Banner By: Kyra_and_Co
Chapter One: Burden of Sacrifice
‘I’m In Here’
“I'm crying out, I'm breaking down, I am fearing it all, Stuck inside these walls, Tell me there is hope for me. Is anybody out there listening?” –Sia
Chloe sat silently in the passenger seat of the black Range Rover, her hands playing with the hem of her shirt, gaze trained on the window as her eyes glanced over the rain coated streets. She tilted her head slightly her gaze straying towards the sky. It was darkened with smoldering gray storm clouds and the only sound in the car was the plop of large rain drops splashing against the windshield.
It had been two days since she had broken down in Oliver’s arms and he announced that he was staying in Metropolis. That night when she had agreed to let him help her, she had been feeling vulnerable, but ever since the voicemail that he’d sent her last night saying he set up an appointment for her with Emil, she’d been having second thoughts.
There was so much she didn’t know about Oliver and while he was one of the good guys, everything he’d said to her the other night had hurt. It had wrenched open a wound that she wasn’t ready to face and Chloe had been feeling off kilter since then.
But this morning when he’d picked her up for her appointment, she had pushed the uneasiness aside because Oliver was the only one left. Everyone else had left her, but he had stayed. It might not be a lot and it certainly didn’t fix everything, but it was a start.
Chloe’s body jerked forward as the truck hit a pothole and she winced while bringing her hand to her abdomen. Her stomach was churning, it was barely nine in the morning and she’d already thrown up twice. Oliver glanced at her brows furrowed as he addressed the quiet woman beside him.
“Are you alright?” She nodded her voice quiet. “Yes, my stomach is just a little upset.” Oliver turned his gaze back to the road his hands tightening on the wheel as he nodded. “Are you going to be sick? Should I pull over?” He wasn’t really sure what to do and the fact that Chloe hadn’t said much since he picked her up made things slightly awkward.
He knew she was still angry about what he said the other day, and eventually they were going to have to talk about it, but he didn’t want to stress her out. Chloe let out a sigh and crossed her arms resting them against her chest.
“No, I’m fine. No need to worry about your precious car, I promise not to throw up in it.” His eyes drifted to her stiff body and he pursed his lips, a hint of irritation in his voice when he spoke. “That isn’t what I meant…and you know it. I don’t care about the damn car…I can always just buy another one.”
She snorted slightly and gave him a sideways glance, “That’s right…I forgot who I was talking to for a second.” His jaw clenched and it took more effort than he cared to admit to keep from biting her head off. “You know what Chloe why don’t we just not talk…that way neither one of us says something we might regret later.”
She shrugged. “Fine by me, I don’t know why you insisted on picking me up anyway…I have my own car…I didn’t need a ride. Besides it’s not like you’re under any kind of obligation to come with me…I mean I appreciate the appointment and all, but you tagging along was unnecessary.”
Oliver signaled and then turned right heading onto the main road before driving several more feet and turning left into the hospital’s main entrance. She swallowed hard, his face turning stony as he shook his head, voice hard. “It’s not going to work…I’m not leaving.”
He drove a little further going towards the outpatient parking lot and pulled the car into an open spot before killing the engine and turning in his seat to face the startled looking blonde as he continued speaking. “I know what you’re doing…you’re trying to make me want to leave, but guess what Chloe…you can sit here, you can hate me, yell at me, tell me I’m nothing more than a worthless piece of trash and I’ll still be here in the morning.”
He met her eyes and she could see the truth in his brown orbs as a hint of tears filled her eyes and she swallowed hard. He tilted his head slightly making sure their gazes were still connected. “Do you hear me? I am not leaving…now that we have that out of the way if you’re done being a bitch Emil is probably waiting for us.”
He grabbed his keys out of the ignition, pushed the car door open and slammed it shut pocketing the keys and starting towards the building at an extremely slow pace. Chloe sat frozen in the car staring at his back not entirely sure what to feel about his outburst.
She sucked in a deep breath, unbuckled her seatbelt and got out of the car, closing the door quietly behind her before moving quickly to catch up to Oliver. He had seen right through her attempts at being strong and called her on her bullshit.
As they made their way across the parking lot Chloe saw the first hint of darkness in the sky receding, pulling back to reveal a light blue patch of sky and that’s when she felt it. The small nudging inside of her, bubbling up in her chest…a hint of hope that maybe…just maybe Oliver’s words would serve to be true and he would stay where everyone else had left.
Emil stared at the two adults across from his desk, eyebrow raised, lips pursed. To say he was startled when Oliver called him yesterday would be putting it mildly. It was safe to say that he never thought Oliver Queen would be coming to him for this type of issue, then again in their line of work it wasn’t something you saw often.
His eyes traveled over the pale blonde, her weight noticeably lighter than the last time he’d seen her. He frowned as she sat eyes downcast while fidgeting with something in her lap. From what he could tell, her body language was sending off an extremely closed off vibe and Oliver wasn’t really looking any better.
He turned to him noting the tension in the other man’s body as his hands gripped the arms of the chair he was sitting in. After several minutes of silence Emil assumed neither one of them were going to say anything so he cleared his throat and spoke, eyes on Chloe.
“It’s good to see you Chloe…I never got a chance to give you my condolences at the funeral, you left too quickly.” She glanced up at Emil, slightly startled at the knowledge that he’d attended Jimmy’s funeral and gave him a small smile, that didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Thank you…and it’s nice to see you too Emil.”
Oliver gave Emil a look and the doctor lifted the folder on the desk as he stood changing the subject while smiling at Chloe and pointing toward the door. “Anyway, we’re all set here if you want to go into the other room and change into the gown.”
Chloe nodded and when she pushed herself out of her chair Oliver followed her lead and stood. She looked over at him and arched an eyebrow. “What are you doing?” He blinked a confused expression crossing his face when he realized she was talking to him. “Coming with you?”
“I’m going to change…” Oliver paused and reached a hand back scratching the back of his neck. “Right…sorry then I guess I’m not coming.” Chloe shook her head. “No, you’re not.” Emil glanced between them noticing the tension and he made a noise in the back of his throat.
“Well go on Chloe, Oliver and I will wait for you in the examination room.” She nodded before silently making her way towards the bathroom. When the door shut behind her she leaned against it body sagging slightly as her chest tightened.
She bent over slightly and took several deep breaths trying to calm the anxiety building in her. She could do this. She had to do this. Chloe let out a long breath and carefully began stripping off her blouse and then her pants. She tossed the gown over her head, folded her clothes and left them on the toilet in the small bathroom.
Oliver had followed Emil into the examination room that was connected to his private office and stood off to the side hands in his pockets. He could feel the older man’s eyes on him and finally his patients snapped. “What?” He frowned at the blonde haired man and shook his head.
“Nothing…I just hope you know what you’re doing Oliver.” He rolled his eyes before turning in Emil’s direction. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Emil frowned, washing and drying his hands before setting the table up for Chloe and getting the things he’d need for her examination ready.
“It’s supposed to mean that this is a delicate situation. This is a commitment and I’m not quite sure you understand that. Have you thought about what’s going to happen after the baby is born? Even more than that…from what I can see the two of you aren’t exactly getting along…”
Oliver pursed his lips and sighed running a frustrated hand through his hair. “Don’t you think I know that? Look I don’t have all the answers right now. Chloe and I…we’ve got a lot to talk about…a lot of things to work out in general. But right now I want to focus on her and the baby okay…I’ll worry about everything else later.”
Emil watched him closely a hint of disappointment in his eyes as he spoke quietly. “Whatever you’re trying to do…whatever darkness you’re trying to fight…if you don’t get it out you’ll never be able to fix it…” Oliver opened his mouth, but before he could say anything Chloe appeared in the doorway.
He took in the sight of her and he could see the nervousness coming off her his waves. He gave her a tight smile and tilted his head to the side as he spoke. “Hey…” His voice trailed off and Chloe wrapped her arms around herself feeling slightly more exposed then she was comfortable with as she met Oliver’s eyes.
“Hi.” Emil quickly ushered her into the room and had her sit on the table as he stood in front of them and addressed them both as he spoke. “I’m going to tell you a little bit about what we’ll be doing here today, that way you know what’s going on okay?”
She nodded and Oliver folded his arms over his chest a look of concentration on his face as Emil continued to speak. “Since this is your first visit it will be slightly longer than the rest. We’re going to determine your due date, I’ll need to collect some health history from you on your late husband and get some information on both your families’ medical histories.”
Chloe bit her bottom lip as she glanced at Emil. “Okay…anything else?” He nodded as he opened the folder. “I’m also going to be determining the risk factors for your pregnancy, but since you 22 and in good health I don’t think there will be too much of a problem there. We’ll start with the physical and then move on to the pelvic exam before I draw some blood.”
Chloe gave Emil a fleeting smile as she spoke. “Ready when you are doc.” Oliver watched as Emil moved forward and started by taking her blood pressure. Several minutes later he heard her gasp softly and Emil’s whispered apology about the stethoscope being cold.
Oliver shifted leaning against the wall as Emil wrote down a few notes in his book before guiding Chloe over to the scale as he spoke. “I have most of your history on file as well as you’re families. Tell me a little bit about Jimmy. Does he have any known hereditary diseases?”
She moved onto the scale and he fiddled with the measurements as she spoke a frown on her face. “I…I don’t know.” Emil glanced at the numbers on the scale and continued talking not noticing how Chloe’s body had tensed beside him.
“Well did Jimmy have any medical conditions to your knowledge?” Chloe’s heart sunk as she stood there silently. It was in that moment that she realized just how little about Jimmy she actually knew. Her eyes teared up, voice soft. “I don’t know.” Emil frowned as he wrote something down in the folder he was holding.
“Well you must--” His words were cut off by Oliver’s voice echoing through the room. “Leave it alone Emil.” The older man glanced up at Oliver confused when he nodded his head towards a visibly upset Chloe. Emil cleared his throat and motioned towards the table.
“Sorry…it’s not a big deal; we can figure it out later. Have a seat and remove the top part of your gown, we’ll do a quick breast exam and then on to the pelvic exam.” Chloe paused and Oliver was suddenly feeling extremely uncomfortable. He pushed himself away from the wall and motioned towards the door.
“I’m gonna go wait outside…” As he was passing Chloe her arm shot out, small hand curling gently around his forearm catching his attention. He looked over his shoulder at her and she caught his gaze a hint of vulnerability in her eyes as she spoke. “Don’t leave…”
Oliver stared at her for several minutes before turning and once again moving towards the corner of the room. Chloe let out a sign of relief and he turned his back to give her some privacy. His hands rhythmically clenched and unclenched as he stood there, wishing he was anywhere but where he actually was at the moment.
But he’d made a promise to himself that he was see this through, that he would do anything the woman in front of him asked because if Jimmy was here that's what he would do. The exam took less than ten minutes and when he heard shifting he peaked over his shoulder to see Chloe laying back and Emil situating himself between her legs.
He kept towards her head watching as their friend worked and spoke calmly to the blonde in front of him. “Okay, we’ve got the pap out of the way. I want you to relax your body. I’m going to insert two fingers so I can determine the size of your uterus.”
Chloe nodded as Emil placed a hand on her abdomen before proceeding with the bimanual exam. Oliver watched her wince slightly as her hands gripped the sides of the table while Emil continued to coax her to calm down. Ten minutes later he was on his feet again moving towards a machine as he glanced up looking at Oliver then back at Chloe.
“Last part guys and then we’ll take some blood, give you a prescription for prenatal vitamins and you’re out of here.” Chloe pushed herself up onto her elbows as she spoke a hint of curiosity coloring her tone. “Is that the Doppler?” He nodded and Oliver took a few steps closer so he was standing right beside Chloe, voice light. “What’s a Doppler?”
Before Emil could say anything she spoke turning her head sideways so she could see him. “It’s a machine that uses ultrasound waves to check the baby’s heart beat.” Oliver’s eyes widened slightly as he glanced at Emil. “Will we hear it today?”
He shook his head as he set up the ultrasound machine next to the Doppler. “I’m not sure. Once we take a peek inside I’ll be able to determine how far along Chloe is and we’ll go from there.” They both nodded as Emil lifted the small piece of machinery and place it under Chloe’s gown over her abdomen as he glanced at the screen in front of them.
A few minutes later he smiled before turning towards the two people in front of him squinting at the screen. “Well here it is…you’re around 9 weeks pregnant…see that right there?” he motioned towards the screen, “that’s your baby. Congratulations Chloe…”
She stared at the small image on the screen as tears sprung to her eyes. That was her baby. She was going to be a Mother. The thought both terrified and exhilarated her. There were so many different emotions flying through her that she was afraid she might actually break down again in the middle of Emil’s office.
Chloe could feel the pressure of Oliver’s hand on the table as he glanced over her shoulder at the black and white image. She reached to the side hesitating slightly before taking his hand, eyes never once straying from the still image of her child.
His throat constricted when he felt her hand grasp his and he had to keep himself from breaking down in the middle of Emil’s office. Emotion overwhelmed him, and he squeezed her hand lightly letting her know he was there and wasn’t going anywhere even as he berated himself in his head for ruining her child’s life.
Emil’s voice broke through their thoughts as he addressed them. “Do you want a picture?” Their answers were simultaneous. “Yes.” They gave each other a startled look, but said nothing. Chloe broke their stare first as Emil pressed a few buttons on the machine and told her she could get dressed before he took the blood he needed.
Chloe stared at the screen before nodding, releasing Oliver’s hand carefully and sliding off the table. That picture would serve as her reminder…it would make sure she knew what she was fighting for…what she had left and that even though she was afraid, there was still hope left for her.
Oliver watched her head towards the bathroom to change before turning his eyes back on the screen. He wasn’t sure if Chloe thought it was weird that he wanted a copy of the ultrasound and honestly he didn’t care if she thought it was weird.
That picture would be his reminder…it would keep him on track…show him that there was a reason to keep on fighting and help pull him through when the darkness overwhelmed him. It would remind him that being there, helping this child and Chloe there was still hope for him in the form of redemption, something Oliver couldn’t help but seek.
The ride back to Chloe’s place in the center of town was quiet, but a lot less tense. Emil had given her a prescription for prenatal vitamins, told her it was time to limit the coffee intake and explained to them how important the first trimester was to a pregnancy. He also not too subtly implied it was time to start taking better care of herself.
She let out a short sigh, eyes once again on the window and that’s when she noticed it had finally stopped raining. She chanced a glance at Oliver out of the corner of her eye and noticed the faraway look on his face. She wondered what was going through his head…why he was really there and why he stayed even after how horrible she was being to him.
Then again what he’d said to her had stung…even if it was the truth, to know that, that was how he saw her now…it broke another piece inside of her. She and Oliver had never been exceptionally close, but they’d had a mutual respect for the other and a trust that went deeper than most.
Seeing how far she’d fallen through his eyes was almost as bad as the guilt that was threatening to take over. But still…there he was taking her to doctor’s appointments and driving her around and it made her feel the sudden urge to apologize for how she’d been acting.
Chloe took a deep breath and broke the silence in the car right as Oliver pulled up outside the building. “I’m sorry.” He seemed startled by her words and as he put the car in park and turned to her, eyebrow raised in question. “Sorry?”
She nodded. “For acting the way I did earlier.” He gave her a thoughtful look and then shrugged. “You’re angry…I get it, but you agreed to let me help you. You accepted my offer so you need to stop trying to make me leave every chance you get, because it’s not gonna happen.”
She glanced down at her hands and nodded. “I know. I just…everyone’s gone. Clark took off…I can’t find Lois…our team,” she paused and looked up at him, “I mean your team…everyone’s just gone.” Her chest tightened the claustrophobic feeling closing in on her as she held back tears.
Oliver pursed his lips hating to see her like this, knowing he was part of the problem. “I know…and it might not mean a lot, but I’m here Chloe. I don’t know what I need to do to make you understand that I’m not going anywhere.”
She let out a shaky breath. “I know…I’m sorry…you know I should just go…” She reached for the door handle and he stopped her causing her to look at him. He faltered for a second before speaking. “Are you going to be living here?”
She inclined her head. “Yes, why?” Oliver knew she wasn’t going to like what he had to say, but he had a plan that he thought would help both of them and maybe even give them a chance to talk through some of their issues so he could apologize properly for the things he had said to her.
“Well this place isn’t exactly up to code…and I sort of have this idea…but in order for it to work it would require you coming to stay at the penthouse with me for a little while.” She was already opening her mouth to protest, but he held up a hand to stop her.
“It would only be temporary, I promise and you could have the guest room. You would have most days to yourself since I’m at the office and right now with the baby…until we get this place fixed up, seal up the drafts, clean it out, add some light…it’s not really everyday livable.”
He tilted his head when he saw her considering his offer and he gave her the tiniest hint of a smile. “Besides…this idea, I think it would be a good project for you…something to keep you busy…get your mind off…things.”
She frowned at him and crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t need a distraction Oliver.” He huffed slightly, brows furrowing. “Why do you need to give me such a hard time with everything when I’m only trying to help? Just…come with me…pack a small bag, come home with me and I’ll explain my plan…just trust me.”
He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth and her body tensed. He swallowed heavily as her eyes turned angry, voice steady as she spoke. “Why should I?” Oliver’s jaw hardened and his gaze didn’t waver from hers. “Because you don’t have any other options, it’s me or nothing…like it or not I’m all you’ve got right now.”
They sat like that for several minutes neither one willing to relinquish until finally Chloe glanced away. She pushed open the door and as she was stepping out she spoke voice low not bothering to turn around. “Give me twenty minutes.” She didn’t wait for his answer just shut the door behind her and disappeared quickly into the building.
The minute she was gone Oliver slumped in his seat resting his head against the headrest as he let out a shaky breath. It looked like this was going to be a lot harder than he had originally anticipated. They always did say the road to redemption was a rocky path, and boy was he hitting boulders.
Chapter Three: Fix You