Season 5, missing scenes from "Vengeance"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me.
It’s a long time before Clark is capable of any sort of thought, let alone speech. When he becomes aware of his surroundings again, he discovers he’s sprawled on his back, Chloe on top of him, her head resting on his shoulder.
He’s probably a more comfortable surface than the pebbled rooftop, but even so, it feels strangely intimate to have her lying there on top of him. But his arms are still locked around her, so it’s not like she had a lot of choice. Even so, she doesn’t appear to be struggling to get away from him.
He gives a long sigh, and she lifts her head and looks at him. Her typically sleek blonde hair is a tangled mess, and her clothes are disheveled and crumpled. But she looks beautiful to him.
“I was starting to worry about you,” she says with her perky grin.
“I’m okay. Just kind of…” Overwhelmed. “Tired, I guess.”
“Maybe we ought to get going.”
He doesn’t want to leave the rooftop, which feels like an island of peace and tranquility in the midst of churning waves. He doesn’t want to leave this oasis and go back out into the bleak desert that's his life. He doesn't want to let Chloe go.
But he knows he has to release her sometime. The situation between them has to go back to normal, assuming that's even possible now. Things can't continue this way. It isn't fair to her.
He relaxes his grip, and she scrambles to her feet and starts getting her clothes back in as much order as possible.
He stands up, gets his own clothes rearranged so he’s decent, and looks at her, uncertain what to say or do now. His parents brought him up to be a gentleman, and for the life of him he’s not sure what a gentleman ought to say to a girl whose body he’s just used for comfort and consolation.
The thing is, he’s pretty sure his parents expected him not to get into this kind of situation at all. His dad in particular would definitely not have approved.
He’s just used Chloe, and he knows he ought to feel bad about it, but he can’t. He’s been bottling up his emotions since his dad died, to the point where they were getting way out of control. He remembers the way he reacted earlier in the evening, when he had Chloe shoved up against the wall, and he shivers slightly.
He’s so strong that he just can’t afford to let himself freak out that way. He could seriously hurt someone if he failed to keep his temper under control, even for a minute. If nothing else, at least this hour with Chloe has helped him work through some of the demons that have been haunting him.
He feels almost alive again, for the first time in weeks. He's still a long distance from happiness, because he was really close to his dad, and it's going to take a while for him to come to grips with the loss. But he's no longer filled with rage and pain and darkness, either.
They find the stairwell and head down the stairs together. She's walking next to him, but taking care to maintain some space betwen them. He wants to reach out and take her hand, but something in her body language warns him to keep his distance.
The building is dim, but there are lights along the stairwell, enough for them to find their way down safely. Chloe keeps glancing at him as if she’s feeling a little uncomfortable, too.
“Clark,” she says at last. “I don’t want this to affect our friendship. I don’t want things to get weird, so you start avoiding me or anything like that.”
“I don’t think things can ever get that weird between us, Chlo.”
"I hope not." She hesitates, then goes on in an awkward rush. “About… what I said to you. You know I didn’t really mean that, right? I was just sort of… emotional right then.”
He’d like to accept her words at face value, but he recognizes her statement as a typical Chloe effort to distance herself from someone she cares for before she gets hurt. She’s done it to him before, backed away from in an effort to protect her heart.
Anyway, he knows she really did mean what she said, no matter what she's telling him now, because he could feel the truth of it in the way she touched him.
He’s not an expert on women, but he knows Chloe.
Regret and sorrow fill him. “Chloe,” he says softly. “I really wish I could say it back to you.”
“Oh, don’t be silly,” she says in an airy tone that might be totally convincing if her voice didn’t quaver just a bit. “You know I didn’t really mean it. I mean, yeah, I love you, Clark, but I don’t love love you, if you know what I mean.”
For her sake, he wishes that were true. For his sake… well, a selfish part of him is glad to know she loves him. He's always suspected, but now he knows for sure, and it makes him feel somehow more worthwhile, more valuable, than he felt earlier in the evening. Chloe knows all his faults, everything he’s done wrong in his life, all the mistakes he’s made...
And she loves him anyway.
She’s not trying to force him into a relationship, not demanding anything from him, not trying to make him feel guilty about it. She simply loves him, even knowing he might never love her back.
It’s heartbreaking, and yet at the same time it’s one of the most amazing things that’s ever happened to him. Chloe loves him so much that she’s willing to pretend she doesn’t, just so their friendship can continue. She loves him so much she’s willing to offer him everything and take absolutely nothing in return.
He really wishes he could tell her he loved her. He thinks maybe if he did love her, he'd be a better person for it. But he can't say the words, because they aren't true. He's not in love with her.
But for the first time it occurs to him that he could be, that it probably wouldn't take a lot of effort on his part to fall for her.
In fact, after what's happened between them this evening, he thinks he might have already started to fall.
They come out of the building and head for the alley, because Chloe’s stuff is still there. Clark cocks his head, listens, and determines there’s no one around. Apparently the thugs didn’t see the point in waiting around for victims who can vanish into thin air.
Chloe walks into the alley and looks around. “Damn it,” she says. “My stuff’s gone.”
“Damn. I forgot about your purse.”
“It was empty. I’m not dumb enough to bring my wallet into this area of town. But my jacket’s gone. And my coat.”
“I’m sorry,” he says. He supposes he should have jumped back down here and retrieved her stuff, but he’d gotten… occupied… and the thought hadn’t occurred to him.
“Damn it,” she says again, more fiercely. “I loved that coat.”
“I’m really sorry, Chlo. Maybe I can find the guys and get it back.”
She waves a hand in the air. “It’s not that big a deal, Clark. It’s just…” Her voice breaks, and she slams her palm angrily against the bricks.
He’s horrified to realize that the unflappable Chloe Sullivan is crying because her coat’s been stolen. But almost instantly he realizes she isn’t crying over the coat, any more than his anger was really aimed at her earlier in the evening. She obviously has a lot more on her mind than just the coat.
“Chloe,” he says, uncertain of what to do. Crying girls scare the hell out of him. “Don’t cry, Chlo.”
“I’m not… crying,” she says with stiff dignity. Turning, she stalks away from him. “Come on, Clark. Let’s get going.”
He trails after her, with absolutely no idea what to say or do to fix this. The one thing in the world he didn’t want to do was hurt her, but he went right ahead and did it anyway.
Guilt tries to settle onto him again, but he shoves it away impatiently, thinking he needs to quit reacting with angry guilt every time something bad happens. He may not have been able to save his dad, but he can still fix his relationship with Chloe.
At least he hopes he can. Because she brought him out of the abyss tonight, filled the void in his soul, flooded the darkness inside him with light. He's pretty sure there's no one else on the planet who could have done that so easily. Time and again, she's been there to save him, physically and emotionally, and he depends on her. He can't imagine his life without her.
That thought is enough to give him pause. Maybe if he can’t envision an existence without her, it’s time to admit she’s a little more important to him than he ever admitted. He catches up to her in two strides, gently captures her wrist, and turns her around.
Even in the darkness of the alley he can see tears streaking her cheeks.
“Chloe,” he says softly, wiping them away. He knows she was trying to keep him from seeing them, in order not to add to his guilt and pain, but he hates that she feels like she can’t be honest with him about her emotions.
“I’m sorry,” she says, her voice breaking again. “I cry too easily. I know it.”
If she were really crying over the coat, he might agree with her. But he doesn’t think crying over unrequited love constitutes crying too easily. He's shed a few tears for that reason himself. “No,” he answers steadily. “I understand, really. I’m sorry I upset you.”
She rolls her eyes at him. “Believe it or not, Clark, everything isn’t about you. I’m upset about my coat, okay?”
More tears spill out of her eyes, and he brushes them away with his fingers. “You must really love that coat,” he says gently.
“I did,” she answers, her voice shaking. “I still do. But I guess I’m never going to find it again.”
“I don’t know,” he says. “You never know what could happen, Chlo. It might come back to you one of these days.”
She shakes her head. “No,” she says with tragic certainty. “I think it’s gone for good.” She snuffles. “Maybe it’s better that way.”
“I don’t think so, Chloe. If you really love it, maybe you should keep trying to find it.”
She lifts her head and stares into his eyes for an endless moment. “I don’t think so,” she says at last. “I’ll just get my heart broken. Sometimes you just have to admit something is gone and try to go on without it.”
“What if you can’t live without it?”
“I’ll just have to learn,” she says stiffly.
He looks into her eyes for a long moment, then puts his arms around her and pulls her against his chest. She resists for a moment, rigid and unyielding, then slides her arms around his waist and begins to cry softly into his t-shirt.
“Chloe,” he whispers against her hair. “Chlo. Everything will work out, I promise.”
“No,” she says with a heartrending sob. “Someone else has my coat.”
He knows she’s thinking about Lana, who’s had his heart for years now. He loved Lana, or thought he did, so much that he proposed to her two weeks ago. And yet tonight he’s made love to Chloe twice, with an explosive passion he never shared with Lana. It makes him think maybe he didn’t love Lana as much as he’d always believed he did.
“I don’t know about that,” he says. “And even if someone’s got it right now, I think it suits you better.”
She draws in a sharp little breath. “You think?”
“Yeah. I think.”
She gives a long, mournful sigh against his chest. “I knew that coat was right for me the minute I saw it,” she says in a soft voice. “I didn’t even try on another coat. I just knew it was perfect.”
“Sometimes it happens that way,” he agrees. “Some people find the perfect coat right away. But some people have to try on a few before they find one that really fits them.”
As he says the words, he can’t help but notice the way Chloe fits him, literally. The top of her head fits just beneath his chin, and her body seems to mold itself to him. He thinks maybe she just noticed the same thing, because her body presses a little closer to his.
She speaks into his chest, her voice a little muffled. “But what if you’re having a bad few weeks, and you just think a coat’s right for you because you’re upset about something? You might bring it home, and then discover you didn’t like it that much after all.”
“I guess it’s best not to make any important decisions like that when you’re upset,” he admits. “But you know, if you see the perfect coat, you don’t want to let it get away from you, either.”
As he says the words, he realizes how true they are. This isn’t a good time in his life for him to be making any kind of commitment, because he’s kind of a mess, emotionally speaking.
But he’d be a total idiot to just let her walk away from him.
They both fall silent, and he holds her against his chest for long moments in the darkness. At last Chloe stirs against him.
“We better get going, Clark. Let’s keep trying to find the Angel.”
“It’s getting pretty late,” he points out.
“That’s okay. I know how much you want to find your dad’s watch.”
That’s Chloe. She never gives up, and she’s always there for him when he needs her. He looks down at her, wondering why he hasn’t noticed how well she fits him before. Obviously he’s kind of stupid when it comes to… coats.
“Okay,” he says at last. “Let’s get going, then.”
He shrugs off his black jacket and puts it on her. It’s huge, hanging loosely on her slight frame, but he likes the way it looks on her. To him, it looks better than her houndstooth coat. It makes her look like she's his.
He thinks that's a really good look on her.
“Let’s go,” she says, wrapping his jacket around her and heading for the street.
He falls into step beside her, and together they walk out of the alley, out of the shadows, out of the darkness.
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