Banner By: Kyra_and_Co
Title: When The Levee Breaks
Rating: Hard R
Spoilers: Up through 8x22
Word Count: 74,583
Authors Note: Story title taken from Led Zeppelin’s song and based on this portion of the lyrics. “If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break; When The Levee Breaks I'll have no place to stay.” (Chapter titles are also taken from songs) Also, any tiny changes in events were specifically done to suit my story needs cause I'm a diva like that. JKJK but for real...
Chapter Art: A big thank you goes to Kyra_and_Co you’re awesome girly thanks so much for lending your talent to this story!
Dedication: This story was requested and written for My88ladybugs
Warning: Angst, but as you all know I’m a sucker for a happy ending…
Summary: When she lost everything, and her world came crashing down around her, he stood by her side and gave her a purpose, a reason to keep on believing. When he was broken and no longer believed in himself or the world around him, she let him be her knight, once again giving him a purpose, a reason to keep fighting. When an enemy from their past returns seeking to destroy their newfound connection, a single act of revenge could change their lives drastically putting the one person Chloe can no longer live without at risk.
‘Something I Can Never Have’
“In this place it seems like such a shame. Though it all looks different now, I know it's still the same I just want something. I just want something I can never have…”
—Nine Inch Nails
The elevator chimed and Chloe blinked glancing out of the metal box into the empty hallway. She took a shaky step forward and then another making her way into the hall towards the double doors several feet in front of her. Seconds later she paused in front of the doors picturing the room behind them, her mind flashing back to the moment everything had changed.
Her hands reached out gripping the door handles, fists curling into a vice like grip in an attempt to steady her body as her eyes slid shut trying to block out the image of Davis impaling Jimmy, blood bubbling from his lips. She sucked in a deep breath, a small sob muffled by her teeth biting into her bottom lip.
Her eyes fluttered open slowly as she counted to ten and blew out a small breath willing her body to calm down. It took another two minutes for her to compose herself enough to pull the doors open and walk inside the darkened room. Chloe glanced around, the emptiness filling her with the kind of dread that made being buried alive seem like getting off easy.
She took a few steps into the room lifting her hands to her black jacket, fingers slowly working at the buttons. They jacket felt heavy, but even when she finally got it off and placed it over the single chair next to the small folding table, the pressure was still there.
The sound of her heels hitting the concrete floor as she made her way over to the white plastic bag on the table echoed through the room, the sound only serving to remind her that she was now alone. Clark was gone. He hadn’t showed up at Jimmy’s funeral and when Bart and Dinah arrived the younger man had come baring a note from their alien friend.
Chloe didn’t bother reading it. She had gotten rid of it when she first entered the building downstairs. One thing she didn’t need right now was another Clark Kent apology. She pressed her hand against the table and lowered herself into the seat carefully.
Clark wasn’t the only one missing in action. Lois had disappeared and between the world almost ending, the police investigation, and the funeral arrangements she hadn’t had much time to search for her wayward cousin. And then there was Dinah and Bart.
While they both attended Jimmy’s funeral and stayed by her side it wasn’t difficult to see that neither of them were comfortable being there. It was clear that they felt obligated and so they stood beside her as she watched them lower Jimmy’s body into the ground.
Her husband…the man who never really knew her until it was too late. The man she betrayed with a monster…the man who if it hadn’t been for her would probably still be alive today, making corny jokes and taking life a day at a time, without a chip on his shoulder.
Instead his last few months alive had been a blur of lies, pain and addiction. Her presence in his life had brought nothing but darkness and in his moment of redemption for the cruelty that she had created in him, he was murdered in cold blood.
That’s what loving her brought. Death. No wondering everyone around her was leaving, how could she blame them? She was poison…she ruined everything she touched. Chloe’s chest tightened as her eyes once again fell on the small plastic bag.
She stared at it for a long time before reaching forward and pulling out the rectangular box. It was heavy in her hands, like everything else seemed to be lately even her own body. She felt like the weight of the world was balancing against her shoulders and she wasn’t sure how much longer she could hold out.
She pushed herself out of the chair, box clutched tightly in her palm, the echo of her heels once again filling the room as she made her way to the bathroom, to find out how cruel fate truly was. She pushed the door open, stepped inside and took another deep breath as shaky hands worked the box open, the small plastic covered stick falling into the sink.
This was it. The moment she’d been putting off since the thought occurred to her because really how much could one person take at once? How could someone like her…someone with blood on her hands and a fractured heart ever be a parent?
Chloe reached into the white porcelain sink, pulled out the test and unwrapped it. The actual process only took her about five minutes to complete and after washing her hands and placing the stick on top of the sink she sunk onto the closed toilet hands falling onto her lap.
Three minutes…that was the amount of time it would take to determine her future. Three minutes and she would find out if there was one thing left of Jimmy after all. Chloe sat silently and still even after her three minutes were up. She didn’t want to know, didn’t want to have to face that kind of a choice when her life was already crumbling around her.
When had things gone so wrong? When had she gotten so off track? When did she start blurring the lines of right and wrong and good and bad? How did she get to this point? Widowed, alone, and broken. She felt an overwhelming sense of foreboding in the pit of her stomach as she stood and lifted the stick in an unsteady hand lifting it up so she could see the read out.
The small red plus sign stared back at her and she felt the weight crashing, slamming through her at full force, a heart wrenching sob erupting from her throat, her hand flying to her chest and her back hitting the wall as her body slid down it until she hit the ground.
The stick fell to the ground with a loud thud as she pulled her legs up until she could wrap her arms around her knees. Her heartbeat throbbing in her ears as the tears came streaming down. Chloe’s body was wracked with sobs as she sat huddled in the corner of the dark bathroom on the cold tile floor.
She squeezed her eyes shut and leaned her head back against the wall as the tears laid a steady stream down her cheeks. She wanted it to be a dream…she wanted to pretend this wasn’t happening to her. That Jimmy wasn’t murdered, Clark hadn’t really abandoned her and that Lois was just on vacation.
That she hadn’t betrayed the team and most of all that she wasn’t pregnant with her dead husband’s baby. She had always wanted a normal life, it was one of the main reasons she married Jimmy, but Chloe knew now it had all just wishful thinking. A normal life was something she could never have. This was her life now…her burden to bear. She’d gotten Jimmy killed and this was her punishment.
The sun was beginning to set and the wind picking up speed. The grounds had long since been deserted but Oliver couldn’t bring himself to leave the freshly dug grave before him. He stood there hands clasped in front of him head bowed slightly as his jaw clenched.
Tension coiled low in his stomach making him feel physically ill as he thought about the part he played in Jimmy’s death. How he used him instead of helping him. It was always the ends justified the means…until it no longer did. The glasses that were still perched on his face hid red-rimmed eyes filled with guilt.
He should have seen the problem earlier; he should have been able to figure out what was going on with Chloe and what she was doing before it was too late. But instead he was busy getting revenge on Lex, satisfying his own needs instead of looking out for his friends.
What kind of hero was he? Oliver had led Jimmy astray. He’d taken a broken man and destroyed him beyond the pint of recognition. He didn’t deserve to call himself a hero. He wasn’t. Oliver was a murderer. He had killed Lex in cold blood and if he was being honest with himself he didn’t regret it.
But there in lied the problem. Oliver no longer knew what right and wrong was. Somewhere between what happened with Lex and kidnapping Chloe to get her away from Davis, he had lost his sense of direction…his sense of purpose and in the end Jimmy had been the one to suffer for it.
He shivered slightly, but ignored it the lack of a jacket in the cool Metropolis night not even fazing him. He was numb. A person could only take so much before falling over the ledge and Oliver had, had his far share. What was the point of being Green Arrow, running a team and helping people when in the end the bad guys won anyway?
He lied to himself constantly, telling himself if they worked hard enough, did enough research, saved enough people that in the end the wins far our weighed the loses, but Oliver was pretty sure that was never true. Every loss hit him with the force of a Mack truck especially the ones that were collateral damage, like Jimmy.
The guy was nice enough, he seemed to treat Chloe alright at least before their marriage from hell and he was pretty sure Clark had approved of him but he forced her to lie to him. Sure he’d never come out and told her she couldn’t tell Jimmy about the league, about Clark…about him, but it was implied.
So, she lied and those lies built up causing problems between her and Jimmy and by the time he finally new the truth and accepted it he was murdered right in front of her by the person she’d been trying to save. Oliver let out a long breath, a small puff of smoke leaving his mouth as the heat mingled with the cold air.
He had failed. Not just Chloe and Jimmy, but the team...the city and himself. His chest tightened at the mess he’d found when he Bart and Dinah had finally made it to the building Jimmy had bought for Chloe. She’d been kneeling in his blood cradling his body, blood dripping from the side of his mouth as she sobbed.
It was a sight that he would never be able to forget, a sight that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Oliver finally lifted his head and glanced around the now dark cemetery before willing his feet to move. He gave the grave one more glance before turning around and walking away.
His car wasn’t far, but if felt like he was walking miles to get there. His body felt heavy, like he was trying to drag lead around with him. When he finally made it to the walkway, the scuffling of his shoes hitting the ground echoed around him and he realized how alone he truly was.
Dinah and Bart had already left for California, Clark had taken off right after Doomsday was destroyed and Lois…he wasn’t even sure where she’d disappeared to. He reached the car and pulled out his keys pressing the button to his keyless entry listening to the car beep before pulling the door open with a heavy heart.
Now it was his turn to disappear into the night. He got in the car slowly and shut the door behind him, but he didn’t turn on the car he just sat there quietly, his head falling into his hands as a single tear slid down his cheek. Oliver was suffocating. He couldn’t be a leader anymore.
He couldn’t be the man that people turned to for guidance anymore because the truth was he was more lost than any of them. He needed to distance himself from Metropolis…try to find himself again. He couldn’t sit in the city where everything had fallen apart for him.
The place where he learned his parents were murdered. The place where he crossed that line and became a murderer himself. The place where he got innocent people killed. No, it was time to say goodbye to Metropolis and all the damage it had done him.
He knew he had one stop to make before he could take off on his jet and never look back. After everything they’d been through, after everything he was responsible for, he needed to stop by and say goodbye to Chloe. It was the least he could do.
Oliver started the car and pulled away from the curb, his mind a flutter with so many different thoughts that he couldn’t focus, but there was one thing that wouldn’t seem to leave him alone, one thought he couldn’t seem to shake.
He had an overwhelming feeling that kept poking him in the back of the head telling him he was running away from his problems, that leaving town wouldn’t solve anything, but he didn’t have a reason to stay. He was no longer needed, everyone was gone.
He wanted to pretend he was dreaming. That he hadn’t killed Lex and the team was up and running saving the day as usual. That he was fine and Chloe hadn’t gone off reservation to try and protect Davis despite their warnings. That everything he had worked so hard for wasn’t crumbling down around him.
He had always envied people with normal lives it was something he himself had never had, but always wanted. It was one of the main reasons he had taken over his father’s company and started the league, but Oliver knew now it had all just wishful thinking. A normal life was something he could never have. This was his life now…rattled with his guilt and wallowing in despair. He’d gotten Jimmy killed and this was his punishment.
Chapter One: Burden of Sacrifice