Dinah sat still in her bedroom in the Luthor castle, eyes red from the silent tears that ran down her pale cheeks, feeling numb. She hadn’t slept the whole night, had listened as Lex destroyed his study after locking himself inside hours ago. Lionel had sat in the living room, a glass of whisky in his hands--a glass of whiskey he never darkness from, just held it as he stared emotionlessly into the darkness around him. Dinah knew that she should call Aunt Moira and Uncle Gabe, but she just couldn’t bring herself to tell them that their only child had been killed and she hadn’t been able to do a thing to stop it.
There was a knock on her door but she ignored it, ignored whoever it was that opened the door and peeped in on her.
“Ms. Sullivan?” A tiny little maid stuttered. “A Mrs. Kent is on the phone for you—says that it’s a matter of life or death that you speak to her.”
Dinah looked up and reached for the phone handed to her, ignoring the maid as she rushed out of the room. “Mrs. Kent?” The word was croaked out in a voice that hadn’t been used other than to scream at the unfairness of life.
“Dinah dear.” Martha’s voice was soothing to her. “I need to tell you something and I need you to believe me, despite how hard it may be.”
Dinah nodded and then remembered that she was talking on the phone, so Martha couldn’t see her. “Okay.”
“Deary, Lois, Lois is alive.”
Dinah let out a sob, gaze blurring. “How can you play with me like this?” She snapped, voice echoing with the pain she felt inside her. Why would the woman do this to her? Dinah had seen her cousin’s dead body before they’d covered it with the sheet and taken her away. She knew that both her cousin and the baby had been killed by that monster, why would Martha--.
“I’m not playing tricks with you child, I would never--!”
“She’s dead! She’s--!”
Dinah froze, hand going to her mouth to silence her scream when she heard her cousin’s voice on the other side of the line.
No…no…it couldn’t be…
“Dinah?” Chloe’s voiced choked. “Dinah…”
“Chloe?” Dinah squeaked, heart beating desperately in her chest, feeling like it was about to break away from her body. “Baby Cuz, Chlo, is that really you?” She closed her eyes, tears escaping and making their way down her cheeks as she prayed to all holy that a miracle had taken place, promised Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, ANYONE that she’d believe in a superior being if this wasn’t the cruel joke of those she’d thought friends--or if she hadn’t gone insane.
“Nani!” Chloe broke down on the other end of the phone.
Dinah’s heart froze as the childhood nickname only her cousin had ever called her escaped the other woman’s lips. “Chloe.” She covered her mouth again as she sobbed, yet this time in happiness as she stood. Her sobs were mixed with hysteric laughter as she hurried to find her shoes. “Where are you, Chlo?” She wiped at her tears. “I’m coming right away!”
“I’m at the Kent’s.” Chloe whispered. “Dinah, I lost the baby.”
Dinah paused, closed her eyes tightly as tears sprung up once more at the agony in her cousin’s voice. I cannot cry, I can’t. I have to be strong for her. “Babygirl, Lex and I are going to be there as soon as you can blink. I love you.”
Cutting off the phone call, Dinah hurried out of the room, not noticing that in her haste she’d put on two different shoes, or that she was wearing her pajamas shorts and an old, faded and discolored T-shirt. She ran towards Lex’s study and pounded on the door.
“LEX!” She pounded harder and harder, throwing in a kick here and there, ignoring the pain that rushed up her leg. “LEX! OPEN UP THE DAMNED DOOR!”
“Miss?” The butler announced from behind her.
Dinah twirled around. “Do you have a key to this room? I need to get to Lex imme--.”
“Master Lex and Master Lionel both left half an hour ago.” The butler interrupted, obviously seeing her distress and wanting to help. “They took all the folders that were in the study with them and left. But Master Lex told me to tell you that they’d be back later tonight or tomorrow morning.”
Dinah cursed and punched in numbers in the cordless phone in her hands, putting it to her ear and growling when she realized that Lex had turned off his cellular. She then tried Lionel’s cellular and heard it ringing in the living room, realizing that the elder Luthor had left his cellular behind.
“Dammit! I need you to keep trying Lex and if you get a hold of him, tell him to call me immediately, it has to do about Chl—Lois.” She told the butler, passing him the cordless phone before narrowing her eyes. “Where does Lex keep the keys to the extra cars?”
Lex Luthor stood in the 33.1 facility that existed in Smallville, Kansas. It had been the first of the facilities that his father had stationed all around the world, and it wasn’t half as modernized as his father reassured him the others were, but this was the beginning of the new era, and he’d wanted to see where it all started.
The young heir of Luthorcorp stood next to his father as the man explained to him about the experiments going down in this facility and of the creatures they housed. He looked over the computer files of the patients and their abilities, and his eyes narrowed.
His father had admitted that he’d recognized the dead body of the monster that’d destroyed Lex’s life, and that the man had been one of the most dangerous of the creatures--that Lionel himself had had him captured and detained to keep him from harming humanity, but the creature had escaped and obviously had tried to take revenge on them by attacking Chloe.
He’d killed himself because he knew he’d be found and Lionel and Lex’s wrath would be hell.
And Lex hated the creature even more for that. Not only had he taken away Chloe from him, but he’d taken away Lex’s ability to avenge her cruel death and that of their unborn son.
But he’d make sure that none of the other monsters EVER had the chance to hurt another human being. He’d sworn to destroy each and every one of them, and he would see that mission through.
“Are you ready for your destiny, my son?” Lionel asked, placing a hand on Lex’s shoulder.
Lex looked at his father, seeing images of Chloe laughing, dancing, singing, and twirling around with drunken giggles, he saw her looking at him in adoration and telling him that she loved him--and then he saw her dead body lying on the slab in the morgue when he and Dinah had gone to identify the body.
He clenched his fists, finally letting go of the darkness within. “I’m ready.”
Clark watched as the cousins cried and hugged each other desperately. Two things had surprised him silent. One was Dinah’s appearance. Her hair was dry and wild, her clothes an utter mess, and she was wearing two different colored and styled sneakers. The second was the fact that when she’d seen Chloe she’d cried out Chloe and not Lois. That’d confused him, since he’d thought Chloe was named Lois in this reality, and so this new revelation was confusing.
Dinah had held Chloe to her as if afraid that she’d disappear the moment she let go, and Chloe had held on just as strong, both obviously finding strength in each other. Clark wished that he could give Chloe strength, like he used to, but he was beginning to accept the fact that things were different between them now, and if they were ever going to get to the way they were before everything had been messed up, he’d have to work at it very hard.
The good thing was that he’d been raised to work for what he really wanted, and that had always made him appreciate and value it once he did.
Clark winced when Chloe asked for Lex almost immediately after Dinah arrived, but he understood her need for the man. She was with him, she was in love with him, and he had been the father of her child—of the child who’d died within her despite the fact that she herself had resurrected.
He frowned, blindly following his parents as they led Dinah and Chloe to the living room, beginning to answer Dinah’s rapid questions about how this could happen. They told her the story they’d come up with about how Clark had gone down to the morgue to see if he could talk to one of the morticians—who was actually a high school acquaintance of his—when he’d heard banging.
The rest, of course, was history, and Dinah nodded, understanding why it was important to keep things hushed and why they needed to get things dealt with before the news of Chloe’s body being stolen could circulate.
Clark watched Chloe as she and Dinah on the sofa, Dinah holding her cousin close and Chloe leaning into her, eyes closed, as if hoping that this was all just a horrible nightmare.
When Dinah asked about how Chloe could come back to life and all of that, his mother had asked the question going through Clark’s brain.
“Lois, have you ever been to Smallville before?”
Everyone turned to Chloe.
The young brunette pulled away from Dinah and sat up, looking perplexed. “I—I don’t—I don’t remember—I don’t think so.”
“We did, once.” Dinah announced softly, causing everyone to turn and look at her in surprise. “I don’t remember it, but before my parents died and I was around ten I asked my mother what was the most frightening experience she’d ever lived through. She said that while Aunt Moira and Uncle Gabe were going through a tough time in their marriage—Lois was two and I was around three at the time—mom and dad took us on a small road trip that led them through Smallville.”
So she was calling Chloe Lois again.
And yet Clark really couldn’t concentrate on this, because he was riveted in the story.
“Mom said that they were traveling in this rented RV when these meteors just fell from the sky…”
Clark went pale, as did his mother and father.
Chloe just frowned, looking at Dinah as if she hadn’t heard this story before.
“Meteor rocks?” Chloe frowned, placing a hand to her head, as if she’d suddenly had a forehead.
Clark noticed this and leaned forwards in his seat, wondering if she was somehow remembering something.
“There was a meteor shower here that happened when Clark was around three.” Martha spoke softly.
Chloe turned to look at Martha, then at Clark, and then at her feet, frowning darker, looking as if in pain.
“That must be the one.” Dinah nodded. “Mom says that one of the rocks hit our RV and sent it down into the cornfield. She said that all she could remember was me screaming at the top of my lungs and Chloe being extremely silent.” Dinah paused, a sickly pale covering her features before she continued with a deep breath. “The meteor rock must have torn out the side of the vehicle when it hit, because Chloe and I were flung out of the RV while it was rolling downhill.”
Martha gasped, hand going to her mouth.
“What happened?” Jonathan asked.
“Mom says that the sky rained the meteor rocks and that they couldn’t get out of the RV, that ironically it protected them but it also kept them prisoner.” Dinah looked down at her hands. “She said that they could hear me screaming from outside but couldn’t see me or Chloe, or get out to help us.”
Clark clenched his fists, realizing once again how much his arrival had hurt others.
“When it was finally over they were rescued from the RV by rescue workers, and after some search the, found Chloe and me.” Dinah frowned. “She said that we were lying in a bed of meteor pebbles, crouched together, holding hands. I was half-unconscious and half-submerged, but Chloe was completely covered by the remains and wouldn’t wake up. The meteor rocks and pebbles were hot and a lot of them had melted onto us, they were sure that we’re be deformed for life, and then they realized that Chloe wasn’t only unconscious, they couldn’t find her pulse and she wasn’t breathing.” She paused. “They thought Chl-Lois had died.”
Chloe closed her eyes, the hands on her head tightening their hold.
Clark’s eyes widened.
“Mom was a nurse, she was sure Lois was dead.” Dinah announced slowly, turning to look at her cousin as if in sudden revelation. “But half an hour later, as they were in the medical center, filled with the other injured people, the meteor-substance on us just disappeared and Lois started to cry.”
“My god.” Jonathan whispered.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve died.” Chloe whispered to herself.
“I—I don’t understand.” Dinah turned to the others. “How is this possible?”
“It’s the meteors, dear.” Martha sighed, ignoring Jonathan’s look. “They had effects on certain people, gave them certain abilities--.”
“Made them freaks.” Chloe gasped, shooting up from the sofa, hand to her stomach, breathing rapidly, face horribly pale. “The man, the thing, that killed me. I’m—I’m one of them, I’m like him!”
“No you are not!” Dinah growled, shooting to her feet. “You are nothing like the monster that did that to you! You’re my baby cousin! You wouldn’t hurt a fly! And dammit, even if you are ‘gifted’ I’m damned glad you are!”
“How can you say that?” Chloe screamed at her, breaking apart right in front of them and Clark clenched his fists because he couldn’t collect her in his arms and hold her tight.
“Because I’d have lost you if you weren’t!” Dinah hissed, tears building in her eyes. She looked like she hated letting others see her cry, see her weakness, but the stress and sadness was just too overwhelming. “You’re my only friend. You’re my only family. How could I survive without you?” She looked away, face twisting in an effort to keep from crying. “I love you Chlo!”
Clark noticed that once more Dinah had slipped up and called ‘Lois’ CHLOE.
“I love you too, Di.” Chloe whispered as the cousins embraced once more, crying.
Dinah got off of the phone with the hospital, and sighed. It’d taken a lot of bribing and use of Luthor money, but she was sure that Lex, once he realized what had happened—that he wouldn’t be angry with her. She’d done what had had to be done to keep Chloe’s death out of the news, and the hospital were now saying that Lois Lane hadn’t died, but that she’d been in a coma and had come out of it and had recuperated rapidly and been released to her family and friends.
It’d taken a lot of hush-money, but it was done, and that was all that Dinah cared about.
She went to Clark’s room, paused at the door, and watched as the young man sat next to the bed, watching her cousin silently as Chloe slept in his bed, wearing his jersey. There was something in Clark’s eyes that Dinah just couldn’t understand, but couldn’t hate him for.
If it hadn’t been for him, Chloe would have suffocated in the morgue, and Dinah wouldn’t have gotten her cousin back.
There was no way she could hate him anymore.
It didn’t mean that she’d changed sides, no way, she was still completely TEAM LEX, but that didn’t mean that she had to hate the competition anymore.
“Smallville,” she whispered, causing him to look at her in surprise. “Come here a minute.”
Clark nodded and stood up from the chair, giving Chloe a last look before exiting the room and closing the door behind him. “Yeah?”
“Now listen to me Smallville, and listen to me good.” Dinah took in a deep breath. “I don’t do apologies good, but I’m going to give you one because you didn’t deserve me cutting into you the way I did.”
Clark blinked at her in surprise.
“Sure, I don’t like the fact that you like my cousin, but that’s nothing personal.” She admitted. “It’s just that Lex has always been in our lives and I don’t like the thought that he has serious competition. I don’t want him being replaced. He loves Lois and she loves him.”
He nodded silently, his gaze telling her to continue.
“But if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have my little cousin back with me, and I’ll never be able to thank you for that.” She stuck out her hand. “So, let’s call a truce?”
He looked down at her hand and then smiled, shaking it. “Truce.”
“Good.” She then pulled her hand from his and slapped his shoulder. “Now out of the way, big guy, I’m going to go spend time with my cousin!”
She matched his grin as she walked passed him and entered the room.
Lex watched in confusion as he looked around the laboratory. Why was he here? This looked a lot like 33.1 but he didn’t recognize the room, maybe he’d wandered into it unknowingly while his father was out?
The young man frowned as he turned when he heard something, eyes widening in horror when he saw Chloe strapped down to a large examination table, unable to move. Her eyes darted back and forth at the doctors hovering over and around her, and her mouth was held open as if in a perpetual scream by metal objects.
Her expression conveyed her terror.
Lex stumbled forwards. “What are you doing? Let go of her!” They didn’t listen to him, didn’t even act as if they’d heard him. “Let her go! Don’t touch her!”
When they continued to ignore him, Lex hurried forth to push them away and his eyes widened as he sailed right through them.
“Blood iron levels?” One of the doctors asked.
“225.” Another read from the screen.
“Copper, cadmium, and chloride all high.” A third announced.
“The clock is ticking.” The first doctor announced in a business-like manner. “Let’s not waste time.”
“Erythrocyte and leukocyte counts confirmed.” The third doctor announced. “Initializing full-body spectral scan.”
Lex watched in horror as a green beam scanned up and down her naked body, centering finally on her abdomen.
Chloe made a sound of slight pain.
Lex tried to hold her hand, tried to offer her some support, some comfort, tried to do something to ease the pain and fear in her green eyes, but his hand went right through hers and he looked away in impotence.
“Scanning in progress.” The second doctor spoke in excitement. “Vertical asymptote at “X”. Preparing for DNA extraction.”
“Proceed.” The first doctor ordered.
Lex turned towards her, not liking the sound of that, and his heart skipped a beat when he saw the third doctor appear with a large needle.
The doctor inserted the needle into her abdomen and Chloe screamed.
Lex clenched his fists and turned, unable to see what he couldn’t stop, and right when he was about to close his eyes and bring his hands to his ears to try and drown out the sound of her screams, movement from above caught his attention and he looked up, eyes widening in horror at what he saw.
There, standing above and watching the proceedings with cool indifference, was himself.
Gasping, Lex jolted awake in the cafeteria of the 33.1 facility. He looked around him rapidly, expecting to find Chloe still strapped down and being tortured, but thankfully it’d all been a horrible nightmare.
Covering his face with his hands, Lex cried.
Chloe sat at her desk in the basement of the Daily Planet, numb, hardly noticing Clark until he sat down next to her, looking at her with a such a worried, caring expression that it was all she could do to keep the tears at bay.
“You look dazed and confused.” Clark said softly, leaning closer towards her. “Are you okay?”
“I can’t sleep.” It was hard to believe that that distraught voice was hers. “I can’t work. I can’t think about anything else.”
“You’ve been through a lot.” Clark whispered, eyes pained, as if he could feel the agony and despair in her and it hurt him that he couldn’t do anything to get rid of it.
“There’s a reason they took me, and we both know that it’s not because I’m a witness.” Chloe met his gaze with teary determination. She needed him to finally admit to himself what she’d finally admitted to herself, no matter how painful. “Tobias didn’t identify you, Clark, because you’re not a Meteor Freak.” She gulped, looking away. “It was me.”
“Chloe, it must have been a mistake.”
But she could hear the desperation in his voice, could hear that he was denying to himself that his best friend and sidekick was one of the people he’d fought against since high school.
“How do you know that?” She snapped at him, needing him to accept this. “I mean, I’ve been exposed to more Kryptonite than practically anyone in this town. It’s not that much of a stretch to think that I could have been infected somewhere along the way.”
“But you don’t have any powers.” He paused and looked at her intently. “Do you?”
“No, but that doesn’t rule me out.” She laughed but it was a despaired sound. “There’s a percentage of the Wall of Weird that were latent for years. They didn’t exhibit any of their powers until long after their exposure.”
“Okay. All right, let’s say it’s true.” Clark nodded, taking in a deep breath. “But who’s to say that you’re ever going to develop your powers?”
She tore her gaze from his and looked down at her desk. “All I know is that every single meteor freak that I’ve ever run into have ended up either dead or in Belle Reeve.” She closed her eyes, tears escaping despite her attempt to keep them back, racing down her pale cheeks. “Face it, Clark. I’m a walking time-bomb.”
The feel of Clark’s hand on her arm gently caused her to open her tear-filled eyes and meet his once more, realizing that there were tears in his as well, but behind the sadness was sheer determination.
He smiled softly at her, bringing his other hand to tenderly brush away at her tears. “Then consider me your personal bomb squad.”
Jolting up into a sitting position, Chloe breathed in rapidly and felt disoriented. Where was she? What was she doing? A movement next to her on the bed caused her to turn, and she noticed Dinah mumbling in her sleep, hugging a pillow to her heart.
Shaking her head, Chloe brought her hand to her face and touched her wet cheek. She’d had one of those dreams she couldn’t remember.
Hearing another moan, this time to her right, she turned her head and blinked when she saw Clark Kent asleep in an uncomfortable-looking position on a chair. He’d obviously been watching over her while she slept.
And obviously, Lex wasn’t there.
He hadn’t come for her.
Chloe’s eyes filled with tears as she hugged herself, hating herself for crying so much, but the grief was too much to bare. Not only had she realized that she was some sort of monster, but she’d lost her baby and Lex wasn’t even there to be with her. Had he come, been told what she was, and left? Did she disgust him as much as she disgusted herself?
Dear God, please, no!
She was all alone, and the desperation kept welling inside of her, threatening to cause her to explode.
Then consider me your personal bomb squad.
Chloe’s eyes suddenly widened as Clark Kent’s voice whispered those words to her, and the dreams she’d been having blindsided her in rapid procession. She scuffled against the bed’s head and turned to look at Clark again with wide-eyes, realizing that all those odd dreams she’d been having in Metropolis—those dreams she’d been having all of her life—had been about Clark.
She was frightened, confused.
“Who are you, Clark Kent?” She whispered, looking at his peace-filled face.
Clark smiled in his sleep at the sound of her voice, shifting slightly in the chair to try and get more comfortable. “Chloe…”
Chloe’s eyes widened. How did he know her real name?!
Did…did he dream about her like she’d dreamt of him her whole life?
Did he even realize he dreamt about her or did he forget the dreams like she used to every time she awoke?
Watching the young man as he slept, Chloe hugged her pillow to her heart and cried.