“Dude, I’m telling you, my amigo and Robin Hood are totally going at it.”
Clark almost choked on the cookie that he was eating when he heard Bart make that comment. He was in the kitchen of the Justice League headquarters, when he had accidentally overheard Bart and AC talking. He didn’t mean to spy, but when he heard his name come up, he couldn’t help but be curious.
How was he supposed to expect that? Even though he shouldn’t be using his powers for listening to other people’s conversations, he couldn’t stop.
“Yeah, right,” AC scoffed. “Clark and Oliver? Do you remember how they used to argue?”
At least there’s one sane person, Clark thought, smiling to himself.
“Obviously the arguing was to cover up something else,” Bart argued. “Anyway, J’onn told me that Dinah said that Tess saw Clark and Ollie having dinner together a couple of nights ago. It seemed they looked real cozy.”
Frowning, Clark tilted his head. He remembered that dinner. It was a casual thing, nothing big or fancy. Ollie had been in town so they decided to meet up. Ever since Clark had joined the League, the two of them had gotten closer … as friends, of course.
“Because if two friends are having dinner together, they’re automatically on a date,” AC was saying, his tone dry and sarcastic. “Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.”
“Well, it’s not just that dinner,” Bart insisted. “I mean, have you seen the way they look at each other? Or how, if they’re in the same room, they’re always are standing so close together? And they can’t keep their hands off each other …”
“You’re reading too much into this,” AC said, and Clark could practically hear him rolling his eyes. But he agreed … Ollie and he just acted like friends would. It was nothing more.
“It isn’t just me,” Bart protested. “Everyone thinks that they’re together and just having some kind of secret affair.”
“Everyone?” AC echoed.
Who’s everyone? Clark wondered.
“The girls, definitely,” Bart answered. “That includes Chloe and Lois. Some of the guys, like Carter, agree there’s tension. Hell, even Victor was saying that we had a point about them.”
“Victor?” AC echoed.
Victor? Now that was a surprise. Cyborg was one of the more logical members of the group, and he hardly listened to gossip. If he saw something, then it took the rumors to a whole new level. But Clark knew that he and Oliver weren’t having an affair so it didn’t matter what else everyone thought.
Besides, Oliver was straight. There was no way he would even be the least bit interested in Clark. Much to his surprise, he felt a twinge of disappointment at the thought, but brushed it off. Don’t let them get to you, Clark. Yes, he was just letting the so-called rumors mess with his head.
By the time he made it to the conference room, Bart and AC had stopped talking, no traces of their conversation on either of their expressions.
The rest of the League drifted in, Oliver among them. Seeing Clark, Ollie grinned and moved to take the seat next to him. Clark smiled carefully but couldn’t help but wonder what people were thinking when they watched them.
“Hey there, Boyscout,” Oliver greeted him. “Ready for the meeting?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Clark replied, shrugging.
Oliver chuckled. Nudging him lightly, he asked, “If you don’t have any plans later, do you want to come over for dinner?”
“Sure,” Clark agreed. “Do you want me to bring anything?”
“Just yourself,” Oliver told him, with a wink. Clark’s heart skipped a beat, as it always tended to do when Oliver was looking at him like that, smile wide and brown eyes sparking. He had never seen Oliver look at anyone else this way and to be frank, it took his breath away and always made him lose any and all sense of concentration.
Fortunately, he didn’t have to say anything, as Bruce Wayne, known as Batman in the crime-fighting world, chose that moment to call the meeting to order. From then on, they had to focus. Taking a glance around the table, Clark smiled.
The League had expanded over the years, including many new heroes. These days though, it was either Clark or Bruce who took charge though, Oliver taking a step back once Clark joined. It took some time to get used to the new dynamics, but now everyone was comfortable and Clark considered them to be his extended family.
After the meeting, he met up with Oliver near the entrance.
“When should I be over?” Clark questioned.
“In about an hour,” Oliver answered. “That’ll give me enough time to freshen up and get dinner started.”
“Sure you are okay with cooking?” Clark asked, resting a hand on Oliver’s shoulder.
“Positive,” Oliver confirmed. “Besides, restaurants are too crowded anyway. This way, we can have some privacy.”
“Oliver Queen, why on Earth would you want to get me alone?” Clark teased, playfully batting his eyelashes. “Should I be worried about my virtue?”
“Constantly,” Oliver said, leering, the simple act eliciting a blush from Clark. Glancing at the clock, he said, “I hate to end this conversation but I should go. I’ll see you soon though.”
Clark watched him leave, like he always did, before heading back to his own apartment. After taking a quick shower, he slipped into a dark blue sweater and a pair of jeans. Though Oliver told him not to bring anything, he had already made a lemon meringue pie, which he knew Oliver loved.
He drove to the Clock Tower and reached within fifteen minutes. Entering the elevator, dessert in hand, Clark wondered why he was suddenly nervous. He silently cursed Bart for putting ideas into his mind and making things weird. Pushing the unwanted thoughts out of his mind, he tried to stay calm as the doors opened.
Clark made his way to the kitchen, his lips curving into a smile upon seeing Oliver cooking, a green apron covered his dark shirt and pants.
“Hey,” Clark said, leaning against a wall, gaining Oliver’s attention. “Nice apron.”
Oliver smirked in response. Gesturing to the box, he asked, “What do you have there?”
“Oh, I made a lemon meringue pie,” Clark told him. Seeing Oliver’s expression shift to one of surprise, he hastily added, “Not just for today. I mean, I made it before … for you, of course. I knew you liked it, and I figured I’d see you eventually and …”
“Whoa, Clark,” Oliver interrupted. “Breathe. You’re babbling.”
Nodding, Clark did just that. “I’m okay.”
“I can see that,” Oliver remarked. “But thank you … that was nice of you … to think of me.”
A light blush colored Clark’s cheeks. “You’re welcome,” he said simply. “I’ll just put it in the refrigerator then?”
“Go for it,” Oliver replied. “I’m almost done with dinner.”
After placing the pie in the fridge, Clark turned back to Ollie, who was cooking contently. Observing him silently, he was suddenly hit with the realization that Oliver was gorgeous. Of course he had always known that the blond was good-looking, but this was completely different.
As if sensing he was being watched, Oliver looked up and grinned. “You see something you like, Kent?”
Though his stomach tightened, Clark managed to stay outwardly calm and rolled his eyes. “You wish, Queen.” Ollie just laughed. “Anything I can do?” Clark added.
“Nope, I’m good,” Oliver assured him. “I have appetizers ready on the dining table, if you’re hungry.”
“I’m fine for now,” Clark assured him.
“Okay,” Oliver said, as he stirred the sauce, “I’m almost done here.”
True to his word, Ollie had finished up in less than ten minutes, putting the food in the oven.
“Beer? Wine?” Ollie offered.
“Whatever you’re having is fine,” Clark replied.
Ollie nodded, and Clark watched as he uncorked a bottle of red wine. Clark took the liberty of finding the glasses and handed two to Ollie. They exchanged smiles and Ollie poured a generous amount of wine in each glass, before handing one back to Clark.
Then he led him to the dining room, where appetizers were waiting. Ollie had made jalapeno peppers stuffed with crab and avocado, which looked delicious and probably tasted even better.
“Come on, we can go talk in the living room,” Oliver suggested, once they had their food in hand. “Dinner won’t be finished for another half an hour anyway.”
Clark agreed and they headed back.
“So,” Ollie said, after they were seated. “We didn’t really get to chat at the meeting. What’s new with you?”
Clark grinned and launched into a tale about Lois and her antics on their last story. Soon, they were laughing and just enjoying spending time with one another. Dinner was comprised of all of Clark’s favorites, which surprised him.
“I feel all special now,” Clark joked. “Something tells me this isn’t just another dinner.”
Taking a sip of his wine, Ollie chuckled. “Actually, I admit that I have an ulterior motive.”
“Oh yeah?” Clark questioned.
“Yes,” Oliver confirmed. “There’s something I was hoping to talk to you about … but I’ll tell you during dessert.”
“Now you have me all curious,” Clark remarked. “Way to be a tease, Queen.”
“Oh, trust me, I always follow through,” Ollie told him, the look in his eyes sending shivers down Clark’s back.
“Well, I guess I will have to wait and see, won’t I?” Clark said, smiling.
Ollie nodded and with that, they fell back into easy conversation. Hours passed like minutes; he couldn’t ask for better company and the food was delicious, which Clark made sure to mention several times, to the point where he swore Oliver was blushing.
A part of Clark was also anticipating what Ollie was going to tell him. After the initial mention, Ollie didn’t bring it up again and while Clark was usually a patient person, he was really curious and having a difficult time waiting.
That was why a part of him internally cheered when Ollie said that he was going to get the dessert.
“Desserts aren’t my specialty,” Oliver told him, “But before my flight, I did manage to stop by ‘Icing on the Cake’ and pick up a-“
“Black forest cake?” Clark interrupted hopefully. Oliver’s smile gave him his answer and he grinned, delighted. While Clark loved pie, the black forest cake from Icing on the Cake was a little slice of heaven. It was a small, family run bakery that had been in Star City for decades that Ollie introduced him to when he was in Star City last and he had been hooked from the first bite.
“What else?” Oliver quipped.
“Do you need any help?” Clark asked.
“Nah, I got it under control,” Oliver responded, before heading toward the kitchen.
“Black forest cake,” Clark murmured happily. “You know,” he added in a louder voice, “It’s amazing that with all this food, Bart hasn’t made his way here.”
He heard a laugh from the kitchen. “I guess miracles do happen,” Oliver called out.
“Something like that,” Clark agreed, smiling. Remembering what he overheard at the meeting, he hesitated for a moment and then said, “Speaking of Bart, you’ll never guess what I heard today.”
“Clark Kent, are we listening to gossip?” Oliver teased.
He flushed, relieved that Ollie wasn’t in the room to see him. “Well, I was in the kitchen and I couldn’t help but overhear Bart and AC talking.”
“And you’re using the superpowers for spying!” Ollie called out, delight obvious in his tone. “What happened to my Boyscout?”
Pouting, he protested, “It’s not my fault! I didn’t mean to listen … I just heard them say our names and I was curious.”
“Our names?” Ollie sounded surprised. “So, what did you hear?”
“Oh, now you’re interested,” Clark countered. He could practically hear Ollie scowling.
“Yeah, yeah, just spill it,” the blond commanded.
“Well, since you asked so nicely,” Clark joked. Clearing his throat, he continued, “Apparently, most of the League thinks that we’re hooking up and having some kind of secret affair. If that isn’t the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is.”
There was a pause and then a crash, which had Clark standing and speeding to the kitchen, where he found Ollie standing by the counter, a smashed plate containing a piece of cake on the ground.
Glancing between the mess on the floor and Ollie, Clark frowned when he realized the other man was not meeting his eyes.
“Are you okay?” he asked, concerned.
Finally, Ollie looked up, an unrecognizable look in his eyes. His lips twisted into a smile that, Clark was certain, was forced.
“Yeah,” Ollie replied. “I was just … startled, that’s all.” Gesturing to the floor, he added, “I should probably clean this up. Give me a few minutes.”
“Need any help?” Clark asked as Ollie got a dustpan and a small broom.
“Nope, I’m good,” Ollie told him, proceeding to carefully brush the pieces off the floor.
“I hope that wasn’t a family heirloom,” he stated, smiling, needing to fill the silence.
At that, Ollie chucked. “No, fortunately, I left all the 100 year old china in Star City.” Clark grinned, feeling at ease again.
To occupy himself, Clark found new plates, and watched as Ollie finished up.
“So,” Ollie said, “The League thinks we’re together?”
Clark should’ve taken note of the shift in Ollie’s tone, but he just wanted to get this out. Besides, it was better that Ollie heard it from him instead of one of the League members. Then he may draw the wrong conclusions. “Yeah, according to Bart anyway. Can you believe it?”
An indistinguishable sound escaped Oliver’s lips. “I wonder why they would think that,” Oliver said finally.
Clark shrugged and carefully answered, “Something about the way we act around each other.”
“Interesting,” Oliver murmured. Shaking his head, he said, “Figures it’d be Bart though. I mean, for all his macho attitude, he gossips like a little old woman. Probably just pulling things out of the air as usual.”
Ollie seemed to be getting back to normal, but Clark was still cautious. Something was wrong; he felt it. “Exactly,” he managed to say.
Smiling, Ollie stood up, having finished cleaning up and moved toward the cake. “Well, that’s that then. Still up for some cake?” Ollie sounded cheerful, a little bit too cheerful actually.
“Yeah, of course,” he ended up saying.
He watched silently as Ollie cut a generous slice of the cake for him and helped himself to the pie that Clark brought. Then they shifted back to the living room, where they ate mostly in silence. The atmosphere felt different, but Clark couldn’t place his finger on what had changed.
“The pie is delicious, Clark,” was one of the few things that Ollie said.
Clark accepted the compliment with a slight blush and a, “thanks.” Surprised that Ollie hadn’t brought up what he had to talk to Clark about, so Clark found the courage to ask. “So, we’re having dessert now … wasn’t there something you said you wanted to tell me?”
At Clark’s words, Ollie started, seeming to have forgotten about his original intentions. Within seconds, he had recomposed himself and said smoothly, “It wasn’t important.”
Shooting him a disbelieving look, Clark raised his eyebrow and said, “You really want me to believe that? Didn’t you say that whatever you had to tell me was the reason you invited me over here?”
Ollie made a noncommittal sound. “It was part of the reason I invited you over. I would’ve asked you to join me for dinner whether or not I had something to tell you,” he corrected.
“But it seemed important,” Clark pointed out.
“Honestly? It was just business,” Oliver said, in a voice that sounded anything but honest. “Besides, Clark, we’re having fun. I figured that we can talk about this later.”
“What kind of business?” Clark persisted. . He had no idea why he needed to know so badly, but he just couldn’t stop himself.
Ollie waved his hand. “Just some charity event. You know me; I wanted to butter you up before I asked for a favor. It’s fine, Clark, really.”
He’s lying. The realization hit him like a ton of bricks, but Clark didn’t want to pressure him into giving answers. That never went well, especially with someone as stubborn as Oliver. If he pushed him, he’d only end up pushing him away.
“If you say so,” Clark said mildly. He observed the relief that filtered into Ollie’s expression when Clark dropped the subject. It only served to make him more curious. They returned to their food and casual conversation, but Clark couldn’t let it go, not really. What is going on with you, Ollie?
Long after they parted ways (and he tried not to dwell on the fact that Ollie seemed happy to see him leave), this question stayed with him.
In fact, he was distracted throughout patrol that night and was relieved that he made it through without seriously injuring himself due to his lack of concentration. Even sleep didn’t come easily. He tossed and turned for hours, the image of Ollie’s face when he found him in the kitchen refusing to leave him.
Because he had realized that was the moment when their fun dinner had turned into something else. Somehow, his revelation about the rumors about the two of them had changed things. But Ollie seemed to be okay with it; he laughed and joked about Bart too. Then again, the key word was ‘seemed’. Ollie was practiced at hiding his real feelings and in that moment, he may have found it necessary to do so again.
By morning, he was convinced. Mostly because he had finally placed the emotions in Ollie’s eyes that he wasn’t able to identify before- it had been anxiety, fear and a bit of disappointment. Ollie had been nervous. Which didn’t make any sense; what would Ollie have to be nervous about when it came to the rumors?
Unless they weren’t just rumors for him. The thought came out of nowhere and threw Clark off completely. Could it be that they were accurate? Was Oliver really falling for him?
Or maybe he had fallen already. He thought of what Ollie had to tell him and how his interest in doing so had faded coincidentally after Clark had innocently claimed how ridiculous the idea of the two of them would be.
Ollie’s confession … it couldn’t have been what Clark was thinking… could it? Stop living in denial; you know it is. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. Groaning, Clark put his head in his hands.
How could he have been so foolish? The flirting, the suggestive comments, the dinner being so carefully planned and full of everything that Clark loved … it couldn’t have been more obvious. And Clark might’ve carelessly broken Oliver’s heart. No wonder Ollie had changed his mind.
His hand was on the phone and dialing Ollie’s number before he could think twice. When he was five numbers in, it dawned on him that he didn’t know what he would say and he hung up, not wanting to sound like an idiot.
Never before had Clark been so relieved that it was the weekend. This way, he didn’t have to face anyone at work, or try to make excuses for why he was so distracted to Lois. Instead, his thoughts stayed on Ollie and what he was going to do.
Then again, Ollie was never really far from his thoughts on any given moment. There were so many times the blond crossed his mind. His mind drifted to the Green Arrow action figure in his closet, which was part of the birthday gift he had gotten for Ollie, or how green shirts had suddenly filtered into his wardrobe, coincidentally after Ollie had mentioned the color brought out his eyes.
The little things reminded him of Oliver; he’d smile at seeing an article about what the Green Arrow was up to, or fill with pride at hearing whatever good deed Ollie had done. Sure, Ollie donated heavily to charities but he was also very hands on too. That was one of the things Clark loved most about him.
Wait, love? Where had that come from? The worst part was that it had felt right to use it with Oliver. I love Oliver. Oh, boy, this had just gotten a whole lot more complicated.
For the rest of the weekend, he couldn’t focus on anything but Oliver and his new discovery. He wasn’t able to get in touch with the older man either. Clark had called him once and got his answering machine. So he left a message, thanking him for dinner, and prayed that he sounded halfway normal.
Ollie never called him back.
Whether it was because he was genuinely busy or he was avoiding Clark, he didn’t know, but honestly, he wasn’t sure that he wanted to know.
It was why he was a bit happy when Bruce called on Monday morning to tell that them that there would be a League meeting in two days. At least he would finally get to see Ollie. He may still not know what to say, but he was definitely a bit more in tune with his own feelings.
Over the next few days, Clark gained insight on his own heart and even his dynamic with Oliver, seeing it through the point of view of everyone else. He let go of his past denials and just saw what was. Day and night, his thoughts remained consumed and Ollie and now he knew one thing for sure: he was definitely in love with Oliver Queen.
Hopefully that would be enough.
Though he hoped to get to the meeting early so he could catch Ollie alone for a few minutes, he ended up being delayed by a few unexpected emergencies. By the time he got there, Ollie was already seated and the sight of him caused his heart to skip a beat.
Immediately, disappointment set in, once he noticed that Ollie was sitting in between Carter and Dinah, no place for him. The blond hadn’t even looked his way, not even acknowledging his arrival, and he tried his best not to let the hurt he felt show on his face.
To avoid suspicion, he took the empty seat next to Kara, whose eyes darted toward Ollie and then back at him, suddenly filled with concern. He tried to smile reassuringly but judging by the unconvinced expression she was wearing, he realized that he failed. His cousin just knew him too well to be fooled.
So he just tried to silently convey to her that whatever was going on was nothing that she had to worry about and somehow, she managed to get that and relaxed a little. The meeting started shortly after so it wasn’t like she had a chance to interrogate him anyway.
An hour in, they took a break and that was when Clark finally got a chance to speak with Oliver. He went to get a glass of water and when he returned to the meeting room, which was empty. Little did he know that the next person to walk in would be none other than Oliver.
Ollie looked just as surprised as Clark was to and upon realizing they were alone, the usually confident Green Arrow seemed to become worried.
“I forgot something,” Ollie began, but Clark quickly cut him off.
“I’ll be back within a few minutes,” Oliver tried. Clark shook his head.
“Stop avoiding me,” he interrupted. Where did that come from? It shocked Ollie too.
“I’m not avoiding you,” Oliver insisted.
“Yes, you are,” Clark said firmly. First, I left you a message and you never even called me back. Then, I show up to the meeting and you didn’t even save me a seat.” Before Ollie could protest, he added, “We always sit together, no matter how late one of us is. Don’t deny it.”
As he slowly closed the distance between them, he heard Ollie’s heart begin to race. “Something changed at dinner last week, mainly when I told you about the League thinking that we’re together.” He peered into Ollie’s expression and carefully asked, “Does it make you uncomfortable that other people think we’re together? Is that why you’re avoiding me?”
Immediately, Ollie shook his head. “No, of course not.” Clark believed him. He knew it was unlikely when he asked, but he had decided to go with the leas possible situation and work his way up.
A part of him wondered how they were able to get so much alone time. Truth be told, he didn’t really care; he was just grateful that he was able to get him alone like this. If he had used his superhearing, he would’ve heard Kara keeping people away, but he was unable to focus on anything but one Oliver Queen.
Stopping only inches away from Ollie, he questioned, “Then what were you going to tell me?” He could see the lie forming on Ollie’s lips and he frowned. “No lies, Oliver.” Seeing that Ollie was remaining silent, he continued, “I figured out the reasons you didn’t tell me were because how I reacted to the rumors about us, so it can’t be business related. Just tell me.”
Ollie seemed to deflate. “Are you sure you really want to know? You may not like what you hear.”
“I do,” Clark told him.
“I don’t want to ruin our friendship, Clark,” Oliver said slowly. “I’d hate to lose you.”
“You won’t,” Clark promised. “You’ll never lose me.”
When Oliver smiled, it was tinged with sadness, and his brown eyes locked with Clark’s green ones. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” he murmured.
If Clark’s heart could stop beating, he was sure it would’ve in that moment. His throat tightened at the emotions in Ollie’s voice.
“You are. So beautiful. Not only on the outside, but inside too. I’ve never met anyone like you before,” Oliver went on. “I’m pretty sure I never will.”
“Oliver,” Clark breathed, suddenly feeling overwhelmed.
“So how could I not love you?” Ollie said, as if Clark hadn’t spoken. “How could I not fall in love with you?” He sighed. “And I am. I love you. That’s what I wanted to tell you … that I had feelings for you and wanted to be with you. But I figured that with the way you reacted, I got my answer already …”
At this point, Clark cut him off … with a kiss. He didn’t know what possessed him to do that, but the second their lips touched, Clark knew that it was right, that they were right. Ollie froze, having not expected Clark to kiss him, but responded within moments.
When they finally separated, Ollie was speechless and Clark smiled warmly, knowing it was his turn to speak.
“I love you,” Clark told him. Ollie’s mouth dropped, but that didn’t stop Clark. “I didn’t know then but I know now. My heart always did, even if I wasn’t ready to acknowledge it, which is why everyone else was able to see it and not me.”
“You said it was ridiculous, the idea of us being together,” Oliver said, his words said so softly that if Clark didn’t have superhearing, he wouldn’t have heard it. But it broke his heart, hearing the vulnerability in Ollie’s voice.
“Only because that’s what I thought you would want to hear,” Clark replied immediately, his eyes never leaving Ollie’s so the other man would be able to see that he was telling the truth. “I never imagined you could feel anything for me other than friendship. But I get it now and I want to be with you, Ollie.” He hesitated and took Ollie’s hands in his. “Tell me that I’m not too late.”
Oliver silently gazed at him, analyzing his expression, and Clark’s heart pounded with every minute that the blond stayed quiet. Finally, Ollie broke out into a smile. In one swift motion, Ollie pulled him into his arms and captured Clark’s lips with his own. Losing himself in Ollie’s embrace, Clark internally breathed a sigh of relief.
“You know,” Oliver said, when they reluctantly parted, “The League is going to go crazy if they hear about this. If you thought they talked a lot now …”
“Let them talk,” Clark declared. He grinned mischievously. “In fact, let’s give them something to talk about.” Ollie’s smile widened, and he leaned forward, Clark closing the remaining distance as their lips met once more.
They probably weren’t going to hear the end of it from everyone, especially Bart, but Clark had Ollie.
That was definitely worth it.