just as the main door facing the hospital corridor was pulled open.
Emil stepped into his office and let out a long sigh. It had been a long day. He was tired and ready to head home. Between his regular patients at the free clinic downstairs and Oliver’s team he was tapped out. For the past two days Chloe had been sick, nothing life threatening, but you’d never know it with the way Oliver had been hounding him to come make sure she was okay.
When he finally made it over to the penthouse two days ago and gave her a full work-up he’d informed Oliver that Chloe had the Human Rhinovirus. As he slid into his desk chair he couldn’t help the smile that formed on his face remembering the younger man’s reaction and the grin on Chloe’s face as she tried to hide her laughter.
Oliver had been frantic, arms waving in the air, face pale as he yelled about them not taking this seriously before Emil finally took pity on him at Chloe’s behest and told him that the rhinovirus was simply a common cold. Seeing the embarrassment on his face had been quite amusing.
Emil still didn’t know why they refused to tell each other how they felt. The whole team could see it and if he had to take a bet, he’d say that Oliver and Chloe could see it to, but were ignoring it. Why he didn’t know. They might both have terrible histories with the opposite sex, but they should also see that their situation is different.
Either way with their current mission he knew it would all come to a head soon and then they’d have to address the issue at hand and the sooner the better. He was shifting in his chair when he caught sight of a folder sticking out slightly from his pile and he frowned.
Emil reached out pulling it free and his frown only deepened at the name on the folder. He glanced around his office before looking back down at his hands. Chloe Sullivan. He let out a heavy sigh. This didn’t bode well. Her file was usually locked away, which meant someone had definitely been there.
He lifted the flap to make sure nothing was missing and his brows furrowed as he caught sight of a folded piece of paper. He pulled it out and unfolded it, black ink staring back at him. ‘She’s next…stop them.’ Emil pushed up his glasses as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Oliver was not going to be happy about this.
Chloe scrunched her nose slightly and groaned as shifted on the bed. It took a couple of minutes to open her eyes, but when she finally did she could see a sliver of bright light making its way through the closed curtains in Oliver’s bedroom. It had been just about nine days since she moved into Oliver’s penthouse.
For the first few days things had gone smoothly. Of course that was until day number four when she’d walked in on him in the bathroom…naked. She hadn’t gotten the full Monty and for that she was grateful. It would have made her fumble ten times worse.
For the first few seconds she had been so dumbstruck that she just stood there staring at his naked back and ass before she caught sight of his amused eyes through the mirror and promptly slammed her hand over her eyes effectively slapping herself in the face.
It had not been one of her brightest moments. She’d apologized profusely as she fumbled for the door handle and slammed it shut before pacing the length of his bedroom for the next twenty minutes. Once he made his way out of the bathroom he’d proceeded to mock her for a good fifteen minutes before calling a truce and promising never to mention it again.
That had lasted until the next morning. But that wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part was she couldn’t get the sight of his naked ass out of her mind. She’d seen men naked before…okay correction she’d only seen one man fully naked before.
And of course like any teenager she’d had a few random hook ups in high school that never really went too far. But none of them, not even Jimmy compared to the sight of Oliver Queen naked and slightly moist from his shower.
He was quite literally the epitome of perfection. His body was something you’d expected to see on Greek gods…or Jake Gyllenhal. He was the sexiest man she’d ever seen. Sure Chloe had seen him topless and had bandaged his wounds on several occasions but this was different.
This had sent a wave of pure lust through her and ever since then she’d been picturing him in all kinds of compromising situations and several of them involved her licking him from head to toe which just made things all kinds of awkward when you needed to share a bed with someone who you weren’t romantically involved with.
So Chloe did what she did best, whenever they didn’t have to be somewhere in public together she avoided him at all costs. And her avoidance had caused his mood to go from amused to irritated pretty quickly, until two days ago when she’d gotten sick.
It was just a tiny cold, but Oliver had insisted Emil come and make sure she was okay and ever since then he’d been taking care of her. It was really sort of sweet in an overbearing and ridiculous way. Oliver had even worked from home yesterday.
She sighed and rolled over until she was on her back. She swallowed heavily testing her throat to see how sore it was and she was surprised to find it was feeling much better. Chloe sat up slowly brushing her hair away from her face as she yawned.
She was feeling a lot better and since Oliver had been so good at taking care of her it looked like she was going to have to stop avoiding him. She pursed her lips before sliding slowly out of bed, Oliver’s silk dress shirt falling to her knees.
Her bare feet padded across the bedroom floor as she pushed open the door and made her way out into the hallway, frown on her face. She opened her mouth and called out into the apartment, “Oliver?”
Oliver was in the living room holding a meeting with two of Queen Industry’s board members when he heard Chloe call out to him. They glanced at him and he gave them an apologetic smile. “Sorry gentlemen, that’s my wife, she’s been sick these past few days, just give me one second.”
He had just stood when Chloe appeared from down the hall. She paused when she caught sight of the older men in business suits. Oliver frowned moving over to her hands rubbing up and down her arms gently. “What are you doing out of bed? I would have come in…how are you feeling?”
She cleared her throat and glanced away from the businessmen to Oliver as she wrapped her arms around herself. “I’m feeling a lot better…I’m sorry I didn’t know you were having a meeting.” She glanced back over to the men watching them and gave them a small smile.
“Good afternoon Mr. Spencer, Mr. Nichols, I apologize for interrupting your meeting. I’ll let you three get back to it.” They smiled and waved as she shifted and went to move back down the hallway when Oliver grasped her arm softly, a hint of worry in his eyes. “You’re sure you’re okay?”
She gave him a small grin and whispered ‘yes’. He nodded before leaning down and placing a light kiss against her lips for the benefit of the board members or so he’d have her believe. She returned the kiss and when they broke apart he watched her head back towards his room before making his way back to his meeting.
Thirty minutes later when Chloe came out of the bathroom fully dressed Oliver was sitting near the balcony in the plush cushion chair legs outstretched on the ottoman as he worked on his laptop. He looked up at the sound of the door opening and gave her half a smile.
She moved over to the dresser glancing at her hair before turning and leaning against it. “Hey.” Silence settled between them causing Chloe to bite her bottom lip. Before she could say anything Oliver cleared his throat and glanced back at his laptop. “Lex finally sent us that list, the one of all the names of people working on his latest projects?”
She nodded, “Good…did you send it over to Vic?” He nodded, “Yup a couple of hours ago.” She crossed her arms over her chest lightly and tilted her head to the side. “And Bart was able to swipe the information from Deverox and Caffrey?”
He glanced back up at her a slight grin on his face. “Yup…in and out.” He studied her posture as she brushed some lint off her shirt. “Any matches yet?”
He shook his head, “Not yet, but they still have a couple of hundred names to go through. So we’ll see.” Silence once again settled between them and Oliver sighed. He hated that Chloe had been avoiding him lately. Maybe he shouldn’t have picked on her so much about walking in on him naked, but he’d only been joking.
It wasn’t a big deal…at least not to him…but if it was a big deal to her…then maybe there was a possibility that she was as attracted to him as he was to her. And if that was the case then it was definitely something they should discuss. He had a feeling it was a conversation they’d been putting off for a while.
They glanced at each other and laughed slightly releasing some of the tension in the room. He motioned to her, voice soft, “Go ahead.” She shifted away from the dresser and moved to the bed sitting down, but still keeping a good amount of distance between them. “I’m sorry…about the shower thing and about how I reacted. I shouldn’t have avoided you…I just…”
Her cheeks flushed and she glanced at the bedspread trying to collect her thoughts. “I overreacted and made it a bigger deal then it was.” She paused and moistened her lips before looking up at him with a shrug.
Oliver was quiet for a minute before he moved, pushing his laptop aside as he pulled his legs to the floor and sat up leaning forward slightly, grin on his lips as he arched an eyebrow at her. “You know Sidekick…if you wanted a peek at the goods all you had to do was ask.”
Chloe let out a puff of air and rolled her eyes as she reached behind her and tossed a pillow at his head. He caught it and smirked before putting it behind his head and leaning back a cocky look on his face. “It’s okay you know. I don’t mind you ogling my ass…I ogle yours too…all the time actually, especially when you where those pencil skirts.”
He winked and Chloe let out an indignant snort as she stood another pillow in hand and slammed it into his mid section. He let out a small ‘oomph’ but gripped the edge of the pillow and yanked her toward him causing her to fall onto his lap.
His eyes drifted to the collar of her shirt as he lifted his head slightly while speaking, “Hmm good view from this angle…” She smacked the back of his head lightly and shook her head. “You are horrible and I’m starving. Feed me?”
He sighed, “If I have to…” He pushed her into a standing position so he could get up as he continued to speak. “You said you’re feeling better right?” She nodded as they made their way to the kitchen. “Yup.” She plopped down onto a stool as he pulled open the fridge.
“Better enough to go to that party we were invited to at the Ace of Clubs? We’ve sort of been holed up for two days and while that’s been great on our researching end, it hasn’t been so great for showing off out new found love.”
Chloe frowned slightly at the truth in the statement. She’d spent the last two days in bed resting and attempting to help Bruce figure out how all the components went together via email. Lois was supposed to be meeting her informant in person today and Oliver had said the team was going through possible connections in personnel.
They had their bases covered in the research department; it was time for her and Oliver to do their part. She cleared her throat and nodded, “Yeah that should be fine. Just let me know when to be ready.” Oliver turned to face her Tupperware in each hand.
“We’ll probably leave here at around five-thirty, leftover penne in vodka sauce or chicken Francaise?” Chloe raised an eyebrow at him. “What did you order takeout for the last two days? Oh my god you did…” He shrugged and she sighed. “Chicken.”
“Good choice.” She watched him go about heating it up and her lip turned up at the corner. She was about to say something about him waiting on her when the phone rang. Chloe reached over the island slightly to the base of the cordless phone and lifted it from the cradle.
Emil was shoving files into his bag and he paused shifting the phone to the side of his ear. “Chloe, hello I trust you’re feeling better.”
“Yup, right as rain…whatever that means.” She could hear him moving around before he coughed lightly, “I’m calling because there’s been an incident. Is Oliver there? Can I talk to him real quick?” Chloe bristled at his tone.
“Can you not talk to me?” When he spoke again she could hear the exasperation in his voice. “Chloe please…” She grunted before calling out to Oliver who had just taken one plate out of the microwave. “Hey hero, Emil wants to talk to you.”
Oliver passed her the plate before taking the phone from her and popping the other plate in the microwave. She listened as he spoke in hushed tones. Less than five minutes later he hung up and joined Chloe at the island. She nudged him slightly waiting for him to tell her what Emil had said.
He glanced up, a darkened look in his eyes. “Looks like we made an impression…it seems that Lois’s anonymous tipster has branched out. Apparently we just made the kidnappers hit list.” She took a deep breath taking in the tension in his body before glancing at her chicken. Chloe had a feeling things were about to get very interesting.
Courtney knocked as she pushed open the double doors to watchtower. “Anyone home?” she made her way into the room right as Victor popped his head out from behind one of the monitors with a smile. “Hey there short stuff, didn’t know you had a shift today.”
She smiled and shrugged as she moved towards the monitors ad stopped next to Victor. “I didn’t originally, but I swapped shifts with Dinah so she could spend some time with A.C…” She glanced around the room and bit her bottom lip before returning her gaze back to the man in front of her.
“So…umm…where’s Bart?” Victor attempted to control to control the grin on his face as he glanced at the monitors that were streaming Chloe and Oliver’s arrival at the Ace of Clubs. “He ran to Star City to pick up Mia, she was going to play look-out with him tonight to cover for Dinah. She must have forgot to mention that you were taking her shift.”
Courtney’s face fell slightly, “Oh…” She looked toward the screen watching how Oliver guided Chloe around the room as she spoke an air of nonchalance to her voice that even she wasn’t buying. “So…Bart and Mia are good friends huh?”
Victor stepped around Courtney and frowned as the words ‘Match Found’ blinked on the screen. He tilted his head to the side and pressed a few buttons so the name would pop up on the screen while he addressed Courtney. “I hate to be the one to break it to you short stuff, but Bart and Mia have been dating since she came out to visit Oliver a little over a month ago.”
Courtney’s shoulders sagged slightly and a pout slipped onto her features. It was no secret she liked Bart and while she and Mia had been competing for his attention for months, the other girl definitely had the advantage.
Bart’s home base was in Star City, which was where Mia resided most of the time. So he probably saw more of her giving them a chance to hang out and bond in a way that she and Bart hadn’t been able to. Courtney plopped down in one of the chairs and Victor gave her a sideways glanced before turning back to the computer.
“You okay kid?” She shrugged. “Yeah I’m okay…I don’t know…I like Bart. He’s funny and sweet and I guess I just thought since we had so much in common and we know each other’s secrets that we could have a relationship. Every guy I’ve ever dated I’ve had to lie to…and I’m just tired of it.”
He nodded while taking the name and entering it into the database to search for photos and records. “It can be hard…but you’ll find the person for you eventually.” He sent a smile her way and she gave him half of one in return right as the doors burst open again.
Mia chuckled as Bart held out the flower to her, “For the prettiest girl I know.” She rolled her eyes and shoved him lightly, but he caught her hand and brought it to his lips as she spoke. “Is there a reason you’re trying to butter me up?”
He shrugged as she entwined their hands as they started to walk towards Victor, “Not particularly. Although I was hoping that maybe at some point before you go back to Star City we could maybe tell Bossman and Chloelicious about our little…change in status.”
Mia groaned as he pulled her body to his wrapping an arm around her waist. “We gotta tell him at some point…be happy I can run fast, when he finds out it’s me he’s gonna try to kill me.” She chuckled lightly before brushing something off his shoulder. “Chloe already knows…I sort of told her when she took me shopping, but she promised not to say anything. Girl talk is strictly confidential.”
Victor coughed and they turned their heads in his direction as he motioned to the chair next to him with his eyes. Courtney gave a small smile and waved. “Hey guys.” Bart swallowed hard and moved apart from Mia who frowned at his reaction. “Hey Court…I didn’t realize you were gonna be here. You remember Mia right?”
Courtney nodded and stood as Bart took Mia’s hand in his after he noticed her frown. “Yeah…hi Mia.”
“Hey…” Victor could see the tension building and he decided now would be a good time to stick his nose where it didn’t belong. “Well…we found a match on the names…since we only need two people here for surveillance and I’m heading out for a bit, think you can check this out and do some recon Courtney?”
She gave Victor a thankful look as she nodded taking the print out from his hands, “I can definitely do that.” He nodded, “Grab a com and link up to Watchtower before you head out.” She nodded as she moved across the floor toward the cabinet where Chloe kept the extra communicators.
She took one, walked back over to the mainframe and synched it up with Watchtower, before linking it up, her stats immediately popping up on one of the screens. She grinned and turned her eyes towards Victor. “I never get tired of seeing it do that.”
He chuckled and put a friendly arm around her, “Come on girl, I’ll walk you out.”She let him lead her to the door as he spoke over his shoulder to Mia and Bart. “Behave you two, I’ll be back in a few hours.” They nodded as Victor and Courtney disappeared through the double doors.
Lois shivered slightly as she wrapped her coat tighter around herself and made her way down the empty side street. It had been a while since she’d heard from her source so when she got the email earlier today about a meet up she’d jumped at the chance.
She had just left The Ace of Clubs where she’d been covering an event for The Planet a good fifteen minutes ago and took a cab to downtown Metropolis. Lois had bumped into Chloe and Oliver and managed to talk to her cousin for a few minutes before they were whisked away by other guests.
She sighed pausing and glancing down at her phone, pulling up the email she received so she could double check the address. Her eyes scanned over the words before she glanced up at the building in front of her with a frown.
It was definitely the right place. It was dark outside and the only thing lighting her path were two street lamps that gave off an eerie glow. She jogged across the street and made her way up the front steps of the building. As her hand reached out gripping the handle of the door she paused a sudden chill running up her spine.
A strong breeze slid through the air and her hair flew up around her. Lois turned around and it seemed as if everything around her went into slow motion. She could feel eyes on her, but when she looked up there wasn’t anything or anyone there.
She took a hesitant step forward and the minute her heel clad foot touched the ground there was a clicking sound before a loud bang reverberated around her. Her brows furrowed as confusion settled on her face for about half a second before she gasped and stumbled.
She felt her body hit the ground with a hard thud and she pressed her hand against her side, warm liquid filling her hands. She swallowed a few times trying to moisten her throat. Coming out there alone without telling Clark or anyone exactly where she had been going was a stupid move, but she’d be damned if this was how she went out.
She was Lois Lane and there was no way she was dying on some street corner. She choked as she opened her mouth and screamed for Superman with the last ounce of energy she could manage before everything around her went black.
Oliver chuckled as Chloe wavered on her legs bumping into him. He wrapped an arm around her waist pulling her against his side as he arched an eyebrow at her. “You okay there Sidekick?” She rolled her eyes and leaned into his touch.
“I’m fine…why’d you let me drink so much champagne?” The elevator chimed, doors sliding open as he guided her out of it and into the hallway with a grin on his face. “You only had two and a half glasses…” It was true, he’d cut her off in the middle of her third glass.
Normally she wasn’t much of a drinker, but she’d spent the night attempting to drown out the thoughts of Oliver that had been filling her head. Sure they’d talked earlier in the day about what happened and how she’d over reacted, but now every time he touched her it was like a fire started inside her body…and he had touched her a lot tonight.
She cleared her throat and turned around to face him while scrunching her nose. “I know that…but I’m a light weight some of us aren’t champion drinkers Mr. Queen.” She could see the humor on his face as he reached out a finger and tapped her nose.
“Aren’t you adorable, come on…let’s get you to bed.” Chloe snorted, “I bet you say that to all the girls.” He smirked as his eyes traveled the length of her body. “Only the ones in green silk…tell me Sidekick…did you buy that dress for me?”
Chloe arched an eyebrow at the hint of mischief she caught in his eyes. Oh he wanted to play did he? Well two could play this game. She shifted back leaning against the hallway wall, her lips sliding into a seductive grin. “And what if I did? What are you gonna do about it Hero?”
Oliver pursed his lips at her words as he studied her intently trying to figure out what game she was playing. He took a step forward and when she didn’t move only tilted her head to the side, he kept moving until his body was touching hers.
He barely hesitated as he slid his callused hand down her waist to her hip. Oliver leaned in to her, voice low, breath hot against her ear. “This is a dangerous game you’re playing at Professor…I could make you cry Uncle before we even got started.”
Chloe licked her lips, her heart beat speeding up drastically, her whole being buzzing with energy at the feel of his body pressed against her. She let out a light moan arching herself against him slightly. “Prove it.” He tangled a hand in her hair pulling her head back gently so he could meet her eyes.
She could see the mixture of confusion and lust on his face as he tried to assess what was going on. He opened his mouth speaking hesitantly. “Chloe…I…how drunk are you?” She could feel her nerves take hold of her as she swallowed hard, voice soft.
“Drunk enough to admit I’ve thought about this before…not drunk enough that you should feel like you’re taking advantage of me.” Oliver gulped. Was she giving him the green light? Was she admitting she had feelings for him? That she wanted more from their friendship?
He was so completely thrown by the chain of events that he wasn’t quite sure what to do. He’d been sure that she didn’t think of him as anything more than a friend. She’d said so on numerous occasions. He felt her shift as she went to move away from him cheeks slightly flushed as she spoke.
“Forget it I…I don’t know what I was thinking…I should head to bed.” She was ridiculously embarrassed and just wanted to get away from him as fast as humanly possible. Chloe attempted to walk around him, but his hand gripped her arm and when she turned to tell him to let her go he leaned in cupping her cheek and brought his lips down on hers.
Chloe froze, her body tensing beneath his lips as he slowly, but purposefully wrapped an arm around her back and pulled her against him while nudging her lips with his, and coaxing her mouth to open beneath his ministrations.
Seconds later one of her hands slid up and gripped his tie, the other winding around his neck as she moaned into his mouth. He shifted, pushing her up against the wall as he continued to kiss her, one hand slipping down her body and palming her ass.
She broke her lips away from his sucking in air like a mad woman as his head descended to her neck. Warm lips placing feather light kisses against her skin before he opened his mouth and sucked hard on her pulse point. She gripped the back of his head, eyes fluttering closed as she felt a wave of moisture pool in her panties.
“Oh God…Ollie…” He felt himself harden at the sound of her using his nickname. Something she’d almost never done before. He groaned leaning his forehead against her neck as he nuzzled her there with his lips and mouth.
Oliver continued his assault on her neck as he moved a hand up her body cupping her breast, kneading lightly through the fabric of her dress to test the waters. He wasn’t exactly sure what was going on…or how far it was going and the last thing he wanted to do was make her uncomfortable.
Chloe arched into his hand, a gasp leaving her throat as he brushed a thumb against her hardened nipple. She let her hands slip down his body and pulled him toward her by his belt. She could feel him hard against her and she let out a loud moan, shifting her thighs to try and ease the tension building there between them.
“Ollie more…” He pulled away from her neck and took in the lust on her face as he licked his lips before meeting her eyes. He moved his hand down her leg and when he brought it back up her dress came with it. He gripped her thigh and hiked it up against his hip before pressing his body against hers.
With her dress out of the way she could feel the bulge in his jeans press into her as he rocked against her slowly, the friction from her panties driving her crazy. “Mmm… touch me…” He nearly lost it at her request.
He took his other hand and moved it agonizingly slow up her dress and the second she felt his fingers graze against her panties, a shrill ring rang out through the apartment. They both froze as if time had stopped. They ignored it, but didn’t move a muscle as the answering machine picked up Clark’s panicked voice coming through loud and clear. His words were like a bucket of ice water over their heads.
“Oliver…Chloe…where are you? We’ve been trying to reach you…we’re all at Metropolis General…it’s Lois…She was shot…”
Chapter Nine: The Man With The Answer