Title: The Return
Series: Taking Chances Series
Pairings: Chloe/Clark Kent, Lana/Jonathan Kent, Lois/Oliver Queen, others
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: When Clark comes back from his years training with Jor El he finds everything he knew changed. His father Jonathan married Lana and they have children together, and while that hurts and confuses him, what confuses him more is the fact that when he mistakenly thought their mother was Chloe, he'd definitely been more peed off. Can he get used to the changes since he's returned?
"How's it going?" Chloe asked Clark as she watched Lana and Jonathan gushing over AJ while the twins played video games with Connor, who despite being younger than them, was pretty much beating their butts. Then again, Lois was a videogame fanatic and spent most of her "quality time" with her son teaching him every illegal move in every game she loved –so it made sense.
"How's what going?" Clark asked, a smile on his face as they sat on the love seat together, his gaze on his father, who was making cooing noises to AJ and laughing. Lana smiled and whispered something in his father's ears that had him turning red. Then again, Clark had overheard (unintentionally) Lana telling his father she thought it was time to have another kid, so this whisper was probably something on that same vein.
"Everything." Chloe watched Jonathan and Lana too. "I know it's got to be hard for you."
He blinked in surprise and turned to look at her, only then noticing the slight pinch in her features as guilt played in her eyes.
"They're happy together, I know it, I wouldn't have done what I had if – but it was wrong to you. I betrayed you," she sighed and ran fingers through golden locks. "I've made your homecoming that much harder." She turned to look up at him. "I know I can never say I'm sorry enough, but-."
"Don't say it." He reached out and pressed his finger to her lips, a little shocked at the jolt that raced through him at the touch. "What's done is done, and as you've said: they're happy." He slipped his finger from her lips and turned to look at his father and Lana. "It isn't ideal, but I love them both, and if they're both happy I can't really hope for more for them, can I?"
Chloe sighed. "You're so good, Clark. It makes me feel more evil." She rested her forehead against his arm.
He snorted and, after a few minutes, rearranged them so that his arm was around her shoulders and she was rested against his chest. It was more comfortable this way.
"Do you still think that this is a Bizarro World?" Chloe asked softly.
Clark shifted and rested his cheek against the top of her head. "Sometimes."
"But even then I don't mind too much."
She went still and then pushed away to look up at him curiously. "How so?"
"It's not all bad." He gazed down at her with a small smile. "You're still here, aren't you?"
Chloe looked up at him and gulped, and then she smiled and curled in tighter around him.
Clark smiled at her warmth and pulled her in closer, returning to resting his cheek against the top of her head as they watched his father and stepmother playing with AJ.
"It's fine Lois." Chloe sent him an expression that clearly said she wanted to roll her eyes but was too mature to do so. "You and Ollie spend the extra night. Connor's fine here with us. Anyway, I barely have time to babysit for you guys anymore so just take the opportunity when I can!"
Chloe had been babysitting Oliver and Lois' son for the weekend, and Clark had gotten to know the little boy who thankfully was much more like Oliver than Lois (in Clark's books, at least). He already had an affinity for the bow and arrow, then again, Clark had seen Connor's room, it was and ode to Robin Hood. Oliver might have had something to do with Connor's love of bows and arrows.
"Connor!" Chloe called out to the boy drawing on the floor. "Your mom wants to speak to you."
Connor's eyes lit up and he hurried to take the phone from Chloe. "Mommy!"
Chloe rubbed the boy's head playfully and collapsed on the sofa next to Clark with a groan. "I'm so tired."
Clark eyed her as he bounced an ecstatic AJ on his knee. "Why don't you go to rest? I'll keep these two busy and tire them out."
"It wouldn't be fair to you." And yet her voice was soft in sleep.
"Go," he urged. "I'm not sleepy in the least bit. It makes no sense for you to fall asleep on the couch when you could be in bed."
"You're right, like always." She let out a groan. "Thanks Clark." Chloe yawned and then leaned over and pressed a kiss to AJ's cheek before she did the same to his. "You're a godsend." She stood and yawned. "What would I do without you?"
Clark watched her go, and only after the door had closed behind her did he bring a hand up to his cheek, which was warm and tingly. His chest clenched tightly, and he let out a breath, instinctively switching on his x-ray vision enough to see through the wall to where Chloe collapsed tiredly on top of the sheets of her bed. She was going to end up falling asleep on top of the covers again and he'd have to go and tuck her in.
He sighed with a small smile. She really needed someone around constantly to take care of her. As it was, Clark was spending more time sleeping in his room in her place, then in his room at his father's home. In fact, Clark was sure he had more of his things at the Clocktower than he did at the Kent Farm. He didn't feel like he was imposing because he knew that (a) Chloe loved his company, and (b) Chloe needed his company.
She needed him so they could go over different things in Atlantis' magazine. They both worked late into the night and he helped her come up with ideas while she helped him.
She needed him to help with AJ during the night, because there was no way she could be the sole person getting up multiple times of night to feed him and actually function like a normal human being during the day.
She needed him to help with AJ during the day, because while AJ spent the mornings with Connor and his nanny, he was with them in the afternoons and Clark knew she needed some time to herself for certain issues (and he didn't trust Maera with a baby – then again he hadn't trusted Lois with one either and that had turned out well – but why risk it?) so AJ bounced around from one office to the other, enjoying himself quite loudly in his permanent play area in both offices.
She needed him to keep an eye on her to make sure she wasn't working too hard or too long. She needed him to make sure she remembered that she did not survive on coffee alone – especially considering that she was breastfeeding. She needed him to cook in the evenings because she was incredibly bad at it. She needed him to make sure she got off her feet. She needed him to make sure she didn't kick off the sheets during the beginning of the night and end up freezing the rest of the night because she didn't wake up once it got cold.
She wasn't the only one who needed him – AJ did as well.
AJ needed him to bounce on his knee in the way that delighted him, and the kid always begged for it – didn't like it quite as much when anyone else tried it.
AJ needed him to slip in some of the "good stuff" when it came to baby foods, and not just the really healthy things that Chloe insisted on feeding him.
AJ needed him to take him to the park, which Clark had started doing three or so months ago, and push him on the swing, because Chloe was too nervous to push him as far and as high as Clark did and AJ loved it.
AJ needed him, or would need him in a couple of years, to help convince Chloe that there was space in the apartment for a dog. Clark had seen the way the kid eyed Shelby, and knew that once older he'd want one for his own – and it would take the both of them to convince Chloe to give in.
AJ needed him for a lot of things, as did Chloe, and Clark was only too happy to give them to them.
"No mommy," Connor declared dutifully into the phone. "I didn't set anything on fire today. I promise."
Clark raised an eyebrow at that.
"Yes mommy," Connor continued to speak like the dutiful son. "Fire is bad."
Oh god, that kid was more like Lois than Clark had realized.
AJ waved his arms around, obviously unhappy that Clark had stopped bouncing him on his knee.
Clark went right back to it.
"No, she's sleeping now," Connor reported. "Unca Smallville-."
Clark never heard what Connor was saying about "Uncle Smallville" because AJ took that moment to reach his hands out to Clark and squeal out: "Daddy!"
Clark went into a mini catatonic state right around then.
Wasn't this too young for kids to start talking?
And yet, that wasn't exactly the reason why he'd stopped bouncing AJ and merely stared at the happy kid.
No, the reason was because his heart hurt, and he wanted to cry.
A part of Clark was beginning to suspect he must've hallucinated AJ calling him "daddy" because the kid didn't do it again and didn't seem about to speak a word, but the damage had already been done. Imaginary or not, being called that by the kid had done something to Clark, and it was something that couldn't be undone.
"Okay, so I've used my biometrics to run the diagnostics," Chloe declared as she typed information into the system. "Granted, my body's different from normal women considering my healing ability, it should give us a clearer picture of what we could expect given our DNA."
Clark stood next to her, more nervous than he'd been in a long while.
"Fingers crossed!" Chloe lifted a hand, crossed the fingers of that hand, and with her other hand pressed ENTER.
The simulation appeared on the hologram screens around them of a womb – Chloe's womb. At first there was nothing, but then ovulation was simulated, and then, within a minute, the "swimmers" were on the scene. Clark watched as fertilization took place, and then… the egg changed color.
"Conception!" Chloe grinned. "You're definitely biologically compatible with earthling women."
Clark grinned back at her but returned his gaze to the screen, amazed as the simulation swiftly took them through the first trimester of pregnancy. It was awe-inducing to see just how realistic the holographic, 3-D rendering was.
"First trimester passed without a problem." Chloe was beaming. "There were no signs that a miscarriage was an issue."
"Is it usually?" He wanted to know.
"It isn't unheard of in the first trimester," Chloe explained as the simulation went into the second trimester, the child growing larger, more defined.
Clark moved closer to the hologram, his eyes wide, his lips parted. When the baby kicked it didn't break through the virtual womb.
Chloe stood and came to wait next to him, watching as the second trimester passed safely as well. "Here's the last one."
The baby was much larger now, its eyelashes grown, as were its fingernails. It sucked on its thumb, positioned downwards in the womb, readying for birth. It grew and grew, as did the womb, and even though it moved and kicked and shifted there were noted bruises, but nothing grave.
And then… the water broke and a birth was simulated.
Chloe nudged her shoulder into his, a large grin on her face. "We just had a healthy baby girl, Clark."
He turned to look at her, voice caught in her throat.
"Of course it's not a hundred per cent accurate despite how advanced the formula and calculations are based on your DNA and my DNA sequence, but it's fairly accurate." Chloe didn't seem to notice the way he stared at her in utter silence. "I want to use Maera's DNA when she comes back from her vacation with Victor. Sure, she's metahuman as well, but her power isn't to heal, so I think that it's a good test. I've also gotten Lucy to agree, and she's a hundred per cent human, so I'll be running the diagnostics a couple of times, seeing how the simulation changes considering the parentage of the mother." She grinned, utterly proud of herself. "But it really looks like daddyhood is in your future. I mean, look at our daughter. She was perfect."
Something clenched around Clark's heart once more. "Yeah, she was."
Chloe beamed at him.
He could only smile softly back at her.
The results with Maera's DNA proved positive, as well as Lucy's, although they'd suffered a harder virtual pregnancy than Chloe. All in all though, it proved what Chloe had been telling him all along – he was compatible with Terran women, and they would be able to carry a child to term. That changed everything. Clark had never allowed himself to dream about being a father, about starting a family of his own, and now that he knew that all signs pointed to him being able to do so it was as if the world had opened up to him.
"Don't be such a snob, Smallville." Lois was far too amused as she looked up from the app she'd installed in his phone when he'd been in the bathroom. "People make lasting connections through this."
He fixed a glare on her. Just because he'd been away for a couple of years didn't mean that he didn't know what Tinder was or how it worked. "I am not using this."
"Aw, come on! Everyone uses it!" She paused. "Other than me, of course." She paused. "Except for that one time I was investigating the Tinder Murders and went undercover as Louisa." She paused. "Bart came up with the name." She shook her head. "Nevermind that." She grinned. "You've been out of commission too long. Your last conquest is now your step mother. I'm sure your ego and manhood took a big hit. And what's the best way to get over someone? Get under someone else! And there are many someone elses in Tinder!"
Clark turned to look at Chloe, silently begging her to reign her cousin in.
Chloe must've felt his gaze on her, because she looked up from where she was going over some stacks of paper. She glanced between Lois and Clark and then smiled, obviously amused with the whole situation. "I think you should do it."
Clark was floored. He almost dropped his phone with how shocked he was. And not only that, he felt hurt, and he wasn't sure exactly why. "You do?"
"Why not?" Chloe asked. "It's not like you can catch our STDs, we've already proven that with our tests." She slipped the pen she was holding behind her ear. "Lois is right, you haven't gone out on a date with anyone since Lana. This mightn't be conventional, but it seems to work for people."
"It's how Victor and Maera met," Lois added.
Clark blinked in shock at that new bit of info. "Victor was on Tinder?"
"Of course not. Can you honestly see Victor on Tinder?" Lois rolled her eyes. "He was keeping an eye on it while I was Louisa, and he liked Maera's profile. I'm not exactly sure the details of what happened afterwards, but they met and got together and she started working for Chloe."
Clark filed that in the "interesting" pile.
"No one's saying you'll find your soulmate on Tinder, but who knows? You might find someone fun to spend time with." Chloe's gaze lowered to the papers. "God knows I eat up all of your time and its unfair." She removed her pen from behind her ear and began to concentrate on her work again. "You definitely should try it, even if only for a couple of times."
"Exactly!" Lois slapped his shoulder. "Who knows, you might find the one for you with just one right swipe!"
Clark gazed in Chloe's direction, the blonde completely distracted and not paying any attention to them anymore.
It was all he could do to keep from crushing his phone in his hand.
"Tinder?" Lana's voice was like bottle of ice-cold water being thrown on his head. "I never took you for a Tinder kind of guy."
Clark put the phone down quickly, feeling like kid whose mother had caught him watching the Playboy channel. "I'm not actually—I mean—I've only left swiped the pictures I've seen."
Lana eyed him curiously before she opened the fridge and pulled out a cooled jar of homemade lemonade. "What exactly does that mean?"
He hated that he knew what that meant. "It means I don't like them, I think. Swiping right means I do and means I can talk to them if they like me back." He hurriedly continued. "And it's not a casual hookup app, not anymore at least. It's more of a dating app now."
There was a hint of amusement in Lana's eyes as she poured them both a glass and returned the jar to the fridge. "Let me guess: Lois."
He groaned and lowered his forehead to the surface of the table. "Yeah."
She giggled in amusement. "I knew it. No way would anyone else put you up to Tinder." She sat down and took a sip of the lemonade, eyes on him, before she finally asked: "What does Chloe think about this?"
Clark looked up at that, feeling that unease, that unhappiness, seep into him. "She thinks I should do it."
"Really?" Lana looked shocked. "She said that?"
"Yeah, and that she was taking up all of my time so it would be good for me." A muscle jumped in Clark's cheek, not sure why that bothered him so much - or why the thought that Chloe being all-too happy to push him towards girls who were DTF made him all sorts of conflicted.
Lana hesitated for a second before she reached out and grasped his hand, surprising him out of his dark feelings. "I know it isn't my place, but can I say something, Clark?"
She paused, trying to get the right words, before she spoke. "Don't let anyone push you into something you're not ready for." She smiled tenderly. "If you're happy spending all your time with Chloe and AJ, if you're happiest with them, then be happy with them."
Clark felt like Lana was trying to tell him something, but he couldn't exactly figure what. Still, he felt like she was supporting him, and he appreciated that.
Squeezing her hand, Clark nodded and smiled. "Thanks Lana."
Lana smiled and pulled away. "You're welcome, Clark." With that she stood and, grabbing her glass, left the room while humming happily to herself.
Clark took a sip of his own glass as he eyed his phone and continued to left swipe before he finally sighed and closed the app, deleting it.
Lana was right. If he was happy the way he was why should he change it just because others were trying to push him into it?
Feeling better than he had since Lois had started this whole stupid ordeal, Clark decided to go to Metropolis and see what Chloe and AJ were up to.