Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Clarkmas, Chapter 6

Clark/Chloe/Lois/Jimmy
Season 6 (based on spoilers and my imagination) - based on "Lexmas"
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me

Kissing Lois wasn't at all like kissing Chloe. When Chloe had kissed Clark, his whole body had lit up like, well, a Christmas tree. Kissing Lois wasn't unpleasant, if he ignored the odor of cigarette smoke and alcohol that clung to her, but it didn't do much to turn his lights on, either.

He pulled back and blinked at her, wondering why on earth he'd married this woman if he felt so little attraction to her. Sure he liked her all right, and always had, if he ignored the times she annoyed him so badly he wanted to toss her out a window. Which was most of the time, come to think of it. But he didn't love her.

He couldn't imagine ever loving her that way.

His thoughts must have been clearly written on his face, because she looked up at him, and he saw the sorrow and acceptance in her eyes. She reached out and took the mistletoe from his hand, and for a second he thought she was going to smash it to the floor again. But instead she handled it gently, hanging it carefully on the tree. He wondered if she intended it as a tribute to what their marriage had once been, or as a tribute to what their marriage could have been.

Either way, his throat tightened at the sadness he could see in her face. He hated that he was the one who'd made her feel that way. Somewhere along the line, he'd royally screwed up. He hoped Jonathan was right, and there was some way to avoid this future. Because even though she wasn't his favorite person, Lois deserved so much better.

"Good thing we're done," she said, avoiding his eyes. "It's time to get going."

"Going?"

"Yeah. You know, the party."

He didn't have the slightest clue as to what she was talking about, but it was Christmas Eve, and no doubt there was a party to attend at someone's house. He wasn't really in a festive mood right now, but perhaps going to a party was preferable to the alternative. The idea of watching Lois get drunk in public didn't much appeal to him, but it was better than spending more time alone with her, when things were so painfully awkward between them. "Okay," he agreed. "Let's go to the party."

*****

Chloe recalled the way she and Lois had found Clark the night he'd been buried alive. She'd called him, and they'd heard his cell phone ringing. But he'd only been thirty or forty yards away. Since she didn't have superhearing, there wasn't much chance of finding him that way this time, but it was her best hope. She drove the red Beetle slowly toward the Kent farm, stopping every block to crack open the windows and try Clark's number.

They'd gone about a mile when she thought she heard the faint strains of "Jingle Bells" when she dialed. She tried again, listening carefully.

"Did you hear that?"

"Maybe." Jimmy leaned out the window, his face intent. "I think it's coming from over here."

"No," she disagreed. "I think it's over here."

"Hard to tell when the houses are so close together. We might be hearing an echo."

She put the car into park and turned it off. "You go that way," she said, nodding toward the right side of the street. "I'll check over here."

Jimmy nodded, and they got out of the car and split up. She kept dialing Clark's number, and a few minutes later she spotted distinctive, huge bootprints in the snow. Her heart thudded, and she shoved the phone in her pocket and broke into a run, following the footprints around the side of a house, into the shadows.

There in the darkness she saw something lying inert in the snow. "Clark," she whispered, hardly aware that she was saying his name, and dropped down beside him. He was utterly motionless, and even in the deep shadows, she could see the dark stain of his blood on the snow. There seemed to be an awful lot of it.

Frightened, she pressed a hand to his cheek.

It was ice cold.

*****

Since Clark didn't have any idea where they were going, he suggested that Lois drive. Fortunately, she didn't mind. They got into her car-- a little blue sports car that was so small his head brushed against the convertible top-- and headed across town. The streets swarmed with last-minute shoppers, and Christmas decorations were everywhere.

It's not a Norman Rockwell print, he thought, looking out the car windows at the still-bustling city. It's not at all like Smallville, but I could see myself living here someday.

Apparently he'd come to the same decision a while ago. Lois had mentioned in passing that he worked for the Daily Planet and she worked for the Inquisitor, so it wasn't surprising they'd chosen to live in the city. He did wonder, with a little pang, what had happened to his parents' farm. Did his mom still live there, or had she moved to Topeka when she was a state senator and sold the old place?

The car pulled up in an older neighborhood full of Victorian-style dwellings with stained glass and gingerbread and 1920s bungalows with deep porches, all mixed together with a few newer houses. They got out of the car, and Clark followed Lois toward a house that made him think of the old Luthor mansion. It looked like a small castle, several crenellated towers rising high into the air, its gray stone walls punctuated with stained glass windows.

It was funky, quirky, and unique. He had a suspicion who it belonged to, because there was only one funky, quirky, and unique person in his life.

That suspicion was confirmed when Lois rang the doorbell, and Chloe answered it.

She smiled at them. The smile was a little strained, but Clark hardly noticed. Her blonde hair had grown out over the years, falling in loose waves past her shoulders, her body was rounder than he remembered, and her face had matured a bit. There were tiny laugh lines at the corners of her eyes, and for some reason he wanted to reach out and brush his fingers over them. She was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

"Chloe," he said softly, and wrapped his arms around her.

She immediately went stiff and defensive in his embrace, and he let go of her, feeling a little affronted by her reaction. What was wrong with hugging a friend on Christmas Eve? Especially when it was a friend you hugged all the time anyway? He glanced at Lois and saw that she was glaring at him again, the anger in her eyes inadequately concealing the pain beneath, and all of a sudden he understood what was going on.

Chloe was the "her" Lois had been talking about.

Which was just plain bizarre. Okay, yeah, he'd had a bit of a yen for Chloe lately-- his lately, 2006 lately-- but that didn't mean he was going to spend the rest of his life pining after her. And if he'd been in love with Chloe, he sure as hell wouldn't have married Lois. So Lois must have somehow.... misinterpreted their close friendship.

And then someone appeared behind Chloe. Clark recognized the head of sandy blond hair and the wide, guileless smile. Jimmy Olsen.

"Come on in, guys," he said, grinning. "You're letting all the cold air in. Have some cider. It'll warm you right up."

He hooked his arm around Chloe in an casually possessive gesture, and Clark looked down and saw that Chloe was wearing a wedding band. And then he noticed something else-- a small bulge at her waistline.


Chloe was pregnant. With Jimmy's baby.

Jealous rage hit him in the chest, so hard he almost staggered, so violent that he couldn't believe the force of his reaction. He wasn't just irritated by Jimmy's grin, the way he usually was-- he wanted to knock all of Jimmy's teeth out. He was so angry that he could feel heat vision burning in his eyes. He quickly turned his head to the side and blinked hard, trying to contain the reaction.

Lois followed Jimmy and Chloe in, and he walked behind her blindly. He removed Lois' coat in an absent-minded gallant gesture, more because removing ladies' coats had been drilled into him by his father than because he was feeling particularly gallant. Jimmy took their coats upstairs, and Chloe smiled apologetically and made her way into the crowd to offer refreshments.

"Way to embarrass me, Smallville," Lois said between her teeth. She was obviously struggling to maintain a smile, but it looked more like a snarl to him. "Did you have to hug her in front of me?"

He turned his head and stared at her. "She's your cousin, Lois. She's family."

"And I come to this stupid party every year and make nice because of that. That doesn't mean I want to see my husband mooning over her, or that any fences have been mended between me and Chloe. Some things can never be fixed."

He watched her pick up a glass of wine and drain it in a gulp. Great. Not only had he ruined Lois' life by miring her in a bad marriage, he'd somehow managed to ruin the close relationship between her and Chloe. Chloe and Lois had always been friends as well as cousins, and he couldn't imagine them on the outs.

His gaze moved across the room, searching unconsciously for Chloe. When he found her, he stared at her, studying the bulge at her waist. He wasn't an expert, but he figured maybe she was four or five months pregnant. It looked good on her. He thought she'd make a great mom.

But then he remembered it was Jimmy's baby. Anger sparked in him again, and he blinked hard to keep the heat vision under control.

"Would you mind not staring at her?" Lois hissed, still smiling. "Do you really enjoy humiliating me in public?"

He dragged his gaze away from Chloe and looked back at Lois. "Look," he said, "it's not like that, okay? Chloe and I are just friends."

"Sure," she said, picking up a second glass of wine-- or was it her third? Either way, her voice was getting louder and the rage in her eyes was getting stronger by the moment. "That's why I found the two of you macking at the Daily Planet three years ago."

Oh, hell. Apparently he had grown into the kind of guy who'd keep a woman on the side. Or maybe Lois had just misinterpreted a friendly kiss on the cheek or something. "That wasn't what it looked like," he said, not defending himself so much as he was hunting for information.

"Yeah. Sure. That's why you had your tongue down her throat and your shirt off, because you're just friends."

Okay. It sounded like it hadn't been a friendly kiss on the cheek, anyway. Crap. What the hell was wrong with him? What kind of guy married one woman and macked on another? Somewhere along the line, he'd obviously made a bad choice, and it had totally screwed everything in his life up.

If this was his destiny, then his destiny was a big mess.

Read Chapter 7 here.

3 comments:

sally said...

This is getting good. Chloe will be at the party right?
Great job as always.

Monicaop said...

Okay... is official, you want to kill me!!! ;) He has to be alright!! Oh... and I think the Chlark is coming, cool :D, hugs!! Be well and take care.

blackheart_me said...

I also sorta wonder if this episode were to happen, y he would have married Lois and if the beginning of his marriage actually was good. Oh snap real Chloe has found Clark! oh Dream!Chloe sounds so pretty...and oh. She's the other woman. Woah. It's harsh to see that such a strong cousin bond is broken...aww I bet Chloe being pregnat makes her look even more radiant :). wow i wonder how his 'destiny' got like that and y he had to have chloe at the side. I completely agree with the last line :P