Like a magnet seeking its countercharge, Chloe bolted to him and knelt beside him. She screamed an acute howl that betrayed her inner agony, her mind dazed with racing thoughts and pumping adrenaline. She foolishly wished that they were back home in Metropolis where Clark could have possibly heard her outcry and zoomed to the rescue. But alas, they were regrettably alone to the point of isolation, near a back-road cottage with no internet access and little cell reception.
She was seriously pissed at the world right now and in desperate need of a caffeine jolt from her favorite Almond Mocha.
A second later she exited freak-out Chloe mode and returned to her calm, collected Watchtower persona that she was forced to use during patrols when a team member experienced an injury. Okay, first off, see if you can wake him up, she directed herself.
She gently prodded his body, tapping both cheeks with her fingertips. When he didn't awaken immediately she checked the pulse point on his neck to ensure he hadn't just sustained an early onset heart attack. The steady thrumming of his blood and pounding of his heart soothed her a bit and quieted her irrational fears of him dying in her hands.
Without a second thought she ripped off a strip of fabric from her blouse and bent over the edge of the pier. She dipped the fabric into the fresh lake water below her and rung out any excess. She then pressed the soaked material against Oliver's forehead, hoping that the liquid was clean enough and not (a) toxic or (b) laden with meteor rock.
As the make-shift rag clung to him, Chloe yanked out her cell from her back pocket and prayed that they weren't in a dead zone. Noting the few bars at the upper left corner, she quickly dialed before she could drop the signal. The line rang once before a female voce answered.
"Clark Kent's phone, how may I be of service today?"
"Lois," Chloe said, struggling to keep the anguish out of her tone, "now's really not the time to be cute."
Lois did, however, catch the sharpness of her cousin's voice which was emphasized when there was a shuffling noise and Clark finally (thank God) responded.
"Chloe, what's the matter?"
He was speaking with his 'Blur', sorry, 'Superman' voice – the careful, compassionate one he used on victims of horrific accidents when he was trying to save them without them panicking on him.
"Clark, I need you. Now. Something's happened. It's Oliver." Chloe only managed a few vague sentences before the line completely dropped dead.
Cursing under her breath, Chloe resumed her inquiry into Oliver's physical state. Thankfully, it appeared that he was finally coming to and resuming consciousness, but that wasn't the only problem at the moment. A fever had appeared out of the blue, spreading from his forehead down his neck, flowing across his muscular torso and arms. There was a fine sheen of sweat that hadn't been present when she first called Clark and Oliver was looking slightly disoriented, as if he was unsure how he had reached this point.
"You passed out, but it's okay, I'm getting help," Chloe informed him.
Usually, a simple feint wouldn't be means for such panic but this was Oliver, this was Green Arrow. He was extremely fit, with more agility, strength, and power than the general population. Oliver Queen didn't have random feinting spells; the only time something like this happened was if it was a symptom of a major problem. Okay, so maybe she'd been watching too much House lately and now saw everything as a big medical conspiracy that was masking a serious issue, but she'd rather be safe than sorry.
Gratefully, a blur flew in from the sky before she could further flip out. She silently thanked the Powers That Be for Clark finally mastering the art of flight since it would have taken him considerably longer to have to weave through all the forest if he'd been on foot.
Oliver was lucid enough to recognize their friend's dramatic arrival and stirred under her touch.
"Hey, Clark," Chloe greeted, conscious of the anxiety currently displayed on her face like a neon sign. "Can you fly him to MetGen for me? I'm kind of freaking out here. He's only ever collapsed like this when he had a bullet embedded in his side. And he doesn't, I checked."
Clark nodded, scooping up Oliver like a ragdoll. Chloe knew something was seriously wrong when he barely protested and didn't crack any 'too close for comfort' jokes. Oliver only mumbled and practically slipped back into unconsciousness right there.
"Make sure Emil treats him and can you be kinda subtle when you bring him in? The last thing any of us need right now is a paparazzi attack," Chloe instructed with a strength she didn't feel. "I'll be there as soon as possible."
Clark stared at her a second, asking the silent question of 'did she want him to come back for her'. Chloe shook her head no and Clark whooshed away, disappearing from sight with Oliver in tow. Chloe breathed deeply and paused for a moment, reassuring herself that everything would be A-O.K. now. She phoned back Lois, the cell signal inexplicably working for an unknown reason. After a certain amount of fretting from Lois, Chloe hung up the phone and returned to the cottage. She re-packed all clothing, jewelry, and personal items before zipping up the suitcases and dragging the cumbersome luggage back to Ollie's Range Rover. She somehow managed to toss in his insanely heavy Green Arrow gear and slammed the trunk closed. She headed back inside for a final scan of the premises when her eye caught the pathetic food supply they'd eaten mere hours before hand. She chucked the peanut butter and noodles into the pantry before carefully moving the juices and remaining vodka into the fridge. With one final glance, she yanked the door closed and threw the lock, activating the cottage's security system.
She exited the grounds and heard the wrought iron gate with the Queen family crest click closed behind her as she journeyed back home.
Her arrival at Metropolis General Hospital was barely noticed, as a large chunk of the staff tending to her husband was currently preoccupied. Unfortunately for her, this distraction was not in the form of an ill-fated DUI or a fraternity bash gone awry. No, those would have been too easy. Instead, the true motivation for the pandemonium that welcomed her at the hospital was her husband. Chloe stared on in horror as Oliver writhed in pain on his uncomfortable hospital bed, machines screeching as alarms abounded, triggered by an unwarranted change to his vitals. He arched his body and twisted his violently, thrashing around and knocking over a bedside table.
Chloe remained immobile as the beeping of machinery reached her ears and doctors rushed to and fro. For one agonizing minute, the heart monitor flat lined and Oliver crashed back into the bed, lifeless. A quick-thinking nurse summoned an orderly and a crash cart was wheeled into the room. Resuscitation paddles appeared in the Emil's hands, Chloe finally registering that Clark had employed her request for this specific doctor. The entire room's occupants seemed to hold their breath until a faint noise emanated from the heart monitor again, signaling Oliver's return to the land of the living.
After this terrifying ordeal, the crew managed to achieve a stable state with Oliver, where he was no longer at risk of immediate death, but still unconscious for the time being. During this reprieve, Chloe was brought aside by one of the nurses and asked the standardized questioning of all hospital patients' families. She vaguely recalled undergoing a similar situation with Jimmy following her disastrous wedding; however, then the doctor's held a general idea of the source of the damage so the questioning had been more oriented on medical history. Contrarily, now the questions encompassed a vast list of things, some of which Chloe was wholly unaware of.
"No, he's not on any illegal substances," she replied, partially appalled at the nurse's audacity to ask her such a thing. Yes, this was a formality, but it insulted her nonetheless. Oliver wasn't Joe Pothead - living off the streets, desperate for his next hit - and Oliver certainly wasn't a Lindsay Lohan type, with the partying all night and snorting unknown powders. He was a CEO for crying out loud! He was a self-proclaimed hero.
"Mrs. Queen?" The nurse ventured. "We're almost done here, I'm sorry for this but it really is quite necessary. We want the most up-to-date medical knowledge as possible."
The nurse (Chloe spotted her name on a conveniently placed nametag to be Lena) spoke with the composure of one accustomed to frazzled family members and scared friends. Her tone was soothing and friendly, definitely intended to comfort. The quasi-interview ended a few minutes later and Chloe hurriedly approached Emil.
"Good news?" She inquired; naively hoping for positive information such as Oliver would definitively come to within the next five minutes.
He answered her in typical medical jargon at first, and then dumbed it down to a comprehensible level for those without a doctorate. Chloe grasped the gist of his words, understanding that Oliver would awaken within twenty-four hours at greatest, but most likely less than twelve hours. This declaration brought a smile to Chloe's face and she nodded happily, raptly agreeing with what he was stating. The feinting spell should only be a one-time occurrence by any calculation and the hospital had prescribed a low dose pain medication for any injuries sustained during Oliver's collapse.
Leaving as soon as it arrived, the smile slipped from Chloe's face, her countenance morphing to confusion once she noticed Emil's wary expression. Chloe gazed up at him intently, her eyes boring frustrated holes into his.
"There is more."
Emil glanced surreptitiously around them before clutching Chloe's wrist and coaxing them both into an unoccupied hospital room. He quietly shut the door and withdrew a very doctor-like clipboard from his medical jacket. Chloe stared up at him, impatiently awaiting response. He adjusted his glasses and shuffled nervously.
With a deep intake of breath he said, "It isn't good or bad so much as intriguing, and with the intrigue, also confounding."