Summary: My answer to why the Legion had never heard of Chloe. Extreme future-fic. Warning: Character death.


What The Light Can Do

She goes by many names. It's hard to keep track of them all, sometimes.

Clark is the only one who still calls her Chloe, and it's been a lifetime at least since anyone mentioned Miss Sullivan.

He comes to see her sometimes—in her aerie. She is still Watchtower, after all. She never leaves Isis anymore. The computers are always on—she finds it amusing that the more complicated the system has gotten, the more excess space there is in the secret room behind the bookcase. She's got a whole greenhouse in there, now, along with a shelf of her favorite classics and a Wall of Superman.

After all, Superman covers a lot of Weird all by himself.

She doesn't mind so much, being alone. She tries not to think about her family.

Ever since Oliver died, no one's called her Mrs. Queen. She rather enjoyed the lifestyle that name implied, but it wouldn't have been much fun without Oliver. Clark can look elsewhere for his wealthy friends—and has.

The ironic part is that he's gone straight back to Lex—except when Lex pretends to try and kill him, of course. As if he ever would.

She is still Lara to Lex. She thinks those years in Metropolis are burned into his mind—when she changed her name to Lara Queen, the day she and Oliver were married—Nova Veritas, of which she and Lex are the only surviving members—Cal's troubled childhood, lifting cars and writing poetry—poor thing, he's one-third Kryptonian, one-third Luthor, and one-third Lang—and, of course, the reason Lex can't let go of any reminders of that time—the last few years any of them had with Lana.

The day Lana died, Lex looked old for the first time.

It was unfair, Chloe/Lara thinks now, as she thought then. Lana believed she would die young, but somehow no one else ever did. Lana didn't deserve to have so little time, Chloe/Lara thinks.

It's just not right. She sacrificed herself for the world, and the world can never know.

That's why some people know Chloe/Lara as Lana Lang. She drew the line at Lana Luthor—no matter how accurate it was.

Everything she's done for Isis—her mission, her patients, her legal reforms…it's all been for Lana.

Well, all right—so some of it has been for Clark. But Chloe/Lara/Lana is so used to sacrificing things for Clark and his secret, she hardly notices it anymore.

She isn't the only one, either. There's Lex. She knows that, in the cruel light of day, Lex has done some things which are unconscionable—truly, utterly, morally wrong.

She isn't convinced the Immortal Serum isn't one of them, to be honest. Lex developed it years too late for Lana, a failure which still haunts him.

It wasn't too late for Lois, though—not that she volunteered. Chloe/Lara/Lana is sure, down to her very bones, that Lex only injected Lois for Clark.

Clark stubbornly refuses to admit this.

It wasn't too late for Chloe/Lara/Lana, either, but she wasn't surprised that Lex didn't forcibly inject her when she refused an eternity of watching Clark and Lois grow closer and Lex grow more twisted. And Jimmy, of course—never getting older and never getting more mature. She thinks Lex must've given him the serum by accident. Lex loves to torture himself—but he still has respect for Chloe/Lara/Lana. She tries to tell herself that this makes up for Clark overlooking her again.

Lex is surprisingly sensitive, for all his eyes look older than Chloe/Lara/Lana feels—which is very old indeed. He still sends her flowers every birthday (too many now to count), and condoles with her every so often about children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren who never call or email.

Chloe/Lara/Lana feels the generations of Queens with her blonde, curious, investigative genes running through them belong to someone—probably Mrs. Oliver Queen—from another life.

Here she is, and she is at the end of a perpetual now.

History will remember her—that she's sure of. It's how that troubles her. The children on the streets of a Metropolis that in no way resembles the one she ruled with Oliver, Lana, and Lex, as they watched over Clark, call her "the old witch," and laugh at her carefully, expertly and expensively dyed black hair. It is a tribute to Lana, but she doesn't mind when people call her Lois Lane, either.

The real Lois has already called herself her own daughter twice—and it's a sign that people finally understand what it means to be a Luthor that no one is surprised to see Lex—looking dilapidated, wrinkled, and ill, yes, but never quite letting go.

Chloe/Lara/Lana sighs. It's almost time now.

"Chloe?" The hesitant knock doesn't go well with the cape and tights. Clark Kent, alias Superman, enters.

He looks…he looks the way he always looks. Too perfect to be real—or at least to be human. He and Lois are now perfectly matched in terms of apparent age—and Chloe/Lara/Lana has no reason to think that'll change.

The thought almost hurts, but not quite—like brushing a long-healed scab with her fingertips.

"Clark," she states, unconsciously imitating the way Lex always prefaces a conversation with his companion's name—like he has to be sure just whom he's talking to.

"Is…something wrong?" Clark asks, looking surprisingly vulnerable. Chloe/Lara/Lana wonders if she's the only one who ever gets to see that—and if, when she is gone, Clark's humanity will disappear.

Then she remembers Lex's reply to her most recent, and last, email:


We can't let Clark lose his humanity. He's got to have something to tie him to this world—something that connects him to people, or he'll just think he should conquer everyone for their own good, like Jor-El always wanted. Don't let Clark get lost, until there's only Superman left. You have to keep him human.

I can't anymore.


—and his response: "Lara—On it. –L." She smiles.

"Not wrong, Clark. Just different. I'm dying."

He stares at her fearfully. She can see the instant he focuses his x-ray vision—knows what he finds.

"This can't be," he protests. "Lex—the Immortal Serum—"

"No, Clark," she explains patiently. "I've already pushed—passed!—the limits of human mortality. I don't have much time."

"There has to be a way," he insists.

"You can't save me," she says, looking at him indulgently. Will he ever understand how much he means to her?

"Don't do this, Chloe," he begs, and, if they were younger and her eyesight was better, Chloe/Lara/Lana would suspect that tears were starting in his eyes.

"I have to. Tell Lois…" she starts, but she can't think of anything besides 'I love you,' and 'take care of Clark,' and those things she should really tell her cousin herself.

"Chloe…" Clark says, and in his voice is a prayer. But she is no god.

"Tell her to come see me. Today."

"That soon?" he asks.

She shrugs. "Better safe than sorry."

There is a pause while they both digest that.

"Clark…" she says slowly. "I want to ask you a favor."

He raises an emotion-ravaged face. "Anything."

"I want you…to keep what I've done alive. Here, with Isis—everything."

"Of course." He looks surprised that this is even in question.

"And…" she isn't finished. "You have to tell everyone—it's Lana, really, all of it. I don't deserve the credit. She does."

He looks like he's about to protest that they both do, and also like he's fighting a desire to beat Lex or himself up, as he always does when Lana is mentioned.

She continues before he can interrupt. "You know I'm right. Lana Lang was destined for greatness. She would have done all this, if she hadn't d—and I need her to live on, through me, and this place. After all, the greatest thing Lara Queen ever did was raise a family—and Chloe Sullivan is long gone. Lana is all that's left."

He nods. Either he doesn't see the irony of that, when Lana died so young, or he accepts her reasoning. Or he's never quite let go of Lana.

"Clark," she says then. "I love you."

"I love you, too, Chloe," he says, and she smiles—she's never quite gotten him to call her anything but her given name. Not the one she made for herself, nor the one she adopted, fostering it for its previous owner.

She has many names—and that's as it should be. Perhaps, she thinks after Clark has gone and she waits to say her farewells to a remarkably well-preserved Lois—her legacy will give Lana's memory—and Clark and Lex—some peace.

After all, once she's gone, Lex and Lois will be Clark's only hope—the only things binding him to this world. Her three or more personalities have always been united in one thing—

Her last thought, she has known for years, will be of Clark.


"…Lana Lang, Superman's first love, closest friend, wife of his arch-enemy, sole supporter…She changed history—she founded and ran the famous Isis Foundation, she wrote the first anti-meteor-infected-discrimination laws, she revolutionized the way weird phenomena of every sort are viewed…and here is Lang's first grave, notice the date of death—2007…and her second grave, which has only her name, LANA…and here, the last one—Lana Lang, 1987 to—well, you can see—some scholars suspect one at least of the dates to be inaccurate, since human beings at that time hardly lived to those ages—why, that was before cellular reconstruction treatments! Do take note of the quote, however: it's vital to any student of Lana Lang—"Those who fear the darkness have no idea what the light can do." Pretty powerful stuff, huh?"

"So…how could Lang have been Superman's best friend and first love and all, if she married his nemesis?"

"Yeah, and why'd she have so many graves?"

"If she was really so special, why couldn't Superman've stopped her from dying all those times?"

"All excellent questions—I'll expect to see the answers in your research papers next week. Thanks so much for the tour, ma'am."

"You're welcome."

"'Those who fear the darkness have no idea what the light can do.' How about that, J?"

"Hey! I am NOT afraid of the dark!"

"I meant evil, J, you big baby. That's what the quote's about, obviously."

"You're just mad about that thing last week…"

"Keep telling yourself that…"

"If you two ever stopped bickering, you might realize this whole Lana Lang thing doesn't tie up. It's like…it's like she was two different people or something."

"Nah. It just means Superman used to have really weird taste in girls."

"Used to? You've seen the vid of his wife, right? How could that be her natural skin? She oughta be, like, hundreds of years old, or something."

"He doesn't look a day over thirty…"

"He's an alien!"

"Think the prof'll mind if my essay's an artistic reaction to that quote?"

"Lana Lang. I guess she was an important defender of Light, or whatever."

"Yeah, I guess. She's got her own museum."

"Think someday, any of us'll be as famous as that?"

"Our friendship'll be the stuff of legends."