Season 5, sequel to "Thirst"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me
"So how come your eyeballs don't melt?"
After putting out the fire he'd inadvertently set (which scorched a circle about four feet wide on the grass), Clark had stretched out on the grass in a state of contented afterglow and pulled Chloe back into his arms, his eyes shut, his cheek pressed against Chloe's hair, his hand moving lazily over her back. At her words, he opened his eyes and blinked at her. "Huh?"
"Your eyeballs. Why don't they melt when your heat vision goes off?"
He stared at her for a long moment. "Have you ever had a thought that didn't just come straight out of your mouth?"
"Every so often," she said with a mysterious little smile.
"You think of the weirdest things."
"I don't think it's weird. I know your skin is invulnerable, so it makes sense your corneas are invulnerable too, but how about the insides of your eyes? Isn't there, like, jelly in there, just like everyone else's? How come it just doesn't melt?"
He squeezed his eyes shut, wincing. "Thanks for putting that lovely mental image into my head, Chlo. I may never use my heat vision again."
"I was just wondering how it works."
"No clue. I may never find out unless I'm willing to let someone experiment on me in a lab somewhere. And oddly enough, I'm not too inclined to do that."
"No. I can understand that. It's enough that it works, I guess."
"Yeah." And it felt great, but he didn't really want to say so, because it seemed like kind of a weird and alien thing for him to enjoy the feeling of fire shooting from his eyes. But having tried it, he knew that having sex the human way was pretty damn dull by comparison.
Anyway, he had no idea how to turn his heat vision off while making love, even if he wanted to. Which meant sex with Lana was definitely off limits unless he told her everything about him.
The thought of Lana gave him a twinge of guilt, but oddly enough, it wasn't guilt at the fact that he'd betrayed her. The thought of having sex with Lana made him feel guilty because if he did... he'd be betraying Chloe.
Which was crazy, because he wasn't dating Chloe.
He dragged his eyelids open and looked down at their naked bodies, intertwined on the grass. The full moon had risen, and in the silver light her skin glowed like smooth, flawless alabaster, dappled here and there with shadows. Her pale thigh rested on top of his legs, and her arm was draped possessively over his stomach.
He had to admit that looked a hell of a lot like dating.
Damn it. He was pondscum. He was lower than pondscum. He'd screwed everything up, and he didn't have a frigging clue how to fix things.
But he did know that the thought of never making love to Chloe again made his chest ache.
And the thought of making love to her again made another part of him ache.
That part of him twitched against her leg, and she lifted her head and blinked at him, her eyes huge and dark in the moonlight. "What, again? Are you kidding me?"
"No," he said, lifting his head and brushing his lips over her forehead. "I'm totally serious."
"What about your parents?"
"They won't be home for a couple more hours yet. Plenty of time to make love again." He grinned. "Maybe twice."
She gave a long groan. "Geez. I'm starting to feel really sorry for Kryptonian women. They must walk around sore all the time."
He stiffened, worried he'd inadvertently hurt her. She had been awfully tight. "Are you sore?"
"I'm kidding," she answered, patting his arm. "Lighten up, Clark."
The tension went out of his muscles, and he dropped back on the grass and pulled her over on him. Her body felt warm against his, and hunger flooded him, a need as intense as if he hadn't just made love to her ten minutes ago.
God, this was crazy. The more he made love to her, the more he wanted her. It was like he just couldn't get enough of her somehow.
This is the absolute last time, he promised himself, and kissed her hard.
Chloe sat at her brand-new desk in the basement of the Daily Planet, unpacking her box of supplies. She glanced around, trying not to look like a wide-eyed, awestruck rookie, even though that was exactly what she was. Of course, she'd interned here once before, but that had been a long time ago. And now she wasn't just an intern. Thanks to her article on the sorority of vampires-- the article she'd very nearly died investigating-- she was a regular employee.
Of course, they were going to start her on the tip line, but that was okay. She'd once said she'd be happy to work for the Daily Planet even if they started her off making coffee, and she'd meant it. The Daily Planet was where she belonged. She'd never doubted it since she was six, when she'd driven past the building with her father and first noticed the golden globe glinting in the sun far overhead.
And now she was here.
She had everything she'd ever wanted, and she ought to be ecstatic. But there was a shadow inside her that wouldn't go away. She'd made love to Clark the night before last, four times, and then he'd carried her inside and tucked her into bed (after using superspeed to sandpaper the scorched part of the headboard so it was less visible). She'd slept peacefully, then gotten up in the morning and had breakfast with Clark and his family.
After breakfast, Clark had driven her back to Metropolis, but he'd been lost in his own little mental world, hardly saying a word to her. His jaw had looked tight, and his fingers had drummed nervously on the steering wheel.
Later in the day she'd called him, to give him the news she'd been hired by the Daily Planet, and although he'd sounded pleased for her, he'd broken off the conversation after a moment, saying he needed to get back to class.
He was obviously uncomfortable with her now, and it didn't take a genius to figure out why. He'd been scared for her when she'd almost died, and he'd fallen into bed with her out of sheer relief. When they'd made love, she'd let herself imagine he felt something for her, something more than friendship. But she'd obviously been deluding herself.
Clark loved Lana. He always had. And a night spent making love to his best friend wasn't going to change that. Nothing would ever change that.
She sighed, putting pens into a holder on her desk. She might as well just accept it. Lana was her friend, anyway, and she didn't want to hurt her. She'd had no business throwing herself at Clark, but she'd been, well, stressed. She'd almost died. Otherwise she would have gone on for the rest of her life, watching Clark and Lana together, never letting on how much it hurt her, or how much she felt for Clark.
She leaned back in her chair and thought about that. Yes, Lana was her friend. But Clark was her best friend, the man she loved beyond all reason, and he meant more to her than anyone. Was she really willing to go the rest of her life being "just friends" with Clark?
If Clark really didn't feel anything for her, well, she'd just have to resign herself to that. But maybe Clark was more torn than she'd thought. Yes, he'd been freaked out because she'd almost died, but he hadn't just fallen into bed with her and made love to her once. He'd made love to her four times. So maybe his feelings were a little murky, too.
Or maybe not. The truth was, she wasn't sure how Clark felt. And there was only one way to find out.
She took a deep breath, then picked up her purple cell phone and dialed his mobile number.
A moment later his deep voice answered. "Hello?"
"Hey there," she said, trying to keep it casual. If Clark didn't have any genuine romantic feelings for her, the last thing she needed was to make things more complicated by blurting out her undying love for him. "How's it going?"
"Okay," he said. "I'm glad you called. I wanted to talk to you."
His distant tone didn't sound promising. She figured he was going to give her the just-friends speech, and her heart went cold inside her chest. But she swallowed. "Okay. I'm on my lunch hour now. Do you have a class?"
"No, I'm done for the day. I'm in Metropolis, actually." He could get from Smallville to Metropolis in three seconds, so that didn't exactly surprise her. "Where do you want to meet?"
She thought about it for a second. She'd already spent most of her lunch hour unpacking her stuff, so she couldn't go far. But there was something she wanted to see, something she'd always wanted to see up close, ever since she was six.
"Meet me on top of the Daily Planet building," she said.
Up close, the globe was huge, glittering golden in the fall sunlight. Chloe glanced around, seeing that the roof was empty except for a tall figure in a red jacket, standing near the edge of the roof. She wasn't surprised Clark had beaten her up here. She'd had to take the elevator, and he'd just supersped up the stairs. Or maybe he'd just jumped, for all she knew. She was pretty sure he couldn't jump quite that high, but she was learning not to underestimate him.
"Hi," she said, approaching him.
He didn't turn around. His attention was focused on the street below. She approached the edge of the roof and looked over the railing, and immediately dizziness hit her.
"We're awfully high here, aren't we?"
"I've been up here before," he said. "A few years back, my mom was trapped in that building over there." He pointed.
"Oh, yeah, I remember that. It was on the news. She and Lionel Luthor got taken hostage, right?"
He nodded, carefully not looking at her. His eyes were still trained on the building. "I had to jump."
"Jump?" She frowned. "You mean from here to there?"
"Jesus, Clark, that's a hell of a long ways. And that was years ago. You were still pretty young then. Did you make it?"
"Barely. I was aiming at that balcony, but I wound up crashing through the glass about there." He pointed again.
"I thought you were scared of heights back then."
"I was." He lifted his head and looked directly at her, for the first time. "But when you love someone, sometimes you can't help taking crazy risks."
At the look in his eyes, and at the softly spoken words, her icy heart warmed a little. "Clark," she said, swallowing against the sudden tightness in her throat. "What did you want to talk about?"
"Us," he said.
Her throat tightened further, so much so that she was afraid she might start crying. Her defensive snarkiness immediately came to her rescue. "I wasn't aware there was such a thing as us."
"Chloe." He sighed, turning to face her. "We made love four times the other night."
"I noticed," she said dryly.
"So I think you could make a case for us being, you know, an us."
The words leaped out of her mouth before she could stop them. "Except you're dating someone else."
He looked at her for a long moment. "I know I kind of blew you off yesterday, Chlo, but I wanted to straighten things out with Lana before I talked to you again."
Her throat went tight, and her heart pounded. She wasn't sure what he meant by "straightening things out with Lana," and she wasn't sure she wanted to know. She resorted to snarkiness again. "Don't worry, Clark," she said in a brittle voice. "I know where I stand with you. Lana always comes first."
He lifted an eyebrow. "You know, you're going to cut yourself with that tongue if you're not careful."
He sounded mildly annoyed, and for some reason that pleased her. Probably because it was safer if they fought. Then she could be angry for a good, solid reason, and not just because Clark didn't love her. "So you wanted to see me so you could insult me?"
His lips tightened. "No. I wanted to see you so I could tell you I broke up with Lana."
All the snarkiness drained out of her. Her mouth fell open, but no words came out.
"You're speechless," he commented. "That doesn't happen much."
"Why--" She actually had to struggle for words, and no, that certainly didn't happen often. "Why did you--"
"Because I realized I was in love with someone else, moron."
As declarations of love went, it wasn't the most romantic she'd ever heard. But somehow she didn't mind. She stared at him for a moment longer, then suddenly flung herself against his chest.
He put his arms around her waist and squeezed, very gently. "Hey," he said. "Are you going to tell me you love me too, or did you just want me for my body?"
She snuffled against his shoulder. "You know I love you," she mumbled into his flannel shirt. "I've always loved you. You knew that."
"I kind of suspected, yeah." He ran a hand through her hair with rough affection. "I'm sorry it took me so long to figure things out, Chlo. I'm sorry it almost took you dying for me to figure out what you meant to me. I guess I'm not real bright when it comes to women."
"That's an epic understatement."
"Look," he said, sounding irritable, "at least I figured it out eventually. I love you, not Lana, and I think I always have. Don't I get some credit for figuring it out, even if it took me a few years?"
She rubbed her face against the soft flannel of his shirt, wiping her tears away, and smiled against his chest. "Maybe a little credit."
"A little. Hmmmphh." He growled. "You know, I think we get along better when we don't talk."
She giggled into his shirt. "Don't be silly. We talk all the time. We never stop talking."
"Yeah, well, now that we're an us, there are other things we can do besides talking. Maybe we should try a few of them."
She thought about the other night, the way they'd made love, the way they' d kissed, and decided that was actually a really good idea. She lifted her face, and he brushed his lips over hers in a slow, soft, lingering kiss.
At last he pulled away from her, and her eyelashes fluttered open. Clark was smiling down at her, his green eyes brilliant in the sunlight. Behind him, the globe of the Daily Planet seemed to shine with its own inner light.
I've finally got it all, she thought. Everything I've ever wanted, everything I've ever been hungry for, is right here.
She wanted to stay up here forever, but she'd just landed her dream job, after all. She didn't want to be late back from lunch on her first day. Glancing at her watch, she noticed it was almost one o'clock. "My lunch break is just about over," she said, sighing.
He looked disappointed. "Do you have time for one more kiss?"
She smiled. "For you," she said, "I'll make time."
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