Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Clarkmas, Chapter 7

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

"Clark!"

Chloe could hear the hysteria in her own voice, but she didn't much care. She looked Clark over frantically. He was frighteningly still, and there were no signs of life-- no rise and fall of his chest to indicate he was breathing, no pulse that she could find. The light was dim, but there was something on his chest glowing with a dim green light. She recognized the eerie glow at once-- kryptonite.

She carefully poked at the rock, discovering that it had been embedded in his chest. Oh, God. She had to pull it out, but if she left even a sliver of rock behind, it would kill him.

Assuming he wasn't dead already.

Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she wrapped her hands around the shard of kryptonite and yanked it from his chest.

She glanced at it, seeing that it had been stabbed into him with brutal force. Three or four inches of it were covered with blood. Despite the depth of the wound, though, he wasn't bleeding now, probably because he was too cold. Either that, or he'd been... dead... too long.

No. He wasn't dead. She refused to believe he was dead.

She flung the rock away with all her strength and shook him by the shoulder. "Clark," she whispered desperately. "Please. Wake up."

Kryptonite affected him when it was within three or four feet of him, and its effect grew stronger with proximity. Ordinarily, however, he recovered almost instantly once the rock was removed from his presence. She'd seen him recover from some really serious injuries, but she didn't know if his remarkable recuperative powers could cope with so extensive a loss of blood.

She shook his shoulder frantically, hoping for a reaction, but there was nothing. His eyelashes didn't flutter, and he didn't take a breath. She pressed her ear to his chest, but heard nothing.

Apparently she was too late.

Pain ripped through her, and tears welled up in her eyes. She buried her face against his chest and sobbed.

*****

The night air was cold, but Clark didn't bother to get his coat before going outside, since extremes of temperature didn't bother him. He could have stood outside in his swim trunks without getting chilly. Hell, he could break the ice off the top of a pond and go swimming, and still not be bothered by the cold.

There were colorful lights strung on all the bushes in the yard, but the porch was dark and quiet. He stood there, staring into the darkness, wondering how the hell he was supposed to fix all this.

"How did this happen?" he said softly.

"Our destinies are often shaped by very small events," a voice said behind him.

Recognizing Jonathan Kent's voice, he spun around, but there was no one there. Sighing, he turned back around to stare out into the night.

"That doesn't tell me a whole lot, Dad," he answered. "I screwed up. That's obvious. But how am I supposed to fix it?"

He heard his father's low laugh. "Do you really expect me to give you all the answers, Clark?"

"I guess not." A wry smile touched Clark's mouth. "You never did when you were alive. Looks like things haven't changed all that much."

"You've been given a great gift, son. The chance to see your future."

"Too bad my future's such a frigging disaster area."

"Like I said before, you have choices." Jonathan's voice was soft but resonant. "There are always choices."

"So this isn't my only possible future. Is that what you're saying?"

"You're trying to get the answers from me again. Life isn't a test you can study for, Clark. You don't get to know all the answers in advance."

"It'd help if I knew how I got into this situation to begin with," Clark said, a little irritably. "I know I took a wrong turn somewhere, but if I could just figure out--"

"Who are you talking to?"

He looked to the side and discovered Chloe was standing there, watching him. Ordinarily no one could sneak up on him, since he had superhearing, but he'd been so focused on his father's voice that he hadn't been listening to anything else.

"I, uh," he said, then decided to tell the truth. Sort of. "My dad," he admitted. "Sometimes when I'm confused, I... I still talk to him. It helps me sort things out a little."

She nodded as if that made perfect sense, and took a step closer to him. "So how are things? With you and Lois, I mean?"

"Not too good."

"Considering the way she's going through our wine supply, I'm thinking that's something of an understatement."

He found himself staring at her, because she was so beautiful it was impossible for him to look away. He'd always heard pregnant women had a sort of glow, but he'd never really believed it till now. Or maybe he just liked the long hair on her. Whichever it was, he just couldn't stop himself from gaping at her. Chloe had always been pretty, but now she was simply... stunning.

"Uh," he said at last. "How are things with you and Jimmy?"

"About the same," she answered with a little sigh. "You know how Jimmy is. He never wants to admit we have problems. He just goes on through life wearing that happy grin, no matter what happens."

So she had problems in her marriage, too. He wondered if he was the source of her problems. It seemed likely. Screwing up people's lives seemed to be one of his future talents.

"What about the baby?" he asked at last. "Is Jimmy happy about being a father?"

"Well, sort of," she said. She walked closer to him and looked up into his eyes. Her face was very solemn. "I mean, he's willing to raise it as his own, but I don't think I can reasonably expect him to be really happy about it."

He stared down at her for a moment, and then her meaning sank in, and he almost fell to his knees in shock.

It wasn't Jimmy's baby. It was his baby.

He wondered if Lois knew about the baby. He remembered what Lois had said: I found the two of you macking at the Daily Planet three years ago. Jesus. Had he been carrying on with another woman for three years behind his wife's back?

"Chloe," he said hoarsely, needing answers but having no idea how to ask without giving his ignorance away. "You and I--"

She waved her hand. "He knows it was only a one-time thing, Clark. He knows we both just... messed up. He's forgiven me, really. And he's forgiven you, too, or he wouldn't have invited you to the party."

Somewhere deep inside Clark, a reluctant respect for Jimmy kindled. "He's a really decent guy," he said.

"Yeah. He is."

He looked down at her. "But it wasn't only a one-time thing, was it? What about the time Lois caught you and me--"

"That was three years ago," she said, a little defensively. "And nothing really happened."

"Because Lois caught us before anything could happen."

She sighed, and even in the dim light from the lights on the bushes he could see her cheeks flush. "I guess."

He turned away from her beautiful face and looked out into the darkness again. "I think Lois is leaving me, Chloe. For good this time."

He could hear her swallow. "That might be for the best."

"I think so," he agreed. "And I was wondering..."

He wasn't quite sure what he intended to say, but when he glanced at her, Chloe was already shaking her head. "No, Clark. Jimmy's been a good husband to me. He's a great guy. And he's willing to raise this baby as his own. You agreed to stay out of the baby's life as much as possible, and I expect you to abide by that."

"But I--"

"No, Clark. Considering what you... do... and how many enemies you have, it wouldn't be safe for anyone to know this baby is yours. You know that."

He wasn't sure exactly what she meant by what he "did," but he guessed his future self was still taking on bad guys. And she had a point-- he'd always worried about his family getting caught up in his personal battles with villains. It had happened more than once. But still... that was his baby. What kind of guy turned his back on his own child and let someone else raise it?

He stared at her, while pain and bitterness and anger rose inside of him. Was this really his destiny? A bad marriage ending in divorce and loneliness, while the woman he really loved had his baby and wouldn't even give him the opportunity to be involved in the kid's life?

He shook his head at the thought. He didn't love Chloe. Sure, they were friends, and he hated to think of a future without her in it, because she'd been his best friend for years and years. But he didn't love her.

Yeah, he thought grimly. I don't love her at all. Which is why the thought of her with Jimmy makes me want to punch his lights out.

A deep masculine impulse grew inside of him. He wanted to fight for her, and for his baby. He wanted to sweep her up in his arms and kiss her and convince her to give up this life for him.

He wanted to make her his.

But the problem was, he wasn't sure he had the nerve. He'd never been really brave when it came to putting his feelings on the line with regards to women. He hesitated, the way he always did when it came to women... and then the door opened, and Jimmy walked out onto the porch.

"Hey there," he said, putting a familiar arm around Chloe and kissing the top of her head. He glanced at Clark with a wary expression, then looked back down at Chloe. "It's awfully cold out here. You coming back in?"

Chloe looked over at Clark, then lifted her head and smiled up at her husband. "Sure," she said. "Let's go back inside."

Clark watched as they walked away, arms around each other.

They went together into the warm house, leaving him outside in the cold.

Read Chapter 8 here.

2 comments:

Sally said...

This is so good. Quick question isn't Chloe a little concern about her baby having super powers. How is she going to explain that to Jimmy.

blackheart_me said...

this was such a deep episode. I loved it because in Clarkmas time we actually see wat's going to happen later and it's so sad. Clark won't admit he loves Chloe, she's having his baby and both Jimmy and Lois are miserable. Dat is crazy! then in real world we don't kno if he's okay...i hope he is.