Rating: PG for language
Season 4, expansion of "Spirit"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC comics, not to me
Of all sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these, "What might have been."
- "Maude Muller," John Greenleaf Whittier
Chloe Sullivan was having a really bad prom night.
She’d been possessed by the spirit of the bitchiest girl in school, who’d been killed in a car accident that afternoon, and practically torched her whole school, along with her friends. Then she’d been slapped across a room by Clark Kent, the boy she’d been in love with forever. Not his fault, of course—he’d been possessed by the same spirit. Even so, it wasn’t shaping up to be a night to remember.
At least not a night she’d want to remember.
On the up side, she thought optimistically, now that the spirit of Dawn-the-queen-bitch had been exorcised, things had to improve. They couldn’t get any worse, could they?
And then she saw the boy she’d adored forever heading straight for Lana Lang, the girl he was in love with, and she realized that yes...
Things could very definitely get worse.
The evening had started out okay. Chloe had come to the dance alone, since Clark hadn’t picked up on her broad and totally unsubtle hint that he should accompany her. But Clark never picked up on anything girl-related, the big dumb oaf, so she hadn’t been terribly surprised.
Clark had told her he’d be staying home and sulking. Not that he put it that way, exactly, but that was pretty much what it boiled down to. He didn’t want to go to prom because Lana Lang had a boyfriend and wouldn’t be attending. He’d rather sit alone at home in the dark, indulging in a Maude Muller evening and thinking about what might have been.
So when Chloe diffidently slid into the room, she’d been startled and surprised to see Clark standing next to the punch bowl, looking even more gorgeous than ever in a black tux. He’d smiled at her across the room, flashing that high-beam grin that meant he was really happy to see her, and her heart had promptly melted into a little puddle on the floor.
She’d walked toward him. “Clark!” she said, trying to keep the delight out of her voice. “What are you doing here?”
His grin changed, becoming a little more shy. “Well, you know those regrets we talked about?” he said, referring to a conversation they’d had earlier in the day. “I thought not seeing you in a crown would be at the top of the list.”
She smiled, pleased that he’d come to support her. It was actually his fault she was up for the dubious “honor” of Prom Queen, after all. She’d written a scathing editorial about how wrong it was to ruin prom for everyone by making it a popularity contest, and Clark had begun suggesting to the student body that a vote for Chloe Sullivan was a vote against the institution of prom queen.
No one else would have ever nominated her otherwise. She wasn’t that kind of girl. And that didn’t bother her. Much.
She drew up short when she saw her own cousin, Lois Lane, walking toward them. Lois halted next to Clark, and Chloe abruptly realized Clark and Lois had come to the dance together.
A bolt of jealousy, every bit as green as the meteor rocks scattered around town, struck her like lightning.
She shoved the jealousy away impatiently. Clark and Lois weren’t dating. Lois could barely stand the sight of him, and Clark didn’t like her much either. Besides, Lois had graduated from high school last year, and she considered herself far above events like senior proms. Lois must have felt sorry for him or something.
Anyway, Lois was clad in pink spangled satin, a gown that Chloe would have sworn she’d never wear voluntarily. Chloe blinked at her cousin, incredulous. “And you’re here,” she said. “In pink. Why?”
Lois smiled vaguely, her voice pitched a little higher than usual. “Why, to cheer you on, of course.”
Chloe stared at her, puzzled by the strange way Lois was acting. But before she could press her cousin for further information, they’d stopped the music for the big announcement.
Chloe smiled a little nervously at her friend and cousin. “If by some wild chance I win, the tiara-burning party is at my house.”
Clark grinned back at her, and she knew he understood the weird mix of feelings beneath her statement. Part of her-- most of her-- hated the prom queen tradition, just as she’d said in her editorial. But a small part of her really wanted to win that tiara.
“Let’s get closer,” Lois suggested brightly.
The three of them wended their way through the crowd, toward the front of the gym. Lois, Chloe noticed, looked strangely excited. She was glad her cousin cared so much for her, but really, she looked a little overly worked up. Maybe Lois had wanted to be a prom queen herself last year, and hadn’t won. Who knew what went on in that brain?
Chloe didn't expect to really be named Prom Queen, anyway. The most obvious contender for the title was Dawn Stiles. Dawn was a platinum blonde girl who was wildly popular, at least on the surface. The stark truth was, she was a megabitch, and everyone hated and feared her, because she had a vicious tongue that could spread rumors faster than Chloe could type—and that was pretty damn fast.
Unfortunately, Dawn had been killed in a car accident earlier today. She’d died in a gorge filled with meteor rocks, which had apparently left her spirit able to take control of other people's bodies. Her spirit had possessed Clark’s mom before moving on to Lana Lang. After that they’d lost track of her, but Chloe had a bad feeling her spirit was still out there somewhere. Maybe even somewhere in this room, waiting to see if she’d been named Prom Queen.
“And the big winner is… Chloe Sullivan!”
Chloe’s eyes went wide with shock. She looked over her shoulder and saw Clark grinning at her. And then Lois smiled widely, said, “Congratulations!” and hugged her.
That was the last thing she remembered.
She’d come back to herself in the boiler room. She and Clark seemed to be alone. She looked up at him, puzzled as to how they’d gotten from the crowded gym to this empty room.
And then the boy she loved reached down and plucked her tiara from her head.
“The crown’s mine, bitch,” he said, and slapped her.
Chloe went flying, hitting the floor with a painful thud. She was dimly surprised she was still conscious to feel the concrete floor, or even that her head was still attached to her shoulders. Clark was extraordinarily strong, a fact he’d never seen fit to share with her but that she’d discovered this year, despite all his efforts to hide it. She attributed his strength to a meteor rock mutation, which unfortunately wasn’t terribly uncommon in Smallville. It was the only explanation she could come up with.
"Genius," Clark said, and picked up a flaming mop.
“Dawn!” another voice said loudly.
Chloe peered up, seeing Jonathan Kent standing there. Slowly she began to realize what had happened. Dawn Stiles had possessed Lois, then her, and now… Clark.
Oh, fabulous, she thought. The queen bitch in a super-strong body. That can’t be good.
Clark—Dawn—turned to face Jonathan, still holding the mop, which flamed brightly. Evidently Dawn was pissed at not winning the title of Prom Queen and had decided to torch the school.
“Seriously, Mr. Kent, you can’t stop me,” Clark said in a strangely high voice, sounding uncannily like Dawn.
“Maybe not,” Jonathan said, looking grim. “But I can stop my son.”
Yeah, right, Chloe thought. Even though Clark hadn’t seen fit to share his secrets with her, she knew he was extraordinarily fast in addition to being insanely strong. She didn’t think there was anything that could stop him. Fortunately Clark was basically a decent guy. If he’d been a jerk, he would have been very dangerous.
And right now he was possessed by the queen of all jerks.
She expected to see Jonathan Kent flung across the room, just as she'd been. But Clark suddenly stumbled and went to his knees, gasping in pain. Chloe peered up, trying to see what was going on without letting on that she was conscious, because she didn’t want either of the Kents to realize she knew their secret. What she saw made her blink in confusion.
Jonathan was holding a meteor rock, and it was glowing very, very green.
"What are you doing?" Clark/Dawn demanded in his weirdly high voice, still struggling for breath. "What is that?"
“It’s time for you to go, Dawn,” Jonathan said, taking a step toward Clark. Chloe could see from the hard set of his jaw that he wasn’t happy about having to hurt his son. But she could also see the determination in his eyes, the awareness of what damage a possessed Clark could do.
Clark collapsed to the floor, writhing in what looked like agony. A pink and gold cloud rose from his body, toward the ceiling. It didn’t look happy about being exorcised. In fact, it appeared to be struggling. Jonathan didn’t relent, kept the rock near Clark despite his son’s gasps of pain, and the pink and gold cloud rose through the ceiling and disappeared. Only then did Jonathan toss the rock away.
“Son! You all right?”
Clark struggled to a sitting position. “Yeah, I’m okay,” he said, rubbing at his temple. Suddenly his head whipped around, and Chloe quickly shut her eyes.
“Chloe!” he said, very real panic in his voice. He jumped up and ran over to her. “Chloe? Are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” she answered, opening her eyes and getting up. He grabbed her by the arms and assisted her, which she didn’t object to in the least. He stood there, holding her arms and looking down into her eyes.
“What happened?” he asked in a soft voice. His hand reached up to brush her face. “There's a red mark on your cheek, Chlo. Did I—“
“You were possessed by Dawn,” Chloe said lightly. “She got a little cranky.”
“I hit you?” His eyes went wide, and he looked horrified.
Chloe understood his reaction. She’d seen him catch a speeding car in midair, so she had a pretty good idea how strong he was. If Clark hit her with all his strength, he’d probably crush her skull. As it was, he hadn’t even hit her hard enough to leave a bruise. She’d been very lucky.
And they’d all been lucky Clark’s dad had something to stop him with. She was something of an expert on meteor freaks, but she’d never heard of a meteor freak who had that sort of reaction to the meteor rocks. Weird. Even weirder was the fact that Jonathan Kent kept a chunk of something that could harm his son within easy reach.
It was all just another aspect of the mystery that was Clark Kent.
“You dropped something,” Clark said, bending and retrieving the tiara. He put it back on her coiffed hair and smiled into her eyes. “Shall we go back upstairs?”
And he offered her his arm.
Read Chapter 2 here.