Thank you everyone...
Epilogue: Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see - John Newton (Lyrics)
Metropolis, 22nd October 2013
Chloe waved as she spotted Clark exiting the revolving doors to the Daily Planet and started to move towards him. Her hand went to her mouth as he promptly bumped into a delivery guy sending a stack of boxes went everywhere.
When Lois had told her about her friend being a bumbling reporter Chloe hadn't believed it. Now seeing it first hand, it took a moment for her to reconcile the persona he now portrayed to the world with her knowledge that he was the newly dubbed Superman. The guy who was faster than a speeding bullet, rescuer of damsels in distress and kittens everywhere complete with cape and tights.
'You say I wear tights' Oliver had commented one day looking at the latest news headlines, 'Clark wears tights and I don't see you commenting on his costume.' Chloe wouldn't dare. Martha had put a lot of love into that suit and had based it on a description that Clark had given her of what they had worn on Krypton.
"Are you okay?" she asked the delivery guy. He just took the package and nodded.
"I'm, I'm sorry about that," Clark apologized.
"Just be more careful next time." Clark nodded and walked a little way off, Chloe beside him finally turning around to hug her.
Bumbling persona or not there was nothing quiet like a Clark Kent bear hug and Chloe had missed them.
"Our old coffee shop okay, do we have much time?"
"Sure, you know I will never say no to coffee. I just need to be back before Ollie's meeting at LuthorCorp this afternoon. So how's your second week as a mild mannered reporter going?"
"Well. So far I've bumped into two delivery guys – not including the one just then."
"And?" she prompted.
"Stopped three bank robberies, to many muggings and car jackings to mention, a Chemical Fire at the old LuthorCorp plant and handed in my third city beat piece," he added modestly.
He tilted his head as if to listen.
"Do you need to leave?" she asked knowing he was still trying to find a rhythm to this version of his double life.
"No, it's not something I need to get involved in." They continued walking. "Thank you again for talking with Perry."
"I just mentioned you were looking for a position. He remembered you from high school."
"He also remembers you from high school and then working with you on the Hour, in particular the story on stolen identifies. Told me I had big shoes to fill."
Chloe smirked. That story had not only been one of the defining moments of her short career in journalism, but the beginning of her relationship with Oliver. That Clark would have his own defining career moments or wouldn't be an asset to Perry's team was never a question she had.
"Considering your feet are already bigger than mine, that should be no problem," she teased.
He snorted and changed topics. " So any new pictures of my goddaughter?" She smiled and pulled out her phone so she could show him the latest.
Oliver was on parent duty while Chloe was out and had so far pulled his fingers away from his daughter's mouth several times, having learnt from first hand experience that she had cut two new teeth while he had been away. He did not want more teeth marks.
In addition to the two teeth, he had it on good authority that she had really started to crawl. Although so far she had been content to play on her blanket with him and look through her picture book.
His phone vibrated in his pocket and given that he had blocked all but a few numbers this morning he fluffed her mop of dark blonde curly hair and kissed her forehead. "I'm sorry baby, I need to take this phone call. "
"Da." He blew her a kiss as her little hand moved from side to side waving him off.
"Morning, Sam," he said shifting his focus to the skyline views and letting his callers words sink in. They had been chatting for about a minute or so when he turned back to look at the blanket expecting Grace to be doing something he would find adorable.
Instead the blanket was empty.
"Ah Sam," his eyes darting about the room until they spotted her. She was crawling towards the giant potted palm. His baby was crawling. Fast. He watched captivated as she pulled herself into a kneeling position, his hand doing a small fist pump that he had been here to see it. He continued watching as small handfuls of dirt were shoveled in her mouth. Ugh. Was she still hungry? Although he remembered reading that children at this age really just liked putting things into their mouth.
Hang on why was he still standing away from her? Bad parent. "I need to call you back," he said as he ended the call, his reflexes going into rescue mode.
He moved swiftly grabbing the little darling and sat her on the bench next to the sink, one hand around her waist the other under her mouth with a cloth. "Gracie, dirt's yucky spit it out."
She screwed her nose up at him and then smiled, her hazel eyes twinkling before the dirt drool started coming out of her mouth and two grubby hands planted themselves all over his shirt.
"Really out of all the international cuisine available to you, you think dirt is mmm huh? You know if you're going to eat anything from a garden I recommend snails in herb and garlic butter. But slugs are just as yucky as dirt," he finished somewhat conspiratorially. Something else he knew from first hand experience…but he wasn't telling her about his time on the island until she was much older.
She snuggled into him giggling, wiping her mouth over his already ruined shirt and looking back up at him cheekily waiting to see what he would do now. His insides just melted like an ice cream cone on a hot summer's day. No amount of pictures and media files compared to actually being present for these hugs and smiles.
From the moment she had been placed into his arms only minutes old he had been wrapped around her little finger and he hadn't wanted to miss anything. He was just grateful that he hadn't missed too much of her growing up in the last eleven months, his most recent business trip the longest he had been away from his family in that time.
"Daddy loves you Gracie," he said as he lifted her up blowing raspberries on her stomach, leading to the simultaneous clapping of hands and baby laughter. He finished cleaning her up and feed her, grateful he hadn't bothered with the shirt because sure enough he had ended up with baked apple on it.
When she tried for his fingers again he found her teething ring. "Here you go, bite on that," he said. She compiled after grabbing the object hesitantly. The look on her face as she realized that the ring was cool and squishy was priceless.
Click. He captured the moment on his phone camera and forwarded it to Chloe tagging it 'something she likes better than my fingers this morning'.
Now completely covered in drool she tried to hand the ring back to him. "Da."
"It's all yours baby," he said as he gently pushed her hand back towards her mouth. She crawled into his lap giggling, again rubbing her drool covered mouth all over his shirt and then looked utterly content to be in daddy's arms with her chew toy. He sat for a while closing his eyes while humming a tune and gently rocking her.
Hearing the thud of the ring against the floor he opened his eyes and checked the time. 12:00 pm. Wow they had literally played the morning away. He got up carefully and moved towards her nursery passing several pictures that Chloe had put up including one of his favorites which was a black and white of Mary, Chloe & Grace taken when Grace had started to sit up. This particular print was now in all three of their homes.
Next to it was a photo that always made him want to laugh. Grace in a space capsule and her 'uncles' Bart, AC & Victor dressed as mad scientists looking like they didn't know what to do with her taken at comic con. They didn't see the team as often any more. AC had found himself a mermaid and was living in Florida. Victor was still working in IT but had also found a purpose outside the team. Bart had surprised him and finished a forensics degree and was working with the SCPD.
Really he couldn't be happier for them.
Then there were several mom, dad and daughter candid's, photos of her with Mary and John, Lana, Lois, Martha and the farm animals. Something she was going to enjoy again when they headed out to the Kent farm later in the week for an intimate dinner with the good senator and her son. A picture of Grace and her uncle Clark wouldn't be far off now that he had officially finished his training.
He looked down at his little cherub. It was mostly because of her that they were in Metropolis this week. Grant Gabriel had been filling in for Tess at the National Children's Charity Auction several months ago with his family and they had bumped into one another. Grant's son had played with Grace before she had gotten upset and Grant had commented that the Apple wasn't likely to fall from the tree – and it had irked him, that the implication was that his perfect little girl was going to grow up to loathe that boy because he was a Luthor.
Which is why tomorrow he had someone to see.
Metropolis, 23rd October 2013
Oliver's feet stopped at the grave, hands in pockets, his eyes behind the sunglasses surveying the area for anyone that could potentially interrupt him because he wanted this exchange to be private and not splashed across the tabloids.
He crouched down next to the headstone of the man who had caused so much hurt in his life and removed his sunglasses.
"It's no secret that I've hated you, I especially hated the way that you manipulated me and my family." He stopped for a moment before continuing.
"I don't know that you really intended the outcome of our last visit to be anything less than my utter self-destruction, despite your words of encouragement to the contrary."
He paused, standing up and scuffing the gravestone with his foot. "Part of me would just love to just walk all over your grave after all the pain your actions caused me over the years. Not to mention the pains in the ass your children still are because they can't get over their daddy issues… so if it was your intention for me to self-destruct, I get the last laugh, because I didn't and I'm still here."
The platinum band on his ring finger glinted in the sunlight and he immediately thought of the two blondes waiting for him at home. Both of which were making a mess of the kitchen right now in an attempt to make him a birthday cake.
"Not that I forgive you for taking my parents from me in the first place. …. But if any part of you meant what you said that day about giving back what you had taken, I'd concede the last laugh to you because you were right, and I do have people who are home for me. I have a wife who I love and a daughter who loves me unconditionally and I wanted you know that."
Sure that he had said all that he needed to; he gave a brief nod towards the headstone. "So long Lionel." He turned around and headed back towards his car putting his sunglasses back on, his mind slipping back to the chain of events that started over five years ago and feeling a little lighter for having come.
The sliding door to the balcony opened. "Hey," Chloe said softly putting her arms around his waist and her face to his shoulder. "You've been quiet this morning."
He squeezed her hand. "This birthday is making me a little reflective."
"Oh," she said as she wiggled her way into the front. "And what were you reflecting on today Mr Queen."
"Lionel, us, five years ago, Grace." She didn't let him go or flinch and not for the last time he counted how grateful he was that she hadn't run screaming for the hills. That they had been able to stand by each other and deepen the bonds between them, even though their marriage had started as a lie.
"Careful Ollie, I am starting to get a whiff of old age and wisdom," she teased, but he wasn't in the mood to be teased. He looked at her with absolute honesty.
"I love you Chloe."
"I love you too Ollie, with everything I am."
~ The End~
AN:Smishes to everyone who made it this far - Thank you. The amount of support has been truly motivating. Two special thanks shout outs. Hellzz on Earth for her help from when I asked if I could bounce some ideas around from December 2011 till now. And Mark SV whose questions needed answers and spurred the story on.
This was a incredibly ambitious project for me and finishing it has been a huge undertaking (especially towards the end when I just wanted to start it all over again). For those not quiet ready to say goodbye, I have included a deleted scene below that was fun, but didn't fit in the chapter I wrote it for.
Moving on I have two short stories called Glitch and Rush Hour (art work on my LJ) featuring our adorable blondes in the works. There are also some other characters/universes that I have been itching to write for as well, so hope to come across some of you again (either as a author or reader) in the future. Until then Live and Laugh.
Star City, 30th October 2012
"Can you take a look at the one on your right, the yellow one."Oliver obeyed the voice in his ear and held out the garment for her inspection. When he had suggested doing some shopping for baby things because they hadn't had time to get around to it yet, he hadn't expected it to be as a personal shopper while Chloe looked at things through the camera in his glasses. He had been thinking more online. Not that he minded, it was kind of a novel way to be included.
"What do you think?"
"It's kind of cute, but they're all cute. I should just buy the store."
She laughed. "There are other stores Ollie. Not to mention whatever Lois, Lana, Martha and my mom have been buying."
He suddenly had a vision of a swath of pink and lace especially where Lana was concerned and it bothered him.
"Anything else you wanted to look at?" he asked, rechecking the amount of pink.
"No I think that's enough for today. You?"
"I'll see you tonight with our shopping haul." He hastily put back all the pink things and grabbed a couple more things in green.