Word Count: 18,200
Timeline: Spoilers through season 9 this is set after ‘Roulette’
All Artwork: By Franica! Girl you’re too awesome for words! Thanks again for taking the time to make such awesome artwork for this story
Written For: geek_or_unique
Summary: Now back on track and jumping back into the life of his alter ego once again, Oliver Queen is feeling discontent and lost. Confused and unsure about his changing feelings for a certain blonde sidekick, can a run in with an old friend and a cashed in rain check awaken his true feelings and make his deepest desires come true? Or will the reality of his decisions threaten to destroy everything he holds dear?
“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may however, have to work for it.” - Richard Bach
‘In The Midnight Hour’
He sat in the darkened club, eyes scanning over the people dancing, the dull pulsing from the base of the music throbbing through his body. There was a time when Oliver had lived this life; a time when he would have thrown himself into the mass of bodies and lost himself in alcohol, sex and sometimes even drugs.
Anything to escape the despair he had been feeling…but not anymore. He glanced down at the half empty glass of scotch in front of him, hand clasping the edge, but not bothering to bring it to his lips. Chloe hadn’t gone through all the trouble of staging an entire, semi life-threatening, intervention for him to slip up and fall off the wagon two weeks later.
Chloe Sullivan…just thinking about their resident blonde sidekick made his head in a jumbled mess. Thoughts of her were what had brought him out tonight in a vain attempt to get the petite blonde off his mind. He didn’t know why, but ever since that day outside the café, he’d been seeing a completely different side of her than he was used to.
When he had first met Chloe a little over three years ago, even though she’d been cute and somewhat perky, she hadn’t been what Oliver considered his type, or rather at that time, she hadn’t been. It wasn’t until the 5’ 3” woman burst into his penthouse, claiming to know his secret identity and bossing him around, that he realized there was something special about her.
And now that he’d seen what she was willing to do, willing to risk to save him, someone she considered a hero even after all the things he’d done in the past year, it showed him that Chloe Sullivan had a lot more loyalty and determination than he’d originally given her credit for.
She didn’t have to expend the effort on his behalf. Technically speaking, if she was looking for funding to run Watchtower, Chloe could have let him rot in his booze infested world while she spent his money and used the rest of his team to keep the streets safe.
But she hadn’t; because as horrible as they had been to each other in the past few months, as lost as they all had been, Chloe believed in the person he was. She believed in Green Arrow, what he stood for, and all he had to offer the world.
It was a humbling realization on his part, to know that even when he hadn’t thought he was worthy to don the emerald suit, she had. He wasn’t kidding that day when he had told her she’d saved both the myth and the man.
Oliver owed her more than he’d probably ever be able to repay, which in fact, was the source of his current predicament. He sighed, spinning the glass in his hands as the song ended and another one quickly started, his eyes once again watching the movements of the people around him.
For the past two weeks, Oliver had been spending the majority of his free time at Watchtower, making sure Chloe had everything she could possibly need to make it a good command center for the team, or at least that’s what he kept telling himself.
If he was being honest though, the truth was she fascinated him, capturing his attention in a way that he couldn’t quite explain. There was so much more to Chloe then he’d originally thought. Layers that went beyond what she showed on the surface and lately, Oliver couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to be privy to those layers; to see the secrets she held close to her heart.
He’d been fighting the overwhelming urge to sit her down and plow ten thousand questions at her about her past, present and future. But he opted for the more subtle route of just occupying the same space as her, trying to get to know the person she was now and hoping with time she’d be willing to take a chance on being his friend again.
Only after two weeks of constant emails, phone calls, texts, and visits she still hadn’t seemed to take the hint. He would have been surprised by the fact that Chloe hadn’t confronted him about spending a good three to four hours a day at Watchtower except for the fact that his presence barely seemed to register on her radar.
And there lied the problem. He wasn’t even a blip on her scale. He was Oliver Queen and yet the one time he actually wanted attention from the opposite sex, it was like he was invisible. Probably karma for all the women he’d misled and ignored over the years.
It still baffled him how his charm and attention seemed to fall on deaf ears. He had taken stock of everything he knew Chloe liked and still, nothing. He bought a brand new top-of-the-line Espresso machine for her under the guise of it being for everyone, saying something about working late nights and needing to keep awake.
He brought bagels with him if stopped by in the morning, sandwiches if it was the afternoon and occasionally pizza or Chinese if he stopped by after patrol. He asked her how her day was, checked in when he could, made sure to show her he was interested in her life and still, nothing.
At this point, short of sitting her down and demanding that she acknowledges him; Oliver wasn’t sure what to do. A light tapping on his table startled him out of his thoughts and he glanced up, eyes meeting crystal blue ones of the exotic dark-haired beauty in front of him.
He looked away quickly; voice loud enough to be heard over the music. “I’m flattered, but not interested.”
She grinned, slipping into the booth next to him, voice light, eyes dancing with humor. “And I’m hurt that you don’t remember me…”
He frowned, looking away from his drink and back at the woman in front of him, taking in the dark, silky curls that cascaded down her shoulders. He squinted and then it hit him. “Zatanna?”
She crossed her legs slowly and ducked her head toward him. “Guilty…”
His lip quirked at the corner and he arched an eyebrow in her direction. “What brings you back to Metropolis?”
She shrugged, a smirk sliding onto her shiny lips. “Oh, you know…just passing through. So tell me Mr. Queen, what’s an eligible bachelor like yourself doing sitting here in a dark corner booth all by your lonesome, on a week night no less and looking absolutely morose?”
Oliver studied her for a minute before letting out a long sigh, a chuckle bitterer than he’d intended leaving his throat. “Trust me; you don’t want to know…”
She raised an eyebrow, leaning forward slightly, blue eyes glittering almost mesmerizingly in the dim light. “Try me…who knows, I might turn out to be a better listener than you think.”
Oliver sat there, contemplating her offer. He didn’t really know Zatanna well enough to divulge his inner thoughts and problems; then again his options weren’t exactly bountiful. It wasn’t as if he could talk to Lois about his problem, that would be awkward to say the least and who knew what Clark was doing with his time these days.
Then there was Chloe, someone he’d love to open up to and talk with, but obviously not about this. He pursed his lips before moving his eyes back to the woman in front of him, her encouraging nod making him sigh as he leaned in and spoke.
“There’s this girl…” His voice trailed off and Zatanna’s face broke out into a large grin as she spoke.
“A girl you say…tell me about this…” She paused, eyeing him with a knowing smile. “…girl.”
Oliver looked down at the amber liquid in his glass and let out a long breath. “She’s funny without actually trying. She’s got the biggest heart out of anyone I’ve ever met. She’s determined, hardworking and doesn’t take shit from anyone, not even me.” He furrowed his brow, frown pulling at his lips as Zatanna spoke, softly sensing the downward spiral of his mood.
“She sounds like quite a woman…” She let her words trail off, waiting for Oliver to continue speaking and when he did, she was surprised by his words.
He nodded as the music paused changing songs one again before he spoke. “She is, but she’s also stubborn and closed off. She’s been through so much in the past year and I’m not even sure if what I’m feeling for her is real.”
The brunette arched an eyebrow at him, her hand falling against Oliver’s arm drawing his attention to her. “The way you talk about her, it seems as if this mystery woman means quite a deal to you.”
He pursed his lips and met her eyes, hand clenching around the glass. “She does; I’m just not sure it’s for the right reasons. It’s a complicated situation and these feelings…they sort of snuck up on me and now I spend half my time trying to get her attention and the other half of my time trying to determine if my feelings are real or if they stem from some misplaced sense of gratitude.”
Zatanna titled her head to the side and studied the man in front of her as he played with the drink in his hands. This was not the same confident and charming man she remembered from a year ago. He was different. She could sense a cloud of despair surrounding him, making him question the man he was and his place in the world.
She pursed her lips before speaking, a hint of curiosity in her voice. “It’s the fiery blonde isn’t it? The one you were with at the party last year…the birthday girl?”
Oliver’s head jerked up, surprise coloring his features as he addressed her. “How…?”
She grinned and gave a slight shrug, amusement in her eyes. “You’re not exactly subtle, besides I see more than people give me credit for. You’d be surprised with the intricate ways in which two people’s lives are fated to be connected.”
Oliver straightened in his seat, eyes wider than normal as he addressed the woman across from him. “Are you saying Chloe and I are fated to be together?” He watched her closely, but her facial expression never changed as she leaned back into the plush cushion of the booth.
“I didn’t say that. Fates may be intertwined, but it’s our choices, our decisions that determine the outcome of our path.”
Oliver shook his head, a frown once again appearing on his features. “That doesn’t help; it just further proves my point. I’m not sure what the right choices are. I know how I think I feel, but it’s confusing and problematical.”
He paused briefly to gather his thoughts before continuing. “I don’t want to risk what we’ve been able to salvage of our friendship for something that could blow up in my face.” He groaned and leaned forward, a light chuckle leaving his throat at the realization that he’d been spilling his guts to someone he barely knew for the past ten minutes.
“I’m sorry…you see? This is why I came out here tonight. I needed a distraction, something to take my mind off of everything that’s been bogging me down.”
Zatanna nodded, her perfectly sculpted eyebrow shooting up in his direction. “How’s that going for you?”
He rolled his eyes and finally brought the glass to his lips, taking a small sip. “Take a guess.”
She watched him and sighed lightly before leaning forward, blue eyes piercing brown as she spoke quickly, her voice flowing over him like an exotic melody, enchanting and serene. “Maybe I can help.”
Oliver smirked, his eyes roaming over her body briefly. “Again…I’m flattered, Zee…but not interested.”
She laughed and pulled her hand from his arm, humor on her face as mirth danced in her eyes. “As attractive as you are Tiger, I try to steer clear of emotionally unavailable men. What I meant, Mr. Queen was you still have a very real wish to cash in.”
He gave her a thoughtful look, contemplating her words and when he was silent for more than a minute, she continued speaking. “One wish, one chance to tempt fate…create your own destiny and live a life of your choosing…So tell me, what does Oliver Queen desire?”
The question startled him, but only for a minute. It was something he hadn’t asked himself in a long time, but as his mind created a picture of what he wanted in his head, what he desired, several things became all too clear as his jumbled thoughts finally came to a halt.
Oliver wanted to feel fulfillment in every aspect of his life. He wanted to surround himself with people who accepted and loved every part of whom he was and who he could eventually be. He wanted to team to actually be a team, to fight alongside each other and he wanted to feel the love and affection of a good woman by his side.
His eyes slid shut, painting the picture in his head more clearly than he’d ever imagined anything and when he saw the woman beside him, shock filled him to his core, causing his eyes to burst open and catch Zatanna watching him with a look he couldn’t quite place.
A grin slid onto her lips, a pale hint of violet glowing in the depths of her blue orbs, making heat shoot through his entire body as she spoke, her voice silencing all the noise around him until she was all he heard. “As you wish…”
He opened his mouth, confusion on his face, about to tell her he hadn’t wished anything when suddenly everything around him grew hazy. Sounds and shapes started to blur and distort as he tried to focus on making everything stop spinning.
But it was no use and as he felt darkness surrounding him, the last thing he was able to make out was Zatanna’s smiling face and gleaming eyes.
She watched him fall; knowing the next few days would be a challenge and hoping that giving him his wish would give him the push he needed to turn fate into a reality.