: I do not own Smallville, Superman, or The Cave...would be damned rich if I did!
. As LexCorp's representative and Meteor Freak, Chloe is used to 'weird', but when she and the McAlister spelunking team, along with Dr. Nicolai, Dr. Kathryn Jennings, and Alex Kim get trapped in a cave with Kryptonian connections, they must find a way out and avoid the creatures within, but will getting out of The Cave truly solve their troubles?
There weren’t many things that surprised Lex, but this certainly had.
They’d taken his chopper back to the airport and then had flown on the jet to Lexcorp’s closest facility, and during the ride Chloe, a pale animalistic looking Jack McAlister, his brother Tyler, and friends Charlie and Top, filled in Lois and Lex about all that’d gone on down below in the cave. Lex had a feeling that Chloe was hiding something, but he knew not to rush her, not when they were in such a crowd.
Both Chloe and Jack had already undergone the first series of examinations, and although the results they’d gotten back were preliminary and they were already scheduled to undergo the second testing phase, the results they’d gotten back were shocking. Chloe had 24 chromosomes. The human body only had 23 chromosomes, so the fact that in the little amount of time that she’d been in the cave, Chloe had mysteriously developed an additional one, well, it was astounding.
They’d already planned tests to try and discover what this 24th chromosome did and how it’d come to be. Maybe the two parasites that’d been within her, when they’d fought each other in her body and vanquish the other’s corporal body (for tests had shown that neither parasite existed within her anymore) their essence had unified with Chloe’s, and the 24th chromosome had been born.
Jack, on the other hand, was a completely different story. He still had the normal 23 chromosomes, but his had altered. They seemed more animalistic than human, and that was why he was acting more on instinct than by using thought process, as would a normal human being. The man was literally turning into an animal before their very eyes, and Lex was worried, not only for the man, but for Chloe--because the man had a possessiveness within him when it came to the blonde--a possessiveness Chloe seemed to accept--a possessiveness Lex didn’t appreciate.
Jack’s mutation had been stopped at one point, but it was a continually processing action, and when he’d nearly collapsed during the physical manifestations of the mutation, and Chloe had shocked Lex by offering Jack her blood, well, that’d left the billionaire silent, not only in slight jealousy at the obvious closeness between them, but at the fact that Chloe’d discovered a breakthrough without even realizing it.
Her blood was acting like a protective serum within Jack’s body, but when taken orally a lot of the nutrients and antibodies were digested and lost. So with Chloe’s permission, Lex had small vials filled with blood extracted from her and injected straight into Jack’s bloodstream--where it would work quicker--something like poison.
Within a week Jack’s skin had returned almost completely normal, although the doctors warned them that Jack would never return fully to the man he was before because of the mutations within him. He’d be paler than he’d been, and he’d still act on animalistic instinct--something he was going to have to learn how to control, because while it was an asset, if left with the reigns of control, it could be very dangerous as well.
Daily a vial was injected into his system to fight the effects of the parasite within him, which couldn’t be removed. It’d clung to him, multiplying rapidly, and there was no way of removing it that wouldn’t end with Jack’s life. At least with each injection of Chloe’s blood, Jack’s parasite seemed to change slightly, grow more neutral, more passive, and the mutations were slowing until a whole day passed without even a slight quiver from him, and his eyes returned completely normal despite their predatory-gleam…and that was when they knew that they were on the right path.
During the second week Lois had ‘borrowed’ Lex’s jet and flown back to Metropolis, decided to ask Perry to extend her time. She wanted to be there for her cousin during this long, arduous time, and plus, she’d been giving Top the ‘eye’, and Lex couldn’t help but mentally tell Clark to come back from his stay at the Fortress or he’d have even more to be frustrated about.
Lex also couldn’t help but shake his head at Lois Lane. The woman was a paradox. She hated flying, probably had a little phobia about it, and yet she was trained and could fly anything from a small commercial plane to a military helicopter. Being a military brat, she’d learnt to fight hand-to-hand, to shoot, to fight with knives, she’d learnt to operate the more complex military weapons, and operate tanks and whatnot. She’d spilled all this information while drunk on the plane ride to Romania--and yet, if one looked at the woman, they’d never believe her capable of all of that--of any of that.
“I wanted to thank you.”
Lex looked up and saw that Tyler McAlister had come over to talk to him. They were all in the ‘mess hall’, as Lois called it, and he’d been watching Chloe and Jack, as she sat watching a movie, and Jack sat watching her.
“You didn’t have to help my brother.” Tyler continued, sitting down next to him, looking a little uncomfortable but determined. “We’re nothing to you, you could have even turned Jack into some kind of guinea pig, treated him like just another experiment--but you’ve treated him with respect, and as if he’s still human, so--.”
“You’re brother is human.” Lex interrupted, tearing his gaze from the look on Jack’s face as he watched the oblivious Chloe. “He is a mutant, no doubt about that, but mutants are only a more evolved species of human being—what we could have been--should have been, if we hadn’t been deficient in our molecular structure.”
Tyler paused, blinking, surprised, as if he hadn’t thought of it that way before. A small smile touched his face. “Do you really believe that? That they’re just more evolved then us?”
“Of course.” Lex nodded. “I’ve known Chloe since she was fourteen, and she’s more human than me.”
Tyler grinned full-force. “She is something, huh?”
“Yeah.” Lex stole a gaze at the sofa once more, noticing that Chloe had caught Jack looking at her and was grinning at him mischievously. He cleared his throat and returned his attention to Tyler. “She’s a very special and important person to me, and there isn’t a day I’d ever call her something that wasn’t a human. I envy her sometimes.”
“I don’t envy my brother.” Tyler admitted, eyes on Jack, who was saying something to Chloe that had her gasping in shock and slapping his arm, throwing her head back and laughing. “I know Jack better than anyone else in this world, and I know when he’s putting on a strong face, when he’s pretending that everything’s okay. He isn’t fine. This is affecting him in ways we’ll never be able to understand.”
Lex agreed one hundred per cent with that observation; as a man who hid his own emotions, he knew how to detect when someone else was doing the same.
“I think they’re the only ones who can understand each other.” Tyler McAlister was a surprisingly perceptive human being. “I mean, while according to your studies they aren’t exactly the same species, they’re a hybrid, right? So they are closer to being of the same species than Jack and me or even Chloe and her cousin.”
“Yes.” Lex had been thinking about that himself these last two weeks. He’d been going over their blood-work, their DNA composition, their organic structures--everything, and he realized that while they shared similar traits and such, their internal body was different. It was as if they were from two different branches of evolution--the animalistic and the humanoid--each with it’s own pros and cons.
But despite that, despite their differences, their bodies were closer and more similar to each other than to or with that of a normal human being.
Lex--it’d gotten to the point where Lex wondered if either of them could have offspring with someone of the human race. He didn’t even know if they could create offspring together.
He hadn’t told them of that possibility, knowing that while Chloe didn’t want children now she wanted them later, and hoping that his assumptions were off somewhere in the calculations. He didn’t want to have to be the one to tell Chloe that she’d never be able to have children. He just didn’t, and he wasn’t about to say anything unless he was a hundred per cent sure.
He refused to.
“I would like to see them fight each other.”
Tyler looked at Lex in surprise. “Why?”
“I don’t know if you’ve realized it, but your brother loses control of his power easily--I don’t really think he has any control over it at all.” The bald billionaire confessed. “I’d like to see how their bodies and mutations react to each other in a situation like that. And it’s also help us be able to understand exactly what they can do in a safe environment.”
Tyler frowned, looking at Jack and Chloe who were laughing and smiling at each other on the sofa. “I think you’re right.”
Lex nodded. With the consent of Jack’s brother, he shouldn’t have any problem with this.
Of course, there were other reasons why he wanted the fight to happen. He’d noticed Jack’s inability to control his powers, noticed how his eyes darkened and he snarled whenever any male got too close to Chloe--especially Chloe. When he was angered, or felt any surplus amount of emotion his skin sometimes rippled and he’d clench his fist and looked away—something had to leave the room.
In an environment when he was not only fighting, but fighting Chloe, well, that would put Jack up against the wall in many ways, and if he would snap, he’d snap there, and they’d finally know exactly what they were dealing with. And while it was a somewhat callous way of going about it, Lex knew it was the only way, and that they needed to know this in case--he needed to protect Chloe, and right now Jack was the only potential threat she had.
Lois stormed out of the Daily Planet with a box of her things. She’d known that Perry wouldn’t take well to her taking all the vacations she’d worked through all at once, but she hadn’t thought he’d fire her. The brunette sniffed and had told him that he couldn’t fire her because she quit, she’d then called him a couple of names, told him she’d tell his wife about all the cigars he’d been smoking despite his doctor’s orders for him to stop, and then she’d collected her things and left.
She took in a deep breath and headed towards her car. She would go to her apartment, pack up all the things she’d need, and a couple of things she was taking just because--and head back to the airport, where she’d left the Luthor jet she’d borrowed without really asking Lex’s permission. Of course, she’d make a quick detour to the grocery store before going to the airport to buy some good junk food--because those foreign stuff really weren’t cutting it, and then she was in the jet and in the air.
She just really wished that Smallville was there. The guy was clueless and all, but for some reason when he was around things went well--and she needed things for Chloe to go well. Her baby cousin was going through a very trying time, trying to adjust to her new mutation and the pull she was having for the handsome Jack McAlister, and the previous feelings she’d had for Lex.
Lois had to admit, she liked McAlister--the guy was hot, but she’d always thought that Chloe would end up with Lex. Then again--with how things were going with Lex, she could now understand why he’d just sit down and let Chloe get closer to Jack despite his obvious feelings for her.
It’d been a huge mystery for the Daily Planet reporter (well, she’d still worked there at the time) why a man like Lex Luthor, who always went for what he wanted, would let Chloe slowly slip away from him and not take a chance on winning her. And then Lois had done some digging. She hadn’t included Smallville in this little investigation because she knew he had some uptight morals and would either hinder her investigation or warn her target…and when she’d finally dug up the information needed and finally understood why Lex wasn’t making a move for Chloe--she’d learnt to appreciate the bald billionaire so very much.
He was dying.
He’d had cancer as a young boy, and it’d returned.
She’d stormed to confront him about this, calling him a selfish, proud fool and demanding to know the reason why he hadn’t told Chloe and asked her to heal him of the cancer. She could heal him, of that Lois was sure.
At first Lex had been furious with her for digging up what he’d thought was a well buried secret, and then he’d sighed and sat down in his seat and told her everything. He was draining Chloe, unintentionally, but ever since the first time she’d brought him to life, every time she’d healed him, something within him had drained her a bit of her power of healing, and they’d been minor injuries. He believed it was somehow related to some passive meteor ability that he had, but he wasn’t so sure.
Lois had sat down across from Lex and listened as he explained that he still had some time left with the treatments he was doing, but that he wasn’t going to get cured this time. And he couldn’t ask Chloe to heal him--couldn’t even tell her the truth because she’d try to heal him against his own will. The billionaire said that this was too fatal a cancer, and that it’d probably send her into a mini-coma from healing him--and also, it could very well drain her of her ability to heal--both herself and others.
And Lex wasn’t about to let her risk that on him. As he’d pointed out, it was only Chloe’s abilities that’d kept her alive during her many misadventures, and without them she’d die--and he’d prefer to die a million times knowing that she was fine, than to live a long and healthy life and have to bury her.
Lois had left that meeting understanding Lex like she never had, and despite the fact that she still enjoyed annoying him, she respected him more than she did anyone else.
That was why she was so torn now that Jack McAlister was in the story and complicated things even more.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw someone large wearing a hideous red jacket, and her heart leaped. Smallville!
But then the person turned and hailed a cab and she got a good look at the guy.
Telling herself firmly that no she was not disappointed that it wasn’t him, the brunette grabbed her keys and opened the back door of her car, placing the box in the back seat and sighing, closing the door and going to the driver’s side. She entered and closed the door, locking the locks on instinct, putting on her seatbelt and turning the keys in the ignition, looking at the review mirror before signaling her intentions and easing out from the parking space into the ongoing traffic.
Stupid Smallville. She pouted, heading towards her apartment. Never around when I need him.
“Where is she? I’m going to kill her.”
Everyone looked up in surprise to see a man in the room who hadn’t been there seconds ago.
Chloe’s eyes widened and she rose from the sofa, not noticing Jack’s gaze narrowing at the large smile on her face. “Clark!”
The tall muscular man looked at her and smiled, widening his arms as she flew into them, hugging him tightly. “Hey Chlo, how are you doing?”
“I’m fine--errr--well, not exactly fine.” She pulled away and smiled up into his face. “And Lois isn’t here. She called me before she took off--should probably still be in the air.” She knew who he’d been referring to when he’d entered, known that the only person he threatened to kill whenever she wasn’t around was the woman he’d give his life to protect.
“She got herself fired.” Clark announced seriously. “I got back seconds ago and went into the office and Perry tells me that I’m now the only star reporter of the Daily Planet and that he fired Lois--and then she quit on him.”
Chloe frowned. Lois hadn’t told her about that when they’d talked on the phone! “Oh no, this is all my fault.”
Clark still had her in his arms. “Chloe, what’s going on?”
She looked around them, noticing Charlie and Tyler sitting together in the dark corner, looking up at them curiously, Lex and Top had disappeared from the room before the Kryptonian’s arrival, and Jack was glaring at Clark.
This was not the place.
“Come, we need to talk.”
“Where are we going?” Clark asked, looking at the others as well. “Who are they?”
“We’re going to my room--.” As soon as those words escaped her lips, an angered growl echoed throughout the room, and Chloe’s eyes widened as she turned to look at Jack, who was standing, eyes morphed into their four-point star shape, glaring threateningly at Clark.
Clark was tense, looking back at Jack in surprise but not fear. “No, Chloe, I think you’re going to have to tell me now.”
“Who is he?” Jack snapped, eyes darkening, fists clenched tightly.
“He’s my friend.” Chloe frowned at Jack. She’d tolerated his possessiveness these last two weeks, but she needed to talk to Clark, and didn’t want Jack to attack him and expose Clark’s secret to the whole room. She knew that it was the animal in Jack, the male in him that recognized her as the only female of his species that made him act this way towards her, knew that because he was the only male her body recognized as of her same species as well.
And when there was only one of your species left, one tended to get possessive and territorial.
“And what do you have to say to him that you can’t say in front of us?” In front of him.
Chloe narrowed her eyes at him. “That would be my business, Jack McAlister, and if you don’t like it, too bad!”
He growled, muscles tensing, and he stormed towards her.
Clark, sensing the threat, tried to push her behind him protectively, but Chloe got passed him, eyes flashing molten gold as she met Jack halfway. Both glaring at each other, hissing, communicating on a more primitive level that not even they could fully understand except for the fact that the male in Jack was demanding that the female in Chloe submit, but the female in Chloe was a modern woman and with a snarl she let him understand exactly what he could do with his demand.
Jack growled at her, taking another step until they were only an inch away from each other, and suddenly the snarls were beginning to morph from angered to…to something else, as Jack closed his eyes with a moan of pleasure and just sniffed the scent coming from her.
Blushing in embarrassment, realizing that everyone was watching them, Chloe pulled away, breaking the spell, and grabbing a confused and surprised Clark’s hand. “Come on, big guy. You and I need to talk.”
She pulled Clark behind her, surprised that she was actually pulling him and not him letting her. Apparently she was that strong.
The sound of Jack’s growl behind them promised her that this wasn’t over, but Chloe closed her eyes and continued to tug the big alien behind her, trying to tell her body to calm down.
Tyler watched his brother as Jack growled in frustration and stormed out of the room in the opposite direction Chloe and her friend had taken. The dark-haired McAlister frowned, realizing how quickly Jack had lost control and if Chloe hadn’t confronted him like that, he probably would have attacked her friend--God knew Tyler had noticed his brother fighting his urge to do the same thing with Luthor.
Sighing, Tyler sat back down, realizing that Lex was right. They needed to see just how far Jack would snap, and Chloe was the only one who could both infuriate and apparently calm whatever reacted within him, so she would have to be the one fighting him.
“He’s going to be okay.”
Tyler looked up at Charlie and smiled sadly. “I hope so.”
The pretty blonde sat down next to him and placed her hand comfortingly on his shoulder. “Come on, Tyler, we both know Jack better than anyone else, and we know that he’s a fighter. Even if it takes him a hundred years to get control over this, he will.”
His smile turned slightly more genuine, and Tyler placed his hand on Charlie’s. “You’re right. He’s going to get through this okay. He’s going to be okay. He’s going to get control of this.”
“Exactly.” Her smile was bright. “We’re just going to have to be supportive and be with him a hundred per cent no matter what happens in the future. Jack’s still our family, we love him, and we need to let him know that nothing of that has changed.”
Finally, his smile was completely genuine. “You’re a sweetheart, you know that, right?”
Charlie blushed, pulling her hand from his and looking in the opposite direction. “Oh, shut up.”
She ignored him.
Comfortable silence rested in the room as they sat together, neither talking, neither needing to.
Clark looked down at the Kryptonian crystal in his hands and listened as Chloe finished telling him the story of how she’d found it. There was a itching behind his eyes and he knew he was about to cry, but his frustration was what kept the tears at bay.
“You could have gotten yourself killed!”
“I wanted to do this for you, Clark.” Her hand was on his arm, and suddenly he realized that he hadn’t been keeping his tears back at all, he was crying, he just hadn’t noticed it. “I needed to do this for you. The scrolls said that this crystal was important for the Son of EL, and I knew that you couldn’t go look for it, you’re too busy saving the world and keeping Lois out of trouble. I knew you would forfeit your own knowledge--wouldn’t take the time out--and I’m glad. That place had Green K. I only found one piece but that wasn’t to say that there wouldn’t have been more. It was a death trap for Kryptonians. You’d be weak, alone, and a feast for the monsters.”
He winced, thinking back to all the things that she’d gone through to get this for him. She’d gone against her own fears of the dark and enclosed spaces, she’d gone against monsters from hell, all to give him this. And because of it she’d been injured, and been infected with some horrible parasite is own people had invented to keep the crystal safe.
Rao, he didn’t deserve this woman for a best friend.
“Don’t say that, Clark.”
Apparently he’d said it out loud.
The Kryptonian looked down at the short blonde woman smiling shakily up at him before pulling her to him in a hug. “Thank you.” Clark whispered into Chloe’s hair, realizing that his tears were soaking her blonde locks, but when he tried to pull away she hugged him harder and he gave him, just hugging her and crying.
When it was over, when he finally pulled away, he looked down into her face. “Will you come with me to see what’s on it?”
She smiled. “Of course. Let me just get a jacket.”
“The life and sunshine has returned to this house!” Lois announced brightly as she entered the Luthor Manor everyone was staying in later that night. So far she didn’t see anyone about, but it was around dinnertime, so she was sure that everyone was eating by the table or in the mess hall. “I need big, strong, manly men to help me unpack some things from the rental car!”
Top peeked his head from one of the rooms and smiled, coming towards her. The two weeks had made the soreness leave his healed foot and he could now walk around. Lex appeared behind Top, they’d obviously been having a serious conversation, but Lois wasn’t about to start digging. She had other things she needed done right now and snooping wasn’t on the agenda.
“Hello Lois, did you have a good flight?”
“Yes, Lex, thank you very much.” She tossed him a bag, ignoring the jibe about her taking the jet without even giving him a heads up. “The rest is in the car.”
Lex just sighed.
“So, where’s Chloe?” Lois asked, turning on the two men, hands on her hips expectantly.
Lex frowned. “She should be in the mess hall with the others. That’s the last place I saw her.”
“Okay. I’ll go look for her there.” She chirped, determined not to let her being without a job leave her depressed. She could always find another job (if Perry didn’t realize that she was the best reporter he had and begged her to come back) and if she didn’t want to work with a newspaper, she knew Lex would give her a job. Damn, she’d enjoy working alongside Chloe. That girl didn’t have one boring minute! “You two can take my stuff to my room--but don’t break anything.”
She was sure she heard those two complaining to each other, but she just grinned, heading towards the mess hall, frowning when she saw that the only ones in there were Tyler and Charlie, who were seated close to each other and talking in whispers.
Jack and Chloe were missing.
Where could they be?
“Hey Lois!” Charlie pulled away from Tyler when she suddenly saw the brunette in the doorway, blushing. “How did everything go?”
Okay, that blonde was nervous. Had something happened between her and the dark-haired McAlister?
“Everything’s fine.” Lois smiled serenely. “Do you know where Chloe is? I really need to talk to her.”
“Some friend of hers arrived and they went to talk in her room.” Tyler spoke from where he sat. “I think she called him Clark, but I’m not too sure about that.”
Clark! He was here!
Smiling, Lois turned and left the room without another word, hurrying towards Chloe’s room and throwing the door open, smile disappearing when she realized that it was empty.
The brunette sighed, leaning against the door.
Where could they be?
In the Fortress of Solitude, Clark gave Chloe a nervous smile before inserting the crystal into the crystal dock and watching as it lit up. Suddenly a panel of light shot into the air, and the light became images…
Clark gasped as he saw images of him as a baby, gurgling as his mother and father, Jor-EL and Lara, played with him. The young Kryptonian squeezed Chloe’s hand as they ended up sitting on the cold floor, watching as what could be described in human terms as a series of homemade movies filled the holographic screen. They heard the young Clark laughing as Lara blew against his stomach, heard his squealing in happiness as his father took him on piggyback rides all around their home.
Something welled up inside of Clark as he caught a glimpse of what his life had been--what it could have continued being. He saw his father, Jor-EL in a way he’d never before, saw the fatherly love that shone in his eyes as he watched his wife and son, as he played with Clark, teaching him Kryptonian ways as any father would, and telling him how he loved him, how he was proud of him, and how he knew that he would grow up to be a good man.
He didn’t know how long they stood there, watching movie after movie, getting glimpses of Krypton and his people, but he knew that Chloe was there by his side, crying along with him, and when it was finished, the screen lit up with an intergalactic map.
It was of a secret, safe-planet that the Kryptonians had had.
Did--could this mean--?
“Clark?” Chloe asked, voice breathy in excitement as she turned to look at him. “Do you think--could some of your people have escaped to that planet before the explosion?”
Hearing her ask the same question that’d been ringing in his ears caused Clark to stand up immediately. “But if so--why did my father send me to earth and not to that planet?”
“Maybe he didn’t trust anyone in Krypton to take care of you.” Chloe whispered. “You would be the only living EL relative--so if you were killed the house of EL would have been lost. Plus, your father realized around that time how many enemies he’d made and how he didn’t even know who he could really trust of his own race to take care of you and not kill you while you were only a helpless child.”
“Kryptonias would have killed me to take over the power of the name of EL.” Clark looked up, eyes on his friend, determination written on his every feature as he spoke. “Chloe, I need to find that planet.”
Jack sat on the rooftop of the manor, looking up at the moon resting peacefully in the sky above him.
He knew that what he’d done in there was wrong, and he felt ashamed. Chloe wasn’t anything to him, and yet he was treating her as if she was his property. It was just that even before this mess had started he’d been attracted to her, had looked up into her green eyes and been lost, and then, after the infection, after everything that’d gone on in the cave, well, he’d felt as if she was his, and didn’t like the attention other rival males gave her.
‘Rival males’, listen to me!
He scoffed, sighing, looking around him with a sigh. He knew that his eyes were normal again, and yet he was still able to pierce the darkness around him. He wondered if that was a step back or a step forwards.
And not only was his eyesight getting better, but so was his ability to smell…
He growled, closing his eyes as he remembered her scent when they’d confronted each other a while ago. They’d both been stiff, ready to fight, and yet he’d stepped in her personal space and that heat had turned into a different kind…and he’d smelt her smell change…smelt the musky scent of a female ready for her male…
God! Don’t think of that now McAlister!
Jack didn’t notice the blood seeping from his closed fists as his fingernails pierced the skin of his palms.
He was too concentrated on keeping himself away from Chloe before he…before he did something he’d regret.
“Smallville!” The smile died on Lois’ face when Clark and Chloe returned, and she saw the look on their faces.
The brunette stiffened, knowing from the way Clark looked at her that he was going to say something that she didn’t like, but she hadn’t expected what he told her. She didn’t even notice when Chloe went to find Lex and left them to talk in her bedroom. The young woman just couldn’t believe it when Clark told her what he was going to do.
“Leave?!” She tried to breathe, tried to look nonchalant, but the fact was that that her heart was hurting…so much. “But you can’t be serious! Clark! You don’t know if this isn’t a trap! Or if that planet wasn’t destroyed in the explosion! Or how long it’ll take you to find it!”
“Lois--.” He winced, looking at her sadly, looking just as destroyed as she knew she looked.
“No!” She shook her head vehemently. “What about Metropolis? What about the people? How are they going to survive without Superman to take care of them?”
“Metropolis survived quite well before I came on the scene.” Clark sighed, not looking at her. “They’ll survive without Superman for however long it takes for me to do this.”
“But what about the Daily Planet?” Lois wouldn’t back down, she needed to make him see that he was making a mistake--that leaving was a huge mistake! “Perry fired me--he needs you right now! The Planet NEEDS a half-decent reporter!”
“He’ll call you back and beg you to come back.” Clark smiled softly, though he still wouldn’t look in her direction. “We both know that he can’t run that place without you.”
“What--what about Martha?” She knew she was puling at strings, and hitting below the belt, but she just didn’t care anymore. “Your mother needs you! What sort of son would you be by just abandoning her like that when she’s getting on in age? No! You have to stay here and take care of her and continue working at the Daily Planet and taking care of the city of Metropolis--taking care of your city!”
“I already talked to my mother.” He surprised her by saying. “Before we returned here from the Fortress, Chloe and I went to see her in Smallville and she understood me. She said that she understood how important this was for me and that she wouldn’t stand in my way. Lex and Chloe…and you will take care of her while I’m gone. I know that.”
“What about me?” Lois’ voice croaked as she finally let out of the plea that’d she’d been crying in her mind ever since she’d heard his idea to explore the universe and galaxies to find this supposed ‘safe planet’. “What about me? How can you just go and leave me?”
She hated it, hated being forced to admit her weakness, her feelings, hated opening herself like this and making herself vulnerable. She hated the tears in her eyes, the frog in her throat, and the knife stabbing her heart and causing her more pain than she’d ever known possible to feel.
Clark couldn’t leave--he wouldn’t—he couldn’t leave her. No. He wouldn’t. He—No!
And he was holding her as she cried, holding him tightly, burying her face in his chest.
“Don’t leave me, Clark.” She begged. She pleaded. “Please don’t leave me.” She held on as tight as she could despite the fact that she knew with his strength he could easily detangle himself from her if he wanted to. “I don’t want to lose you, Clark.” She whispered, breaking down slowly and surely. “I don’t want—I—I—I love you, Clark.”
And he pulled her closer to him. “I love you too, Lo.”
She felt her heart soar--.
“But I have to do this.”
Pushing away, Lois looked up into his face, wiping at her tears. “I love you, Clark Kent. I LOVE YOU.” She tried to keep the sobs back, she needed to let him know this. “But I’m not going to wait on you. If you leave now, I won’t be sitting on my thumbs waiting for you to come back. I’ll move on. It’ll hurt like hell, but I’ll force myself to stop loving you.”
He looked heartbroken as he looked at her, pained blue eyes scanning her face. “Lois, please, you have to understand--.”
He was going to leave her.
Even after she’d taken the chance and spoken to him, even after she’d told him the truth, after she’d given him her heart on a silver platter--he was still going to leave her.
“When you find this planet you’re willing to risk everything over--if you ever do.” She whispered, wiping at her tears desperately. “Maybe you should just stay there.”
“Lois--.” He pleaded.
“No, Kent. Just—just forget everything I just said since it didn’t mean anything to you.” She needed to get out of there before she lost it and begged him once more to stay. She needed to retain some dignity. She refused for his last memory of her to be one of her weak and begging. “Have a good trip, Kent. Send a postcard once in a while so Chloe doesn’t die of worry.”
“Lois…” His broken voice called as she turned.
Lois closed her eyes tightly and left the room…
…Leaving a big piece of her heart back there with him.
I wasn’t enough. She rushed away, needing to find Chloe. I’m never enough.