Author’s note: Thank you so much to Jahkara who inspired me to finish this chapter after an insane amount of time and who betaed it brilliantly!
This is set in Smallville close to graduation time, but everything goes AU after season 1. I draw on the show and the movies, but the story was set in stone back when season 1 hadn’t even finished yet. I’ve just had two kids and an insane real life interfere with writing the damn thing. Deepest apologies. E-mail me if there's something you need to share.
Damn. Clark was going to blame himself. He always did. Chloe wasn’t stupid, she knew he wasn’t exactly normal, but he had always, always been one of the most decent people she had ever known. He had been kind and caring and vulnerable and secretive and mysterious and infuriating… She loved him deeply and knew that part of her always would.
Driving was hard. Her back was beyond sore and her shoulder was so traumatized one of her arms wouldn’t move at all. Her head was throbbing and she could hear her heart beating wildly. She wished she could lift up her phone to call.
She safely arrived in the parking lot of the small hospital and took out her phone to call Lex. The answering service picked up and she left a short message: “Hey, it’s me. I’m going to be okay but I need to get checked out at the ER. If you have some time, I think Clark may benefit seeing you… Call you later.”
She went to register and waited over three hours to see the doctor. She tried to talk Doris, the receptionist, into moving her up the line (because if hospital gave frequent flyer miles she’s have enough to go to Australia and back), but Doris was as inflexible as ever.
She wanted to snoop around for some information on the hospital’s cancer patients, but Doris was watching her like a hawk and leaving the room would risk the chance of loosing her place in line.
Chloe had time to read every old and sadly familiar magazine, again, fill out four crossword puzzles and write an entire article on how the health care system was lacking in every way before she was called in.
Lex was minutes away form committing mass homicide. His city council meeting was running overtime all because of people who were ridiculously long winded. He was trying to be a good sport but he was rapidly growing impatient having to listen to people who went on simply because they liked the sound of their own voice.
Maybe he should arrange to bump certain people off the council? Frankly, he was the only one with any kind of relevant power in the room even though his fellow councilmen didn’t pay that any mind.
His arm was throbbing, the stitches rubbing up against his shirt and jacket. And every time he wanted to put his face in his hands or give himself a little slap so he wouldn’t fall asleep, he was reminded that his face was black and blue and his nose was broken, again.
How long could he possibly listen to wannabe politicians going on and on about the logistics of giving out permits for an extra farmer’s market and what site could be used? It wasn’t even close to being the last thing on the agenda either and he already felt the pull. He kept glancing at the door and thinking of what lay beyond it.
Actual life; a certain blonde who now felt like home.
Lex really wished he could tell them all to shut up and go home. Everything would be so much easier and run so much smoother if he was in charge of everything.
He saw evidence of this with the plant. If people weren’t trying to sabotage him 24/7, or even if they were, as long as he oversaw every detail, everything worked out perfectly. He wasn’t being conceited, it simply was. The old saying was right. If you wanted something done right, you should just do it yourself. If you wanted to make sure you wouldn’t get screwed over, you should simply take over.
And Lex knew that that’s what he would be doing with his life. Taking over. His father’s company, the state, the country… Hell, the world.
Of course, this would only happen if he could just get himself to stay focused. He couldn’t make any more mistakes. He had to head his father off at every pass. He had to decide if he had the energy for all he had been planning for the last couple of years.
Lex knew how wishy-washy he had been. He’d been a formidable opponent at best; he’d been depressed, uninterested and sloppy at worst. He had felt so disconnected with the world sometimes he might had given up on the whole thing had it not been for Clark. Clark had brought meaning to his life. Clark had (eventually) trusted him and shown him true friendship. Clark had aroused Lex’s scientific side as well as other parts. A large part of Lex’ life revolved around the boy, and to tell the truth, he didn't mind at all.
Now he didn’t know when he would see Clark again. Touch him in passing. Catch a glimpse of him running through the corn and wheat fields. Wake up with the boy pacing his bedroom, head filled with theories about the planet he came from or news about a new power he had developed. It truly was the end of an era and the idiot that had the floor was going on and on and on about something Lex could not give a flying fuck about!
Lex got up abruptly, startling the group. He lifted his hands and showed his cell phone as he walked out. He took several breaths before he took his messages.
The diagnosis didn’t take too long, she had some cracked ribs near her spine, but nothing was broken. Clark had already popped her dislocated shoulder back into place, but she was still made to wear a sling, and given a prescription for very strong painkillers. She was immediately grateful and couldn’t wait to have it filled.
To her annoyance, the resident on her case seemed to want to keep her there for as long as he possibly could. He kept asking her how she felt emotionally and if there was anyone he should call. He even took a few paragraphs of notes in her chart. When she fianlly figured out what the doctor thought happened, she didn’t know whether telling him: ‘I know what this looks like but’ would help anything, so she just stayed with her story.
Chloe was touched that the doctor took time to make sure she was alright before moving on to the next patient. It reminded her of Clark in a way, but she drew the line when he tried to get her to talk about her boyfriend and insisted she take a picture in case she wanted to press charges.
She was adamant she had fallen on a strangely shaped apparatus in gym class, but that was clearly not going to fly with this MD. He practically ran after her when she thanked him politely and walked out.
She was definitely going to add an extra paragraph in her article on health care. She now knew the doctors in Smallville were not the kind to let domestic violence slide so she would have at least one good thing to say.
She ducked into a restroom, curious to examine the damage. It took her a long time to swing it, but when she lifted her shirt she understood completely. She had a man sized hand-shaped bruise on her back.
No wonder the doctor had freaked.
Clark’s father was clearly not going to make this easier for him.
“Tell them I’m going to visit a sick relative. Tell them I’m joining the army. Please Dad, I really need to get things over with.”
“Wow, you’ve got to give me more to go on. I need to know why you want to push the rest of your exams up, son. What about graduation? You know your mother has been looking forward to this.”
“School was never hard for me Dad, but it is now. I have to get away from people. I can’t trust myself.”
“Does this have to do with your powers?”
“What happened? Is it worse than laser eyes?”
“I hurt Chloe.”
“Well son… I don’t know how to tell you this, but you do tend to do that with her.”
Clark sighed. “Physically, Dad.”
“Is she alright?”
“I could have left her paralyzed. I cracked some ribs and dislocated her shoulder, that’s not something you can just forgive and forget. I really injured her and this time I have no excuse; no class ring, no red kryptonite.”
“I didn’t mean to. She was trying to help me and I reacted. She probably went to the hospital to get checked out… I just let her go.”
“She’s in and out of there every two weeks; the girl gets into trouble all the time. They probably have an extra nurse on staff just for her,” Jonathan said, attempting to reassure himself. He was pacing around and was suddenly very sweaty. “No one pays any real attention to what she says anymore...”
“It was so strange, Dad! She was in so much pain and when I fixed some of it she...”
“I guess she looked like she was okay with it.”
“Do you think she knows?”
“No Dad, I spent my entire high school life making sure she stays in the dark. Now more than ever I’m just not sure it was the right thing to do.”
“Your mother and I thought it was best.”
“I know, Dad, I know already.”
“We’ll have to think fast. No telling what she’ll do if we tell her now.”
“Just stop Dad. Get me out of school and I'll handle the rest.”
Jonathan left the barn as Martha came running up with the phone.
“Clark honey, it’s Pete.”
“I’ll have to call him back.”
“He’s at the police station, dear.”
Clark took the phone and listened to instructions. He left so fast no one even saw him take off.
Lex was arguing with Doris when she got out of the restroom. She stood there for a while, trying to determine why he was there.
He turned his head to point in the ER’s direction when he saw the blonde.
She heard him mumble a rushed thank you to Doris before he ran to her .
She stopped him just short of him hugging her.
“Lex. Stop. Look, I need to get these painkillers filled before I can move really well.”
“Of course,” he said, bending to kiss her on the cheek. “You mind telling me what happened?”
“WHAT?” He hissed.
“He wasn’t doing well. I don’t know what happened but he’s better now,” she told him, ushering him in on of the handicapped bathrooms and locking the door.
“What’s the damage?” Lex asked, a million things running through his head.
“Just a dislocated shoulder, the mother of all bruises on my back and a couple of cracked ribs.”
“How? Why? What happened?” He said, lifting up her shirt to see for himself, cringing at the black and blue mess he saw there.
“You tell me Lex! He never told me anything. I’ve been left out of the big secret all this time. Is he a mutant? Was he dropped in magic potion when he was a baby? Is he the result of some genetic experiment to make the perfect man or soldier or what?”
Chloe brushed him off and walked to the far wall to put more distance between them.
“He was sort of catatonic. He wouldn’t wake up. He just looked like he wasn’t there, like as if he wasn’t even breathing. I talked to him. I guess I startled him when he woke up. He set my shoulder though, but he was seriously freaked out. Seriously, I was afraid he would bolt.”
“But he didn’t right?”
“I don’t think so. But who knows.”
“He said he wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye.”
“You mean LEAVING, leaving? You think he’s LEAVING? Since when?”
“He told me a couple of days ago. He said he was feeling the urge.”
“And once again I’m being left out. Why can’t I be trusted? So I want to know things! Big deal! I’m not unscrupulous. I protect my friends. I’ve tried to stay loyal,” she shouted. But lifting her arm hurt roo badly and she couldn't help the sob that escaped her mouth.
“I’m so sorry Chloe. I tried to get him to tell you but the others wouldn’t hear of it.” “What others? How many people know? How many people? Oh my God does Lana know?”
“She did once, but then she was kidnapped again and she got that bump on her head… So she doesn’t anymore. Or at least I don’t think she does. Just the Kents and Pete.”
“Pete knows? Pete knew all this time?”
“No. Not all this time.”
“He loves me.”
“We all love you Chloe. I love you.”
“We were sitting on my bed yesterday and he was so sincere. He said he wanted to have a baby with me.”
“How could he lie to me?”
“Why the hell was Pete on your bed talking about babies?”
“Oh shut up.”
“That’s not the issue. He’s one of my best friends and he doesn’t think I can be trusted.”
“Hey, Pete didn’t want to burden you.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.”
“Hey, Pete knows what he’s talking about. He was tortured three different times for the information.”
“From what I've been able to gather he’s missing 4 molars, a front tooth, four toe nails were pulled out and he’s got burns and whip marks all over his chest. He’s been injected with truth telling agents and some drugs we’re hoping didn’t do any permanent damage. Ask him about it if you want.”
“Are you serious?”
“Deadly serious. So excuse him for not wanting to put you in that position.”
Chloe was reeling. “This is crazy,” she whispered. Her mind was racing, putting things together. She was caught between anger and disgust and the physical and emotional pain she was in was absolutely overwhelming. The back of her head was throbbing, her blood was rushing too fast. She sat on the toilet, wishing she had something to cling.
She desperately wanted to throw up, but her stomach was empty.
Lex let her think it out for a couple of minutes.
“I think I need be alone.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Why don’t you go and see if Clark is alright,” she told him, standing up on her shaky legs. She looked in the mirror and wiped off her smudged mascara and reapplied her lipstick. She looked better than she felt, but not that much better.
“Clark has got plenty of people to help him out and your Dad is still at work. Let me stay.” Chloe turned off the light and went for the door. She didn’t open it. She wiped at her tears with her good hand. “I’m just hurt. I’ll be fine.”
“Of course you will.”
“So how was your day?” Chloe asked him, turning towards him to get his answer.
“Boring,” Lex whispered, walking closer to her. His hand came up and brushed her leg, settling on her hip. She closed her eyes at his touch.
“I just want the pain to go away. I just want to be with you right now, I don’t want to think about all this,” she confessed.
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I know. I just miss you. Everything makes sense when we’re together. I can deal.”
“I feel the same way.”
“Couldn’t we lock ourselves in your room for a week or two?”
Lex didn’t answer. He wanted to do just that so much that he would have paid a bit of money for it. He was in trouble.
“Kiss me Lex?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
When their lips met it was tender and sweet. Chloe’s body was hurting, but she seemed to calm at his touch. They couldn’t hold each other but Chloe backed herself up against the door and Lex got as close as he could, one of his hands resting on her hip and the other fondling her hair lovingly.
Her tears were constant and made their kisses taste salty.
“I wish I could have you inside me now. I need you so much.”
“We’ll figure something out. I’ll drive you home.”
“Won’t people talk?”
“I’m not leaving you here to drive yourself in this condition. There’s no way in hell.”
“So let's go.”
She kissed him one more time and turned the lights back on. She chuckled and told him to wipe the lipstick off his lips as she opened the door. Both their mouths flew open as they were greeted with the sound of cameras flashing.
Clark was led in to see his friend, the officer closing the door behind him. They were alone. Clark went right to business.
“So I found the box where you said it was.”
“Is it done?”
“Yes it’s done. But why didn’t you come to me in the first place? Breaking and entering is not the best idea when you’re 5 seconds away from graduating.”
“I hid the photocopies; they don’t have anything on me.”
“So you found her alright?”
“It was hard to track Lois Lane down, she could have been anywhere.”
“But you did, right?”
“She was having a cigarette on the Planet’s backstairs.”
“And she took the box?”
“After I convinced her that it wasn’t a bomb and that the contents were worth her time. She ended up reading your note and she said she would check it out.”
“Was she as good looking as that little picture by her byline?”
“Come on; tell me, Jeanette isn’t here.”
“I don’t know; she was a little abrasive. She was smoking and drinking coffee and she said I had a nice tush.”
“She said tush?”
“Yeah, and she called me kid.”
“Isn’t she like, 27?”
“Well thanks anyway. I owe you one. Or should I say I owe you another one...”
“Don’t Pete. You really don’t owe me anything,” Clark said sincerely. As far as he was concerned, he was the one who owed Pete. Pete had suffered a lot for being privy to his secret and the boy had ended up having to distance himself from their friendship for his own good. They still chatted, but they weren’t the same.
“So is my mom here?”
“Yes, she’s talking about them dropping the charges. She’s pretty pissed off. What was that about? I saw some medical records and graphs and charts in there.” “Hey, I did it for Chloe, okay?”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“Hey Clark, come on man, it’s not like that.”
“It’s important to her and since she’s got a lot on her plate I sort of went behind her back to make her life easier.”
“She freaking about the exams?”
“It’s way more than that Clark.”
“What is it?”
“You have to talk to Chloe man; she’ll want to tell you herself.”
“What’s up Clark? What’s wrong?”
“I have to tell you something. Well two things actually.”
“This doesn’t sound good.”
“I have to. I don’t know when I’ll be back. It’s about finding out who I am. I feel this pull. I was hearing these voices, I guess-”
“Chloe told me.”
“She told me you looked like you were hearing voices. I thought you just developed super hearing.”
“Not yet. Anyway, I got the tablet back from Lex.”
“He gave it back to you?”
“Well, maybe he really is okay.”
“I know who I am. Was. My name is Kal-EL. From the planet Krypton.”
“Yeah. And I looked it up on the Internet. Scientists had named a solar system Krypton, but it exploded.”
“So the meteor rocks are pieces of your home planet?”
“Maybe, could have picked up radioactivity in space.”
“Thanks. I can’t believe it. If scientists gave it the same name I read off the tablet that means there might be more of us. Or there were. Maybe one of us has come here before.”
“Are you ever coming back?”
“Sure, but I don’t know when,” he said, taking his friend’s hand for a moment. “There’s one more thing.”
“What is it?”
Clark opened his mouth several times before talking. “I didn’t mean to, but Chloe got hurt. I couldn’t control myself.”
“I’m guessing she’s alright.”
“Yeah, but she doesn’t understand.”
“I think maybe it’s time to tell her. We’re moving to Metropolis and if you’re leaving… Maybe the danger won’t be so great,” Pete said, a touch of bitterness coming through. “I don’t know, do what you want.”
The policeman opened the door to the office they had been conversing in and Pete’s mother walked in, waving both the teenagers out.
soon to be NEXT