I wanted to write this chapter for Clark to see just how different Chloe is from how he remembers it, and that maybe she isn’t in as much need of him as she used to--he needs to have some insecurities, right?
Here’s some Chlark in this chapter for all of those Chlarkers reading this.
“Hey stranger!” Lana Lang was apparently chirpy by nature.
“Hey.” Chloe smiled warily at the pretty woman as she sat down on the chair opposite hers as she drank her coffee in the Talon.
“So, how are you liking Smallville so far?” Lana asked, smile genuine and open.
“It’s different.” Chloe really didn’t want to diss anyone’s hometown, she really didn’t. “I’m a big city girl, so it takes a little getting used to.”
“You from Grandville, Metropolis, or beyond?”
“Metropolis, born and bred.” Chloe managed a smile as she thought of home.
“This place must seem like a little hick town to you then!” Lana laughed, looking around her coffee shop with tenderness. “I know it’s nothing much compared to what you’re probably used to, but we try our best.”
“Well, actually, this is probably the best coffee I’ve ever had.” And Chloe wasn’t only saying it because she was trying to be nice. She really liked the coffee, every sip was like paradise.
Lana’s grin widened. “Glad to hear that.” She leaned forwards across the table. “Martha says that you and your boyfriend are coming to her house for dinner tonight.”
“Yeah.” Chloe nodded, wondering where this conversation was going.
“Well, I’m going with my fiancée, Pete Ross.” Lana motioned to the small rock on her finger proudly. “He’s the high school football and basketball coach.”
“Is he the same Ross in the picture on the wall?” Chloe asked and smiled sheepishly at the surprised look on Lana’s face. “I have a photographic memory, I usually see a face once and never forget it.”
“Oh.” The other woman nodded. “Well, Pete and I got together in our senior year of high school, we really didn’t hang out in the same crowd so I hadn’t noticed him until then. I was all cheerleading and sparkles until I fell off of a badly formed pyramid during the most important game of the season--and Pete and Clark were the life of the Torch and closet sports aficionados.”
In spite of herself, Chloe found herself leaning over the table as well, intrigued with the story. “So how did you two end up getting together?”
“The Torch, actually.” Lana grinned a besotted smile that just proved how devoted she was to this Pete Ross. “I went into a depression without my pom poms--” she grinned sheepishly “and one day Pete just came up to me and asked me if I wanted to write a gossip slash entertainment section for the Torch. I had nothing else to do so I said I would. I wasn’t really any good, but I had fun, and I got to know Pete and fell in love.”
“That’s actually quite a romantic story.” And Chloe meant it.
“I like to think so.” Lana laughed, hazel eyes twinkling, motioning for one of the waitresses to bring her a coffee. “So, how did you and your boyfriend meet?”
“I don’t really remember.” Chloe took a sip of coffee to give her time to decide how much she wanted to reveal. “My father actually worked for his since I was around five, and all I remember was attending these social functions and getting annoyed with the boss’ son.”
Lana made an awww expression.
Chloe couldn’t help but giggle. “Lex and I fought like cats and dogs until I turned seven and he defended me from this really horrible kid that was with his parents at one of the functions.” She smiled tenderly at the memory. “From that moment on he was my knight in shinning armor, and we called a truce. Since we were always together thanks to our fathers, we grew up friends, and started dating when I was sixteen.”
Lana blinked. “He’s a bit older than you--how did your parents take it?”
Chloe smiled sheepishly. “Well, they were actually surprised that it took us that long to realize that we were in love. They love Lex, and just told him to take care of me and that they trusted him.” She paused. “We’ve been together ever since.”
“What about his dad?” Lana lowered her voice in a conspirator’s whisper. “I mean, I don’t know how rich this guy is, but sometimes people don’t like their children dating the children of the hired help.”
She didn’t say it meanly, so Chloe didn’t take it that way.
“No, actually, his father likes me more than he does Lex.”
“So is life.” Chloe shrugged, finishing her coffee with a large gulp. “So, I was going to visit the Kawatche Caves, but I was given some vague directions.”
“Oh, you’re going to see the caves?” Lana smiled. “They’re nice. My friend discovered them, actually. His name is Clark—he’s Mr. and Mrs. Kent’s son.”
Chloe froze, the coincidences were beginning to be chilling.
Lana didn’t seem to notice though, and gave her clearer directions to the caves and then wished her a good day before getting up to tend to some elderly patrons who’d arrived.
Chloe, giving the girl a backwards glance, left the Talon.
“My son, you have trained faithfully, and have proven yourself to be a true son of Krypton.” The AI’s voice echoed off of the walls of the Fortress as Clark Kent stood in the training room, looking at the holographic image of his father. “And I know that you have had to sacrifice much, and that you do not understand why I have had to do the things that I did, but believe me when I say that it was for your own good.”
Clark was silent, having heard this from Jor-EL before, and yet just like all of the times before, he couldn’t believe that taking Chloe completely from his life could have been in his best interest.
“And to reward you for completing your training, I shall grant you your greatest desire.”
Clark looked up suddenly.
He was finished with his training?
A small smile touched his face for the first time since Jor-EL had messed up his life.
And what reward? Would the AI give Chloe back her memory?
“I’m letting you see her.”
Clark frowned, wondering what the AI was talking about, when suddenly Jor-EL’s image disappeared, and in it’s place it showed the inside of the caves…
And one short, curvy woman.
Chloe Sullivan walked deeper within the Kawatche Caves, smiling that same, entranced smile she had the first time she’d gone there, and yet she was completely different from how Clark remembered her. Her hair was long, wavy and brown, pulling back in a high pony-tail with wisps of hair falling into her face, contrasting with her green eyes.
Wearing tight, low-riding jeans, a shirt that showed more cleavage than Chloe usually showed--and she usually showed quite a bit, and a jeans jacket--she looked stunning.
“So, hmmm. This is the Kawatche Caves.” She whispered to herself, tapping her cellular against her bottom lip, her other hand wrapped firmly around a flashlight. “I’m definitely going to have to come back with Dinah and a camera. I’m sure they have to have quite a story to go with these drawings.”
Pushing her cellular into the back pocket of her jeans, Chloe went to the wall with the drawing of Numan and Segeet. “Aren’t you an ugly motha?”
Clark blinked, surprised to hear that word on Chloe’s lips. It was just so unlike her to say things like that.
“So, from what I’m getting with these drawings, I’m guessing this creature is either a monster or a god—probably both.”
Clark winced at the description. He was surprised when he heard classical music playing in the cave, and blinked when he saw her reach for her cellular and place it to her ear.
Chloe had classical music as her ringtone? But--but she hated classical music! She thought it was boring and should have died along with its composers!
“Hey baby.” Chloe smiled tenderly, cradling her cellular as if somehow able to touch whomever she was talking to. “How’s the work going?”
Clark tried, but even with his super-hearing this was only a hologram, and he couldn’t hear who was talking to her.
“Poor thing.” Chloe said in a baby-voice, turning her back on the drawing of Numan and Segeet and playing with the beam of her flashlight. “At least you took some time out to have your snack, and walk around…and call me.”
She rolled her eyes at whatever the man she was talking to said. “I’m fine you big worry wart, you know that I can take care of myself.” She looked up at the darkness of the ceiling of the cave. “No, I understand baby, I do. I know you’d prefer to be here with me.” She smiled sadly. “I know. I love you too.”
And those words ripped through Clark, paining him unlike any sort of Kryptonite could. He clenched his fists to keep his anger in check, hating his father more and more for his role in all of this.
Noise towards the entrance of the caves caused Chloe to look up and narrow her eyes as the sounds of booted footsteps drawing close echoed throughout the chamber she was in. “Baby? I’ll call you back, okay?”
Snapping the lid of her phone shut, Chloe placed the cellular in her back pocket again, body tensing slightly as she tried maintaining a semblance of casualty as two large, beefy men entered the chamber she was in, sneering at her.
“Gentlemen.” She dipped her chin slightly in a greeting, voice even yet eyes narrowed in distrust.
“A woman as pretty as you shouldn’t be wandering deep into the dark alone.” The tallest of the men sneered at her as his friend blocked the only exit to that chamber.
“Especially when she’s screwing the kind of guy she is.” The second leered dangerous. “A man whose family has ruined a lot of people in this town.”
Clark felt fear and anger welling inside of him as he took a step towards the hologram, desperate to protect Chloe yet knowing that unless Jor-EL allowed him to leave he wouldn’t be able to go and save her.
He’d never felt so desperate--so useless--as he did now.
“My boyfriend shouldn’t be blamed for what his father has done.” Chloe’s voice was cold, her eyes ice, looking incredibly unafraid considering the circumstances.
“Yes, well, in every war there has to be casualties.”
“Yes, well, I’ve read the Art of War more times than any normal human being should, so you don’t have to be telling me that.” Chloe said stonily, looking as if she was in a debate and not cornered with two huge men who had told her in so many words that they were going to hurt her. “Look—you can just back out of this now and no one gets hurt.”
They blinked in surprise before sharing a look and laughing out loud.
She glared at them. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
The first made lurched towards her and she easily avoided him.
Dodging his next attempt to catch her, Chloe bent down, grabbed a rock and hurled it at the one by the exit before turning and grabbing the hand the first had finally managed to place on her shoulder.
Grabbing the hand firmly by his wrist she twirled around and twisted the arm painfully, before bringing down her elbow violently against the awkwardly bent arm, the sound of bones cracking and a man screaming in agony filling the cave chamber.
As the first man fell to his knees, clutching his broken arm, she turned and kicked him full in the face with her booted leg.
“You bitch!” The second, face bloody from the rock, charged her.
Twirling out of the way, Chloe tightened her hold on her flashlight and brought it down hard on the back of his head as he rushed passed her. The sound of cracking could be heard, and no one could be sure whether it was the flashlight or the back of his head.
The man on the floor grabbed at her leg with his good arm, causing her to lose balance and concentration as his infuriated friend charged her again.
Looking up and down quickly, Chloe weighed her options and kicked at the fallen man’s broken arm, causing him to scream and let go of her in a stream of curses, giving her the second she needed to duck the second man’s attack and bring the remains of her flashlight violently into his already battered face, hitting him on his nose.
With the man on the ground crying and cursing, down for the count, Chloe kept her eyes on the last man standing, the one with the bloody face and demonic eyes.
Clark watched entranced, unable to believe the fluidity, the grace in which Chloe dodged their clumsy attacks and delivered coldly calculated, perfectly executed blows of her own. She was a tiny curvy little thing that had one huge beefy man crying desperately on the ground, and had seriously wounded another.
His Chloe would have had a taser gun with her…this Chloe seemed more like…like…like…like Lois.
When he lunged at her, Chloe stumbled on the uneven ground and it was all the leverage he needed to grab her, twisting her arms painfully behind her and grinning vengefully.
Closing her eyes, knowing this was going to hurt, Chloe brought her boot down as violently as she could on his sneaker, and when he cried out, bending in pain, she brought her head back hard against his face.
The wetness that exploded and made her hair sticky as he screamed was warm…blood.
Clenching her fist when he let go of one of her hands in pain, Chloe shifted slightly and brought her elbow painfully into the mouth of his stomach, knocking the air out of him and causing him to let go of her completely.
Twirling on her heel, Chloe’s thick-souled, boot connected with his face and he fell to the ground, hitting his head against a rock and slumping into unconsciousness.
Chloe’s green gaze went to the man still crying on the ground. “I tried to warn you, didn’t I?” She tried to ignore the way her limbs ached, and the fact that she was almost sure that the second brute had pulled her arm out of its socket.
It was going to pain like a bitch to put back in place as well.
Clark was amazed.
He took it back.
She was way better than Lois had ever been!
Chloe’s left shoulder was uneven with her right, just proving that she’d been right, and the muscles in her cheeks tensed as she stumbled towards the wall of the cave and braced herself, a scream echoing from her mouth when she slammed her shoulder against the wall of the cave, a loud popping sound announcing her shoulder entering its socket once more.
“God!” Chloe hissed, leaning her back against the cave’s wall, good arm holding her injured one. Closing her eyes, she took in deep, quick breaths, obviously trying to handle the pain.
Classical music echoed off the walls of the chamber.
The brunette slowly let go of her injured arm and reached down with her good one, pulling her cellular from her back pocket and flipping it open. “Hey baby.” Her voice and smile was strained. “I knew it was going to be you. Hmmm? No, I’m fine. Everything’s great.”
She winced as she pushed away from the wall and looked down at the fallen bodies of her attackers. “No, I fell and injured my arm, that’s all.” She smiled shakily, the pain obvious on her face. “You know me, I’m a klutz. I didn’t realize that the rocks were smooth and I just fell on my arm.”
Why wouldn’t she tell her boyfriend about her attack? And who was this boyfriend anyway? Chloe shouldn’t be with someone whose family was so hated that people would only attack her because she was dating one of them.
Then again, even if Chloe had been dating the nicest human alive, Clark wouldn’t want her with him anyway…
“Yes, I’m coming right away.” Her smile turned genuine. “I don’t need a doctor you weeny. I just fell down.” She rolled her eyes and walked over the prostrate bodies of the men. “Okay, okay, if it will soothe you I’ll let you take me to the hospital.”
She looked up when a young man carrying a gun hurried into the cave, freezing when he saw the men on the ground.
Chloe frowned, bristling immediately as she turned her back on the newcomer and growled into the cellular. “You sent Antonio to follow me?!”
The image disappeared, and Clark looked away, around him. He was soon leaving the fortress, if he could believe anything Jor-EL said, and he’d be returning to the world he’d loved and missed.
But for the first time since timelines and memories had been messed with, Clark was frightened to go back. Chloe was so different--she even looked different, and while he knew that no matter how she looked or acted, deep down inside she was still the same girl who’d been loyal to him and whom he’d realized he loved with all of his heart…
…he was frightened that maybe this new version of her might just brush him off and he would have lost all chance with her.
He’d seen the way her face had changed, softened, when she’d spoken to her boyfriend. She loved him.
But she loved me first. She was meant for me. Clark narrowed his eyes. And hidden somewhere deep inside of her subconscious she knows that, all I have to do is remind her.
And he would.
He’d sacrificed a lot of things this time around for the world--for his training--but the one thing he refused to give up was his Chloe.
“Why didn’t you tell me the truth?”
Chloe winched at the sound of hurt in her boyfriend’s voice as she sat on their bed, bathed and allowing the family doctor to look at her bruises and her arm. He’d wound it up in a bandage to help keep it in place until it healed, and had said that everything considered, she was fine…
The men who had attacked her, on the other hand, were both in the Smallville Hospital and one in need of surgery to mend his broken bones.
“I didn’t want you to worry.” Chloe sighed, looking down at her shoes in guilt as the doctor stood, said something to Lex, and left the room.
“You didn’t want me to feel guilty.” Lex accused once the doctor had been gone for some minutes and silence had descended on the room. “You didn’t want to tell me because you didn’t want me to do anything to those bastards.”
And he was right.
Chloe knew that Lex would find out why the men had attacked her, and the guilt would eat at him. He loved her, protected her, and to know that she’d been attacked because of his family would break at him.
So, yeah, she’d been worried about the men who’d attacked her.
Sure, they’d attacked her, but she felt sorry for anyone who incurred the hatred of any Luthor.
There was a knock on the door, and a maid stuck her head inside the room. “Excuse me, but Mister Luthor is on the phone.” She held out the cordless phone.
Lex sighed. “I’ll take it in the study.”
The maid blushed. “I’m sorry sir, but the call is for Miss Lane.”
Chloe looked up in surprise as the maid entered timidly and passed her the cordless phone before hurrying out of the room. “Hello?”
“I heard what happened.” Lionel Luthor had never been one for niceties.
Chloe frowned. “How did you find out so quickly? The doctor just left.”
“And called me.” Lionel announced as if this should be obvious. “I hope this goes to show Lex what a horrid job he’s been doing lately at keeping you out of trouble.” He growled in anger. “And who do those small town hicks think they are—attacking a Luthor?”
Chloe kept quiet, knowing that Lionel wouldn’t listen to her if she told him once more that she wasn’t a Luthor. Despite the fact that she was the daughter of his employee, Lionel had taken her under his wing from youth, and she’d gone to the best schools with his financing.
Despite his reservations with her and Lex’s relationship at first--saying that he didn’t think Lex would be an appropriate partner for her--Chloe couldn’t help but think that Lionel had been grooming her for the position of a Luthor since she was five.
And ever since she was sixteen and officially Lex’s girlfriend despite their age difference, Lionel Luthor had been making subtle comments on how he wanted Lex to make things more official.
And those hints had gone from subtle to blunt to cutting now that she was an adult and working at the Daily Planet.
“I hope Lex has everything under control and that I don’t have to go to that horrid little place to deal with things myself.”
“Everything’s fine, Lionel.” Chloe looked up at Lex and gave him a small, guilty smile. “The police are going to bring them in as soon as the hospital releases them.”
“You gave it to them good, or so I was told.” He sounded so damned proud that Chloe’s heart hurt, wishing that Lionel could say or act half as proud of Lex. “And how are you, dear?”
“I’m fine, my shoulder’s a little sore, but other than that I’m great.” She got up and went to the closet, where the servants had unpacked her and Lex’s clothes. “Lex and I are going out to dinner with a family we met the other night, so I’m going to have to go to bathe now.”
“Do you think that’s prudent? Minglinglike that?”
“Lionel, you’re a snob.” Chloe knew that she was the only one he let get away with her cheekiness, and that was probably because from a child she’d always spoken her mind with him and he’d always admired that.
“I just don’t want to give those inbred hill-billies the chance to try hurting my family again.” There was a moment’s silence and then he spoke with mild amusement. “You mightn’t be able to defend Lex if a fight should occur.”
Chloe closed her eyes and bit on her tongue to keep from snapping at the man on the phone. “I really have to go, Lionel.”
“Okay then, pass the phone to my son.”
She’d been worried he’d ask for that.
Sighing she passed Lex the phone and went to the bathroom. Despite the fact that her body was in pain and she felt somewhat shaky, she wasn’t going to miss the dinner with the Kents…something just said that she had to be there.
“My son, I have trained you to the best of my abilities, and you are as ready as you will ever be.” Jor-EL’s voice announced in an ominous way. “Soon your training will be tested.”
Clark frowned. “What do you mean?”
“You will know when it happens.” Jor-El’s voice grew dimmer. “I have faith in you, my son.”
Clark nodded, and couldn’t help but smile.
He was going home.
Hey! There should be Chlark meeting in the next chapter!