Title: Unexpected Love

Author: Jenn

Rating: K+

A/N: My own take on what could have happened at the end of Season 3. Lex never drank that poisoned Brandy, and this ignores everything that happened in Season 4. The pairings are ChLex, Bruce/Lana and Alicia/Clark. But I may eventually change it to Clark/Lois. Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

1METROPOLIS

Looking around the exclusive restaurant Lex saw all the usual faces. But his attention caught on a face that looked familiar, but he couldn't place. The young man, about his own age, with black hair and a perfectly tailored suit.

His search of his memory was disrupted by the arrival of his waiter. "Your TyNant water, Sir. Can I get you anything else at the moment?"

"The man over there, at the window table. Who is he?" he asked, with a discreet nod of his head to indicate who he was asking about.

"Mr. Bruce Wayne."

Picking up the glass of water, Lex stood. "I'll be joining him."

The waiter knew better than to say anything and simply followed behind Lex.

"Hello, Bruce."

"Lex," Bruce greeted, standing up and extending his hand.

"Welcome to Metropolis," Lex said as they shook hands.

"Thanks, please, join me," Bruce said, indicating the chair across from him.

Shifting his glass from his left hand to his right Lex sat down.

"So what would you recommend?" Bruce asked, picking up his menu.

Once they'd given the waiter their orders they were free to talk.

"What brings you to Metropolis? Last I heard you were traveling around the globe."

"I had to return to Gotham for a while. I'm on my way to Europe. This is just a stop over. I'll be leaving this afternoon."

"And you weren't going to come visit your old friend?" Lex asked, in a mock-hurt voice.

"Last I heard you were in. . .Smallville, wasn't it?"

"You're memory is still as good as ever, I see," Lex noted.

Bruce's lips curved in an easy grin. While at Excelsior they'd discovered that they both had near photographic memories.

"So where in Europe are you headed?"

"I was thinking some mountain climbing in the Alps. But first a week or two in Paris." He wasn't actually trilled about wasting time in Paris, but he'd promised Alfred.

Lex smiled. "Then maybe you could do me a favor. It's one I think you'll like," he promised.

"Oh? What favor?"

"A friend of mine should be in Paris within the next few days. She's from Smallville, and Paris is a big, foreign, city. . ."

"You'd like me to show her around. Keep an eye on her."

"Yes. And I'd think you'd enjoy the city more with a pretty girl on your arm."

"I might," Bruce agreed with a grin. "What's her name? "

"Lana Lang, she's attending art school there for the summer. And Bruce. . . she's 17, in high school, and a friend. . ."

"I get the message, Lex," Bruce assured him.

The talk then turned to places Bruce had already been, including his recent trip to the Far East, and business matters.

METROPOLIS: 2 DAYS LATER

Chloe awoke in a strange room, with a splitting headache. In fact, she realized, her whole body ached. The steady beep of a heart monitor registered. But except for the medical equipment it didn't look like a hospital room.

The sound of the door opening drew her attention. "Lex?"

"Chloe. Welcome back," Lex said, quickly moving to stand beside her.

"What happened?"

"Your safe house exploded. You were at the very edge. The explosion threw you far enough away that you weren't burned, but you have a concussion, cracked ribs, and a lot of bruising. Not to mention all the minor cuts and scrapes," he quickly filled her in. "We're at my Metropolis Penthouse. You're safe."

Chloe let that sink in for a moment, as memory returned. "My Dad!" She said, her eyes widening in fear, and her face draining of color.

Lex took her hand in his. "I'm sorry Chloe." He'd hoped to wait until she was stronger to give her this news, but knew that if he didn't tell her, she wouldn't let it go, and wouldn't rest until he gave her the answer.

"He's. . . He's okay, right?"

"I'm sorry, but no. He's gone Chloe. The explosion killed him," Lex explained. In truth, Gabe was why Chloe was alive. He'd been between Chloe and the explosion. His body had taken the brunt of it, and protected Chloe. But he knew telling her that would only add to the guilt she already felt.

Tears began to stream down Chloe's cheeks. Without even thinking about it, acting only on instinct, Lex sat on the bed and gently pulled her against him. His solid warmth gave Chloe an anchor. Something to hold on to as she cried out her grief and pain. She knew that comfort was not a word most would associate with Lex, but she did. His very presence was a comfort. His strength was holding her together, keeping her from breaking completely.

Lex was surprised by his own reaction, and emotions. He felt each of Chloe's sobs tear into his heart. And he'd have given his fortune to be able to spare her the pain she was feeling. Lex was not one for taking guilt trips, but he did feel guilty. He'd promised to protect Chloe and he hadn't. She'd lost her father because he'd failed in his promise to protect them. He refused to think of what he would have done had Chloe also died. And to his surprise, it wasn't the case against his father than weighed on his mind. He simply didn't want to envision a future without Chloe. But he forced the thoughts away. He couldn't let her become his weakness. Not while his father was still a threat.

He considered calling the nurse to bring a sedative, but decided against it. It might give her the temporary relief of sleep, but she'd just have to deal with it again when she woke up. And he figured she'd soon exhaust herself back into sleep anyway, without the need for drugs.

His prediction proved correct and within fifteen minutes Chloe had fallen deeply asleep.

SMALLVILLE: CAVES

Clark watched in horror as his father struggled to breathe.

"Leave my father alone!" he yelled at Jor-El.

"Come to me or he will die."

Clark moved to place his body in the middle of the rope of energy that wrapped around his father's neck. The pain was almost like kryptonite poisoning, but it suddenly stopped.

"This is not over," Jor-El warned, then the light faded.

"Dad!" Clark said in alarm, dropping to the ground beside his father.

"I'm. . .okay," Johnathon managed, rubbing his sore neck.

"Let's get out of here," Clark said as he helped his father stand.

Moments later they walked out of the caves, Clark helping support Johnathon who was still recovering from his near strangulation.

BELLE REVE

"I have good news for you, Alicia," Dr. Reynolds announced. "As long as you agree to wear that lead bracelet, you should be free to leave next week."

"Next week?" she asked, in disbelief.

"Yes," Reynolds said, smiling. "I have your word you'll keep that bracelet on?"

"I'll keep it on," she promised.

"We will still meet once a week, you understand. At least for a while."

Alicia nodded. She liked Dr. Renyolds, and wouldn't mind meeting with her, as long as she was out of Belle Reve. As long as she could see Clark again. She only hoped he would forgive her, and would give her another chance.