Season 7, spoilers for "Apocalypse"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Picture from Last Beautiful Girl.
"In the future, you were a reporter."
Chloe Sullivan shrugged. "That was a different future, Clark. A whole different world."
Clark Kent looked down at his friend's blonde head. He stood behind her, while she was seated at the center of the room, in front of a keyboard. It seemed like she was nearly always in front of a keyboard.
"I don't think that matters, Chlo. In any world, you're destined to be a journalist."
Chloe blew out her breath, looking at the banks of monitors around her. They were in the Isis Foundation, the charity Lana Lang had started up. Chloe was currently using its massive computers to do her research, since she was no longer working for the Daily Planet.
"Except this world, apparently," she said.
"Chlo..." He spoke carefully. He didn't want to hurt her feelings, but he didn't want to see her just give up, either. "I know we've both been busy saving the world, but when we've found Brainiac and fixed things... you have to get your job back."
She snorted. "Yeah, because I've always wanted to work for Lex Luthor. No, thanks."
"What you need to do," Clark said, still very carefully, "is take Lex down."
"Easier said than done, farmboy. The man is Teflon, and after all this time I still don't have enough dirt on him. Maybe we can get Lois to do it. God knows she's been following him around enough."
"Lois," Clark said, "has as much chance of taking down Lex as a fly has of knocking over an elephant."
Chloe gave a rueful smile. "You could be right. Hey, what was Lois in the future? A reporter?"
"Yeah." Clark hesitated, then blurted out the rest. "She'd won a Pulitzer, actually."
He saw a flash of amazement in her eyes, an amazement that echoed his own when he'd first learned the information. But she covered it quickly, because Lois was her cousin, and Chloe was loyal to the core.
"Well, there you go," she said, turning back to her keyboard. "She's the one destined for greatness, not me."
"Except..." Clark hesitated again. "The reason she'd won a Pulitzer was because she'd betrayed someone."
Chloe looked up at him, frowning. "She what?"
"The future Lois. She'd... well, she'd..." He took a deep, steadying breath and managed to get the words out. "You-- well, the other you-- had been dating someone with powers. You kept his secret, but Lois found out about it, and she outed the guy, even though they were friends, too. She got a Pulitzer for it. But you... you could have gotten the Pulitzer a lot sooner, if you'd wanted to."
She stared at him, looking stunned. "Lois would never do that," she assured him.
"She did. Trust me."
"But she wouldn't... I mean, she wouldn't, Clark."
He understood what she was trying to say: Lois would never tell everyone your secret if she found out about it. But it wasn't true. Chloe might believe it, but he knew now that it just wasn't true.
He'd always known Chloe would keep his secret, that she'd die for him if she had to. She'd been sitting on the story of a lifetime for three years now, and he knew without doubt that she'd conceal it for the rest of her days.
He'd always wondered if Lois was as loyal, or if she'd go for the glory, expose him to the world for the sake of a headline. But now he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly what Lois would do if she ever learned his secret.
The knowledge saddened him.
"She got her Pulitzer the wrong way," he said, very gently. "She betrayed a friend. You would never do that, Chlo. After all, you could have written an article on me a long time ago. You probably would have gotten a Pulitzer for it. At least, you would have been promoted out of the basement."
"Listen, Clark, I would never, ever--"
"I know that," he interrupted. "That's my point, Chlo."
She sighed, and looked back at her keyboard. "I want to be a top journalist someday, Clark. I really do. But I want to do it the right way."
"I know," he said, even more gently than before. "Which is why you have to take down Lex. No one else can do it. We both know Lois just doesn't have what it takes. But you-- you can do it. And then you can go back to the Daily Planet. You have to go back, Chloe. It's where you belong."
"I don't know where I belong," she said, her voice very soft.
"I do." He took a step toward her and put a hand on her shoulder. Her bones felt fragile under his hand. "You told me you published your first article when you were eight. Not long after that, you drove past the Daily Planet building with your dad, and you looked up and saw..."
"Right. You told me that right then, you decided you were going to work there." He squeezed her shoulder, being careful, as always, not to exert too much pressure. "The Daily Planet is your destiny, Chloe. It's been your destiny since you were eight. You belong there."
She sighed, and looked around at her new surroundings. He still hadn't gotten used to seeing her here. He'd visited her at the Planet so often over the past two years that he had a hard time separating her from the building somehow.
"I hope you're right," she answered. "This just feels.. wrong, you know? I may have only been in the basement, but I miss the Planet an awful lot. I miss writing articles, even ones on the declining pigeon population. I just... I want to go back to writing, so badly it hurts sometime."
"I'm sorry you haven't had the time to do any writing."
"Oh, well." She gave a brittle laugh. "Saving the world kind of takes precedence, doesn't it? But maybe you're right. One of these days..."
"Soon, Chlo." He patted her, a friendly, awkward gesture that didn't say nearly as much as he wanted it to. "Soon. It's where you belong."
She twisted around and looked up at him with a smile. He noticed with relief that some of the sorrow that seemed to have taken up permanent residence in her eyes had faded. His words must have helped her straighten things out in her head, just a little.
"Thanks," she said, patting his hand. She squared her shoulders and turned back around with a new look of determination on her face. "
"But right now," she said, "let's get to work and save the world."