Friday, September 22, 2006

Clarkmas, Chapter 9

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

The party was in full swing by the time Clark finally arrived. He'd changed into a fresh t-shirt and washed the blood off his chest, but he'd left the blood in his hair and on his forehead. Even though the dried blood didn't show too much in his dark hair, it looked sort of matted and disgusting, making him think of an old Saturday Night Live skit he'd once seen called "Headwound Harry." But if he washed his hair, Jimmy would know he'd made a stopoff somewhere, which would be a bit difficult to explain.

People stared at him as he came in through the door, and he made reassuring noises, smiling to show he was all right. Handing off his boxes of cookies to Chloe, he headed for the bathroom. He washed the blood out of his hair and stuck a bandaid he'd brought from home on his forehead, hoping to conceal his hard-to-explain lack of head wound.

With his hair clean but wet, he walked back out into the crowded living room. He said hello to Mr. Sullivan and smiled in a friendly way at Jimmy. And then his gaze fell on Chloe.

Earlier she'd been wrapped in a heavy winter coat, but she'd shed the coat, and she was wearing a silky green blouse with black slacks, her golden hair in loose waves around her face. She was so gorgeous he couldn't quite look away somehow. He could feel himself grinning stupidly as he gazed at her, but he couldn't seem to do anything about that, either.

Chloe shot him a glance he couldn't begin to interpret, and his smile faltered.

Suddenly uncomfortable, he glanced around the room, seeing a lot of familiar faces. He didn't see Lois, though, and wondered where she was. She and Ollie were both missing, but he figured they were probably hanging out in the kitchen, putting cookies on plates. Or at least pretending to. He'd never seen two people who had such a hard time keeping their hands off each other.

And then he saw Lois come out of the kitchen, carrying a heavily laden plate of cookies. Her eyes were red-rimmed, and that was so unLoisy that an alarm went off in his head. He went toward her. "Lois?"

She glared at him. "Smallville. Nice of you to finally show up with the cookies. People were about to start rioting."

"Sorry," he said. "I kind of got--"

"Your ass kicked. Yeah, I heard. Typical. Maybe I'll teach you how to fight less like a girl one of these days."

Her tone was even more acerbic than usual, and he got the distinct impression that she was trying to tick him off in an effort to divert his attention from her red eyes. "Lois," he said softly. "You okay?"

"Fine. Just fine. It's Christmas Eve, after all. Time to eat, drink, and be merry."

Eat, drink, and be merry. He inhaled, and caught the scent of alcohol. "Lois. You've been drinking."

"So?" She narrowed her eyes belligerently. "Maybe up on Walton Mountain you don't drink, but the rest of us like a beer every now and again."

He thought of her future self mixing vodka in with her orange juice first thing in the morning, and pain curled in his chest. He didn't like the thought of her ending up that way. "Lois," he said, more insistently. "What's going on?"

Her lower lip quivered-- something he'd never seen happen before. She dropped the plate of cookies onto a table, spun on her heel, and stalked into the kitchen. Alarmed, he went after her.

"Hey," he said.

She was standing rigidly in the middle of the room, staring at the wall, and she didn't turn around. "Unless you want your ass kicked again, you better leave me alone, Smallville."

"Lois. What's wrong?"

"Nothing! I'm fine!"

Her voice broke, and he realized with shock-- and masculine horror-- that she was crying. Part of him wanted to get the hell out of the room, because crying girls were so not his area of expertise. But he couldn't leave her in this state, so he approached her, very carefully, and put a hand on her shoulder.

"Hey," he said again, gently. "Whatever it is, it'll be all right, Lois."

"No." She shook her head hard, and her voice cracked. "He left. He's gone."

There was only one "he" who could possibly upset the unflappable Lois Lane this badly. "Ollie? You mean he left for good? When?"

"He was here earlier, hanging out with me." She drew in a shaky breath. "Then he just-- he told me he had things to do in other places. He said he couldn't stay any longer. And he just... left."

Since Clark knew more about Ollie's activities than Lois did, he understood that. Ollie had a lot to accomplish, and he'd already stayed in Smallville longer than he'd originally intended. But Lois didn't know what Ollie was doing, and she obviously felt like he'd just walked out of her life for no reason. He could imagine how that must hurt.

Tears were running down her face, and he thought of her future self, and how she'd seemed so... wounded. He was starting to wonder if it had had as much to do with him as he'd thought. Maybe she'd married him on the rebound or something, and never quite gotten over Ollie.

Either way, he wasn't sure how to handle this, so he did the only thing he could think of. He put his arms around her, and she started to cry against his shoulder.

"Shhh," he said gently. If it had been Chloe, he would have stroked her hair, but he had no particular desire to stroke Lois' hair, and he was pretty sure she'd kill him if he tried it, anyway. At the very least, she'd probably try to rip his hand off. "Take it easy, Lois. It's not personal. I think he really likes you a lot."

"If he liked me," she whispered between sobs, "he'd stay. But they never stay."

Her tone was so tragic it practically wrenched his heart right out of his chest. He'd never heard Lois sound so sad, not even in his future dream. He wished he had a clue what to say to make her feel better.

But he never had a clue about stuff like this.

He made soothing noises, thinking he probably sounded kind of dumb, but not sure what else to do. Crying girls freaked him out. He wasn't sure he was helping, but her sobs grew quieter, and then faded out entirely. She leaned her face against his shoulder, silent and miserable.

And then he heard footsteps, and he looked toward the door of the kitchen.

Chloe was standing there, gaping at them.

*****

I did not just see what I thought I saw.

Chloe had beaten a hasty retreat and stood in the living room, staring at the multicolored lights blinking cheerfully on the tree. There were forty or fifty people packed into the small house now, but she felt totally and completely alone.

Clark and Lois. No way, she thought. Lois was crazy about Ollie. And she didn't even like Clark, let alone have any attraction to him.

At least, that was what Chloe had always believed.

But she'd seen Clark and Lois standing there in the kitchen with their arms wrapped around each other.

She wasn't sure how she felt about that, but she was pretty sure that however she felt, she wasn't exactly happy about it. There might even be a little jealousy simmering inside her. Clark had almost kissed her, what, ten minutes ago?

But he'd pulled away from her. And then she'd found him in the kitchen with Lois.

Typical, she thought bitterly. There were times when she thought he'd go for any woman on earth before he'd go for her.

Not that it mattered to her in the least. After all, she was dating Jimmy. And she didn't really want to kiss Clark anyway. She'd just had a-- what did Pink Floyd call it? A momentary lapse of reason. She'd been upset and overly emotional, and she'd freaked out a little. But she wasn't interested in Clark that way. Really.

She saw Clark come out of the kitchen and walk toward her, his face determined, his jaw set. Without pausing to think, she spun away from him and headed for Jimmy, who was standing near the mistletoe that hung between the living room and dining room. She reached up, grabbed Jimmy, and planted a long, hard kiss on his lips.

When she pulled away, Clark was staring at them, and there was an expression in his eyes she'd never seen before. He looked like she'd slapped him, and Chloe suddenly felt like the lowest form of life on the planet. She knew perfectly well she'd kissed Jimmy not because she had feelings for him, but simply to try to get under Clark's skin.

Judging from the look on his face, it had worked.

She glanced back at Jimmy, and saw him looking down at her with a look of hurt in his eyes, almost identical to Clark's expression. Great. Jimmy wasn't stupid, and he often seemed to understand her feelings better than she did. This was obviously one of those times. He knew she was using him to get at Clark. An unpleasant thought rose in her mind, the idea that maybe she'd always been using him, and just never really realized it till now.

Damn it. You'd think at twenty, she'd be past acting like a junior high school student, but apparently not. She needed to get a grip on herself and figure out what she wanted, and fast. Before she really hurt two decent men, and totally screwed her life up.

She glanced across the room and saw the expression of pain and anger on Clark's face, and wondered if she hadn't already screwed her life up beyond repair.

Read Chapter 10 here.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

please please please Clark, for once, do something bold and out of character so that everyone has a chance to be happy

eagerly awaiting the next chapter, as always

simone

sally said...

Alright Clark already saw his horrible future doesn't he know that he needs to speak up. And get w/ Chloe?

blackheart_me said...

I honestly feel really good for Clark. He's so compassionate and it's cute to see that he comforted Lois, and I think that's cool. However Chloe...I honestly (as much as I love her) want to hit her over the head here. Poor Jimmy.

Anonymous said...

It's about time Clark felt the heart ache! But Chloe needs to drop Jimmy! Off to the next chapter!