Title: Team Zenith
Pairing: Mentions of past Chloe/Oliver
Disclaimer: I do not own Smallville
Summary: When an ageless Chloe Queen is asked to train the first Team Zenith the children help her forget all she's lost (her husband Oliver, the League, the Legion) ---until General Larraby and his Gamma-13 destroyed it all.
Notes: Post Smallville/Pre Zoom.
She came up with a scream of pain as blood forced itself through veins that’d dried up hours ago and fed hardened, dead muscles. Her body was throbbing in pain since all her bones had had to re-grow from having been crushed into nothing.
“Ma?” A hoarse, agonized male voice asked by her side.
Chloe’s green eyes opened and she turned her head towards the voice, seeing a teary-faced Jack. She tried to remember what’d happened to kill her this time, but for some reason she couldn’t remember anything. “What…happened?”
Jack closed his eyes tightly and lowered his head, fists trembling. “Connor.”
And then it all came back.
The blonde sat up in the bed, biting back a scream of pain as her body rebelled against the movement. “The others?” She asked.
Jack’s head lowered further.
Chloe felt tears well up in her eyes and skidded down her cheeks, still pale from death.
She’d let them down.
Chloe hugged herself and cried.
When she’d first been approached by the heads of Area 52 about mentoring, and being Watchtower, and den mother to the few super children left in this world she’d hesitated. It was only when they admitted to her that Clark and Lois’ granddaughter Kara had not been killed in the attack that’d ended the lives of her mother and grandmother, had Chloe decided to work for Area 52.
Kara was still a child, only eleven years old, and despite the Kryptonian in her system she was for all accounts human. The only distinction was the fact that she’d inherited her grandfather’s ability to fly.
At that time Kara was one of the only ‘gifted’ children left in the world. Superman, the League, the Legion, it was all gone. Doomsday and Superman had killed each other in a combat that would go down in history as the most brutal fight ever to have been witnessed.
Each side was out for vengeance after that, and Chloe Queen hadn’t been able to do anything other than try and console a distraught Lois and their son Jason, and stand by her husband as Oliver tried to keep the League together. She’d continued with her work as Watchtower, helping her husband and the remaining League members, yet one well-placed and timed bomb by Lex Luthor had ended the Legion, and she’d only survived because she’d been out helping Lois instead of sitting down in the meeting Ollie had called.
Plus, she would have just come back anyway, even if she had been in that explosion.
The news of the explosion and the loss of so many of her friends, and of her much beloved husband, had sent Chloe into a minor catatonic state. It’d taken months, and Lois’ tender care to bring Chloe out of the haze.
From then on, the League was over, and the cousins were each other’s strengths.
Some years later, when Chloe was posing as Lois’ niece due to the fact that she didn’t age older than 21 after the first time she’d died, the Legion came to her asking for her help. She was the only remaining survivor of the original superhero team and they needed a Watchtower.
Chloe had refused.
And then Lois had made her think it over.
Jason was an adult, engaged to his high school sweetheart, and Lois was proud of her MILF status among all of his college friends. Chloe was studying in Kansas State under the name of Chloe Gabriel, majoring in Art if you could believe it. She’d wanted something completely different from what she’d been doing before, but it hadn’t been fulfilling.
That was probably why it was so easy for Lois to convince her to take the gig in the Legion of Superheroes. There were only a few superheroes left, but Chloe decided to become Watchtower once more. She’d met many of the new superheroes, yet none made more of an impact on her than Wally West.
He reminded her of Bart, and that alone made her love him to pieces and made her miss the original team.
Not only did Wally have super-speed like Bart had had, but he was a total flirt as well. Wally must have flirted with all of the girls in the Legion, before marrying the only woman who’d taken him seriously, Linda Park.
Chloe had been Linda’s Maid of Honor, had enjoyed dancing with Wally and the other Legionnaires. She later attended Jason and Miranda’s marriage around the end of the year, watching as Lois cried happily, whispering how she knew Clark was there in spirit watching alongside her.
The blonde envied Lois at that moment, because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t feel Oliver’s presence next to her.
The fight between good and evil reared its ugly head once more as battles grew fiercer, and once again Chloe was left watching her friends dying all around her. But the hardest for her to watch die had been Wally. She’d been unable to help any of them, and there hadn’t been any bodies left after it was all over to bring back to life…
Just like the last time.
All she’d been able to do was to get Linda and her son and daughter to safety before Armageddon began. She never saw them face to face again, but after everything was over she’d investigated, searched for them, and found out that Linda was fine, her children safe and sound.
And Chloe had left it at that.
Years passed afterwards as she started studying in L.A., living under the name Chloe Queen once more, keeping a now elderly Lois with her. She’d graduated and gotten a job at a law firm as a paralegal, and worked there for a while, and it was only her and her ‘grandmother’ Lois until the accident happened.
It nearly killed Lois when the news of her son’s death reached her. She’d never thought she’d outlive her only child, and would have to bury him next to where she’d buried his father all those years ago.
But Miranda and little Kara had come to live with them, and they were what kept Lois going. The four females moved into a better house, and for a time things were good. They were a small yet happy family, Miranda and Chloe working while Lois stayed home with Kara, telling her stories of her grandfather and her father.
It was Lois who first noticed Kara’s ability to hover over the ground whenever emotions were high. And once again Chloe found herself in the mentor mode, explaining to the young girl the absolute necessity to keep her powers hidden, yet controlled.
Everything had been going good until the supermarket Lois, Miranda and Kara had been in had been attacked. The bunch of teenaged boys with guns had panicked when the cops arrived and bullets had flown everywhere.
In the end the building had burnt to the ground.
No one was supposed to have survived.
Chloe had wanted to die.
She’d tried to, done her best, but every time she kept coming back.
And then Area 52 had contacted her. Kara was alive and they were keeping her in their facilities for her own safety, and Chloe was offered her old job from her Watchtower days. She was given the choice of joining them and taking care of Kara and the last of the super children, or continuing her life as a ‘normal’ person.
She’d quit her job, packed her things and sold her house immediately.
And she’d been reunited with Kara.
They’d soon been joined by 14 year old Javier Monte, who had a rare ability called mind-sight and was skilled at using a crossbow, and 12-year-old Sakura, an Asian beauty who could shift into different creatures. And last but not least, their group, ‘Team Zenith’, was completed with the arrival of 13 year old Jack Sheppard, and his 14 year old brother Connor, the younger faster than Bart or Wally had ever been, and the older able to project sonic blasts.
Along with Dr. Grant, Chloe had worked with the children closely, becoming a den-mother to superheroes once more. Other than Kara most of the young members had either been abandoned by their parents or had always been orphans, so Chloe soon become their mother-figure, and Grant, god bless his bumbling soul, like the cooky uncle whose life the kids always made miserable and tried to traumatize.
They chose their names at the end of their training.
Javier chose ‘Marskman’ as his in honor of the Green Arrow, Chloe’s husband, since they both had an affinity with bows and arrows. Kara chose ‘Ace’ because she was always referred to as a ‘flying ace’. Sakura chose ‘Daravia’, her murdered mother’s name, to remind herself of the people she wanted to save. Connor chose ‘Concussion’ because of all of the unintended concussions he’d give people who’d gotten caught up in his sonic blasts by accident. And Jack, Jack chose the name Zoom.
Watchtower was once more online, but the name was interestingly enough changed for the first time since she’d donned it to help her (at that time) future husband, Oliver. Now, when she surveyed and gave visual help to the team, she was referred to as ‘Ma’ or ‘Mama Bear’, and while she thought it didn’t sound as professional as ‘Watchtower’ she couldn’t help but smile tenderly whenever they’d call her that.
Quickly Team Zenith became her family, and the years passed, the children growing up into young adults with bright futures and romance in the air. She watched as Sakura and Javier got together, as her own little Kara gazed lovingly into Jack’s adoring eyes.
Chloe had often joked that they needed to find just one other super-child so that Connor could have some one since it was becoming a couple’s thing.
But the time for joking came to an end when the management of Area 52 was taken over by General Larraby, and he had orders to make the children’s powers stronger. How did he want to accomplish this?
The moment that word had left the young General’s lips Chloe had narrowed her eyes and hissed that no way was he going to do that to her kids. She’d once been the sole vessel of Brainiac, still retained a lot of the intelligence the alien computer had possessed, and knew what Gamma-13 was.
She knew that the government wanted to inject 13-times the lethal dose of Gama radiation into her kids, and she wouldn’t let them.
But somehow General Larraby convinced Team Zenith that the Gamma-13 would make them stronger, and stronger they’d be able to save more people. The youngsters, none older than 19, had chosen to undergo the treatment and there’d been nothing Chloe could do other than watch on and pray that nothing went wrong.
And that brought her back to her own death…how long ago? Hours ago? Days?
The Gamma-13 had worked on Zoom. The moment he’d gotten off of the chair and managed to stand on his own he’d been faster than even before. With that success Connor had gone next, and something had gone wrong with the Gamma while it was being administered to the youth.
The mixture administered to him had somehow been corrupted, and while it made him stronger, it contaminated him. His screams throughout the process turned into snarls, and then he’d flung himself from the chair, blue eyes tinting red, reminding Chloe of the moment RedK would take control of Clark’s system and his eyes would flash red.
Concussion had then gone insane, killing all those around him, the Gamma taking him over completely. Team Zenith had tried to stop him, get him under control until whatever had been done to him could be reversed, but they were not strong enough, and Chloe had watched as one by one they fell all around her.
She’d tried to stop, tried to intervene, but Concussion had thrown her into the wall and told her to stay down, that he wouldn’t kill her unless she forced him to. The blonde hadn’t stayed down, she’d tackled him from behind when he’d turned his back on her, and then he’d thrown her away and had sent the largest sonic blasts towards her that she’d ever seen.
And then she’d awoken here.
With Jack crying by her side.
“How did he---how did you stop him?” Chloe asked, wiping at her tears, looking up at the heartbroken boy.
“I---.” Jack closed his eyes tightly. “We fought, I tried---I tried to get him to stop---to—to---.” His whole body was shaking. “There was an explosion. He didn’t make it.” He closed his eyes. “I tried to superspeed everyone out but I c-couldn’t. I—--I lost my power. I could only barely get you out before----.”
“I’m so sorry, Jack.” Chloe whispered, and when he threw himself at her she hugged him tightly and they both cried on her bed. They cried for the family that’d been ripped to pieces in front of their very eyes. They cried because they hadn’t been able to stop it. And they cried because they wished they’d died as well.
“Connor…” He cried, looking so much a lost child. “Kara.”
Chloe sobbed harder at the mention of Lois’ daughter.
“I hate Larraby! I hate the government!” Jack hissed, voice thick with emotion. “If they hadn’t done this to us Connor would---Kara would---I hate them!”
She knew she should have told him something sage like ‘hate is a useless emotion’, or ‘we have to learn to forgive’ or something motherly and wise like that. But all Chloe could answer to that was an emotional: “I hate them too.”
They held each other close until they cried all the tears possible and collapsed in exhaustion.
And the next morning they were packed. Chloe still had her money saved in the bank, and Jack was 18. The government tried to make things difficult but in the end they could only stand aside and watch as the remaining members of Team Zenith walked out, leaving behind years of memories, a broken-down flying saucer from the Rosewell days, and Mr. Pibbs, their robot friend.
“Where do you want to go?” Chloe asked as they reached the bus station.
“Anywhere.” He whispered, sounding dead.
Chloe sighed before going to the ticket counter. “When’s your next bus leaving?” She asked the old man.
“That one o’re there.” The man pointed with his thumb to an old Pullman. “Leavin’ in thir’y minutes ta Texas.”
She pulled out the amount needed. “I’d like a ticket for me and my brother.”
He raised an eyebrow and looked between her and Jack before shrugging and taking the money, giving her the two tickets. “’ave a good trip miss.”
Thanking him, Chloe went back to Jack. “That’s our bus.”
“Where’re we going?” He asked, looking up at her.
“Texas.” Chloe tried to smile, but was sure it was only a grimace.
“Texas.” Jack repeated in his dead voice. “I always wanted to go to Amarillo.”
“We’ll go there then.” She responded. “Come on, let’s get some things before our bus leaves.”
Jack nodded, following lifelessly behind her.
It would take some while for Jack to finally find life in him again.
They settled in Amarillo, Chloe taking on Jack’s last name and they lived together as brother and sister, although Jack still had the tendency to call her ‘ma’, which caused a lot of confusion to their neighbors until she told them of how she’d ‘raised’ her ‘younger brother’ since birth due to their mother’s disinterest in them.
They’d had to move a couple of years later when Jack aged and Chloe didn’t, this time settling in Vermont with Jack as the ‘elder’ Sheppard sibling. Chloe worked as a waitress and Jack worked at one of the best mechanical shops, deciding he had a gift for fixing cars.
Chloe felt he had a greater calling, but left it at that because Jack was smiling again, and that was all she really wanted for her boy.
Once again they were forced to move due to the fact that Chloe wasn’t aging and people were beginning to notice. They settled in California and Jack opened his own mechanical store as Chloe’s much older brother.
She knew that if he was to have a normal life she was going to have to leave. It was due to her agelessness that they were constantly uprooting, and she didn’t want that for Jack. She wanted him to settle down, find a girl, and have a family.
So that was why she left.
Leaning her forehead against the window of the bus, a bag with only the necessities in it, Chloe sighed and closed her eyes, knowing Jack would be hurt when he came home and found her gone but knowing it was the right thing to do.
You didn’t die with the others. The note she’d left said. I want you to remember that and to live. Make your life here, find true love, and create your own family to love and cherish. Do it for your Ma.
“I’m going to miss you, Jackie.” She whispered. “I wonder if I’ll ever see you again.”
Of course, she wasn’t a psychic, so she had no way of knowing that in a couple of years not only would she be reunited with her beloved little Jack, but she’d be brought back to Area 52 to help train yet another young Team Zenith…or that she’d be persistently wooed by a handsome young hero and find true love…
But, of course, that is an entirely different story.