Word Count: 1795
Disclaimer: all characters belong to the CW/DC Comics
Summary: Bart’s not his usual self and Chloe decides to fix that.
A/N: For scoob2222 for my ABC meme, prompt: 'smile'; thanks to boltgirl426 for beta'ing and coming up with the title!
There was something wrong with Bart Allen. Chloe had gotten to know the speedster pretty well over the past few years, especially with them working together, and she could sense that something was up.
For one, he was a lot more serious than usual. Everyone knew that ‘serious’ and ‘Bart’ were two words that generally couldn’t be found in the same sentence. But that’s the only way that she could describe him as of late.
He didn’t flirt with her anymore, he wasn’t eating everything in sight, and just seemed more withdrawn.
“Hey, Bart, is everything all right with you?” she asked one day, after he turned down the cookies she had just made.
“Everything’s fine,” he told her. “Don’t worry, Chloe.”
Chloe. That itself was wrong … he usually called her “Chloelicious” or a variety of other nicknames that he had come up with. Truth be told, she kind of liked them. It made her feel special.
But before she could persist, he gave some excuse and sped off. So, she went to Plan B: questioning the rest of the team. They knew Bart as well as she did, or probably even better, so they would notice the changes too, right?
Victor was the only one who was able to provide her some information, but even that wasn’t overly helpful.
“I don’t know what to tell you,” Victor said apologetically, “He acts like this every year, around this time.”
“Every year?” Chloe echoed. “How did I not notice?”
“Well, this is the first year you’ve actually been with us on a more permanent basis,” Victor pointed out. “Usually, you’re in Smallville, and we’re somewhere else in the world.”
“That’s true,” Chloe conceded. “So none of you have figured it out?”
“Nope,” Victor said, shrugging. “I mean, we’ve tried, but he just runs off. Finally, we just gave up. Give him a few days, and he’ll be back to normal.”
Chloe sighed. “All right, thanks, Victor.”
No matter what Victor thought, she wasn’t just going to give up. It wasn’t in her nature. Chloe was going to find out what was wrong with Bart, if it was the last thing she ever did.
Why do you care so much, a small voice in her head asked. Well, he was her friend. This seems to be a step beyond friendship. No, it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. Pushing the crazy thoughts away, she got to work. She didn’t have time for that anyway.
Digging up information on Bart didn’t prove to be that difficult, and she had his full family history within a couple of hours. Once she analyzed it, she quickly figured out what the problem was: it was his mother’s birthday.
Or at least it would be in a couple of days. That must be the reason. Bart had never talked about his birth family. Though the League liked to consider themselves a family, Chloe knew that they all privately missed the people who raised them now and then.
Bart was probably no exception. He had left his home on not so good terms, and despite the fact that he was doing good in the world now, Chloe realized he may have regrets. The real question was what should she do about it?
The logical part of her said that she shouldn’t butt in and it wasn’t any of her business, but her heart didn’t seem to feel the same way. Before she could think twice, she had found out the current contact information for Bart’s parents.
Once she had it though, she was stumped on what was the next step to take. Should she confront Bart? Go talk to his parents? This could end up being bad and have severe repercussions if something should go wrong.
Her instincts told her to go for it; so even though she may regret her actions, she did. She found that it was helpful to know a billionaire, because getting a plane on such short notice was no hassle and Ollie trusted her enough not to ask too many questions.
Knocking on the front door of the moderate-sized home was probably one of the most nerve wrecking experiences Chloe had ever gone through. After a moment, a small, dark haired woman answered.
“Mrs. Allen?” she said hesitatingly.
“Yes?” she said, eyeing her suspiciously. “And you are?”
“My name is Chloe Sullivan,” Chloe responded. “I … I know your son.”
The following events were a blur. Bart’s mother called out to her husband and they had a load of questions for her. It turned out that they missed their son just as much as he missed them.
Chloe was told a bunch of stories about Bart and she felt strangely at home with his parents. They had made mistakes, sure, but it was clear that they loved their son. I could relate to that, she found herself thinking.
His mother told Chloe about her past birthdays and she quickly learned why Bart was so sad. When Chloe suggested a reunion, her mouth working faster than her brain, his parents were delighted and kept thanking her for seeking them out.
But she knew that this was the easy part; it was going to be tough getting Bart to cooperate and she had no idea how he was going to react when he saw his parents again. Oh, God, please don’t let him hate me for this. Chloe didn’t think she would be able to bear it if he did.
She decided that the reunion shouldn’t be public, so when the Allen’s arrived, she gave them her address and told them to meet her at her apartment. Once they had shown up, she took a deep breath and called Bart.
“Hey,” she said, when he picked up. “Do you mind swinging over to my place? I need a favor.”
“Yeah, I’ll be there in a few,” Bart replied. He may be different, but he would still be there for her whenever she needed him.
Chloe decided to step outside, so she could meet Bart first and try to soften the blow.
As promised, he was there within a couple of minutes.
“What’s up?” he greeted her. Glancing around the hallway, he asked, “Any reason we’re outside?”
“Umm, yeah,” Chloe said slowly. “Bart, you know I’ve been worried about you.”
“I thought we went over this,” he interrupted, frowning.
“We did, but then I did some research,” Chloe confessed, wringing her hands together. “And I know why you’re upset …”
“You didn’t,” Bart said, visibly unhappy.
“I did something,” Chloe continued, “And I really hope that you don’t hate me for this.”
“What did you do?” Bart’s voice was stiff, and Chloe was at a loss for words. So she just opened the door. He went inside, and she followed.
Bart gasped at the sight. “Mom? Dad?”
“Bart!” his mother said, running to him and giving him a hug. “Oh, my little boy, you’ve grown so much!”
He was stiff for a moment, but Chloe watched as he relaxed and hugged his mother back.
The reunion went off better than she could’ve ever hoped, with his parents spouting apologies and Bart just seeming … happy. Chloe had to blink away tears as seeing the family reunite and for once, was glad she went with her instincts.
“You guys should go out for lunch,” she volunteered. “Catch up and stuff.”
“You’ll come with us, won’t you?” Mrs. Allen asked. “We couldn’t have done this without you.”
“Maybe some other time,” Chloe told her.
Mr. Allen nodded and glanced at Bart. “You got a great girl here, kiddo. Don’t let her go.”
“Actually,” Bart began.
“Don’t worry,” Chloe interrupted. “He knows he’s stuck with me.” Bart glanced at her and she winked.
“Mom, Dad,” Bart said, turning toward his parents. “Can I talk to Chloe for a minute?”
“Yeah, sure,” his mother agreed. “We’ll wait in the car.” As they passed by Chloe, his mom gave him a quick hug. “Thank you for everything.”
“It was my pleasure,” she said softly, and closed the door behind them after they left. She was alone with Bart.
“So,” she started.
“Why?” he asked, before she could go on.
“I don’t know,” Chloe said, sighing. “I just … I hated that you were sad, and I wanted to fix it.”
“Thank you,” Bart said seriously. “You … don’t know what this means to me.”
“I think I do,” Chloe responded warmly. “And there’s no thanks necessary.”
He grinned cheekily. “And the letting my parents think you’re my girlfriend? Always knew you had a thing for me, Chloelicious … finally admitting we’re together?” Chloe laughed; now this was her Bart. He was happy and laughing and she would take this Bart over a serious one any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
“I was just helping you out and I didn’t want you to lose face in front of your parents,” she retorted. “I’m obviously not your girlfriend.”
His face fell a little, and he shrugged. “I suppose you can’t have everything.”
“After all, Allen,” Chloe went on, like she hadn’t even heard him. “How can I be your girlfriend when you haven’t even asked me out on a date?”
At this, Bart’s jaw dropped. “Umm … what?”
“You heard me,” Chloe said, smirking. “Or are you not interested anymore?”
“No, no, I’m definitely interested!” Bart stammered. “You’re not messing with my head are you, gorgeous?”
“Why don’t you try asking and find out?” Chloe challenged.
“All right,” Bart agreed. “Would you go on a date with me, Chloe Sullivan?”
“Let me think about it,” Chloe said, pretending to ponder. After making him sweat for a couple of moments, she finally said, “I’d love to.”
“You are a very evil woman,” he told her.
“It’s part of my charm,” Chloe said unapologetically, her eyes twinkling. “Now shoo, go spend time with your family … and you can pick me up for our date tomorrow at 6:30 pm sharp.”
“Do I get to decide on anything?” he wondered aloud.
“We’ll see,” Chloe replied cheekily. She closed the distance between them and kissed him on the cheek.
He pressed his hand on his cheek, where Chloe kissed it and grinned. “If it gets me more of that, you can take charge … in any way you want.” He leered, and Chloe smacked him playfully.
“Go, while you’re still ahead,” Chloe said, but she was smiling.
“Sounds like a plan,” he said and dashed off.
Shaking her head, Chloe took a seat on the couch. She had taken a risk and gotten her Bart back.
And even though the two of them were not together, nothing could’ve wiped the smile off their faces for the rest of the day.