Banner by: Juliete
Chapter One: Winds of Change
‘Learn You Inside Out’
"I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what is too deep to find for words." -Ruth St. Denis
Oliver walked down the small hallway towards the double doors of Watchtower as he rubbed the back of his neck. It had been a little over a half hour since he had dropped Chloe off at Watchtower and gone home, but something inside him had been restless. He paced his apartment for about fifteen minutes before deciding to go for a quick patrol to release the excess tension from the night.
Usually he was the one breaking and entering, the pump of adrenalin running through his body and he realized it was something he needed…it helped him focus, clear his thoughts. Oliver sighed glancing at his watch as he continued walking.
It was just after eleven at night and Chloe was probably already on her way back to Smallville, so he wouldn’t bother her about linking up to Watchtower, he’d go this one alone for the night. The minute her name popped into his mind, his thoughts drifted back to their night at the DA’s house.
He honestly hadn’t expected to enjoy the party at all, but he’d had a particularly nice time with the petite blonde that had graced his arm this evening. It was weird; spending time with Chloe, laughing, joking…she was almost an entirely different person when she wasn’t surrounded by her computers. It reminded him of a time when things were simpler.
When a bright eyed woman walked into his penthouse talking about secret identities and taking control of situations that seemed almost too easy for her. Sometimes he wondered what happened to that carefree woman, but the answer always crashed into him the same way. She got involved with Clark, him and the team…and somehow their world had slowly chipped away at hers until there was nothing left.
Yet, she still stayed. Occasionally he wondered why. What would make someone like Chloe Sullivan; stick around with a bunch of wannabe heroes? What made her believe in them so much…in him? What had he done to earn such loyalty? He paused at the door frowning slightly as a voice rang in his head. Nothing. He hadn’t done anything to be worthy of that kind of allegiance…at least not in his opinion.
He barely knew Chloe…not the real Chloe anyway…not like friends did. He didn’t know how she took her coffee, what her favorite movie was, if she liked chicken or fish. What her personal preferences were or if she had any fears or aspirations outside of Watchtower. He didn’t know her as a person, but that was going to change.
A look of determination crossed his face as he reached forward pushing open the double doors walking over the threshold and then stopping in his tracks, blinking repeatedly at the sight in front of him, a light smile sliding onto his features.
Chloe stood, back to him, still clad in the luxurious silk gold dress, heels kicked off to the left of her, a light thrumming beat of some hypnotic rhythm echoing off the walls around her as she moved her body in time with the beat, fingers moving rapidly across the keyboard, codes and numbers scrolling down on the largest screen.
She was in her element and yet…Oliver could sense a change in her. Something different about the way she was holding herself, losing herself in the moment and in her work. He almost didn’t want to bother her, but standing there watching without her knowledge felt too much like an invasion of her privacy. So he cleared his throat and she faltered in her movements.
Chloe went ridged startled by the noise behind her as she whipped her head around catching sight of Oliver, grin on his face as she quickly pressed a few buttons bringing up her iTunes library lowering the music that just seconds ago had been pulsing through the room.
She turned around fully so she was looking at him face flushing slightly with embarrassment as she spoke. “Oliver…what are you doing here?” He arched an eyebrow as he stepped the rest of the way into the room, a hint of humor in his voice. “I could ask you the same thing. I thought you were heading home after I dropped you off…”
He let his voice trail off and she shrugged sending a slightly sheepish look his way. “I was going to, but I don’t know. I was wide awake so I figured I’d start looking through the information that Victor and Bart left here…you?”
He nodded scratching the back of his head a small grin on his face. “I was actually feeling the same…wide awake I mean…thought maybe I’d get in a quick patrol, burn off some of the excess energy…” She pursed her lips and nodded. They stood across from each other as silence settled between them.
When Oliver had dropped her off earlier she’d had every intention of going home, but she’d been too keyed up to make the two hour drive back to Smallville, plus there were so many thoughts running through her head that she wasn’t sure she’d be able to sleep even if she had made the drive.
Chloe had surprisingly enjoyed her night with Oliver. She hadn’t even realized they stayed at the party for so long and then when he’d offered her a ride back to the tower even though they’d come to the party separately she had accepted.
It was nice, having someone to talk to…joke around with. She’d almost forgotten what it was like. Even she and Lois hadn’t been spending that much time together lately due to the fact that her cousin was always at the Planet and she was always at Watchtower.
So she had thrown herself into work, getting Oliver back, focusing on missions, organization the database, redecorating Watchtower. All the things that she did, 90 percent of the time she did alone, well mostly though Oliver had been around more recently, which was actually nice.
There was a loud beeping noise that sounded breaking the silence between them as Oliver raised an eyebrow and Chloe glanced toward the kitchen. He smiled. “Making a snack?” She bit her lip and motioned towards the kitchen as she started to walk in that direction. “I was heating up some left over Chinese,” she glanced over her shoulder and hesitated before speaking softly, “would you like some?”
Oliver was mildly surprised by the invitation, but he nodded as he pulled off his suit jacket and tossed it on the back of her chair as he walked into the kitchen while loosening his tie. “Sure, here let me you with that.” She waved him off as she pulled open the microwave. “You don’t have to…”
He peeked at her from over his shoulder as he leaned up to pull out two plates. “I want to…so, have you found anything in the files yet?” She nodded as she pulled out two cartons of Chinese and popped two more in the microwave, starting it all over again.
“Yeah, there’s actually a lot of data there. It looks like he’s being bought off…They pay him to keep their people out of jail…its one big circle of corruption and it looks like he isn’t the only one involved either. There’s a judge and possibly even a few police officers from the Metropolis PD. I sent J’onn a message telling him to keep his eyes open for anything out of the ordinary.”
Oliver frowned but nodded as he moved to Chloe’s side handing her a spoon so she could dish out the rice onto the plates he had placed in front of her. “That’s not good news, but at least we’ll be able to find these people and take them down, that way every time we bring in new perps…they won’t automatically be released.”
She gave him a small smile. “Exactly.” Chloe tossed the empty carton into the trash and lifted the container of chicken in her hands as Oliver moved around her and grabbed two glasses before the microwave beeped yet again. They lapsed into a comfortable silence as he placed the glasses on the counter as she moved under his arm to grab the food.
They worked together, movements synchronizing with each other as they weaved in and out of each other’s bodies before both plates of steaming food sat on the counter two opened cans of coke fizzling in their glasses. Chloe looked up and Oliver grinned at her as she let out a small ‘oh’ turning. Oliver tapped her hip lightly and she glanced over her shoulder as he held up two plastic forks.
She grinned. “I was just about to grab some.” He shrugged, voice light. “Great minds think a like…come on…do we have a TV here?” He lifted his plate and drink and she did the same as she followed him out into the main room of Watchtower and towards the couch. Chloe shook her head and they placed their stuff on the small glass table.
“No…but I might have something better.” She gave him a small grin and moved towards the large monitors on the main console. She lifted a small panel in her hand and pushed a few buttons. Suddenly the large monitor moved angling itself. When it stopped Oliver could see it almost perfectly from his position on the couch.
He grinned as she came back over to him taking the cordless keyboard with her. “I could probably hack in to some servers and get us access into Netflix or Blockbusters database…” her voice trailed off suddenly embarrassed by her words as she glanced down and shrugged. “Or whatever…I mean if you want.”
He watched her, his hand falling to her thigh causing her body to tense for a second before relaxing completely. She titled her head up to look at him. Amusement danced in his eyes and he nodded. “I think that’s a great idea…hack away…let’s see what kind of havoc we can cause.”
Chloe’s eyes lit up slightly and she nodded as he brought a forkful of food to his mouth while she did her thing. Twenty minutes later they were scrolling the online Netflix menu. Oliver had kicked off his shoes unbutton a few buttons on his shirt and Chloe’s legs were pulled underneath her body as she scrunched her nose.
“The horror movie choices are horrible…where are all the classics?” He chuckled and shrugged his voice teasing as he spoke. “I dunno they don’t look that bad.” Chloe rolled her eyes slapping him lightly, grin on her face as she spoke. “That’s because you can see the brief nudity warning in almost all of them. I see breasts every night…there’s nothing extremely fascinating about them that would make me want to see them while I eat.”
Oliver pouted slightly as he pointed at her with a fork. “What about me? I don’t see breasts every night…” Chloe didn’t bother looking at him, but he could see the corner of her lip lift before she spoke. “Oh that’s right you only see them five out of the seven days in a week…my mistake.”
Oliver bit his cheek to keep from laughing. “I’ll have you know…I’ve only seen breasts twice this week and neither time actually counts because the first time was an accident and the second time…well it was just cleavage…” His eyes drifted to her dress and her mouth opened as she pulled one of the throw pillows out from her side and hit him with it.
A hearty laugh left his throat as he pushed the pillow aside biting into his bottom lip with his teeth as he watched her huff. She glared lightly at him and pursed her lips. “Don’t push your luck Arrow…or I might kick you out.” His brows creased in humor as he spoke. “You’re too tiny to do any real damage to me…I think I’ll take my chances.”
She was just about to toss another pillow at him when he pointed to the screen eyes widening slightly. “Look, they have The Adventures of Robin Hood…” She paused and then glanced at the screen. She clicked on it as she spoke. “Do you want to watch it?” He pursed his lips and hesitated before speaking.
“I mean, if you want we can…I haven’t seen it in a while…” She could see the hopeful look on his face and she grinned. “Sure, I’ve never actually seen this version of Robin Hood.” Oliver’s mouth dropped open as he shifted closer to her. “Are you joking? This is the best movie…it’s the original one. That’s it…push play right now, you’re gonna love this.”
She smiled and pushed played before putting the keyboard and panel down on the table and once again lifting her plate in her hands. The opening credits came on as she pulled a forkful of chicken and rice into her mouth. She felt a weight on her plate and glanced at Oliver as he stole a piece of her broccoli.
“Hey thief!” He smirked and tilted his head. “A highly skilled thief…” She eyed him before moving her fork forward and stealing some of his chicken. His mouth dropped open and he pointed to his plate. “Did you just take some of my chicken?” She arched an eyebrow popping the chicken in her mouth, chewing, and swallowing as she shook her head.
“Of course not…” He squinted his eyes in her direction. “Liar.” She smirked and shrugged. “Can you prove it?” He nodded giving her a strange look before glancing back at the movie as he spoke. “Okay…I see how it is Tower...I’ll remember that.”
She could see his smile out of the corner of her eye before she turned her attention back to the movie while settling into the couch and continuing to eat her food. It was strange, but being alone in Watchtower eating dinner and watching a movie with Oliver…it wasn’t nearly as awkward or strange as she had thought it would be.
It felt almost natural…Oliver’s eyes were on the screen, but his thoughts were on the woman next to him. He never thought he’d be so comfortable in her presence, that they’d be able to talk and joke around with each other. But as he sat there with Chloe watching his favorite movie, her eyes completely entranced by the screen as she munched on her food, well he couldn’t remember a time he’d felt more comfortable or more himself then this moment right now.
“Okay fine, fine…what’s your favorite kind then?” Chloe tilted her head giving Oliver a thoughtful look. They had finished the leftover food close to an hour and a half ago and the credits for the movie had rolled a good thirty minutes ago. She sat on the couch a light throw over her legs as she tapped her chin. He rolled his eyes and gave her a small smile.
“This can’t be that hard of a decision…” She nudged him with her stocking clad foot while giving him a slight glare. “See, that’s where you’re wrong. Picking a favorite type of coffee is a very difficult decision and it varies with the day and my mood.” Her hand fell to his forearm as she continued speaking.
“For example if I’m having a rough day and things are getting extra crazy I usually go to the vender down the street and order a triple shot mocha espresso with java chips and extra whip. If it’s a regular day then my favorite is probably almond mocha…then there’s the white chocolate mocha…and occasionally just a regular hazelnut latte. So you see…it matters.”
He chuckled shaking his head as she continued to speak. “What about you? What kind of coffee do you like?” Oliver pursed his lip and leaned back in the cushion of the sofa as he watched her arch a questioning eyebrow in his direction.
“I don’t like coffee.” Chloe blinked confusion covering her face as she pointed in his direction and spoke. “I’m sorry I thought I just heard you say you didn’t like coffee…I must have been mistaken…” He laughed and shrugged as he stretched an arm out across the back of the couch.
“It’s never really been my thing. I’ve drank tea occasionally, and I’m big on water…there’s also the protein shake I drink a lot…I even made Clark try it once…he wasn’t a fan, but not big on coffee. I just never developed a taste for it…then again I don’t really need to, you probably drink enough for the entire city.”
His voice held a note of teasing to it and she jabbed him with her foot again, but this time he caught it in his hand and she eyed him as he glanced down at the limb in his hands. She was so small…every part of her was so compact. He looked back up and pressed a finger to the bottom of her foot.
“You have tiny feet.” She snorted yanking her foot out of his hand and motioning to his. “As opposed to you who has giant feet?” He gave her a smug grin as he spoke. “Well you know what they say about a man with large feet…” He let his voice trail off and he winked at her.
A glint of mischief filled Chloe’s eyes as she spoke, innocence in her voice. “That they have small brains?” Oliver sent a playful glare her way. “Cute…” She leaned back a grin on her face and he watched her for a few minutes before his voice broke the silence around them. “Favorite food?”
“I’m gonna have to go with a tie between Italian and Thai…when I was little every Sunday my Father would attempt to cook and it was always spaghetti and meatballs or ziti. He’d get out the chop meat, season it and let me help him roll them into all kinds of different shapes and sizes. We’d fry them up and then toss them into this huge pot of sauce…”
Chloe swallowed heavily and Oliver watched her eyes get a faraway look in them as she continued speaking. “Then we’d usually put on the pasta and when he thought it was ready he used to give me a piece and tell me to throw it on the wall and if it stuck that’s how we’d know it was done…”
Her voice trailed off eyes widening in surprise as she realized what she’d just told him. She quickly looked away from him wondering what in the world had possessed her to tell him that story. Oliver could sense she was uncomfortable by the way her body tensed and she glanced down at her hands.
The last thing he wanted was for her to close up on him after the day they’d just had so he took a deep breath, swallowed hard to moisten his throat and spoke softly. “When I was younger every Sunday, my parents and I would go to this park that wasn’t far from our family home.” Chloe glanced up at the mention of his parents and when he paused she squeezed him arm lightly and he smiled before continuing.
“My Mom would bring a small bag of bread and there was this…I guess pond in the middle of the park and in order to get to the other side where the playground was you’d have to cross it…so every time we did, we’d stop in the middle of the bridge and they’d help me feed the ducks as they swam by.”
The memory made his chest tighten and Chloe tilted her head slightly watching the emotions that played across his face. “It was one of my favorite things to do with them because it was just so normal. No fancy parties or flashing lights…just me and my parents and a pond full of ducks. I haven’t been back there since they died…it sounds silly…”
Chloe shook her head quickly her voice soft as she spoke. “It’s not silly…not even a little bit. I completely get it and I think that’s a great memory to have of them…I know it’s not the same because my parents are still alive, but since neither of them are in my life…I cherish the memories I have with them even if they seem tiny and inconsequential, because they never really are. Does that make sense?”
Oliver gave her a warm smile and nodded. “It makes perfect sense…and thank you.” She shrugged looking slightly embarrassed as she spoke. “No need to thank me…” They stared at each other for several minutes and Oliver could feel that familiar pull from earlier in the night when they’d been dancing at the party.
He didn’t have the slightest clue what it meant, but a part of him was dying to find out. His eyes drifted towards the clock and it was just about two fifteen in the morning…and yet he couldn’t bring himself to stand up and leave. She caught sight of where his gaze had drifted and when she saw the time she was surprised by how long they’d been hanging out together.
She opened her mouth and before she could say anything he spoke. “One more movie? I’ll even let you choose.” She bit her lower lip. She didn’t want to keep him, but at the same time this was the most fun she’d had in a long time…and he had offered…
She nodded. “Sure…” She leaned forward and lifted the keyboard moving through the movie options again as he stood up and stretched slowly. She glanced at him and gave him a questioning look. He motioned towards the plates and he lifted them in his hands.
“I’m gonna bring these inside and grab some water, do you want any?” She nodded and spoke. “Sure…water would be great.” He nodded and she watched him walk to the kitchen before turning her gaze back on the listings in front of her. She went through several of them, before she grinned and settled on a comedy.
Less than five minutes later he made his way back inside and plopped down on the couch next to her handing her a water. She took it mumbling a low ‘thank you’ as she pushed play. Oliver leaned back shifting around to get comfortable as he spoke. “What are we watching?” Chloe grinned at him.
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Oliver arched a brow an amused smirk on his face. “We aren’t…” she nodded and put the keyboard back on the table. “Oh we totally are…” He chuckled once again moving his arm over the back of the couch as he cleared his throat and spoke in an odd accent.
“It’s merely a flesh wound…” Chloe turned to him laughing lightly. She really had no idea he was so silly…dare she say she actually liked this side of Oliver Queen. It seemed like it was a side that not many people got to see and warmth blossomed in her chest knowing she was once of the people he had chosen to let that part of himself out with.
Her attention was drawn back to the movie as the opening scene started. They both stared at the screen watching the movie in front of them every once in a while throwing in some commentary about the plot and characters or laughing at what was going on.
It was relaxing and not a half bad way to spend an evening in Chloe’s opinion. Less than forty minutes into the movie Oliver’s eyes were dropping slightly and he let out a soft laugh as a light weight hit his shoulder. He turned away from the movie to the women beside him.
She was fast asleep head against his shoulder as her body molded itself against his side. He swallowed hard his heart picking up speed as his eyes roamed over her face and body. He didn’t blame her for being tired. He was exhausted too. It had been a long day. Oliver blinked as he felt a burning sensation in one of his eyes.
Maybe he’d just close his eyes for a second…Oliver’s body sunk into the kitchen as his arm fell slightly from the back of the couch onto the woman next him, his eyes slipping shut. It was three in the morning, the noise and light from the movie flashing through Watchtower as two people slept beside each other, bodies angling in each other’s directions, unconsciously communicating without words a need that neither one realized.
Chapter Three: Somewhere In Between