Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville/The Mortal Instruments
Clark slaved over his article for the next edition of the Torch. He also had the boys slaving too so they could have everything to give him when he visited Chloe. He knew they weren't happy she was on an extended "sick leave" but they could tell she was still keeping a strong grip on the reigns. She'd even started skyping them, riding their asses, and it was hysterical how her nagging had made the guys calm down - especially Nash. Of course they complained amongst themselves that Chloe was a heartless demon, but they were obviously in better moods.
A knock sounded on the office door, and since he was way behind on this article, Clark allowed someone else to tend to whoever it was. Chloe was going to have a field day when she read his article, since it had to do with the suspension-worthy fight Eric Marsh and Whitney Fordman had gotten into due to an article the Torch had run a while back about funding for the baseball team versus funding for the football team.
"Uh, Clark?" Justin squeaked. "Someone's here to, uh, see you."
Clark glanced up in surprise to see Isabelle Lightwood leaning in the doorway, looking drop-dead gorgeous as always. "Hey Izzy." He nodded thanks to Justin, and then glared at Van and Gabriel when he noticed they were leering at her. "She's a human being, not a slab of meat, treat her with some respect!"
Both Gabriel and Van looked down, visibly repentant as they mumbled sorries.
Clark turned back to see Isabelle smiling at him. He motioned outside the hall and closed the door on the guys, who were all visibly trying to lean closer and eavesdrop. "Hey."
"Hey." Isabelle, as always, looked somewhat dangerous in her skimpy outfits. She placed her hands on her hips. "It's been two weeks, Clark, I don't think I can hold him back much longer." She bit her bottom lip. "If she would just call him…"
"Chloe isn't ready, Iz," Clark sighed. "There are things going on with her right now, it's not just the whole thing with Jace and Lois."
"Is she okay?" Isabelle suddenly frowned.
He didn't know how to answer that. He wasn't sure what would be a truthful answer. Ever since Chloe had emerged from the pentagram things… things were different. Sometimes she was okay mentally but not emotionally, sometimes emotionally but not physically, sometimes physically but not mentally. Valentine had really done a number on her.
Clark wanted to tell Isabelle everything, wanted tell her how Chloe needed them now more than ever, but he couldn't do it. He'd sworn he'd tell no one, and he couldn't break that promise, wouldn't betray her trust like everyone else had. If he did he was scared of what she'd do. The demon blood in her was making her less trusting, more angry, more reckless. If he told Isabelle the truth Chloe would cut him off, and then she'd have no one who truly cared for her was wasn't using her (because he didn't trust that the Fae Queen actually cared for Chloe) on her side.
"How about you ask her to meet with me?" Isabelle seemed to be drawing at straws. "I'll meet her alone, anywhere she wants, that way she doesn't have to tell us where she's staying."
"She won't do it," Clark predicted. "She's paranoid that the Clave has you all under watch and that if they find out where she is they'll force her to go back to Idris."
Isabelle sighed. "The Clave are definitely not happy with any of this, especially her refusal to appear before them despite having been summoned."
Clark nodded. "She doesn't plan on being gone for much longer, okay? She knows she needs to talk to everyone, especially Jace and Lois… They just need to give her time."
"You know they are two of the most impatient, impulsive people in the world, right?" Isabelle checked.
He nodded, and felt back when she sighed, clearly stressed. "This is the best I can give you, Iz."
"I know," Isabelle sighed once more. "Just… remind her we're on her side."
Chloe did not intend to stay in the Fae Realm forever. There was a war happening outside and like it or not, she might have a part in it. Valentine and the Clave sure thought she did, but she had no desire to fight for either of them. If she fought it would be to protect those she loved, she'd fight for herself. Also she knew that she couldn't shake the Clave forever, she'd have to talk to them once and for all, and she wasn't looking forwards to it at all.
Her anger towards Lois and Jace had subsided, and she knew much of it had been fueled by her own insecurities. The hurt hadn't left though, it was there, as was the confusion. Why had they gone behind her back like that? Why lie to her face by saying they were patrolling with Alec (Jace) or studying (Lois) when in truth they were meeting up with each other? She'd thought they'd trusted her, respected her, cared for her, more than that. She'd thought they wouldn't treat her just like everyone else did. It hurt. Damn it, it hurt. Not so much what they'd done (even though that did hurt) but because they were the people she loved and trusted most in the world, they were the people she'd never doubted.
That was why Chloe couldn't talk to either of them right now, despite the fact that they were the people she missed the most during her self-exile.
And then there was what Valentine had told her on the ship. Well, he'd insinuated it, but everything he'd insinuated in the past had been found to be true, and she was terrified. Valentine had told Jace that she'd been created for him, and Jocelyn had figured that Chloe had been created for breeding, putting two and two together it wasn't that far fetched to believe that Valentine would've made sure that the children he'd created to further his bloodline would actually want to further it, together.
"When faced against Agramon, Jace's fear manifested as a reality in which you were his sister… and he didn't care. He still wanted you and acted upon it." Valentine tilted his head. "I must admit I was… unkind… to him once I found out. I tested him."
"Tested him how?" She remembered how shaken up and unnerved Jace had been that morning, how he'd opened up about his insecurities for the first time ever.
"I made him believe that that was true, for a moment, to see his reaction." Valentine actually looked somewhat contrite. "I regret hurting him purposefully like that, but I needed to know for sure."
"Know what for sure?" Chloe couldn't wrap her own
"How far he was willing to go to have you," Valentine responded. "I needed to know that what I have done truly worked."
Chloe trembled, her eyes wide. "What are you saying?"
"I've told you, Chloe. I created you, for all intents and purposes I am your father. Even though I never actually thought you would survive your mother's womb, you must understand that my experiments were not done at random." He trailed the back of his hand down her cheek tenderly. "I had a purpose, and if Jace's reactions to you are anything to go by, then it was a success."
Her heart suddenly crumbled to her stomach. "You're saying that the only reason Jace feels the way he does for me - and the only reason I feel the way I do for him - is because of something you did to me?"
Was the love Jace and she shared - was the greatest love she'd ever felt - merely manufactured?
Maybe this new deep hurt and fear had brought up the old one, and that was what had spurred her to do something she'd been too afraid to do for far too long.
The front door opened and closed, and then he froze when he came into the house to see her seated on the kitchen counter. "Chloe."
"Hello Gabriel." She sat tall, refusing to let him see just how much his rejection had hurt – still did. "You look like you've lost weight."
He wouldn't meet her eyes. "It's not been an easy couple of months."
"You don't say," she drawled. "How's Nell and your new daughter?"
Gabriel flinched and looked up at her. "Don't say that."
"What am I supposed to say?" Chloe wanted to know curiously. "You don't seem to mind that Lana isn't your daughter. But me? The second you find out I get sent away, given to someone you don't even know, and you never think of me ever again."
He banged his fist into the wall, shocking her. "That is not true. There hasn't been a day since… that I don't think of you… and hate myself for being such a damned coward!"
Chloe raised an eyebrow. "Do you expect sympathy from me right now?"
"No." He shook his head. "I was scared, Chloe. That man Valentine, his men, what they did, what your mother was involved in… I was so scared." He took in a deep breath. "And I was hurt. I couldn't believe that she would've lied to me, would let me believe you were my daughter when you weren't. I-."
"And what, you thought it was easy for me?" She snapped, honestly not caring about him or his hurt feelings. "I'm a teenager. I was caught just as off guard as you were! First my mother abandons me, and then the man who I believed was my father, who I loved as my father, does the same."
He flinched, hard. "You think I don't know that?" He took in a ragged breath. "I hate myself for how I handled it, but Chloe, those men could do things – inhuman things. I thought you'd be safer if we weren't close – if they couldn't use me against you any longer… I thought that if I gave Jocelyn Fray your guardianship she would be able to protect you because she was just like those people."
Chloe's eyes widened in shock but then she shook her head and sneered. "Just admit that you were scared and didn't want to be hurt again."
"You're right, I was terrified after that night. I pushed you away initially out of fear, and then stayed away out of shame." Gabe met her gaze with his own tear-filled ones. "I'm sorry."
She steeled herself against any emotion, against sympathy, against weakness. "You were right anyway, you're a mundane and have no business being mixed up in Shadowhunter problems. That's why I'm here to tell you that you're off the hook, I'm cutting off my ties with you like you did with me." She pushed off of the kitchen counter and reached into her bosom, yanking out her stele. "I've runed the house as well as the fence around the house, have protected you as much as I can." She twirled the stele in her fingers like a cheerleader might a baton. "I was waiting for you to come home so I could do the same to your car."
His shame grew visibly on his face. "Chloe…"
She walked passed him and stopped by the door, her hand tight on the handle as she fought the desire to cry. "Thank you for taking such good care of me while I was growing up. I really appreciated having you as a father." And with that she burnt the invisibility rune on her body and disappeared from his sight seconds before she was out of the door. Placing the rune on his car was easy, and by the time he raced out of the house calling her name she was already walking away.
He couldn't see her.
She never looked back.
Funny, I thought I'd be crying. Chloe finally said a final goodbye to Gabriel Sullivan. Instead of sad I just feel so... numb. Well, that was probably for the best. She had one final goodbye to say, and this one would be just as hard.
"She's in the Fae Realm," Lucy informed Ragnor on their daily phone call. "It took me quite some time to figure it out, but I've finally done it." She made a face as she gazed up at the ceiling. "From what I've managed to get from Isabelle Lightwood, Queen Titania always showed a fascination for Chloe, so, really, it's not surprising in retrospect."
"The Fae Realm isn't a safe place to be, especially not for long," Ragnor muttered. "The passage of time itself is different down there. And one slip up, one sip of a honeydew suckle or one taste of any of their delicacies and she is stuck there forever."
"Yeah, I know."
There was a pause. "How is Lucian?"
"Better. It was worse because it was an injury given him by a Greater Demon. I still can't believe that Downworlders work in a hospital and help other Downworlders on the sly, that is just so cool." She then shook her head. "I can't believe Lois killed Agramon, a Greater Demon, the Fear Demon… and she didn't even realize it!"
"Your sister is definitely a formidable Shadowhunter," Ragnor agreed. "How is she?"
"She's keeping her mind off of the Chloe situation by bossing and nagging Luke to death," Lucy responded. "You can tell she's really distraught over it though, because she's branched off to nagging and bossing his pack. They're all terrified of her. I've lost all respect for werewolves."
Ragnor let out a weird cough.
She narrowed her eyes. "This isn't funny! Don't laugh!"
Realizing he'd been caught, Ragnor chuckled outright.
Lucy pouted. "Lucian says he'll join the next Guild meeting. You have your werewolves."
"Good." Ragnor cleared his throat, his tone much less amused now. "Things are not good here in Idris. Ever since what happened in Metropolis with Valentine, the Clave are up in arms. They are pointing fingers at everyone, and I have heard murmurs that they are seeking punishment for the Inquisitor. I am surprised she is not here defending herself."
"She hasn't left the Metropolis Institute," Lucy confirmed. "She seems fixated on Jace for some reason. It's annoying the living daylights of out him, you know he detests her."
"With good reason given how she allowed her own personal feelings to compromise her Inquisition and nearly had him unfairly executed."
"Still, it's weird, don't you think? How quickly she's changed her tune when it comes to Jace?" Lucy wanted to know. "One second she's all for keeping him in the dungeons of the Silent City, and the next she's desperate to talk to him, to get to know him."
"She's probably worried he'll testify against her at whatever hearing the Clave have awaiting her, and she's trying to butter him up so he doesn't completely decimate her," Ragnor figured. "It sounds like a Clave-member thing to do."
She agreed, but that wasn't what she said as she trailed her fingertip against the wall. "So… do you miss me?"
There was a slight sputter on the other side. "Of course I don't!"
Visible once more, Chloe walked down the hallways of Smallville high, never feeling more seen in her life. Students mulling around stopped and looked at her, some of them with their eyes wide, most of them with such surprise it seemed as if they'd never actually seen her before. Sure, she probably looked a lot different than they were used to seeing her given the fact that she wasn't in concealing civilian garb anymore. Nope. Her hair was up in a ponytail, and she wore a black shirt and tight black pants with boots. All over her arms and neck runes, in different stages of fade, decorated her skin.
She realized that even though she didn't have any visible weapons, she really looked like a Shadowhunter. Catching her reflection she paused and looked at it, seeing even greater the difference between her and the mundanes around her. She'd never really seen the difference before, had definitely never felt it before, but today she did both. There was no way she was going to be able to leave the Shadow World and return to the Mundane world after the war. This world already felt foreign, didn't feel real.
Stopping by the Torch Office and peering inside was probably one of the hardest things she'd had to do after reflecting during her time in the Fae Realm. It took all of her inner strength to push open the door and enter the place she'd helped revive, had made flourish, had spent so many years of her life maintaining with such love.
"Chloe!" Clark looked up in surprise, so did the other guys.
"Wow, Sullivan." Van gave her a thumbs up.
"First the other chick and five minutes later Chloe finally gets her ass in school while dressed like that?" Gabriel grinned. "This is a great day!"
Curious as to the mention of some other girl, Chloe peered over at Clark.
"Isabelle just left," he informed her.
She nodded in understanding as she moved towards them. "Guys, you've made me really proud. You've proven that you can uphold the name of this institute without me hounding you every two seconds."
"You were still hounding us though," Greg pointed out.
She ignored him. "I have bad news."
Immediately the guys went still.
"I'm dropping out of school," she replied, seeing their eyes widen. "Stuff has been going on around me and I can't stay here studying with you all anymore. I have—well—it doesn't matter, what matters is that you all deserved to be the first to know, and that you needed to know how proud I am of you guys."
"Why are you dropping out?" Van wanted to know. "Are you, like, broke and need to work or something?"
"Or something," she supplied as she moved closer. "I've enjoyed every second I've been here with you all, and I want to thank you for all that you've done to help me, and to ask you to please not give up on the Torch when I'm gone. It's going to need all of you to keep it running."
"You can't do this!" Justin announced.
"Shut up, Gaines," Brendan Nash growled, eyes narrowed on Chloe. "We know how much this place means to you, Chloe. If you're leaving it's because it's important, so you're not going to get any stress from us."
She smiled at him in relief. "Thank you."
Clark stood and moved to her. "Can we talk outside?"
"After our hugs goodbye," Van announced as he stood, arms held out.
Usually she'd snort and tell him to dream on, but this time Chloe hugged Van. She hugged the others too, and it was all she could do to keep from crying. In the end she gave them all watery smiles, said her goodbye, and left with Clark, who walked her out towards the parking lot.
He waited until they were by themselves amongst the cars to speak. "You don't have to do this."
"Yeah, I do," she whispered. "I can't fight a war if I'm also occupied with making sure the Torch's next edition is on time, or the boys aren't squabbling, or dealing with any fall-out from one of our articles." She gave a half-shrug. "I have to be all-in with the Shadow World or all-out."
"And you choose all-in?" He asked softly.
"Did I really ever have a choice?" She countered just as softly. "I said goodbye to dad today as well. I have to let him go. If I don't care about him, neither will Valentine."
Clark sighed and engulfed her in a tight hug, holding her close. "You don't have to go through this alone, you have people who worry about you. Isabelle is worried-."
"-about Jace, not about me." Chloe pushed away and wiped at her eyes, surprised to see that she'd been close to tears. "I'm fine. I don't plan on being in the Fae Realm much longer, I have things I have to do first, preparations, and then I'll be ready to leave." She saw the unspoken words in his eyes. "I'll talk to Jace and Lois, don't worry. It's on my to-do list. I just need some time to get everything in order."
He finally nodded.
She glanced down when her phone rang and tried to hide the caller ID, but Clark noticed.
"You're in contact with Magnus?" he asked in surprise. "Does Lois know about this?"
She shook her head. "He's doing something for me in a professional capacity, he's honor bound to keep my business secret." Answering the phone, she turned her back on him. "Hey Mags, how's life being fabulous?" It'd taken a while, but she was slowly learning to speak 'Magnus'.
"It's hard being so perfect," Magnus replied cheekily before he sighed. "How are you doing, honeybuns? Today was the big day, wasn't it?"
"Yep." She glanced over her shoulder at Clark. "I'm with Clark now, just finished the last of my business in Smallville."
"Well, I'm about done with your order," Magnus informed her. "It's costly, but considering the gold on your dress was actual gold and the corset had actual rubies in it, you're covered."
'Dress?' Clark mouthed in questioned.
'The one Valentine made me wear,' she mouthed back.
His eyes widened and he nodded in understanding.
"I'll give you a ring later for you to check it out yourself," Magnus declared. "Why don't you get your cute Downworlder friend to come over at the same time and get his opinion?"
Chloe raised her eyebrow. "Now what would Alec say if he heard you talking like that?"
Magnus' grin was audible in his voice. "He'd pout. It'd be so cute."
"You're a sadist," Chloe informed him.
"I actually go both ways," he informed her, grin even larger, it was obvious.
"Why am I not surprised?" Chloe raised an eyebrow, surprised at how used she'd gotten to this sort of conversation from Lois' BFF. "I've got this thing tonight so I can't do it now, but why don't you come over? It probably isn't your scene, but Fae parties are incredible."
"You only think that because you haven't actually partied at one of my parties," Magnus assured her, sounding slighted.
Your parties end in people leaving with rats, she remembered with a shiver. "Do you want to come or not?" She asked. "I'll provide the token."
There was a pause. "Only if I can bring Alexander."
She gulped, not sure how she felt about one of the Lightwoods knowing where she was. Then again, "Sure, invite him if you want, just don't tell him I'll be there in advance because he'll tell Jace, and I'm not ready to deal with him tonight."
There was another pause. "I actually have plans with Alexander tonight, I just wanted to know what your answer would be." He cleared his throat. "So I'm assuming this means you're not hiding from them anymore after tonight?"
"I was never hiding, I just wanted some time to myself to think things over, I'm okay now," she promised him.
"Good." And he sounded relieved. "So if Alexander starts to ramble about poor Jace during the date, I'm going to shut him up and tell him poor Jace should've been smart enough to realize that considering you all were rescued by Nixies –as well as the Queen's interest in you – that the Fae Realm was an obvious choice as to your hiding place." He then hung up, giving her no way to tell him not to do that. Not that she would've, but the cheeky Warlock hadn't taken any chances.
Chloe sighed as she faced Clark. "The same invitation is extended to you. I'll get you a token." She paused. "Invite Isabelle if you want."
"While the idea of attending a Fae Party is terrifying given everything Isabelle has told me, I actually have something I need to do with my parents tonight." Clark looked repentant. "Rain check?"
"No problem," Chloe agreed before she noticed the time. "Damn it. Clark, I've got to go. I have something I need to do before tonight." Pressing a kiss to his cheek, Chloe turned and activated her invisibility rune, disappearing from sight as she walked away.
"Will you stop cleaning?" Jocelyn Fairchild raised an eyebrow at her son as he furiously swept her apartment floor. "It's not that dirty!"
He snorted, not even looking up from his self-appointed chore. "How are we related? You live in filth."
"It's not filth!" She placed her hands on her hips and then had to pause because, well, yeah. Maybe she'd let the place go a bit, hadn't cleaned up as much, had tried to get her mind off of everything she'd been going through by just concentrating on her painting. There were canvases, paints (both new and finished) and dirty towels everywhere. "This is… this is the apartment of an artist. Had you inherited my artistic ability you would know this."
"I play the piano, that is artistic," he countered. "And yet I am not a complete slob."
She squeaked a little at that. "I'm not a slob!"
Jace merely pointed at her overflowing garbage can as if it were some sort of demon crawling towards them.
Jocelyn flinched. "I've been preoccupied."
With a snort, Jace finished sweeping and swept all the dirt into a garbage bag he'd kept on him given the fact that all of the garbage containers were overflowing with thrown away fast food cartons. "When Chloe comes back here I need to know that she won't die because a mountain of garbage fell on her."
Jocelyn sat down with a huff. Her apartment honestly wasn't that bad! She sidled her son with a little glare which he totally ignored. "I'm ordering something to eat, what do you want?"
He looked up at her, hesitating, before he cleared his throat and went to start collecting her garbage bags. "Anything but Chinese. You've been eating way too much of that lately."
She couldn't really counter that given the fact that he was picking up the garbage and could see how many of the same containers were stuffed within. "Pizza then?"
Jace shrugged noncommittally.
Unable to fight the tiniest of smiles that crept on her face, Jocelyn stood and moved to find her cordless phone to order.