The lawyers hadn’t given Lex time to recuperate. The moment the news of Lionel Luthor’s death reached their ears they were on a plane to Metropolis, where Dinah and Lex had been transferred, and had held a long, arduous meeting with the heir--no--with the now sole owner of Luthorcorp. Chloe sat reading a magazine in Dinah’s room as the girl slept, pissed that those vultures had been in Lex’s room for hours now going over the different legal information and stuff.
Couldn't they see that he needed to rest and recuperate his strength? Couldn’t this wait for when he was out of the hospital? Luthorcorp wouldn’t go bankrupt if it passed one day without constant supervision from its owner! That was what managers were for!
The brunette sighed and shook her head, trying to concentrate on the magazine she was reading. She’d just gotten off the phone with her parents, who’d been terrified ever since watching the news and seeing that Smallville had been 99 per cent destroyed by the freak meteor shower that’d seemed to appear out of nowhere in seconds, giving the authorities virtually no time to warn the residents.
Chloe’s father had been the most worried, demanding she return home right away, and when she’d told him that they were in Metropolis already, that Lex and Dinah had been transferred to the Metropolis Hospital, Gabe Sullivan had told her that they were on their way. Usually Chloe would have been relieved for their support, but right now their soon arrival made her feel jumpy, nervous. She needed time alone, needed to go over all of the things that’d happened since they’d gone to Smallville, needed time to get Clark Kent out of her head. She didn’t understand it, didn’t understand why she couldn’t get him out of her head, couldn’t help but feel him somehow, and she wanted to get rid of it, and immediately.
She felt guilty for accepting Clark’s comfort, and she didn’t know why. She hadn’t been unfaithful to Lex, but for some reason she felt as if she had, and that confused and angered her. What was wrong in her accepting comfort when she needed it? When it’d been offered so freely and willingly? What was so wrong with it?
The wind cooed soothingly out of the window, and Chloe stood, putting down the magazine and going to the window, opening it and closing her eyes as the wind rushed in, bathing her in its cool caress. For a second she could have sworn she felt a large, calloused hand caress her cheek, but then it was gone and all she felt was the wind.
Still, that restless feeling she’d had deep within was calmed immediately, and Chloe breathed in the wind, felt it circling her, surprisingly warm and yet refreshing.
There was a hint of familiar aroma in it…it smelt of hay and something, something infinitely male…
Chloe twirled around, the spell broken, the calm she’d felt ripped away from her, as her gaze rested on her parents, who were rushing towards her, hugging her tightly.
“Baby…” Moira Sullivan pulled away quicker and looker her over, her black hair faintly tinged with gray and her eyes bluer with tears. “Are you okay?”
“Yes mom.” Chloe smiled at her mother. “I’m fine. It’s Lex and Dinah who were hurt.”
Moira gave her daughter a kiss on her cheek before turning and going to the bed, where her niece still slept due to the strong pain killers. “Oh Dinah, you look so pale.”
You’d be commenting on how good she looked if you knew that we’d survived a direct hit from a huge meteor that left a crater where we were standing.
“How is Lex?” Gabe Sullivan asked, giving his daughter a hug before going over to where his deceased brother’s daughter lay resting.
“He’s fine.” Chloe sighed. “Lionel didn’t make it though.”
Moira gasped, eyes wide as she pressed a hand to her mouth.
Gabe looked up in shock. “What was Mr. Luthor doing in Smallville?”
“He--,” found out that one of his experiments had kidnapped and ultimately killed me. “Had some pressing issues that brought him to Smallville, and was alone in the castle when it received a direct hit. He died shortly after.”
“How horrible.” Moira cried. “Mr. Luthor had always been so wonderful to you!”
Gabe nodded, silent in his mourning. “Mr. Luthor might have been somewhat eccentric, but he was a good person, and there is nothing anyone can tell me that will ever change my mind on that.”
Chloe smiled weakly at them, realizing that she wasn’t going to be able to ever tell them the truth. She was too terrified of their rejection, of their fear, and she wouldn’t risk losing them, she just couldn’t.
“How is Lex taking it, dear?” Moira asked softly, wiping at her tears. “He must have been heart-broken, he was always so desperate for his father’s approval.”
“It’s been a horrible blow for him.” Chloe responded truthfully, remembering the horrified look that’d paled his face when Lex had finally been told that his father was dead. “He—he was also--Lex--Lex lost his hair.”
“What?” Moira and Gabe Sullivan exclaimed at the same time.
“The house we were in was hit by a meteor, and Lex got the full impact of the blow.” Chloe collapsed on the chair once more, looking at her feet, guilt eating at her. “The radiation caused all of his hair to fall out, and the doctors don’t think that it’ll ever grow back.”
“Oh my god.” Moira whispered. “I always admired his hair!”
Chloe sighed. Everyone had always admired Lex’s hair, it was truly a beautiful, silky creation, and although Lex had always scoffed at the attention it’d always gotten him, she’d seen the torment in his eyes when he’d been told he’d be bald for the rest of his life. He’d tried to hide his anguish behind a joke, saying that he wouldn’t have to worry about lice ever again, but Chloe had seen the look in his eyes and it’d broken her heart.
It was all her fault. If she hadn’t stayed behind in that house because of Shelby Lex wouldn’t have been there when the meteor hit--he would have been safe in the cellar and none of this would be happening to him.
It was her fault that all of this was happening.
“When can we see him?” Gabe asked.
“The lawyers have been with his for hours now.” Chloe sighed, looking up at her father, knowing he could see the tortured look in her eyes. “He’s now the owner of Luthorcorp and they’re making sure they’re all not only keeping their job--but that he’s up to ruling them. They’ve come to him at this time because he’s at his weakness, and they’re seeing if he’s weak enough for them to try and do a takeover, but Lex already knew they’d try something like that. He won’t show any weakness and he won’t step down. He’ll fire them all on the spot if he has to but they’re going to leave that room respecting him more than they ever did Lionel.”
Moira smiled at her daughter. “It’s always so heartwarming to hear you talking about Lex. You can hear the love in your voice--it reminds me of your father and I.”
Gabe looked a little embarrassed, but he managed a smile at his wife anyway.
Chloe sighed and closed her eyes.
For some reason she wished that they would leave, and she could somehow retrieve the feeling of rightness she had by the window.
Clark pushed away from the window in the Ross’ house, frustrated, something had interfered and the little connection he’d managed to have with Chloe had been severed abruptly. He knew she wasn’t in danger, the sound of her heart was steady and calm, not the rapid rush of danger, so someone must have interrupted her time alone.
He sighed, looking at the window frame without really seeing it. Being apart from Chloe had always been hard, but now that he’d been able to be with her again, to touch her and hold her close--it was tortuous. Still he held on strong to his resolve. He’d made a choice and he was a Kryptonian, his race held strong to their decisions--and the pain of the wait and of the separation would only make the reunion sweeter…because no matter how long it took, Clark was positive that he’d see Chloe again.
Until then he would have to somehow make do with taking care of her from a distance--listening to her heartbeat--to her laughter and tears--and being able to touch her, if only for a second, with the wind.
He turned to see his mother, not surprised that she’d managed to sneak up on him because he’d been very distracted. “Mom.”
“He’d bald, Clark.”
He nodded, looking out of the window at the destroyed countryside. Pete’s parents had been one of the few families whose houses hadn’t been touched by the meteor shower. “I know.”
There was silence until she reached his side. “Don’t you understand, Clark? He’s going to become the same person he was in the other timeline, he’s going to continue his father’s legacy. You have to go to Chloe, you have to warn her, you have to--.”
“I’m not going to do any of that.” He knew he’d shocked his mother, but right now he felt too empty to really care. “Just because Lex has lost his hair doesn’t mean he’s going to become evil…and he loves Chloe,” it killed him to have to admit it. “She’s a meteor freak--why do you think he’d still want to hurt them?”
“I don’t know, all I do know is that when I looked down on Lex Luthor today, I saw the future, and it frightened me.” Martha hugged herself, truly worried. “You need to warn Chloe and make her see what he truly is.”
“That’s just it, mother,” Clark turned to look at her. “All along I’ve been excusing my behavior because I kept saying that he was evil and didn’t deserve her, but the truth is that Lex Luthor shielded Chloe’s body with his, that is why he’s bald, and a truly evil person--he doesn’t do that.”
Martha opened her mouth. “You wouldn’t done the exact same for her.”
“But I have super powers. Lex doesn’t.”
Marta shut back her mouth quickly, blinking, obviously never having seen things in that light before.
“No, mother, my father was right--Jor-EL was right.” He quickly corrected when she gave him an odd look. “It’s not my time to be with Chloe yet. If Lex is going to choose the wrong path, Chloe will be the first to realize it. Jor-EL believes that Lex will not stay in the light for long, but I have to give him a chance--and this world is a better place with the Lex that Chloe has made him.”
“Clark…” His mother’s hand went on his arm. “You love her.”
“Which is why I’m willing to wait.” He was determined. “I’ve disgraced our Houses mom,” he didn’t stop to explain that to his confused mother. “I’ve only shown myself unworthy of Chloe’s affections--and I need to change that before I can try and regain a place in her life.”
“No buts, mom.” Clark frowned at her, wishing she’d be more supportive of him and his decision--a decision he knew was the right one. “I’ve made my decision. Chloe needs to be with Lex now, she still loves him and she’d never forgive herself if she hurt him--especially not now--not after everything that he’s suffered. There’s nothing you can say that’s going to make me change my mind.”
“But you need Chloe.”
“For right now, he needs her more.”
Martha looked at her son silently, realizing for the first time that he’d grown up and become a man. A small smile touched her face. “You’re a better person than I am.”
He shook his head. “No mom, you’re just really loyal to me.”
Mother and son stood together looking out of the window, a peaceful silence falling upon them.
When all of the lawyers had finally left, Lex sat silent in his hospital room. Chloe had asked him to let her know when they were gone so she could come and sit with him for a while, and yet the young billionaire had chosen not to do so. It wasn’t that he didn’t want Chloe’s company, it was just that he had too many things going on in his head at the moment so he really wouldn’t be good company for her.
The death of his father weighed heavily on his soul, because while he and Lionel Luthor had never had a good relationship, he’d felt them grow closer during Lionel’s brief visit to Smallville, and the fact that he’d been torn away from him so abruptly caused anger and resentment to grow inside of the young man. And what made him feel worse was that he was sure that that meteor shower had been planned.
He didn’t share this belief with anyone because they’d believe that he was mad with grief, but nothing could dissuade him from this. He’d listened to Chloe as she told him about the ‘aliens’ that’d attacked her and Clark, and Lex had wanted to kiss her for her innocent naivety. Whatever had attacked them had brought down the meteors--and what had attacked them--and from what Chloe had said--savagely burnt Clark’s back--was nothing other than Meteor Freaks--and very powerful ones.
It terrified him that there were creatures out there so strong with the power to control things like meteors, and it filled him with fury at the fact that not only had they tried to take Chloe from him, and had killed his unborn son, but that meteor freaks had caused the death of his father as well. They needed to be stopped, annihilated, and that was why he’d told the lawyers to add more funds to the 33.1 projects.
He sighed, looking out of the window at the darkening sky outside. He hated keeping secrets from Chloe but he knew that she could never know what he was doing, never know how he was keeping her and the rest of the world safe. She wouldn’t understand. Chloe saw grey areas where there were only black and white, good and bad, and she wouldn’t understand that what he was doing was necessary. Her heart was kind and naïve, and she would point out that she herself would never hurt anyone—so that was proof enough that not all Meteor Freaks were evil, but Lex knew that Chloe was different. She hadn’t read all the cases he had, hadn’t seen what those monsters were capable--and willing--to do. He didn’t want her to know, not all at once at least. The cases were too gruesome, too disheartening…
So, for now, and maybe forever, Chloe would have to remain oblivious to what he was doing. He couldn’t risk her finding out and not understanding, not agreeing with his course of action. She might even fear him because of what he was doing to her own kind.
No. Chloe is NOTHING like those creatures. They infected her, they tried to corrupt her, but I won’t let them win. I will keep her safe from them--and from herself, if need be.
So Chloe couldn’t know. She would never know…and he would keep her, and the rest of the oblivious world, safe.
“Mr. Luthor?” An old nurse entered the room, shaking the container with medicine in her hand. “It’s time.”
Yes. Lex nodded. It’s time.
Lana knew that everyone had suffered a loss, and she felt so inconsiderate for locking herself away from the others and crying her eyes out as if she was the only one who’d been affected by the meteor shower, but for right now she just didn’t care. If The Talon had been just a business place of hers it’s total destruction wouldn’t have bothered her so much, but it’d been the movie theatre that her parents had met in, and as a meteor shower had taken her parents from her, a meteor shower had taken away their precious meeting place as well.
Lana hugged the pillow in the bedroom tightly as she cried, remembering all she’d done to convince her aunt to not sell the old theatre and to make something new and profitable out of it--to be able to preserve a bit of her parents in any way possible--that was how the coffee shop had come to be, and now it was gone.
“Lana?” Pete called softly as he opened the door and stuck his head in. “Honey?”
“Go away…” She mumbled into the pillow. “I’m being stupid and inconsiderate and brattish right now. I might just ruin the only thing good left in my life and make you not want to marry me. So go away.”
Pete chuckled softly as he shook his head and entered the guest room of his parent’s house, closing the door behind him and going to lie down next to Lana on the bed. “It’s okay for you to feel this way, babe, you lost The Talon, and it was a very important place for you. No one expects you to be brave and not show how hurt you are.”
“Are you calling me a crybaby?” She sniffed as he tugged the pillow away from her and pulled her against him.
“No,” Pete chuckled softly as she buried her face in his shirt and he ran his fingers through her dark, silky hair. “I’m just saying that you are very much in-touch with your emotions and are not ashamed to show how you feel.”
“You are calling me a crybaby.” She accused, voice smothered by his shirt. Lana hugged him close, knowing that all would be well as long as Pete was with her. Ever since he’d come into her life she’d become a better person, and at times she feared that he’d realize how much better he could do and leave her for good. She could take the loss of anything—even The Talon—but she wouldn’t be able to survive life without Pete in her life.
There was a knock on the door and Mr. Ross stuck his head in. “Sorry to interrupt you two lovebirds, but you’re not going to believe it.”
“What?” Pete asked.
Lana pushed away slightly to wipe her eyes and look at her future father-in-law. “What happened?”
“The major just made an announcement on the radio.” Mr. Ross exclaimed, excited. “Lex Luthor is donating a ridiculous amount of money to help the rebuilding of Smallville! The money is going to be distributed evenly, and, we just got a call from his girlfriend, Lois Lane.”
Lana blinked at the name. “But that’s impossible. Lois is dead!”
“She didn’t sound dead to me.” Mr. Ross announced with a face. “She said that Lex told her that he’d be sending you and Pete extra money to build up the Talon again because Lois and her cousin had loved it so much. She also said that he was sending extra money to the Kents, whose whole place was destroyed by the meteor shower.”
Pete was frozen by her side. “The meteor rocks.” He turned to Lana.
It suddenly dawned on her too. Lois came back to life during the meteor shower! It must have made her a meteor freak!
“I got to go, the mayor will be making another announcement soon!” And with that, Mr. Ross disappeared, leaving the two young adults alone.
“She’s a meteor freak.” Pete whispered. “She’s alive.”
“Well,” Lana whispered, wiping at her wet cheeks. “At least something good came out of this whole disaster.”
Jor-EL processed the information he was receiving through the wireless signals transmitting in the air, processing the data and nodding, things were going as he had believed they would. The only surprise was his son, he’d believed that Kal-EL would let his human feelings of desperation make him act out of line and listen to his adopted mortal mother, but his son had proven that he truly wished for his Chosen to be happy--and he’d unknowingly stepped onto another step of the ladder he was climbing to redeem himself in the Kryptonian Way.
And his Chosen, she was proving herself a more worthy choice as she remained by the side of her Chosen despite the fact that she was unknowingly opening herself to Kal-EL. Despite the pull, the call she refused to leave and abandon her Chosen, refused to betray him despite the fact that she could sense something different within him--and that spoke volumes on the kind of mortal his son had chosen for his own.
Let us hope when the time comes and the darkness within her Chosen is revealed, that Kal-EL will behave appropriately to woo her.
Dinah Sullivan groaned as she finally awoke as the pain medication wore off. It was dark and she was alone in a hospital room overfilled with flowers. She frowned, reaching for the bouquet closest to her and opening the tag, trying to see who it was from.
“Lance” she knew immediately who was the only person in the world who’d send her flowers to her pseudonym. “Get better soon so you and Lane can work on the article together. Imagine, The Daily Planet will have had two survivors of the freak Smallville Meteor Shower! The article that will be! So, by Caesar’s Ghost, get better already before we get scoped!”
Dinah rolled her eyes. Perry White really needed to work on his people skills.
She reached for another tag from a large, extravagant and extremely gaudy bouquet. “Dinah,” it read. “When I heard that you’d survived the shower my heart lit with happiness, I made sure I was the first one to send you flowers. I wanted to visit, but they said only family was allowed at the time, so I sent you the largest, most expensive bouquet in the shop to let you know that you are in my thoughts and in my heart…and other places… Grant.”
Okay, now she cringed. Ever since the first day that Lex visited the Daily Planet, and sports reporter Gabriel Grant realized he had no chance in hell of getting Chloe, he’d gone after Dinah with a vengeance. Honestly, the guy was stupid, wore tight shirts to accentuate his muscles, and he was disgusting! He was a macho, women-belong-at-home-and-in-bed kinda guy and had a way of making everything an innuendo. Even though he knew Chloe would never give him a second look he still tried to flirt with her and get her to touch his muscles as he flexed them in front of her uninterested face, and when she told him she was busy working--he’d turn to Dinah as if she was the consolation prize!
Okay, stop thinking about Gabriel Grant, OR his second-rate gossip-columnist sister Cat, both of them are disgusting and crude and think that they’re bodies will get them everywhere. You need to keep your blood pressure down and you KNOW you get disgusted and angry and PISSED whenever you think of the double-trouble twins that Perry hired for SOME UNKNOWN REASON!
Sighing, Dinah reached for the next one and smiled when she saw that it was from Luke, a lawyer she’d been seeing off an on for the last couple of weeks. “Called your office and some guy named Jimmy told me what happened. Don’t know what your favorite flower is, but I sent you daisies because they reminded me of you. I hope you get better soon. Call me when you’re out of the hospital and we’ll get together one night. Luke.”
Similarly, the rest of her flowers were from male admirers and guys she’d been going on dates with during the last three months. Dinah had been blessed with her mother’s good looks, and her kick-boxing training with Chloe had left her in top physical condition, so there were no shortage of men in her life wanting to go out with her, and since Dinah wanted what Chloe had with Lex she dated every single one of them that appeared with a bouquet and cheesy line.
So far she’d kissed a lot of frogs and been disappointed.
The trip to Smallville had also made her think about relationships, because not only were Chloe and Lex finally officially engaged, but she’d met Lana and Pete who were also engaged and so in love with each other that it was frustrating. Of course, Lana and Dinah had been on separate teams of course, one for team chlark and the other for team chlex, but that hadn’t meant that Dinah hadn’t liked her--or envied what she’d had with the handsome African American.
“It’s like everyone has found their Prince and left me in a world of Frogs!” She exclaimed to herself, annoyed.
The only other guy she knew that was half decent was Smallville, and he really wasn’t her type! Even if he had been, the guy was googoo over her baby cousin, so he was out of the picture.
She was about to lie back down and force herself to sleep out of pure disgust, when she noticed a small bouquet almost hidden by the rest of them. It was tiny and simple compared to the other flowers that littered the room, and yet something about them attracted her, and she tilted her head to the side, reaching over and pulling them into her arm, smelling the sunflowers with a smile. While she didn’t have a favorite flower, sunflowers had always seemed so cheerful to her, so the fact that somebody had noticed that caused her to smile and tug on the small, barely-there note.
“Ms. Lance,” it began so respectfully that she blinked in surprise. “I was terribly sorry when I heard about the news, and although we aren’t friends and really don’t talk, I wanted to send you these flowers just to let you know that your soon recovery is in my prayers. I also sent you some Cadbury chocolate since I’ve noticed you sneaking a bite out of a bar every other day at work, and thought you’d enjoy some because I know that hospital food sucks. Please get better soon. Jimmy Olsen.”
Cadbury? Dinah blinked. He’d sent her some CADBURY? Where was it!?
Looking around her frantically, she finally noticed the chocolate bar hidden behind one of the larger bouquets and she grabbed it, tearing off the wrapper and closing her eyes in ecstasy at the taste.
God, I LOVE Cadbury.
Opening her eyes once more, Dinah read over the note with a small smile touching her lips. So, the geeky yet adorably cute new photographer who squeaked and ran into stationary things like doors and desks whenever she said hi to him had not only noticed the sunflower prints on her bag but had caught her sneaking a bite of her favorite chocolate--and remembered exactly which kind she liked?
She grinned, taking another bite out of the bar of chocolate.
Hmmm….Jimmy Olsen, blonde, cute freckles, geeky yet adorable…and the only man I know who can pull off wearing a bowtie and not look utterly ridiculous.
She sighed, smile growing as she took in another whiff of the sunflowers.
Houston, we might have a winner.