Season 8, "Doomsday" and future
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Clark stood across the street from the Daily Planet building, waiting. He hadn't been surprised to find Chloe's heartbeat here, of all places. He'd always known she'd come back here someday.
He was impatient to see her, but unwilling to shock her in her place of business. He wasn't quite sure how long he'd been gone. Jor-El had warned him the training would take months, and he'd agreed to that. But there were no calendars in the Fortress, and he'd spent the whole time in a sort of trance which made the passage of time irrelevant. He noticed a newspaper crumpled in a nearby trash can, and pulled it out.
Today's date jumped out at him: August 15, 2014.
His knees wobbled, and he dropped heavily onto a wooden bench before they gave out entirely. He stared at the date for a long, long time.
Jor-El hadn't lied. Not exactly. His training had taken months.
Sixty-three months, to be precise about it.
He stared blankly at the newspaper, his head spinning. Jor-El had promised... he'd promised...
Well, if he was going to be honest about it, all Jor-El had promised was that Metropolis as a whole was going to be okay while he was gone. But he'd understood that the training would be a matter of months, not years. Jor-El had misled him.
Which really shouldn't have surprised him in the least.
Anger boiled inside him, but he pushed it away with the ease of long practice. He breathed evenly, slowing his heartbeat, and calmed himself almost automatically, remembering the voice he'd been listening to for so long.
Anger solves nothing, my son. Shun all emotions. Anger is dangerous... but so is love.
Calmer, but no less stunned, he looked back down at the newspaper. The lead headline jumped out at him accusingly: WHY METROPOLIS DOESN'T NEED THE RED BLUE BLUR. He blinked, and glanced at the byline.
It read Lois Lane.
His eyebrows shot up, because he'd been sure that Lois was beyond any help. When he'd asked Jor-El, he'd been informed that she'd been sent into time, and could never return.
And yet she was apparently back at the Planet, and still dissing him.
He thought about reading the article, but the heartbeat he was listening to grew a little faster, as if Chloe was on her feet and walking. He lifted his head, listening. He could of course look straight through the walls, but he didn't want to do that. He waited, almost eager.
Do not allow your emotions to cloud your judgment, my son. You must not allow yourself to grow emotionally attached again.
He wouldn't do that. He wouldn't let Chloe insinuate herself into every part of his life again, wouldn't let his feelings get away from him to that extent. But she'd been his best friend since middle school, and he couldn't stop himself from wondering exactly how the time that had passed had changed her.
It was hard to believe, but it had been five years since he'd seen her smile.
He wanted to see that smile again.
He could hear her footsteps now, brisk and purposeful. Her heels clicked on the marble floors. She was coming across the lobby.
He waited, almost breathless despite his efforts to control his emotions and his autonomic functions. And then she emerged from the building, and he blinked.
Because her short golden hair was now long brunette hair.
It was her. No doubt about it. He knew her heartbeat, could pick it out from amongst a million other people easily. But she looked so different. The long, dark hair changed her appearance dramatically, but that wasn't all that had changed. There was a certain cool ruthlessness in her hazel eyes that hadn't been there before, a set to her jaw that said she was no one to mess with.
There was also, he noticed, a roundness to her figure she hadn't possessed before, a lush, womanly curve of breast and hip...
He blinked, becoming aware that he was staring, and looked away. As he did so, he noticed a tall, dark-haired guy walking toward her, holding a little boy by the hand.
The little boy squealed, let go of the guy's hand, and ran for Chloe. "Mommy!"
Clark's mouth fell open, and he gaped. Chloe bent, picked up the little boy, and hugged him tightly.
"Hi, Jason," she said. "Did you have a nice day at school?"
"I made a caterpiwwer," the little boy informed her.
"That's great," she said, ruffling his dark hair. She looked over his head at the man, and smiled. "How was your day, George?"
George smiled back at her. "Okay. But it's much better now."
She laughed. "I feel the exact same way."
Married. She was married.
Chloe had long since walked away with her little family, but Clark still sat on the bench, staring blankly into space. He hadn't expected her to be married, probably because he'd never expected to be gone so long.
To be fair, he hadn't noticed Chloe and George wearing wedding bands, probably simply because he'd been too stunned to look. But even if she wasn't actually married, she had clearly had a kid with George. And she looked happy. Very happy.
Not that he was surprised. He knew George, strangely enough. He'd recognized the face instantly. He'd stumbled into an alternate universe once, and found Chloe happily engaged to the guy.
George was Chloe's destiny.
And that was fine. Just fine. Because he himself could never offer her anything, even if he wanted to. He could never allow himself to get so emotionally wrapped up with humans again. To properly do his job, he had to remain remote, disinterested. He understood that now.
He'd just forgotten how hard it was.
Pain and anger and, yes, a touch of jealousy twisted inside him. He rose from the bench where he'd been sitting and stalked restlessly down the sidewalk, making his way through the crowd almost blindly.
Forget about her, he told himself fiercely. There are millions of other people here who need you. That's your biggest failing-- you focus on one person to the exclusion of everyone else. You can't think that way any more.
He drew in long, calming breaths, trying to put all the shocks of the day aside, trying to focus his mind on what really mattered. He had to remember he had a job to do here, and it had nothing to do with Chloe.
He was back in Metropolis, not for Chloe Sullivan, but for the entire city.
Read Chapter 3 here.