Banner By: Kyra_and_Co
Chapter Seven: Ashes and Wine
‘Something Good Coming’
“I need some time, get my life on track. I know that look on your face, but there’s something lucky about this place. And there’s something good coming, for you and me. Something good coming, there has to be.” –Tom Petty
Chloe groaned nose scrunching as the alarm on the dresser beeped loudly. She shifted bumping into a warm body causing her eyes to flutter open, the light beaming through the window casting a shadow in front of her. There was a grunt from the body next to her his arm wrapping around her, hand precariously close to her breast.
Oliver’s muffled voice broke the silence in the room. “Shut it off…now before I break it.” Chloe reached up slapping the clock once and then twice finally making the noise stop. She grunted and tilted her head glaring at the man behind her. “Get off of me…”
He made a noise but no attempt at moving so she shoved at his hand lightly. “This is not ideal…you keep groping me in my sleep Oliver…if I thought you were such a closet bed pervert I would have made you sleep on the couch downstairs.”
He pulled his arm away from her carefully as he turned onto his back slowly, his side still extremely sore from where he was stabbed about a week ago. A smirk pulled at his lips as he spoke. “Come on Sidekick…you know me…how you could not know I’m a pervert in bed is beyond me...besides I’m wounded you can’t make me sleep on the couch.”
She rolled her eyes and sat up pouting slightly. “I don’t want to go to school.” Oliver laughed lightly turning his head towards the blonde sitting up leaning against the headboard beside him. “You have to go…there are only a few weeks left and then…you’ll be a college graduate…ohh that would be a good reason to have a party…I haven’t thrown one in so long…Can we have a party?”
His voice trailed off as she shook her head and tossed the covers back before getting out of bed. She walked over to the closet pulling it open and leaning against the door trying to figure out what to wear. Oliver pushed himself up so he was half lying down half sitting up and watched her.
Her black nightgown came slightly past her mid thigh and her hair was mused as she stood on her toes. He yawned when he heard her stomach growl and she frowned rubbing her expanding waistline. Oliver cleared his throat. “Hungry?”
She turned towards him and nodded. “Yeah…I’m gonna get dressed and make some breakfast. I’ll bring some up to you before I leave for class.” Oliver shook his head, threw off the covers and stood slowly, wincing as he stretched out his muscles.
Chloe frowned and made her way over to him, pressing a hand against his naked torso. “Stop…where are you going?” He arched an eyebrow at her. “Downstairs to make you some breakfast.” She shook her head. “No lay back down.” He frowned at her.
“Chloe I’m fine…I’ve been cooped up in this room for nearly seven days…I appreciate the Mother hen act, but I might actually lose my mind if I have to sit in this room any longer. You’ve been very diligent about taking care of me and I appreciate it, but you shouldn’t be running around the way you have been lately. It’s not good for mini Chloe.”
Her lip twitched as she rested her arms over her chest. “Mini Chloe?” He shrugged glancing at her stomach. “Would you prefer bun in the oven? Oh or how about the cantaloupe…that’s sort of what it looks like now…except you know a little less round…”
He pursed his lips at the look on her face and scratched the back of his neck. “I went too far with the cantaloupe didn’t I?” She nodded and he gave her a sheepish smile. “Sorry…speaking of when’s the next appointment with Emil?”
She shrugged as she moved back around him towards the closet pulled out a pair of stretch jeans and shirt. “I’m not sure, next week I think…Will you ask him when he stops by to check on you today?” Oliver’s head perked up.
“Is he clearing me for activity today?” Chloe snorted before speaking. “No…he’s checking the wound to see how it’s healing and honestly I don’t think walking down all those stairs is going to be good for you.” She turned to face him and he frowned as he spoke.
“Yeah two things I’m definitely regretting at this point with our little redue…all the stairs and the fact that there’s no guest room…I mean really what was I thinking?” She walked over to him while shrugging. “Probably that I wouldn’t need one since nobody’s around…”
Her voice trailed off and he felt a stab of pain in the vicinity of his chest as he glanced at her face and the light tone of her voice. He took a step closer rubbing her arm hesitantly. “Chloe…” She shook her head and gave him half a smile while waving him off. “It’s fine…I’m sorry I didn’t mean that. I’m gonna go shower. I’ll meet you downstairs okay?”
He nodded. “Yeah okay.” He watched her head into the bathroom and shut the door behind her. He let out a small sigh. He knew her words weren’t meant to be harsh, more along the lines of self deprecating, but he couldn’t help feeling bad because at the time that was probably exactly what he’d been thinking.
Chloe’s shower didn’t last long and thirty minutes later she made her way down the spiral staircase fully clothed and ready to start her day. When her foot hit the last step she took a deep breath the smell of eggs and bacon permeating the air.
Her stomach grumbled again and she made her way towards the kitchen area to find Oliver standing over the stove in nothing but a pair of sweats. She took a minute to take him in the muscles in his back expanding and contracting with his movements.
She smiled slightly, happy that he was up again and moving around. When he’d first woken up after Emil came back he had wanted to get up head back to his place and do a whole bunch of things he shouldn’t be doing and she’d put a stop to it immediately.
Chloe had insisted he stay at Watchtower until he was cleared to get up and start moving around. They had spoken to Oliver’s office and explained he was slightly injured in an accident and would be working from home until further notice.
When the board got antsy saying they couldn’t have both ‘owners’ MIA Oliver agreed to check in with the office through phone and video chat at least once a day. So while she was at school he used the monitors and computer equipment at Watchtower to work. He’d been using his laptop from upstairs, but she had a feeling that now that he was downstairs he’d be messing around with the large console.
He must have felt her eyes on him because he turned and gave her a small smile. “Hey you’re just in time. Breakfast is ready.” Her eyes lit up slightly as she moved into the kitchen. “Good…we’re hungry.” He nodded pushing the eggs onto two plates and then splitting the bacon between them giving Chloe some extra.
As he put the plates on the small table she moved to the fridge and got them some drinks before sitting across from him. They ate in comfortable silence for a few minutes before Oliver cleared his throat speaking without looking at her.
“I know you’re sort of busy with school and everything, but I was hoping maybe you wouldn’t mind doing me a favor at some point.” She glanced up at him a raised an eyebrow in question. “What kind of favor?” He sighed finally looking up at her.
“I need to try and find out a little bit more about this person who bought Tess’s shares in the company. It’s causing a lot of trouble for me and I was also hoping you wouldn’t mind looking into the warehouses she purchased before she left…”
She studied his face and could see the genuine concern there. Oliver never talked about it, but she knew how important his company was to him. Chloe nodded, “Sure…I’ll get on it as soon as I get back from class.” He smiled. “Thanks.”
She nodded pulling the last bit of eggs into her mouth. “Not a problem.” He took a sip of orange juice and after swallowing nodded his head towards the computers in the other room. “Any luck finding the rest of the team?” Chloe gave him a sheepish look.
“I was able to find Dinah, but after you got hurt I sort paused in that little adventure…I’ll start up again soon. Victor and AC shouldn’t be too hard to find. It was Dinah and Bart I was most worried about…those two sure know how to disappear.”
Oliver nodded laughing lightly. “Yeah, they definitely do.” A couple of minutes later Chloe finished the last of her juice and stood putting everything in the sink before turning toward Oliver pointing at him as she spoke. “I have to go, but I expect you to behave. Do not overwork yourself and try finding a shirt…you do know what those are right? Or do you normally walk around half naked?”
Oliver’s brows furrowed as he glanced down at his chest giving Chloe a slight pout as he looked up, tone slightly indignant. “You know there are tons of woman who would kill to wake up to me half naked…I’m one of Metropolis’s top ten most eligible bachelors.” Chloe rolled her eyes. “Well those women probably don’t know you hog the covers and grope certain body parts in your sleep…”
He smirked. “Most woman like that too…” She gave him a reprimanding look, but there was a hint of amusement in her eyes. “This one doesn’t. I’ll be back a little after 12.” He nodded as she walked passed him and he called over his shoulder. “Cut a guy some slack…those midnight groppings which I still think you’re making up is all he action I’ve had in months…”
She grabbed her purse and keys chuckling to herself as she pushed open the double doors, “Goodbye Oliver,” and made her way towards the elevator leaving a half naked Oliver pouting sullenly in her kitchen.
Oliver sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly while watching Emil’s face as the older man leaned over him with the stethoscope. “Well?” Emil sighed moving back and pinching the bridge of his nose under his glasses before speaking.
“Oliver…you cannot head out on patrol yet. It’s only been seven days since you were stabbed, your body is healing quite nicely, but if you do too much too soon…just don’t over exert yourself. You’re injury was serious…I’m half surprised you’re doing this well so soon.”
He frowned as he started to button up his shirt while speaking. “What are you talking about? You said it wasn’t too bad…” Emil started putting his equipment away while giving Oliver and pointed look. “While Chloe was standing beside you…I didn’t want to upset her…but that first night Oliver…I won’t lie I had doubts that you were going to make it.”
He swallowed hard seeing the seriousness in Emil’s eyes. Well that look was never good, surprisingly though as strange as it sounded Oliver was happy for what happened. Things between him and Chloe in the past week had really done a one eighty.
After laying all their cards on the table and finally being honest with each other they were able to actually start over and while she’d stayed by his bedside he learned several things about Chloe Sullivan that he’d never known. At night she liked to watch old reruns of Friends and if that wasn’t on she’d watch the Brady Bunch on Nick at night.
She enjoyed classical music but only when she was reading or studying otherwise the music was a lot more upbeat and fast paced. She snuck Reese’s Peanut Butter cups into the bedroom and ate them in the bathroom before immediately brushing her teeth…he’d even called her on it one night to which she replied ‘I don’t want to breathe on you and accidently kill you in your sleep.’ It had made him laugh.
He discovered she liked to hum while he did his paperwork and she didn’t mind listening to him talk about his childhood. Her eyes always danced at stories of his youth where she’d comment on just how different they grew up.
Thinking about everything they’d learned about each other in the short amount of time he’d been staying at Watchtower made him smile. He finally had a friend…and honest to god friend, well aside from Hal who he would at some point need to call and thank for helping Emil out.
The doctor’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts and he blinked, confusion on his face. “What?” Emil sighed. “I said you zoned out where did you go? Are you feeling alright?” Oliver nodded. “Yeah I’m good. I feel fine I was just thinking about Chloe…speaking of our blonde friend…when’s her next doctor’s appointment?” He studied the younger man’s face as he pushed himself off the makeshift examination table and cracked the muscles in his neck.
“Next week I believe. She’ll be able to find out the sex of the baby by that point if she wants to.” Oliver’s eyes widened slightly. “Really?” Emil nodded. “Yes…how are things going with that?” Oliver frowned as he motioned downstairs and Emil followed him down the regular staircase and towards the main console.
“What do you mean?” He watched as Oliver logged into the mainframe and then proceeded to log into the Queen Industries database as Emil spoke. “Well you two seem to be getting along better lately.” Oliver nodded as he gave Emil a small smile before his attention was once again on the screen in front of him.
“Yeah, we cleared the air…had a nice long talk and things are actually pretty good now…” he paused what he was doing a thoughtful look on his face before he turned around to face Emil fully trying to figure out a way to explain what he wanted to say.
“We both know why I decided to stay in Metropolis…you warned me that I was in over my head, but honestly…I don’t think I am…not anymore anyway. What I’ve realized over the past week is that I’m not so much here because of Jimmy anymore…it might have started out that way, but now well I want to be here. Chloe’s my friend…I want to help her…be a part of her life.”
He shrugged. “I feel more at peace than I have in a long time…I’m not saying all the guilt is gone and some days it hits me more than other’s…but I feel like I can breathe again…and that’s because of her. I’ve never had a strictly platonic relationship with a woman before…I can be myself with Chloe and well I like it.”
Emil nodded accepting Oliver’s words for what they were, but knowing the man in front of him was definitely in over his head. “Well I’m glad that you each have someone…it’s been a rough few months for everyone.” Oliver nodded and turned back towards the screen as he spoke.
“That’s all gonna change soon though…Chloe and I…we’re going to get the team back together…everyone needs a purpose Emil…a reason to keep on fighting…this…everything…it’s all going to work out. I can feel it…there’s something good coming. After everything we’ve all been through…there has to be.”
Emil stood watching the younger man’s back and he could hear the conviction in Oliver’s voice and he just hoped for his sake and Chloe’s as well that the he was right.
It was close to one when Chloe pushed open the door to Watchtower and stepped foot inside the main room. She had pushed the doors shut and taken several steps forward only to stop suddenly at the sight in front of her. Her mouth dropped open slightly as she stared at where her glass table used to be.
It was now pushed off to the side and in its place was Oliver upside down, sweat glistening on his body, grimace on his face, in some kind of yoga pose. She glared in his direction. She was going to kill him. She slammed her books on her desk causing his eyes to pop open and the second he saw her face he knew he was in trouble.
“Oliver Queen, what the hell do you think you’re doing.” He watched as the petite blonde furiously made her way over toward him and in his rush to get down from the pose he lost his concentration and then his balance making him crash to the ground thankfully on his good side.
He grunted. “Son of a bitch….” She was by his side in seconds, eyes still lit with anger. “I told you no strenuous activity…damn it Oliver are you trying to hurt yourself even more?” He glanced at Chloe’s upside down face from his angle on the floor slightly baffled.
There he was lying on the ground hurt and she was yelling at him when she was the one to make him fall on his ass. How does that even happen? He shifted and she helped him sit up without touching his side. He made a face breathing slightly heavier than normal as he sent a reprimanding glare her way.
“I was doing just fine until someone shouted through the room and made me fall on my ass…jeez Chloe…way to kick a guy when he’s down.” She rolled her eyes and helped him stand as she spoke.
“And what about me? Are you trying to give the pregnant woman an anxiety attack? I don’t need you hurting yourself again Oliver…you have to let your body heal or it’s going to take even longer to get out there and I know how much being cooped up bothers you.”
There stared at each other neither wanting to give in, but finally Oliver sighed and held up his hands in defeat. “Fine, fine…you win…no more yoga okay? Just stop getting all grumbly. Stress is--” She cut off his words with a wave of her hand as she spoke. “Bad for the baby yeah, yeah I know.”
He grinned at her and she let out a puff of air and smiled back. He grabbed his towel that was on the glass table and wrapped it around his neck as he guided her towards the computer console. “How was school?” She shrugged. “Fine…boring. I need more of a challenge their computer courses are so horrible. I could teach the class.”
Oliver gave her an amused smile as he pointed to the screen in front of them. “I have no doubt you could…here is the info on the warehouses I wanted you to look up.” She nodded. “Okay…go grab me a drink and I’ll get started in here.”
He saluted her. “Yes ma’am…” She grinned and as he moved into the kitchen she called out to him. “Hey has Emil been able to find any information out about your attackers? You still need to give me a description so I can run them through the police stations database.”
He sighed as he closed the fridge making his way back out into the main room with her before handing her the bottle and plopping down in the chair next to her as he spoke his side starting to hurt. “No, he hasn’t heard anything and we’ll sit down later this week and I’ll give you a description…not now.”
Chloe glanced at him and she could see his body slumping slightly in the chair. She nudged his leg and he glanced up at her eyebrow raised. “Hmm?” She nodded towards the steps. “Go get some rest Oliver…I’ll look into this and let you know if I find anything.”
He hesitated as he spoke. “Are you sure? I don’t want to leave you down here alone…I can keep you company…” His voice trailed off and she shook her head. “It’s fine…go you’re tired.” He stood up slowly and impulsively pressed a kiss to the side of her head before moving back quickly.
“Call me if you need me.” He turned without looking at her and made his way towards the spiral staircase. She watched him go until his back disappeared into the small hallway that housed the bedroom. She shook her head and glanced back at the screen and continued typing as she searched through information about the properties Luthor Corp had recently acquired.
Several hours later Oliver felt the bed shift and he frowned, prying his eyes open slowly as a small groan fell from his throat. Chloe glanced to her side and scrunched her nose, voice low. “Sorry…I didn’t mean to wake you.” He shook his head. “It’s fine…what time is it?”
She glanced towards the clock as she settled into the bed. “A little after eight.” His eyes widened as he glanced at her sitting up with her laptop on her lap. “Why’d you let me sleep that long? I’m sorry…I must have been more tired than I thought.
She shrugged and glanced at him smiling at his bed head. “It’s fine. You must have worked yourself too hard today or you wouldn’t have slept that long to begin with…you hungry?” He rubbed his eyes and sat up giving her a sheepish smile.
“Yeah, but I’ll run down and get something you just got settled in.” She motioned to his other side and he turned his head and saw a plate wrapped in foil. He leaned back and brought it onto his lap removing the foil as the aroma of steak and mash potatoes filled his nose.
He moaned at the delicious smell and glanced at the blonde next to him typing away. “I might have to keep you if this is how I’m going to be getting treated…” She smirked as she continued typing. “Don’t get too excited there Mr. Queen…I had it delivered…I was way too tired to cook.”
He shrugged lifted the fork and started cutting into the meat. “Hell I don’t care…it’s food and it smells amazing.” She chuckled and he glanced at her in between bites of food. He took a sip of water and swallowed before speaking. “Any luck?”
She frowned slightly. “Nothing off the reservation just yet. I hacked in and got all the information I could on the first two warehouses. There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary or special about them. They’ve been condemned for like two years…I can’t see any reason someone would want to purchase them.”
He nodded and motioned to her laptop. “Why don’t you give it a rest for tonight…save some for tomorrow. You’ve had a long day.” She paused hesitating slightly before looking at him. He nodded and she sighed. “I guess you’re right.”
Chloe didn’t bother logging off instead she just closed the laptop and placed it next to her on the nightstand. She moved the covers again, got up and made her way to the bathroom to wash her face. She left the door open, the light spilling into the room as Oliver turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels.
She was in the process of drying her face when she felt it…an odd sensation in her lower abdomen. She paused and there it as again. A slight flutter from inside like felling butterflies except harder like a jolt of something inside her body.
Chloe’s eyes widened as she placed a hand over her stomach and felt movement, the sharp edge of something and then it was gone. Her eyes burned slightly as she called out to him. “Oliver…” He was staring at the TV checking on the stocks for Queen Industries and Luthor Corp seeing they’d gone down a percent and he frowned distracted as he heard her voice.
“Hmm…” He acknowledged, but wasn’t really paying attention. She turned and stood in the doorway to the bathroom her voice louder this time. “Ollie!” His head snapped in her direction, he saw tears in her eyes and he immediately pushed his plate on the other nightstand and stood making his way over to her ignoring the pain in his side at the quick movements.
“What is it…what’s wrong?” Her eyes met his and she placed a hand on his arm laughing lightly. “It’s the baby…the baby kicked.” His eyes widened slightly as he stepped back and glanced at her stomach almost fearful, voice barely a whisper. “It moved?”
She nodded and he held his hand out for a second before pulling it back to his side uncertain of if she would be okay sharing that kind of moment with him, but he desperately wanted to know what it felt like. His heart hammered against his chest and she bit her bottom lip before taking his hand and placing it on her stomach where she’d last felt it.
“It’s okay…just wait a minute.” And he did, holding his breath as his hand flexed slightly against her stomach until something moved against his hand and his eyes shot up to hers wonder in them as he spoke softly. “Oh my god…that’s…wow…what’s it feel like?” Another sharp kick and Oliver smiled as brown eyes met green, Chloe’s warm smile and soft voice breaking through the room. “It feels like….”
She paused a thoughtful look on her face before she whispered never breaking eye contact with him. “It feels like a second chance…there’s a baby in there…” His face softened and he swallowed hard, voice slightly awe stricken. “Yeah…there really is…this is gonna work Chloe…I won’t let you down this time…”
She touched his chest lightly, head tilting to the side, a small smile on her lips. “I know Ollie…” The sound of his nickname floating off her lips making him return her smile as he nodded. He had been right earlier…something good was definitely coming for them…and no one deserved it more than Chloe.
Chapter Nine: Vindicated