Spoilers? All of the early seasons are game.
Chloe felt bad for going behind Lex’s back, but for some reason she knew he wouldn’t agree with what she was doing, so she waited until he’d gone to jog to call Dinah. The brunette looked out of the window in the direction that her boyfriend had disappeared in his sweats. If there was one thing about Lex it was that he kept to his routine, and since there wasn’t a gym for him to work out in he’d gone out jogging.
The moment he’d left she’d reached for her cell-phone and called her cousin, knowing that Dinah would be up early going over her kick-boxing routine. Usually Dinah and her practiced together, Lex had gotten them a personal trainer when they’d been mugged two years back, and since then the cousins had become proficient in kick-boxing.
“Hey.” Dinah answered on the sixth ring, panting and sounding out of breath. “Curiosity killing you, huh?”
“You know me.” Chloe smiled, eyes on the path outside that Lex had taken a couple of minutes before. “So, did you come up with anything?”
“Well, Smallville is the Meteor Capital of the world, go figure.” Dinah announced. “There’s really nothing about it other than the few articles from the Smallville Ledger—you know, all the important things like whose bull knocked down whose outhouse and that sorta exciting news.”
Chloe rolled her eyes and smiled fondly at her cousin.
“Oh, but I did read some Inquisitor worthy articles from the Smallville Torch, it’s the high school’s newspaper.” While Dinah’s words might be mocking, there was slight interest in her tone. “Apparently there’s a theory that the meteors that fell twenty something years ago altered the people and caused them to become, and I am quoting the author here, ‘meteor freaks’.”
“Meteor Freaks?” Chloe asked, placing a hand on the window-frame to steady herself as that word rang in her head over and over again, in her own voice.
“Yeah, has a catchy ring to it, doesn’t it?” Dinah sniggered. “Honestly, it’s like tales from the darkside or something. There’s stories about a coach who could make things catch fire, and a boy who turned into an insect and ate his mother, and there’s even a story about a girl who sucked up other people’s body-fat.”
“Huh?” Chloe asked, scrunching up her nose. “Body-fat? Are you kidding me?”
“No! Really! I’m totally serious.” Dinah laughed. “I’ll email you some of the best articles. The kid, C.K., isn’t half bad, reminds me of your articles when you used to write for our high school newspaper, the Handler.”
Chloe smiled, remembering the misadventures Dinah and her had gotten into while hunting stories for the Handler. Lex had had to get them out of trouble too many times to count.
“Okay, and Lana Lang--other than being annoyingly perfect, seemed to have been a magnet for these Meteor Freak people.” Dinah continued with a scoff. “She was a cheerleader, Prom Queen, and to top it all, she dated the star Quarterback before he was shipped to the navy.”
“9/11?” Chloe asked, knowing it was a touchy subject. Dinah’s parents had been on one of the planes that hit the world-trade center on that awful, fateful day, and even up till now she had nightmares of her parents’ ghosts calling to her to avenge what’d happened to them.
“Yeah.” Dinah replied neutrally, if the subject pained she didn’t let it show. “I looked him up, and while it was a little hard to find, I got his records, and he’s reported KIA.”
“Well, Lana Lang and her aunt, Nell Potter, co-own The Talon, which used to be a one-screen theatre back in the day, but they converted it into a coffee shop.”
“How’s the coffee?”
“Hmmm.” There was a pause. “Well, from what I can see, Lana Lang is engaged to some guy named Pete Ross now.”
“Okay then.” Chloe remembered the picture of the handsome African American in a baseball jersey. “What about the others?”
“Well, Jonathan Kent was born and bred in Smallville, and he owns a large acreage that was passed down from his grand-daddy’s grand-daddy.” Dinah announced in an extremely lame country accent. “Martha Kent is actually the daughter of a hotshot CEO or something or the other, she left the glam life for her hubby and they have a son, Clark Kent.”
Chloe remembered the look in the eyes of the boy in the picture--the boy in her dreams.
“Apparently he’s adopted, but other than the adoption certificate I really can’t pull up anything else.” Dinah sounded frustrated at that. “Other than that, Clark Kent looks like the All-American guy. Played football for a season before leaving it to become the editor of the Torch, and seems to be best friends with Ross, who worked on the Torch as well as the sports section writer.” She giggled. “He sounds so much like you it’s amazing.”
“What do you mean?”
“He wrote and was the Editor of his high school newspaper, he wrong really good humanitarian pieces for the Smallville Ledger, and was studying journalism.”
“Was?” Chloe continued to stare out of the window. “Does it say where Clark Kent is at the moment?”
“No, that’s the weird thing.” Dinah replied slowly. “He just…disappears some years ago.”
Chloe frowned, turning her back on the window. “His mother told me he was training.”
“Like in the military?” Dinah asked.
“Something like that.”
“Well, I’ll double check that, there should be some record of his being enlisted.”
Hearing talking outside, Chloe turned and saw Lex returning from his jog, talking to one of the men on the security team. “Di, I got to go, Lex just arrived.”
“Okay, I’ll look up for that record of enlistment and call you if I find anything.” Dinah replied. “Have a good time, and, well, come back soon. I’m missing you like hell.”
Chloe smiled tenderly. “I miss you too, Di. See you later, and thanks for the help.” Hanging up, Chloe put the cellular back in her bag, and headed to the bathroom.
By the time Lex arrived, she was in the middle of her bath.
“They mightn’t come.” Jonathan tried to warn Martha as he leaned in the kitchen doorframe, watching his beautiful wife as she busied herself by the oven, wearing the apron Clark had bought her the last Mother’s Day he’d spent with them, and humming a song Jonathan couldn’t quite remember. It’d been a while since he’d seen Martha so happy and eager, and yet he didn’t want her to get up her hopes in case Chloe—Lois—and Lex Luthor didn’t show up that night.
“I know Chloe.” Martha didn’t even turn to look at him as she checked on her pies. “If she says that she’s going to do something, she’s going to do so.”
Jonathan bit down on his tongue to keep from pointing out once more that this was Lois Lane, and not Chloe Sullivan, that his wife was dealing with. The blonde farmer sighed as he watched his wife flittering around the kitchen like a busy little bee, cooking all of ‘Chloe’s favorites and genuinely excited.
She hadn’t been this way since Clark left to train in the Fortress, and despite his misgivings about the whole situation, Jonathan didn’t have the heart to take this away from her. Chloe or Lois, this girl was an anchor for Martha, reminding her of better times, of another life with Clark, and it made her happy.
And Jonathan would do anything to keep Martha happy.
“It was so odd to see Lex with hair.” Martha commented as she went to the fridge to get out of the meringue she’d left chilling the night before. “I finally see the resemblance between him and Lionel. It was uncanny.”
Jonathan remained silent. Although he’d never met this Lionel, and in this lifetime neither had Martha—he’d always felt just a little insecure at the tenderness in his wife’s voice when she spoke about the mogul.
“And see Lex and Chloe so in love?” Martha sighed, looking at her bowl of meringue yet obviously not really seeing it. “The way she looked at Lex was the way she used to look at Clark.”
Jonathan frowned, realizing that Martha’s good mood was rapidly vaporizing. “I’m sure Clark will be happy to see her happy, and to see that Lex has not become the maniac you reassure me he became in the other life.” He paused. “You always did tell me that what he’d always needed was love, and Jor-EL gave him just that.”
Martha tried to smile, but it just wasn’t convincing. “If there’s someone who loved unconditionally, it was Chloe.”
She looked up at her husband and her smile was more genuine. “Have I told you how much I loved you today, Jonathan Kent?”
He grinned, liking where this conversation was going. “No, but don’t worry, my many admirers have soothed my broken ego.”
She placed the bowl of meringue on the counter and grabbed a towel, flicking it at him playfully. “You behave, old man.”
“Old man?” He cried out, his smile deepening as he grabbed her from around her waist. “I’ll have you know that I’m in my prime.”
“Good.” She grinned up into his face. “Then you can help me set the table when the time comes.”
He winced, letting go of her and placing a hand on his back. “Then again, I do feel like maybe I should be resting.”
Martha threw her head back and laughed, flicking the towel at him again as he rushed out of the kitchen to try and avoid the chore he so hated. “Jonathan Kent, you are incorrigible!”
“Love you too honey!” He rapidly threw over his shoulder as he rushed out of the kitchen.
Shaking her head at her husband, Martha giggled softly to herself before taking in a deep breath and turning back to the work that needed to be done.
“So,” Chloe smiled as she exited the bathroom, dressed in low-riding jeans and a short-sleeved shirt that showed an abundance of cleavage. “Where are you taking me today?”
Lex smiled up at her from where he sat by the desk by the window in his still sweaty slacks. “You look lovely.”
“And you smell horrible.” The brunette responded cheekily, bending to give him a quick kiss any way.
“You’re the same cheeky little brat with pigtails.” Lex bemoaned, grinning at her glare, before frowning. “Baby, I have to do some things for dad. I told him I’d have it ready as soon as possible and you know that I’m still in the trial period--.”
Chloe pushed back the feeling of resentment. She understood the pressure Lionel was putting on Lex, and she understood more than anyone why Lex was pushing himself to not only match, but exceed the expectations of his father and everyone else. And while she supported him one hundred percent, she couldn’t help but feel a little neglected.
It won’t be like this forever. She told herself, and sadly enough, it hadn’t been the first time she’d had to try and convince herself of this fact. As soon as he’d stable and taken seriously, Lex will return to being the guy who you fell in love with.
“Oh, okay.” She smiled at him, not wanting him to blow off his duty for her. Chloe knew her power over Lex, knew he’d do whatever to please her, and that if she asked him to he’d go out with her instead of working.
And she loved him for it--and would protect him from her power over him.
“I was thinking, maybe you should invite Dinah over.”
Her eyes widened as she looked at him in surprise. He wanted her to invite Dinah? “It’s a lot of work, huh?”
He smiled sadly. “I think dad’s doing this on purpose. While we were in Metropolis he told me there was nothing for me to do, and the moment I take a little vacation he suddenly has a crisis that only I can deal with.”
Chloe pushed back the desire to assassinate Lionel Luthor. “Bummer.”
“I know.” Genuine resentment filled his voice before he looked up at her and smiled. “But this long weekend shouldn’t be ruined for the both of us, right? Invite Dinah over, explore this little ‘hamlet’ together and enjoy some female bonding.”
His eyes searched hers, obviously hoping she’d agree with this arrangement. “I asked Barry about what might interest you, and he said that there was Crater Lake and some caves that were found some years back with weird cave drawings inside. I know you’re a real mythology-geek, so I thought you’d enjoy going to the caves the most.”
Chloe smiled genuinely at her boyfriend. “You know, you’re too good for me. You’re going to have a boring weekend and yet you’re still making sure I have a good time.”
He reached for her hand and pulled her down on his knee, one hand going to her hair and pulling a strand out of her face and behind her ear. “Baby, I know this is hard on you--believe me, I’d prefer a million times spending the weekend with you--but I have something to prove if I’m going to be taken seriously for my work and not because my father owns the whole place.”
“And I love that about you.” She reassured. “Any other guy would be glad to fly on someone else’s wings, but not you. You want your own.”
“And when I have those wings, I’ll spend more time in the nest, I promise.” Lex pleaded silently with her to understand.
And she did. “I know, I know, you’ll be so clingy afterwards I’ll have to kick you out.” She joked, getting up from his lap. “But, darling? Bathe before starting, will you? Even Luthors stink when they sweat.”
“Don’t ever let my father hear that.” Lex grinned as he got up and strode into the bathroom.
Chloe shook her head at him. “Remember, work or no work, we promised Mrs. Kent that we’d go to her house this evening for dinner.”
“I forgot about that.” Lex poked his head out from the bathroom. “You really want to go?”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “I said we’d be there.”
He grinned. “And when Chloe Sullivan says she’s going to do something, she’s going to do it.” His grin grew mischievous. “Unless you’re talking about fulfilling a certain promise she gave me years ago and has yet to fulfill.”
She blushed, remembering all too well what that promise had been. “How is it that you can remember that and not your father’s birthday?”
“Well, the huge difference between them is that I look forwards to your promise.” He grinned before disappearing into the bathroom.
“Perve.” She chuckled to herself, going to her phone and dialing Dinah’s number once more.
“I told the servants that when you get deep into your work you forget to eat or drink, so I gave them a little timetable when to bring you your coffee, food, and snacks.”
Lex fell more in love with Chloe Sullivan every day. She was always taking care of him, something no one else had ever done, and he knew that he’d never love someone like he did her. “You know, I’m not two anymore. I can get my own food.”
She grinned at him, leaning against his jaguar. “Yes, you can, but you won’t, and you know that. Anyway, you’re spoiled, used to me taking care of you.”
Yes, he was. He depended on her so much it frightened him sometimes because he’d never trusted, never loved, never needed someone like he did her. “You enjoy spoiling me.”
“Please.” And yet she was smiling that smile that blew him away. “I’m just being nice so the day you kick the bucket I get a nice little settlement in your will.”
He threw his head back and laughed. He’d believe that of anyone else, but not of Chloe. Once during the early months of their relationship, he’d casually mentioned how he wanted to add her to his will, and she’d stopped talking to him for two months. It’d been the worst two months of his life, but it served to remove any doubts about why such a beautiful, lively and witty woman like her would be with him.
For some reason, she was with him because she loved him, and Lex had forevermore become devoted to her. Of course, he’d made her his sole beneficiary in case the worst should happen--and yet had decided not to tell her. If he died he wanted to make sure that Chloe was taken care of, and he’d fight her on that front if he had to.
“So…” The brunette began to unlock the door. “I’m going to stop by the Talon for a cup of coffee, get better directions to those caves, and go explore them. I want to take some pictures of those drawings.”
“Maybe you should wait for Dinah to come.” Lex frowned, not liking the idea of his girlfriend alone in such an isolated place. Who knew what sort of things happened in this town? What if there were some shady characters?
“Please, she’s coming tomorrow morning, what am I supposed to do until then?” She raised an eyebrow, hands akimbo, obviously challenging him to play mother hen with her.
“Your mother and father made me promise to protect you.” He reminded her. “From yourself, if need be.”
“Honestly, you’d think I was still in eighth grade.” Chloe rolled her eyes yet pressed a kiss to his lips before sliding into the driver’s seat of his jag. Closing the door she rolled down the window. “Just, don’t overdo yourself with the work, okay?”
Once again she was looking out for him.
Lex sighed. “And you be careful.”
“Always.” Blowing him a kiss, she raised the window and blasted the radio before waving, turning, and speeding out of the drive way.
“Should I follow her now, Mister Luthor?” Antonio, part of their security team, asked as he emerged from where he’d been standing unnoticed.
“Yes. Just make sure she doesn’t realize that you’re keeping an eye on her.” Turning his back on the young man, Lex returned inside. He knew that Chloe would be pissed if she ever realized that he had people watching over her constantly, but she was the only person who mattered to him, and he wouldn’t let something happen to her.
The young heir was silent as he made his way through the castle, and finally found himself in the study that bugged him so. He shook off the feeling and went to the desk, to the confidential documents his father had sent him.
Sitting on the comfortable seat, Lex frowned darkly, remembering the contents of the documentation in his hands. He didn’t understand what his father was doing getting mixed up into something like this, and while most of him was horrified and disgusted, something within him, something he preferred to deny he didn’t possess, was intrigued.
He was glad that Dinah would be coming over, that way she would keep Chloe outside and busy, and neither girl would ever realize the groundbreaking, career-making story they could make if they only got their hands on what his father had sent him.
Taking in a deep breath, Lex shuffled the pages to try and buy him some time, before sighing in resignation and beginning to read the file with the words 33.1 written on the front of the folder.