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[personal profile] torched_reporter
It seems like something out of a dream. She can barely remember it, but the reminder of her nocturnal activities whisper to the fringes of her conscious mind. Chloe turns in the bed, hugging her pillow closer to her head. Her eyes remain close and, for a moment, she whimpers for Riley. There’s no one to hold in this bed in Smallville. There isn’t anyone to make these nightmares go away.

It’s dark and she’s driving down an abandoned road. Cornfields flock either side. The moon isn’t out. There is a car up ahead. She’s heading straight for it. The man on the car is on a cell phone. It’s black, it’s fancy: it’s clearly the car of a rich man. She’s in a truck, a big truck that she can’t remember ever purchasing. But it doesn’t matter how she obtained it. She has a goal ahead.

The game of chicken lasts until the very last moment. She won’t move from the tracks. The other car has no choice but to swerve off the road. It spins out of control into a muddy bank. Cornstalks are broken. With an even louder squeal, she stops the truck next to the crashed car. She walks out, slow and determined. Her boots prevent any slipping in the mud.

When she comes to a stop, it’s in front of the crashed car. She peers in through the driver’s side window. A bald head glimmers in the lights. She knows this man. It’s her target. He asks her what she wants and she ignores him. Using the butt of a flashlight, she smashes the window. The target is showered with glass but only has a moment to realize it. The flashlight head is now used to knock him unconscious.

There. That’s what she came for. A small device in the pocket of her jacket. It’s what she needs. She smiles, staring at the unconscious man.

“Thanks Lex.”

The dream is over. When she wakes up, Chloe cannot recall any of it. She yawns, blinking sleepily. It is morning and she’s supposed to meet Clark for coffee. After another yawn, and a stretch, she rolls out of bed. Eyes narrow in on a pair of muddy boots on the floor. She can’t remember how they got there – they’re certainly not Lois’.

Chloe walks over, forgetting all about coffee with Clark. There’s something more going on right now. And she has no idea what. In the end, she chalks it up to being a meteor freak. Because life can’t be normal now that she is one. It can never, ever be normal again – no matter how much Clark or Riley beg to differ. So when Clark finds her, she doesn’t want to discuss it any more than they have to. Even when he promises that she doesn’t have to go through this alone, Chloe can’t find any relief.

***

It turns out her dream isn’t a dream. En route to the Planet, Clark and Chloe drive by a hauntingly familiar accident. There’s a Mercedes sticking out from the mud and a squadron of police surrounding it. She makes Clark listen in on a conversation with Lex: he was attacked last night and his flash drive was stolen. It’s already sounding familiar to Chloe. Clark finding her button by the wreck is only icing on the cake.

That’s the point where Clark decides the Planet might not be safe. Whatever’s going on, he wants Chloe in an environment where he can keep a better eye on her. Chloe protests, but ultimately, loses the battle when she finds the missing flash key in her purse. It’s a silent ride back to the apartment. She’s too caught up in her worries. Something is going on with her and she has no idea what. Is it her ability manifesting or is she being controlled or worse: is she starting to lose all control of her own mind? The silence is overwhelming.

The answer even more so. The flash key contains just one file: a profile of a krypto-freak capable of controlling the minds of other krypto-freaks. It explains the blackouts. Chloe isn’t going crazy, she’s only being controlled. But it’s the photograph of the individual that frightens her the most. Tears well up in her eyes and she hugs herself, staring at the familiar face.

It’s her mother, the catatonic Moira Sullivan.

***

Chloe doesn’t understand why she was turned away from visiting her mother at the mental institution until she watches the videotape Clark had stolen. In it, she sees herself attacking a doctor when she finds out her mother has been transferred. It’s another dream memory that has become all too real. But the message is clear. Her mother is sending out an SOS. Lex has her and isn’t above using her to accomplish his twisted goals.

***

She has to get out of Smallville. The message rings soundly in her head. Leave Smallville, leave Smallville. She has no other choice in the matter. And when Clark tries to stop her, she pulls out a chunk of kryptonite to hold him back.

It’s a terrible dream.

But when she wakes up this time, it isn’t in her bed. It’s in a cell with Moira gently stroking her hair. Chloe’s eyes widen and she smiles tentatively. “Mom? Mom!

The smile becomes a full out beam when Moira responds: “Chloe. You're even more beautiful than I remember.”

There are tears in Chloe’s eyes and she wraps her mother in a tight hug. She’s overwhelmed with joy. And overwhelmed with all the possibilities. Her mom can finally meet Clark, and Riley, and hear all about how she’s started her dream job at the Planet. But more than that: Chloe Sullivan can have her mom back.

“I can't believe you're awake and you're talking,” Chloe whispers as she chokes back sobs. “I thought I'd never get to speak to you again.”

***

They escape. Through Moira’s krypto-freak mind control and Clark’s last minute rescue, they escape. Clark contracts Ollie and gets immediate permission to bring Moira over to his Metropolis apartment. A thank you for shutting down yet another 33.1 facility. But Chloe doesn’t care. There’s only one thing that she can care about now: the fact that her mother is alive and well and talking. The smile can’t go away. The smile won’t go away.

She doesn’t want to leave the apartment, even for a second. But rumbling stomachs win out. Clark stays behind to keep an eye on Moira, and to contact Oliver about finding her mother a safe place to stay in Star City. When she returns, Chloe instantly regrets ever leaving. She glances at Clark and then looks over at her mother. Moira is quiet, staring out the window.

Hesitantly, Chloe approaches and places an arm on her mother’s shoulder. “Mom? Mom?”

Moira’s gaze flickers over to Chloe. It’s clear that there’s something wrong. She doesn’t seem stable anymore. At all. Each word becomes an effort: “I…I wanted to see a blue sky. One last time.”

Lex is going to pay.

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Chloe Sullivan

December 2008

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