Author's Note: Alright, this is my first Smallville/DC fic, so expect goofs. These first two chapters were written a couple of months before the current season, so I haven't tweaked it to fit this current season...yet. Any similarities is purely coincidental...seriously. I have someone that'll vouch for me :) But I've not decided yet to tweak or not to tweak. I'm really not leaning in that direction yet. But I hope you can be kind and bear with me.

Disclaimer: Yeah, I don't own Smallville, DC, characters thereof, yaddy-yada...

oOo

"Chloe, why are you doing this?!"

The entire floor of the Daily Planet nearly came to a grinding halt at the exasperated shout. Copy and fax machines ceased their clicking and humming. Fingers stopped clacking and quietly hovered over their prospective keyboards. One solitary ring of a phone was quickly silenced by a quick pick-up and slam. All eyes had turned to the small trio standing close by the Daily Planet's up and coming new investigative reporter.

Chloe couldn't stop the infuriated heat that rushed to her cheeks. At least a hundred pairs of eyes were immediately trained on her. Chloe quickly spared her cousin a glare. "Gee, Lois, that was more effective than 'Stop the presses'," she mumbled through pressed lips as she continued to empty out her desk into a business tote.

Lois only rolled her eyes until she realized everyone was still staring. "What--?"

Before Lois could finish, the door to the editor-in-chief's office flew open with a very agitated Perry emerging. "What the hell is everyone gawking at? Get back to work!"

Properly humiliated, the three stood silent for a moment as the room once again erupted into resumed activity as if nothing had happened.

"Way to be subtle, Lois," Clark mumbled as he quickly glanced around the room. He knew that Perry was understandably upset.

"Can it, Smallville," Lois said quickly as she turned back to her cousin. "Chloe, I don't understand. This is the job you've dreamed of your whole life, you've just landed the story of a lifetime and now you're just going to up and leave?"

Chloe refused to look at her cousin, despite the fact she was practically standing over her, hands on hips. "I just need some time off, that's all," she replied just as she picked up her name plate.

'CHLOE SULLIVAN' etched in bold caps across the golden plate stared back at her. This was the second time in her life that she had to do this. Fate seemed to enjoy doing the happy dance over all her dreams.

"You see," Lois continued as she rounded Chloe to look her in the eye. "I can tell you're not leaving because you want to." She gave an exasperated sigh. "Is this because of me?"

That quickly pulled Chloe out of her silent moment of bittersweet memory to shoot her cousin a perplexed, albeit peculiar look. "Excuse me?"

Lois sighed and leaned into a not-so-modest stance. "Look, I know you worked your way up from the basement for the last couple years and to have someone come in after working at a…" Lois trailed off to search for the right words.

"Scandal sheet," Chloe supplied quickly, referring to Lois' stint as a "reporter" for the tabloid newspaper, The Inquisitor.

Lois stopped and leveled her eyes at her cousin. "I was going to say, a less-than-reputable news magazine."

"A scandal sheet," Clark repeated wryly from behind her.

Lois turned and narrowed her eyes at him. "Enough from the peanut gallery." Clark merely gave a quick raise of the eyebrows and folded his arms in front of him.

"Look, Lois, I just need some time," Chloe reiterated, hopefully with a more convincing tone.

"So take a sabbatical," Lois insisted, her fervor regained. "You don't have to pack up your life," she added as she grabbed Chloe's name plate and held it aloft for emphasis.

"You know, you're not making this any easier!" Chloe snapped as she yanked her name plate out of Lois' hands and furiously chucked it in to her bag.

Lois, baffled by the entire situation, became defensive and crossed her arms in front of her. "Good," she shot back.

Clark had stood silent long enough. He knew Lois' intentions were good…if this was what could be called good, but she didn't know the entire story and that was the way Chloe preferred it.

Clark stepped close to the side of the two glaring women in the hopes of mediation. He didn't want them to part ways like this for both would certainly regret it later. "Look Lois, Chloe obviously has her reasons and the best thing we both can do is stand by and support her in her decision."

Lois turned to Clark aggravated at first, but suddenly her eyes leapt wide and her mouth fell open. "You know why she's leaving, don't you?" She quickly turned back to Chloe as she jerked a thumb in Clark's direction. "You told him, didn't you?"

At that, Chloe could say nothing much less hide the sheepish look of guilt that crept up into her face. The last thing in the world was tell Lois what was happening. But the sudden look of hurt in Lois' eyes and the pull of disappointment in her shoulders and Chloe was ready to spill, but a quick glance at Clark and she reined in the need to unburden herself.

A look of irony overcame Lois as she emitted a punctuated sigh. "I knew it," she finally proclaimed. "Something's going on. I should've known something was up when you started taking jujitsu classes…"

"Self-defense, Lois," Chloe corrected. "There's nothing wrong with wanting to protect myself."

"But why would you need to?" Lois exclaimed loud enough to pull the attention of a few passersby.

Chloe shot Lois what she hoped was her best look of indignation. "Are you kidding me, Lois? You call yourself a reporter. Do you know what the statistics are for a woman being physically attacked in this country? Every five minutes…"

"All right, all right, you made your point," Lois conceded in disappointment with her hands held up in surrender. "What about Jimmy?"

Chloe simply gave her cousin a sideways glance and couldn't help scoffing a bit. "Jimmy and I were over a long time ago," she said as she looked straight at Clark. Jimmy still couldn't get over how close she and Clark remained. Not to mention Clark's impeccable timing no matter what whenever she was in trouble.

"How can I compete with that?" he'd shot at her.

Chloe had been emphatic that she simply would not give up her friends over someone that couldn't trust her simply because of his own insecurity aside from the fact that she had her own, but it wasn't something she wanted to dwell on. Right now Lois hardly looked appeased and if she didn't say something soon, her diligent cousin was going to be all over her like the proverbial white on rice.

"Hey, it's not gonna be so bad," she began. "Besides you're getting the opportunity of a lifetime. It isn't everyday I let you take over a story as big as this 'Superman' guy."

"What a name," Lois muttered as she shook her head momentarily before focusing again on Chloe.

Chloe ignored Lois, trying to stay as upbeat and inconspicuous as possible. "You'll be so busy and I'll be back before you know it. Then I'm gonna give you a run for your money," she added with a playful point of her finger.

The look on Lois' face said that she wasn't about to bite. "So why do I feel like I'm losing you?" Her voice dropping to a serious, lower tone. "Like you said, you don't just let me take over a story without a fight. I mean, you didn't beat me out of the basement because you're a philanthropist with your by-lines. Something serious is up and you're not telling me what it is."

Chloe's shoulders slumped a bit and she sighed. "Lois, you're not losing me. I promise," Chloe insisted as she bent to pick up her computer bag. "There's just a lot that's been going on. After all, I'll still be writing for The Planet…maybe nothing as serious as investigative reporting, but I promise once I get a little R&R, you'll be first person that I dish. Okay?"

Just when Chloe thought she was going to have to cough up a huge lie, like major surgery…

"Okay," Lois finally said with a nod, but not without a threatening point of a finger. "Call me, because if you don't, so help me I swear that I'll—"

"You'll…what?," Chloe challenged with a raised brow and quirk in her smirk.

With that, Lois finally conceded with a sigh and embraced her cousin. "I'm not saying goodbye," she said into Chloe's ear.

"I wouldn't dream of it," Chloe replied, biting back tears now that the moment of truth had arrived.

"C'mon Chlo, I'll help you with you're stuff," Clark offered with an outstretched arm.

Chloe allowed Clark to sweep his arm behind her as she strode out of the newsroom for the second and possibly final time. Her emotions were beginning to get the best of her. As she came closer to the elevator doors Chloe debated with herself on whether or not to look back.

Lois was right. After her internship had been terminated the first time, thanks to Lionel Luthor, Chloe had swallowed her pride and attempted another try at getting a real job at the Planet.

And she did.

In the basement.

But it had been a start…an honest start. And while Chloe wasn't keen on having to work her way through the obituaries, wedding announcements, all in all, society's crap, but it was better than being obligated to someone like Lionel Luthor for her good fortune.

Starting at The Planet again left her beholden to no one.

"Chloe?"

As if on cue, the muted ding of the elevator along with Clark's voice pulled her out of her sudden, bittersweet moment. She absently turned to Clark, worry etched on his face.

"You ready?" the question lifting his dark brows in uncertainty.

A split second of agony struck Chloe as she realized that it was now or never.

Should she look back?

The first time she was forced to leave was because of a Luthor. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would be forced to leave again because of a Luthor, but this time it wasn't Lionel.

It was Lex.

oOo

A/N: Tell me what ya think! I can almost promise there were some errors. I've looked over it numerous times, but I always still feel like I've missed something. Constructive criticism is always welcomed. Flames will be ignored or used for some other deviant purporse :)