Title: Talking in Your Sleep
Pairings: Chloe/Oliver, Chloe/Green Arrow, Lois/Bruce, Lois/Clark
Summary: Intrepid reporter for the Daily Planet, Chloe Sullivan, has her heart stolen by the masked hero, Green Arrow, but can she be satisfied with not knowing his real identity?
Warnings: There will probably be some minor spoilers, particularly for Season 6. There will also be a ridiculously unnecessary amount of smut. You've been warned.
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Next (Chapter 20)
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Author's Note: So, as we approach the final chapters, I wanted to address an issue: There is an inherent problem with writing a story where the entire plot is based on the fact that Chloe doesn't know Oliver's secret. That is that we all struggle to believe that Chloe wouldn't figure it out right away, being the intelligent woman she is, or, on the other hand, we can't imagine that Oliver wouldn't 'fess up right away, being the decent man that he is. Some people have mentioned frustration with this, and in some cases I couldn't tell if they were enjoying the suspense or complaining about the plot. Either way, I wanted everyone to know that I was aware of all of this, and, for better or worse, I did my best to make the plot plausible, that Chloe really wouldn't figure it out and that Oliver really wouldn't come clean. Because if they did, then there wouldn't have been a story!
That all being said, please enjoy the final couple of chapters (there will be either one or two more after this one), and thank you for reading and reviewing!
I've gotta follow that dream
Wherever that dream may lead.
I gotta follow that dream
To find the love I need.
Follow That Dream
Chloe drained the bottom of her second raspberry mojito that evening. Lois was supposed to meet her, but had had to skip out in favor of chasing a lead.
She sighed. She had been dating Oliver Queen for a week and a half, but as much as she liked him, something was missing.
Like a friggin' kiss on the cheek, she thought sourly.
It was true. In a week an a half, she had been out with Oliver at least four times, from casual coffee to fancy party, and he hadn't so much as held her hand.
What the hell is he waiting for? she silently demanded of the remaining ice. It wasn't as though she hadn't given him opportunities. There had been several moments where she had thought it was going to happen, times when he was a breath away, and she was sure he was thinking about it, and then, all of a sudden, he just stopped. It was like there was something holding him back and it was her nuts. And maybe he didn't feel it, but she didn't see how he couldn't. The draw between them was so powerful it was almost overwhelming. It was like his entire body called out to hers. It bordered on embarrassing.
"Your drink say something mean to you, Sullivan?"
Chloe looked up at Bobby embarrassedly. He was wiping off the counter next to her where some overzealous twenty-two-year-old had sloshed his beer. "No," she said. "Just a long day."
"All right, well, be sure to tell me if it gets out of line."
She smirked. "Will you give it a good talking to for me?" she asked.
He winked at her as a pair of women walked up to him and ordered a couple of wine spritzers. When they were gone he turned his attention back to her. "So are you bummed because the hurricane bailed on you or does this have something to do with the mystery guy you won't tell me about?"
She laughed. "It's not a mystery. We both know you know by now."
He sighed dramatically. "I am so disappointed that I had to find out about my best customers boyfriend on E! instead of straight from her."
Chloe flushed mildly, passing him her empty glass so he would exchange it for a fresh drink. "He's not really my boyfriend, you know. The media exaggerates–"
"Did I just hear a reporter admit that the media isn't always completely factual down to the last detail? Oh my God, it's Armageddon."
Chloe laughed, shoving his elbow off the bar so he couldn't lean so close. "Shut up. I was talking about the society aspect of media. I still maintain that there's such a thing as unbiased journalism."
"Uh huh," he said, pressing his lips together as if holding back a laugh, knowing she was extremely vulnerable to teasing about her work and therefore a very entertaining target. "Anyway, you were saying?"
She backtracked her thoughts briefly to remember what she'd been talking about. "Oh, right. We're not really in a relationship–"
"–We're just dating right now."
"For the moment."
She rolled her eyes, unable to hide a smile. There were many reasons she always came to the bar when Bobby was working. Aside from memorizing her order, being very aware and therefore a good source, Bobby was easy to talk to and good at lightening her mood. He was better than a psychiatrist.
"So what's the problem?" he asked patiently, crushing the mint leaves and lime wedges for another mojito.
She turned even redder and Bobby raised an eyebrow. "He's not moving to fast for you, is he, Sullivan? That guys got a real reputation and I will gladly rip him a new one for y–"
"No, no!" Chloe said hurriedly, amused at his sudden chivalrous outbreak. "Lay off, dad," she teased. Then, feeling her ears grow hot, she admitted quietly. "He's moving too slow."
Bobby stared blankly at her.
Chloe looked at the ceiling in humiliation. "He hasn't even kissed me goodnight."
Bobby's mouth fell open slightly as he stared at her. Then he shook himself slightly. "I'm sorry, just to be clear, you are dating Oliver Queen, right? Because maybe I just got confused and–"
"Oh no," Chloe stopped him ruefully. "Oliver Queen. And he hasn't so much as kissed my hand," she drawled sarcastically.
For once in his life, Bobby was confused. "Well, I mean...normally I'd say he's shy and you should give it time or maybe initiate something yourself, but...well, given that it's Oliver Queen...that's just...weird."
"Story of my life," Chloe grumbled.
He scratched the back of his head, momentarily distracted from making her drink. Even with a guy who had a serious reputation around women, there was always a chance they were really shy underneath, but...he'd seen Oliver Queen in the club when he first blew into town...shyness just did not seem like a problem the man had. "Okay," he said, trying to draw up a solution for her. "So...he's got a reputation, and he's been known for some shallow relationships in the past, so...maybe he wants to take everything really slow with you because he wants to get it right this time and doesn't want to scare you off," he suggested. Sure. That sounded reasonable. And he didn't know Queen personally. So it was perfectly plausible.
Chloe released a little sigh. Lois had said something similar, and she had sounded like she believed it just as much as Bobby did. "So do you think I should be the one to initiate something?" she asked. In the back of her mind, a little voice was pointing out that last night she had tried. She'd reached out for his arm and leaned up to kiss him just as he was dropping her off at her apartment, and all of a sudden he'd claimed to hear his phone back in the car. Which seemed even more ridiculous when she suddenly remembered seeing him check his phone briefly during the evening and then slip it back in his pocket.
"Sure," Bobby was saying encouragingly. "Guys like a girl who can take charge sometimes. Don't be afraid to be bold," he grinned at her. "It shouldn't be much of a problem for you, I imagine."
Chloe mocked offense. "Sir! Are you implying that I'm brazen?" she asked in a Southern Belle voice. "Well I never."
Bobby chuckled and finished off her drink sliding it to her before moving over to one of the waiters who was giving him a frantic look. "Let me know how that works out for you, Sullivan."
As he walked away Chloe's phone beeped and she grinned more genuinely, fishing it out of her purse. Another development of the last couple of weeks: the reigniting of her friendship with the Green Arrow. He'd finally come to her for help with something and after that their conversations had started back up naturally.
emeraldarcher1 how's it going?
sidekick101 not bad. s'posed to have drinks w/cuz. She backed out.
emeraldarcher1 well that's lame. Wish I could keep you company, but I'm on the job.
She laughed. She would love to see people's faces if the Green Arrow walked casually into the Ace of Clubs and sat down at the bar to have a drink with her.
sidekick101 must be a slow night if you've got time to text me.
emeraldarcher1 so far. might head in early.
sidekick101 I think I saw that Titanic would be on tonight.
emeraldarcher1 you're never letting that go, are you?
Moments later, when Chloe's third drink was nearly gone, her phone actually rang and she saw Oliver's name on the screen. She sighed, thinking of the reason for her third mojito that night. And yet, even as she answered the call, she still felt a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "Hey, Ollie."
"Hey! How's drinks with your cousin?" he asked.
"Dumb. She ran off to chase a lead and left me all by my lonesome," she joked.
"Well in that case, do you want to come over for a nightcap?"
"Um...sure," she said, debating. "Although personally, I may have had enough," she added with a light giggle, glancing at her half-empty glass.
He sounded amused. "Now that I have to see. Want me to pick you up somewhere?"
She shook her head even though he couldn't see her. "Nah. I'll just take a cab over. See you in thirty?" she asked.
Which was how she ended up in Oliver's apartment that night. It started out typically. Oliver seemed unusually tired but pleased to see her in spite of his somewhat haggard appearance. They ended up on the couch, Chloe with a glass of water, Oliver with a glass of scotch, watching an old John Wayne movie that had Chloe riveted.
She sighed longingly when John Wayne roughly tugged Maureen O'Hara into his arms and kissed her as hard as he could. Then, with a flush of self-consciousness, she glanced nervously at Oliver, worried he had seen the expression on her face. She saw with relief that he had actually fallen asleep beside her, his arm draped gently around the back of the couch behind her.
With another sigh, she allowed herself to snuggle into his side a bit more, thinking he must have had a really rough time at the office that day. It hadn't taken her long to ascertain that Oliver's job took a lot out of him. She'd imagined it must be taxing to be a CEO in its own way, but the run-down, exhausted expression she occasionally witnessed on Oliver...well, it reminded her of the way she looked in the mirror when she'd been up all night working on an article. She smiled sympathetically at him. She couldn't believe how close she felt to him after such a short amount of time. She'd never had a relationship with anyone click so immediately, and his intuition about her hadn't stopped with just a bouquet of tulips. He picked up on her moods, guessed what things she would like so easily it was almost nerve-wracking. She'd begun to suspect he'd talked to either Lois or Clark to get background on her.
His head rolled slightly as he fell into a deeper sleep, and the corner of her mouth twitched. Gently, she reached up and ran her hands soothingly through his hair as she turned her attention back to the movie and the sexiness that was John Wayne fighting for his woman. And then she froze. Eyes wide, her gaze slowly burned to the sleeping Oliver, her fingers currently tangled in his hair.
"ACK!" Chloe jumped out of her skin. Clark was looking at her questioningly. She clutched her chest and sighed. "Sorry, Clark...I'm a bit distracted today."
"Yeah, I noticed," Clark said dryly. "I actually knocked this time. Are you all right?" he asked.
She was sitting on her sofa, her laptop closed on the coffee table, looking as if she'd pushed it away from her, and she was clutching a full cup of cold coffee, as though she had poured it for herself and then forgotten to drink it. Combined with the fact that Chloe hadn't come into work that day, there was cause to be seriously concerned, Clark determined.
Chloe had drifted into a deep train of thought before Clark finished speaking, and she jumped when he cleared his throat. "I'm sorry, Clark. What did you say? Do you need help with something?" she asked, putting on a focused expression for him.
Clark raised an eyebrow. "No," he said slowly. "I asked if you were all right. We were worried when you didn't show up at the Planet today and Lois wanted me to swing by after work and make sure you hadn't gone and gotten kidnapped again. I figured I'd stop by a little earlier than that."
She chuckled lightly at Lois's dramatics, but when she saw the grim expression on Clark's face, she realized she'd probably given them quite a scare by not calling in. She glanced at her watch, realizing Clark must be on his lunch break. "Sorry I worried you," she said genuinely. "You could have called," she suggested.
"We did," he said, unamused. "Your phone was off."
Startled, Chloe walked over to the counter where her phone was lying, picked it up, and swore under her breath. "Shoot. The battery died." She held it up apologetically.
Clark frowned, watching Chloe walk around her counter to the phone charger plugged into the wall and hook her phone up. "Chloe...you never let your phone die. And you still haven't answered my question. Is everything okay?"
Chloe looked sheepish, "Yeah. Sorry. I just...had a very long night. I lost track of time and I just needed a day to think. I forgot to call in I guess."
Brow furrowing a little deeper, Clark studied Chloe carefully as she walked back over to the couch and sat down again. "This isn't like you at all. Is there something you want to talk about?" he asked.
She sighed, not sure she really wanted to discuss the fact that she'd been sleeping with the Green Arrow, then started dating Oliver Queen, then discovered that the Green Arrow was Oliver Queen with Clark Kent. He was one of her closest friends, yes, but she was also fully aware that Clark was, well...a bit of a prude. And she meant that in the most loving, affectionate way possible. Heck, in spite of her completely bizarre recent relationship, she generally considered herself very much a good girl. But either way, this was just one of those times that as much as she adored Clark, she really didn't feel like confiding in him. So she settled for, "It's a girl thing." She smiled helplessly and shrugged.
He didn't look relieved. "Did Oliver do something?"
She snorted. Did he do something? Oh nothing, really. Just me. "No. Sort of. It's nothing to worry about," she waved her hand dismissively. I think. "Well, I mean, it's nothing for you to worry about. Not that I'm worried," she added quickly, looking up at a clearly confused Clark. "I just–"
"Need to think?" Clark supplied with mild amusement.
She nodded, smiling gratefully at him. "Yeah."
"You sure you don't want to talk about it?"
"Like I said. It's kind of a g–"
"Girl thing. Right. I'll let Lois know to–"
"No!" Chloe said a little too quickly. Clark gave her a surprised look. "Sorry...this is just...you know. I got it covered." She tried to look more confident than she felt.
Not entirely sure he believed her, Clark finally nodded his acquiescence. "If you say so. But you will let one of us know if you need something, right? I'll be here in a blink," he grinned.
Chloe chuckled, getting up to give him a hug. "Thanks. And thanks for coming to check on me. What are you going to tell Lois?" she asked as she pulled back.
He lifted a shoulder. "That while I was picking up lunch I finally got hold of you and that you said you would call her back later." He raised an eyebrow.
Chloe smirked, recognizing that he was telling her what to do. "Yeah, yeah," she waved him off. "I'll call her. Bye, Cl–" a gust of wind hit her face, "–ark." She arched an eyebrow at the empty space she was waving at and sighed. "Heroes," she muttered in exasperation.
...which brought her right back to the original source of the problem. She was glad Clark had stopped by, it had finally torn her out of her dazed state. She needed to approach this whole thing logically. She didn't even know for certain she was right.
Not that there's much room for doubt, she added wryly.
Still, it was time she looked at the facts. She grabbed her laptop and a spiral notebook from the kitchen counter, pulling a pen out of the wire binding and sitting down on the couch.
She opened her laptop and finally started pulling up all the stats on the Green Arrow, putting to use every resource and clue she'd been refraining from touching ever since her friendship with the man had begun.
At the time, she had been willing to restrain herself, determined to respect the fact that for whatever reason, he wasn't going to tell her. Now that she suspected–Oh let's face it, now that I know, she corrected herself–that it was Oliver, well, she wasn't holding back anymore.
She did everything from compare his height and build to drawing out timelines of every Metropolis Green Arrow sighting since he'd arrived. And then, finally, with drawings, lists, and charts scattered around her, she did the one thing that she'd avoided all this time: tracing the ip address from the chat room he had opened with her.
The process completed and the results stared her back in the face, no room left for any doubt. There was simply no denying it.
Oliver Queen was the Green Arrow.
Oliver paced back and forth.
He had to do it. He had to tell her. There was no way around it. He'd known since the first date, if he were being honest with himself.
Oh hell, I've known since I first spoke to her that I should tell her who I am. Running around getting caught on smuggling ships and getting shot at. Friggin'…insane…wonderful woman.
The trouble was how to tell her. And when. For the past week and a half, he'd been running himself ragged, trying to figure out how to go about it. Should he make some big, fancy ordeal out of it? Like he would to celebrate something? Or maybe he should sit her down and break it to her gently. There was no way to anticipate her reaction to it. Would she be thrilled? Confused?
He swallowed anxiously. Angry?
He glanced at his phone for the eighth time in two minutes. Letting out a frustrated growl, he picked it up and dialed the number he'd been purposefully avoiding all this time.
It picked up almost immediately.
"Hey, what's up?"
"How the hell do I tell her?"
There was a momentary pause and all of a sudden Hal burst into laughter on the other end.
"Look, I'm conveniently overlooking the fact that you apparently talked to her about me, so I suggest you not laugh at me right now."
Hal just laughed again. "Is that why I haven't heard from you? Aw, come on, man. I did it for your own good."
"Yeah, I'm sure you have some incredibly convincing, slick reason for talking to her that will half-convince me I asked you to do it. Whatever," Oliver rolled his eyes. "I know I need to tell her the truth. I'm just freaking out because I'm afraid she'll freak out. What do I do if she freaks out?"
"She's not going to freak out." Hal sounded almost bored, but even Oliver could catch the mild amusement he was trying to hide in his voice.
Choosing to ignore it since Hal was apparently trying to be helpful, Oliver continued. "How would you know?"
"Because she's not the freak-out type. She's the freaky-calm type."
Oliver debated that, but panic had settled in on him and wasn't letting him go. "You can't know that."
"Sure I can."
"Because I told her who I am. And she was freaky-calm about it."
Oliver stopped pacing, attempting to register. "What?" he deadpanned.
"I told her who I am. And she just kind of sat there. I mean, she asked me why I told her, but she didn't freak out remotely. You're acting like a chick, man. It's not attractive. Just tell her."
"You are one weird-ass friend."
"But I still don't know how to tell her," Oliver continued. "I mean, I know half this damn situation is my fault. I've dragged it out too long. I should have told her who I was the first time I kissed her."
"Blah blah blah."
"You're missing my point, Hal. It's different for you. She didn't have a major relationship with you. Either of you," he said bitterly.
"I'm telling you, man, you're over-thinking this. Just sit her down and tell her."
"What if she gets mad?"
Hal laughed again. "Oh my God, I didn't realize how whipped you were until just now."
"Dude. Not cool right now."
"Got it, got it. Sorry. All I'm gonna say is this: Which do you think is gonna make her angrier? Finding out? Or you waiting so long she figures it out by herself?"
Oliver swallowed. "Good point."
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