Metropolis: New Beginnings

EPISODE ONE: Old Acquaintances

Gotham Gazette Offices ~ Late Evening.


It wasn’t the first time she’d worked late with only the occasional shuffle of the cleaning crews to let her know she wasn’t alone in the building. And it wasn’t that she was overly edgy, despite the number of times she still found herself looking over her shoulder. But there was just, something, that brought her attention from the computer screen long enough to notice when a shadow moved in her peripheral vision.

Automatically her spine straightened a little, her hand sliding from the keyboard to the top drawer of her desk while she looked from side to side without moving her head to indicate she knew she wasn’t alone. Stay calm. Remember you’re in the best position. That was one of the comforts of having her desk facing the only entrance and her back to the wall. But it also meant she had to be ready, just in case she had to get to the exit – fast. So she rolled her chair back at the same as she slid the drawer open, covering the sound with a cough as her fingertips touched the cold metal of the gun she always kept close by.

He stepped out of the shadows, a deep voice she hadn’t heard in what felt like a lifetime rumbling out a low greeting, “I should have known I’d find you at a newspaper somewhere. Hiding in plain sight, huh?”

Her breath caught, “Clark?”

The light from her desk lamp illuminated his features as he stepped closer, a small smile on his mouth and sparkling in his eyes, “She remembers.”

The answering smile was immediate, and she was out of the chair and flinging herself into his arms before the sound of his low chuckle even reached her ears, “Oh my god - I can’t believe you’re here!”

“Careful now – squeeze me any tighter and you might leave a bruise.”

Leaning back she smacked a broad shoulder, “As if!”

Setting her at arms length Clark raised his dark brows, “Look at you. Life in Gotham City obviously suits you.”

She tilted her head to one side and rolled her eyes, “What can I say? I guess I just found my niche. If I’d known all it would take was a secret identity then I’d have followed your lead a lot sooner.”

His expression changed, taking on that ‘weight of the world/responsible for everything’ look she remembered all too well from when she’d known him before, “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you Chloe. What you did –“

“Needed done,” She stepped forwards again and squeezed his forearms, “I’m a big girl now Smallville – I can look out for myself. So you can stop that. You always did guilt better than anyone else on the planet.”

The smile reappeared, “Your cousin has been rubbing off on you some in the nick name department, hasn’t she?”

Chloe grinned before moving back to her desk, talking along the way, “Lois and my new life combined. It’s tough not getting to see her anymore though. I miss her being around.”

“You still talk?”

“We have a code,” She threw him a wink as she sat down on the edge of the desk, “Just don’t go telling anyone at the Witness Protection Program. I’m quite happy where I am. So – tell me all about Clark Kent’s latest adventures – where’ve you been for the last five years? Enrolled a new side-kick yet?”

Clark shook his head, folding his arms across his broad chest, “No new side-kick, you’d be tough to replace. I’ve traveled some – finished up my training – and now I’m headed back to Metropolis. I just wanted to check in and see how you were.”

“You finished your training? Wow – what was that like?”

“Interesting.”

“I’ll bet.”

When he wasn’t any more forthcoming Chloe crossed her legs and studied him for a moment, finding it interesting he’d chosen to go back to the city rather than the small town they’d grown up in, “Do you know what you’re going to do in Metropolis?”

“I have a job offer,” His wide mouth twitched at the edges, “At the Planet.”

Chloe’s eye’s widened, “You’re kidding me.”

“Nope. Start Monday. I sent them some pieces from my travels and they liked what they saw. It’s pretty easy to get the inside story on disasters and accidents if you’re on the scene when they happen.”

“Well, well, finally a hidden bonus to being a superhero, huh?”

“So it would seem. And the way I see it – it’s easier to keep track of what’s going on if I’m at the centre of it all, so The Planet’s ideal,” He unfolded his arms and moved forwards until he was close enough to turn and sit on the desk beside her, his voice lowering, “You want me to give a message to Lois?”

Chloe laughed softly, nudging his shoulder with her own, “And how would you do that when you’re not supposed to know where I am, genius?”

“Good point.”

“Does she know you’re back?”

“No.”

“She was pretty mad at you for a while.”

Clark smiled, his chin dropping, “No change there then,” He glanced sideways at her, “It’ll be like the old days.”

“We’ve all come a long way from the old days.”

“Yes, we have,” And the hint of regret in his voice was all too evident.

So Chloe nudged his shoulder again, her voice soft, “We all end up where we’re s’posed to be in the end.”

“I like to hope so.”

The doors at the end of the hall swung open, a cleaning trolley rattling down the tiled floor while they sat in silence waiting for it to pass; a million unspoken words hanging heavy in the air between them until Clark took a deep breath,

“Are you happy Chloe?”

She was touched that he needed to know and comforted by the fact that even though so much had happened since they’d been friends before it still felt like it had been weeks rather than years since they’d last talked. It was a sign of true friendship, wasn’t it?

“You know something? I am. I might not get to write the name Chloe Sullivan in my by-lines these days but I’m still exactly where I always wanted to be,” She waved a hand at the room, “Here in a great newspaper – sniffing out the great stories… It’s not The Planet I dreamed of but its pretty close. I could do with a little less of a high-maintenance image but I kinda love the fact that an old friend thinks I look glamorous nowadays…”

Clark nodded, aiming another smile her way, “I’m glad. And now I’m back I’ll try and fly in as often as I can, okay?

“In the literal sense or via traditional methods?”

“Nah - I got that one down pat now.”

“Well I’m very glad to hear it ‘cos some of those early practice sessions?” She shuddered, “Not so pretty to watch. Graceful wasn’t exactly your thing at the beginning.”

He laughed, “No it certainly wasn’t.”

Chloe watched as he pushed up onto his feet, tilting her head back to look up into his face as he studied her with affection shining in his eyes. She’d missed her friend. It felt good to have him back – and to think he could come to her again if he needed help with something. She’d missed that too. Only now she had a life of her own as well – she wouldn’t be putting her career on hold while she spent time helping him research meteor freaks or escaped Zoner’s or… well… the list could go on and on…

“Don’t be a stranger.”

“I won’t,” He rocked forwards onto the balls of his feet and dropped his chin to look at her with a quirk of his eyebrows,Watchtower.

Ah, so that was how he’d found her. She pursed her lips and nodded, “Oliver finally signed you up then I take it.”

“Uh-huh.”

She nodded again, “Bout time too. You always were the last one to the party. Do we still get to call you Boy Scout?”

The question raised another low chuckle of laughter as he rocked back onto his heels, “No, that’s gotta go. If I have any new ideas you’ll be the first to know.”

“I better be. Can’t have Lois steal the scoop on me and you know no-one bestows a superhero title better than lil ole me.”

“If it was left to Lois we’d still have the Green Arrow Bandit, so I’ll just leave it in your capable hands,” He took another deep breath and looked her straight in the eye, “If you need me – for anything - just yell, okay?”

Chloe smiled a broad smile, well aware he meant literally, “I have an army of superhero’s looking out for me these days - trust me. You just keep an eye on my cousin for me – she’s never out of trouble.”

“I can believe that.”

“She won’t make it easy for you.”

“I can believe that too.”

“And you’ll have a hard time convincing her you’ll make much of a reporter when she’s only ever known you as a farm boy.”

The smile he gave her indicated he had an ace somewhere up his sleeve, “Well like you said – we’ve all come a long way since the old days.”

Chloe’s eyes narrowed; every fiber of the reporter in her sensing something big was on its way. But before she could ask the question he leaned in and placed a kiss on her cheek, his voice low and edged with sincerity,

“It’s good to see you Chloe Sullivan.”

“You too Clark Kent,” She waited until he was almost at the door before she added, “And by the way – for future reference - it’s Vicki.”

He turned, “Vicki?”

Yes, they’d come a long way alright. Something told Chloe that Clark Kent was about to unleash a new name into the annals of Superhero history. And thanks to the Witness Protection Program she had a new name of her own – one he needed to start using if he wanted to make sure Lex Luthor’s long reaching hand couldn’t touch her again,

“My name - it’s Vicki – Vicki Vale. Try and remember?”

“I’ll do my best.”

And just like that he was gone – the associated swift displacement of air blowing her long blond hair back from her cheeks. She shook her head, a smile on her lips,

“That just never get’s boring…”


FADE OUT.

Continue To Scene Two...

2 comments:

Brijeana said...

Oh I love this! You should put a link to this site in the thread with your story! I like the pictures etc...

Cloisthelegendbegins said...

Thanks brijeana! I will when I have a few more of the chapters and pics and stuff up I think ;) Make it look all extra special pretty and all :) Thanks for coming over for a look see! It's my pet project ;)