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Just For Kicks, All By Myself 1/1



banner by: geek_or_unique



Title: Just For Kicks, All By Myself (Prequel Series #4)
Chapter: 1/1
Characters: Chloe Sullivan and Oliver Queen
Rating: (Light) R
Fictable Prompt: #66 Rain for insanityclings
Word Count: 5,100
Summary: Chloe doesn't know what to do when Oliver spirals out of control.
Previous Stories: | Don't You Know Who You Are | Got Love for the People That Have Warned You | You Don't Have to Make A Sound |


Just For Kicks, All By Myself

     Lionel Luthor had screwed him again.
 
     The worst part was that he hadn’t seen it coming. Oliver crumbled up the press release announcing Luthor Corp’s acquisition of the company he had spent the past six months trying to get and hurled it at the wall. The paper fluttered to the floor without a sound and did nothing to satisfy the rage that was coursing through him. Oliver picked up his laptop and sent that flying as well. It hit the wall with a bang and he felt a small sense of satisfaction as he watched it break into pieces before clattering to the floor with another loud bang.
 
     He waited and almost as if she’d been anticipating a cue, the door to his office opened and Chloe walked in. Oliver arched an eyebrow at her and she looked from him to the broken computer and back again before she just shook her head and left, pulling the door closed behind her. He noticed that she didn’t slam it and he wished she had. Oliver wanted to see his assistant get worked up over something for once. Anything would be better than the constant, wary disappointment she had in her eyes when she looked at him.
 
     Oliver scowled as his thoughts shifted back to the deal. Everything had been all set. He’d done all the prep work, including the month he’d spent in Europe with the potential investors, addressing each of their concerns personally as he neglected everything else in his life and his company because he’d known this deal would have been worth it in the end. He’d brought Chloe and a few other select people into the loop and they’d been working day and night to make sure it went off without a hitch and at the last minute, Lionel had swooped in and stolen it out from under him.
 
     “Bastard,” Oliver snapped. He pounded his fist against his desk and then he shoved everything off of it; his scowl deepening as he listened to all of it hit the floor. His eyes drifted to the door, but Chloe didn’t come in again. She probably thought he was being petulant and maybe he was, but he was angry, furious even. He was sick and tired of Lionel fucking with his life like it was his goddamn hobby.
 
     His son was just as bad. Oliver had hated Lex Luthor from the minute he’d met him in prep school and it had only festered over the years as Lionel molded his son in his own image. Now they had the company that Oliver had worked his ass off to get and they were probably sitting in their stupid Kansas mansion laughing at him.
 
     Oliver wasn’t going to let them win. He couldn’t. They’d struck first and they’d hit him hard but he wasn’t just going to roll over and let them get away with it. He’d come up with something that blow them out of the water. He shoved his chair back from his desk as he got to his feet, glancing around for his cell phone. He figured it was probably on the floor somewhere and he didn’t feel like looking for it. It wasn’t like he wanted to talk to anyone. He needed to clear his head and find a way to come back from this because he was not going to lose anything else to the Luthors.
 
     Chloe’s head shot up the second he stormed out of his office. She had expected him to stew in his tantrum awhile longer. “Oliver, it’s not even noon. Where are you going?” she asked. He had a full afternoon of meetings and he couldn’t afford to blow them off now that the deal to buy the steel manufacturing company had fallen through. “Oliver!” she called again when he walked right by her, heading for the main door.
 
     He didn’t look back and Chloe let out a frustrated sigh. She locked her computer and walked into his office, sighing again when she saw the mess. She wasn’t going to clean it up. He was going to have to learn that he couldn’t have everything he wanted in life. Chloe sorted through the stuff that had been on his desk and pulled out his cell phone. Sooner or later he would come back for it and he was going to have to talk to her whether he liked it or not. She slipped it in her pocket and headed back to her desk to wait.
 
***
   
      It was another two weeks before Chloe saw Oliver again after the morning he’d stormed out of his office and it wasn’t even in person. Things had been relatively quiet on the crime front and Chloe was extremely grateful to be sitting on her couch in comfortable clothes with a pint of her favorite ice cream and a bottle of wine as she flipped through the channels, looking for something mindless to watch. She didn’t care that it was Friday night and she was in her early twenties and had no social life what-so-ever. She’d been working her ass off at the office, trying to hold things together while Oliver took another unscheduled absence and she needed a break.
 
     Chloe watched about five minutes of the Lifetime movie of the week before she rolled her eyes and hit the button to change the channel. She took a sip of wine, drinking directly from the bottle as she flipped past the news channels. She didn’t need the anchors to tell her that the stock market was down; she had angry board members to call and yell at her about it like she had any control over Oliver losing the manufacturing company to Luthor Corp. and then seemingly disappearing off the face of the earth.
 
     She mentally admonished herself for letting thoughts of work or Oliver invade her quiet time and she pushed them aside as she tried to remember what channel Comedy Central was. Chloe hit the channel button on the remote again and her eyes widened when Oliver’s face filled her screen. For a brief moment, she wondered if this was it and she was finally losing her mind, but then the camera panned out and she saw the reporter who was interviewing Oliver. Chloe ordered herself to keep going and just ignore him, but she pressed the button to turn up the volume instead.
 
     Apparently Oliver was at some club opening in New York and it took less than a minute of listening to him talk for Chloe to see that he was beyond drunk. She sighed as she listened to him blatantly flirting with the reporter despite the fact that he already had a woman on his arm who looked like she was probably a supermodel. It was good to know that he was doing something important with his time while she worked herself into the ground to keep his company running. Disgusted, Chloe finally hit the mute button and reached for the bottle of wine again.
 
     “You should just quit.”
 
     Chloe nearly dropped the bottle as her head whipped around to face her cousin. Lois nodded toward the screen where Oliver was using the model to keep himself upright. “Seriously, cuz,” she said. “You’ve worked for that jackass for a year and a half and how many job offers do you get on a daily basis just from people who want to stick it to him? You should quit,” she said again.
 
     “I can’t,” Chloe replied. She changed the channel, relieved to see Jon Stewart on the screen. “Oliver pays me really well and I have a lot of freedom since he’s too busy to be in the office. Besides, the guys need me there.”
 
     Lois shook her head as she grabbed her jacket and purse from the chair. “You’re too good to him, Chloe.” She knew her cousin was stubborn but she didn’t understand why she put up with Oliver. The guy was completely worthless as a human being and Chloe could easily find another job that would support her extracurricular hero activities. “Just think about it,” she said.
 
     Chloe nodded but they both knew she was just pacifying her cousin. As soon as Lois left for her interview, Chloe bit her lip as she changed the channel back to the gossip show. Oliver was laughing and talking even as he stumbled again. Chloe rolled her eyes. His picture was going to be on every tabloid in the country in the morning and the company stock was going to take another nosedive.
 
     “Damnit Oliver, what is wrong with you?” she muttered as she turned off the TV completely. She knew he cared about the company or he wouldn’t have been so angry about that deal falling through. Then again, maybe he just hated to lose.
 
     Chloe couldn’t help wondering what was wrong with her. She shouldn’t care what happened to him or his company at this point. He obviously didn’t. But even though she knew Lois was probably right, she wasn’t going to walk away. That wasn’t the type of person she was.
***
    
     Oliver groaned as he felt himself starting to wake up. His head was pounding and his body ached like he’d been run over by a truck. Oliver forced his eyes open, regretting it instantly when he saw the bright sunshine streaming into the room. He immediately closed his eyes as he tried to remember where he was. He tentatively opened one eye just enough to see the room. It wasn’t a hotel room but it wasn’t his bedroom in Star City either. Oliver groaned again as he forced himself to sit up and look around, the silk sheet falling to his lap as he shifted.
 
     He was in Metropolis, Oliver realized. It was the only other city where he actually owned a place and didn’t have to stay in a hotel. The penthouse had been an impulse buy one year when he’d been in town for several weeks, systematically stealing away some of Luthor Corp’s most valuable employees. The place had come in handy over the years, allowing him to slip in and out of Metropolis without the Luthors knowing he was around. They’d been the reason he’d come to Kansas this time too, but for once, Oliver had been more than happy to put in an appearance at a Luthor event.
 
     Lionel Luthor was dead.
 
     Oliver had been in Monte Carlo when the news broke and less than two hours after he’d heard, he’d been on a plane to Metropolis. The official cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but Oliver doubted that was the case because it was way too easy. It didn’t take long for the rumors to start that Lionel’s demise had come at Lex’s power-hungry hand. Oliver had to admit there was some karmic justice in the idea that Lionel had done such a good job making Lex into himself that Lex hadn’t seen a need for his father anymore.
 
     Lex had still managed to put on a show of being the grieving son at the funeral, standing dutifully beside his father’s casket at the head of the receiving line as he greeted the “mourners” and accepted their condolences. Oliver hadn’t offered any as he looked down at Lionel’s lifeless body and barely resisted the urge to lean over and tell him that he hoped he was rotting in hell where he belonged.
 
     Instead, he’d nodded at Lex and he’d smirked when the other man had broken his “poor me” act long enough to glare at him even though being happy that Lionel was dead was probably the first thing they’d ever seen eye to eye on. Oliver had stayed at the chapel for what he’d decided was a respectable amount of time and then he’d headed for the Ace of Clubs to celebrate the son-of-a-bitch finally getting what had been coming to him.
 
     His head started throbbing again, bringing him out of his thoughts and Oliver decided the hangover was something else he could blame on Lionel Luthor. Oliver pushed the sheet off of him completely and got to his feet, stretching his arms over his head as he tried to ease some of the soreness in his muscles. His eyes fell to the pill bottle on the nightstand. Oliver shook three of them into his hand and popped them into his mouth, using what was left of the scotch to wash them down.
 
     Oliver rubbed the back of his neck as he padded toward the bathroom, frowning when he saw the trail of clothes on the floor that reminded him that he hadn’t come home from the club alone last night. Oliver groaned as the details started to come back to him and he wondered what the hell he’d been thinking bringing her home with him. He changed course, heading for the dresser to grab a pair of sweatpants. His shower was going to have to wait until he made sure that she was gone.
 
     As Oliver made his way down the spiral staircase, he groaned again when a wave of nausea hit him. Maybe he should have checked to see what kind of pills he’d taken. Oliver stepped off the last stair and paused for a moment, trying to get his equilibrium back as he fought the urge to empty the contents of his stomach. He didn’t hear anything, but even in his current state, Oliver knew better than to just assume she was gone. He walked toward the office that was in the back of the apartment and scowled when he saw her sitting behind his desk.
 
     “Did you get lost on your way to the elevator? I can show you where it is,” he said as he leaned against the doorframe.
 
     “Good morning, Sunshine. You look like hell,” Tess Mercer replied matter-of-factly. “I guess a romantic breakfast for two isn’t on the morning agenda. Pity,” she said, voice dripping with sarcasm.
 
     Oliver’s scowl deepened and he ignored the stabbing in his head. “We both know romance has never been our thing,” he pointed out. Last night hadn’t been the first time they’d ended up in bed together and Oliver knew Tess never did anything without some kind of ulterior motive. He couldn’t really judge her for that since the first time they’d hooked up; he’d seduced her purely to attempt to get information out of her about a business deal.
 
     He’d underestimated her though and the information she’d given him had been faulty. Oliver had paid her back a few months later when she’d come on to him at a conference in London. He’d known right away that she wanted information and he’d left an altered proposal for her to find. They hadn’t spoken since then until she’d sat down at his table at the Ace of Clubs and had ordered him to buy her a drink so they could toast to her father’s demise.
 
     “I don’t keep any business stuff here and I lost my laptop a month ago so you’re wasting your time and mine,” Oliver told her. “So if there’s nothing else…” His voice trailed off as he gestured over his shoulder.
 
     Tess rolled her eyes and got to her feet. “Actually Oliver, I thought in honor of the occasion, I would do something nice for you.” She moved toward him as she pulled a file out of her purse and slammed it against his chest. “While Lex was shaking everyone’s hands and pretending that he’s not a heartless murderer, I was going through Lionel’s study. I found something that you might be interested in.”
 
     Oliver frowned as he took the folder from her. “What kind of game are you playing, Tess?” He knew better than to think she would ever do something for him unless there was something in it for her.
 
     “I told you,” Tess replied. She moved around him, sliding her purse back up her arm as she walked. “I’m not sure what you can do with that information now, but I thought you’d want to know the truth.” She paused and turned to face him. “I have no doubt Lex would have destroyed it so you’re welcome,” she said pointedly, her tone clearly indicating that she had done him a favor. “I’ll see you around, Oliver.”
 
     He listened to her heels clicking across the hardwood floor and a minute later he heard the elevator doors opening. Oliver walked into the living room just in time to see them closing. He moved over to the control panel and entered the security code to make sure she wouldn’t be coming back up and then he opened the folder in his hands, wondering what Tess thought was so important that he would owe her for telling him.
 
     Oliver frowned when he saw the Daily Planet article detailing his parents’ deaths in the plane crash. The familiar pain burned in his chest as he looked at their pictures on the front page of the paper. He flipped past it to the next page which was some kind of log. Oliver read through it quickly and realized it was a personal flight log. It listed all the places his parents had traveled in the year before their plane went down. “What the hell?” he muttered as he moved on to the next page.
 
     It was the inspection certificate for his parents’ plane. Oliver swallowed hard when he saw the signature at the bottom. It wasn’t his father’s personal mechanic, but a name he didn’t recognize. Oliver quickly turned to the next page and nearly dropped the folder when he saw a photocopy of a sizeable check that Lionel had written to the mechanic. Realization kicked in and Oliver’s hands shook as he sank to the floor, leaning back against the elevator door for support.
 
     Lionel had paid someone to sabotage his parents’ plane. He was the reason they were dead; the reason Oliver had grown up alone. There were more pages in the folder and Oliver forced his emotions back as he turned the page again. This time, he found pictures of himself from various events in his life. Lionel had obviously been spying on him, which wasn’t surprising. He was about to close the folder when another article caught his eye; this one detailing a boating accident that had taken the lives of several of his classmates after their high school graduation.
 
     It had been a trip that Oliver was supposed to be on, but he’d decided at the last minute to skip it. He’d been shaken to the core when he’d heard the news reports that people had died and he’d been grateful that he’d cheated death. But as he stared at the article, Oliver started to wonder if had been an accident after all. There had to be a reason Lionel had placed the article in the folder with the information on his parents.
 
     He had his answer a few seconds later when he was about halfway through the article. The ship had exploded in the middle of the ocean and the accident had been blamed on the mechanic who had conveniently taken his own life instead of facing charges. Oliver’s blood ran cold when he saw the man’s name. Apparently he’d done such a good job sabotaging his parents’ plane that Lionel had decided to use him again.
 
     The folder fell to the floor as Oliver rubbed his hands over his face. Lionel Luthor had killed his parents and then he’d tried to kill him. Oliver’s mind flashed to the day of his parents’ funeral and Lionel standing in front of him, telling him how sorry he was and what good people his parents had been. They’d been “friendly” rivals; that was what Lionel had always told him when Oliver gave him any kind of attitude. But he’d never trusted him, even if he had been friends with his parents. Now he knew he’d been right all along not to trust him. His parents had trusted him and they’d lost their lives because of that misplaced trust.
 
     Oliver knew better. It wasn’t safe to trust anyone. As Oliver sat on the floor, emotion churning through him, his heart aching for his parents; he made a silent vow to never be stupid enough to trust anyone again.
 
***
    
     Chloe checked the police scanner one more time to make sure there was nothing pressing that she needed to alert the guys too. Aside from several car accidents due to the rain, it had been a quiet night. She shut down the computer equipment, transferring all the data to her phone before she slipped on her windbreaker and tugged the hood up. She pulled her car keys from her purse and made her way out of the loft, pausing to lock the door behind her before heading down the stairs. She could hear the rain pounding against the side of the building and she considered going back upstairs for her umbrella, but decided not to since her car was less than a block away and she was heading straight back to her apartment.
 
     She pushed open the door and was instantly drenched the second she stepped onto the sidewalk. Chloe pulled her hood down further and broke into a run as she hurried to her car. She hit the button to unlock the door and reached for the handle just as she heard a loud groan. Chloe automatically reached for her taser as she looked around for the source of the sound. She didn’t see anyone and she reached for the door handle once more just as she heard a louder sound, like someone falling down.
 
     Against her better judgment, Chloe moved away from the car to investigate. She kept the taser in her hand, ignoring the rain that was pouring over her as she walked further down the street and she saw someone crumbled against one of the other cars. “Are you okay?” she called. Chloe shifted her keys and her taser into one hand as she started to reach for her cell phone to call for help. Before she had a chance, the man turned his head toward her and Chloe gasped. “Oliver?!” she cried.
 
     “Hey Chloe, fancy meeting you here,” Oliver said. He laughed as he leaned back against the car, letting his eyes fall closed as the rain washed over him.
 
     “Oliver, what the hell are you doing?” Chloe demanded. She knelt down beside him, gripped his shoulders and shook him, forcing him to open his eyes and look at her. She sighed loudly when she saw the familiar glassy look. “Are you drunk or high?” she asked. “It doesn’t matter,” she said before he had a chance to answer her. The last thing she needed was for the tabloids to see him like this; she had too many projects in the works to risk it.
 
     “Get up,” Chloe ordered. She tugged on his hand as she stood up, doing her best to ignore the rain that was soaking her to the bone. “Oliver, I can’t lift you so I need you to get up before you fall asleep here.” She tugged on his hand again and he groaned, but he got to his feet. Unsteady, he leaned back against the car and Chloe counted to ten in her head as she tried to figure out what she was supposed to do.
 
     Chloe had no idea what he was doing in this part of the city or how he’d gotten there. She didn’t see one of his cars anywhere and he had fired his driver a few weeks earlier when he’d come back to Star City after Lionel Luthor’s funeral. Oliver had only been in the office a few times over the past three weeks and it was usually just to yell about something and then disappear on another one of his benders. The last time she’d seen him, he’d been screaming at AC in the parking garage and that had been over a week earlier.
 
     “Chloe?” Oliver’s voice drew her from her thoughts and Chloe pushed her wet hair out of her face as she looked up at him expectantly. “It’s cold out here,” he grumbled.
 
     “I cannot deal with this right now, Oliver.” Chloe tightened her grip on his hand and pulled him with her as she moved back to her car. She hit the button to unlock the passenger door and motioned for him to get in. “I’m going to take you home and if you value your life, you will not say one word,” she warned before she slammed the door and made her way to the driver’s side.
 
     Chloe started the car and pulled away from the curb, putting the wipers on the highest setting. She saw Oliver shiver out of the corner of her eye and despite the fact that she was freezing too, she ignored the urge to turn the heat on in the car and just focused on driving. She had a thousand questions for him but she doubted he was in any condition to answer them and she was too angry to talk to him and concentrate on driving at the same time. He seemed to take her warning seriously and wasn’t saying anything as he stared out the window.
 
     It took almost twenty minutes for her to drive to his building. She stopped the car in front of it and looked at him expectantly, but he just sat there. Chloe sighed again and cut the engine. “You don’t pay me enough for this.” She checked her mirror to make sure there were no cars coming and pushed the door open before she moved around to Oliver’s side. She glanced around, hoping there weren’t any photographers waiting for him as she opened the door. “Come on, Oliver.”
 
     He got out of the car and didn’t spare her a glance as he turned and walked quickly into the building. Chloe barely resisted the urge to throw something as she hurried after him, catching him before he could step into the elevator. “Really, Oliver?” she demanded as she pressed the button for the penthouse and typed in the access code. “Are you just going to stand there and pretend that I didn’t find you on the ground in the rain? You can’t be that drunk!” she shouted.
 
     Oliver raised an eyebrow at her. “You told me not to say anything,” he replied matter-of-factly and once again, Chloe found herself wanting to cause him physical harm.
 
     “You are unbelievable, Oliver! You drop out of sight for months at a time and then you come back and spend all of your time getting drunk or popping pills like they’re candy. What happened to you?” Chloe asked. She didn’t understand. Oliver had always been a little irresponsible, but she’d never seen him spiral this far out of control. Lois kept telling her that she was seeing his true colors once and for all and Chloe was starting to think her cousin was right. It wasn’t like Oliver was offering up any reasonable explanations for his outrageous behavior.
 
     He just looked at her, not saying anything as the elevator ascended to the penthouse. After another long moment of silence, he finally spoke. “No one asked you to babysit me, Chloe.”
 
     Chloe shook her head, jaw clenched. “No, Oliver. You asked me to work for you. Do you even care about the company anymore?” she asked. The elevator chimed and she followed Oliver into the penthouse. He stumbled and fell into the wall, but managed to keep himself upright. “You need help, Oliver.”
 
     “I need a fucking drink,” Oliver replied. He moved toward the wet bar, stumbling a few more times as he crossed the room. He picked up the bottle of scotch and drank straight from it before he turned to face Chloe. “You did your good deed for the night, Chloe. Now get the hell out and leave me alone. I don’t need you. I don’t need anyone,” he said firmly before bringing the bottle to his lips again.
 
     “That’s good, Oliver because you don’t have anyone left,” Chloe snapped. If he wanted to drink himself to death, that wasn’t her problem. She was soaking wet and she needed to go home, take a hot shower, put on dry clothes and pretend this whole night never happened. She turned to leave and then stopped, irritated all over again. “Damnit Oliver, why won’t you just talk to me?”
 
     She whirled around to face him as he took another long sip of scotch. “Do you remember what you said to me when I was upset?” Chloe asked. When he didn’t answer, she pressed on. “You told me that you’re not as bad as I thought you were. What happened to that guy, Oliver?” She gestured to him, sending water flying across the living room. “Because this guy standing in front of me is not someone I care to be around.”
 
     Oliver looked at her, not saying anything as he set the bottle back on the bar. Chloe saw him stumble again as he reached back, using the bar to steady himself. She watched him, waiting for him to say or do something that would prove to her that there was still a decent guy in there underneath the spoiled, self-absorbed jackass. But he didn’t say a word and she sighed.
 
     “Fine,” Chloe said quietly. “Sleep it off and don’t come into the office until you’re sober,” she said. “I’ll handle everything and keep the company afloat. Have a good night, Oliver,” she added before she walked to the elevator, refusing to look back this time. She couldn’t help him if he didn’t want to be helped and she was done trying. There were people out there with real problems who needed her help and Chloe was going to focus on them. Oliver didn’t give a damn about himself, so why should she?
 
     He was tempted to call out to her, but Oliver just stood there and watched her walk away. He’d finally managed to make her angry enough to get a reaction out of her, but he didn’t get any satisfaction out of it. As far as Chloe was concerned, he was a failure and that was fine with Oliver. He didn’t care what she thought. He didn’t care what anyone thought. He pulled the bottle of pills out of his pocket, shaking some into his hand and then dry-swallowing them. All he wanted was to be numb.

    
    
    
    
 
Tags: fanfiction, pairing: chloe and oliver, series: elm universe, smallville, title: just for kicks all by myself
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