All seasons and futurefic (letter from "Fever")
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
I want to let you in on a secret. I'm not who you think I am.
"I'm Chloe Sullivan, and I'm going to be a famous reporter."
Clark Kent blinked at the slim blonde girl in front of him. He'd been assigned to show her around the school, but he hadn't even gotten a chance to say hello before she started talking. "Uh," he said. She was pretty, very pretty, and she had a big wide smile that made him want to smile back. Since girls usually made him want to hide under his desk, that was a point in her favor. "I'm Clark Kent."
She beamed at him as if he'd said something really intelligent. He noticed she was skinny, kind of tomboyish, and almost as tall as he was. His dad was really tall, and he kept hoping maybe someday he'd hit a growth spurt and maybe be almost as tall as his dad, but so far it just wasn't happening. He and his friend Pete were almost exactly the same height, and the other boys were starting to kid them about being shrimps. He hated that.
"What do you want to be when you grow up, Clark?"
"Uh..." He had to think about it. "I don't know. My dad's a farmer. I might be a farmer."
"No kidding." Her eyes lit up. "You live on a farm? Are you Amish?"
"Uh..." he said again. He hated the way his brain turned to mush whenever he was around girls, but there didn't seem to be much he could do about it. "No. I mean, we're not Amish. But yeah, we have a cattle farm."
"Cool," she said, sounding like she really meant it. "I'm from Metropolis. I've never seen a farm. Could I come over sometime and see it?"
He bit his tongue before he could say "uh" for a fourth time, lest she mark him down in her mind as terminally geeky. "Sure. But there's not much to see. I mean, you know, it's a farm."
"But I really want to see it." She beamed at him, and he felt his own mouth quirk up in response. Chloe Sullivan might be a motormouth, but she was really, really nice. He had a feeling they could be friends.
She was the first girl he'd ever felt that way about. Most girls intimidated him. The girl next door, Lana Lang, was so beautiful that he got totally freaked out, almost sick to his stomach, any time he was around her.
He didn't feel that way around Chloe. He felt totally relaxed.
It was a nice feeling.
In fact, my disguise is so thin I'm surprised you haven't seen right through me. I'm the girl of your dreams masquerading as your best friend.
"You know, drooling doesn't impress girls."
Clark jerked his head up and looked around, a sheepish expression on his face. "Huh?"
"You're salivating." Chloe dropped down next to him at the cafeteria table, trying to keep a snarky grin on her face. She wasn't sure how well she was succeeding. "If you want to go sit with Lana, go sit with her. But quit drooling into your chocolate pudding. It's bad form."
His cheeks turned red, and he turned his head back to gaze longingly in Lana's direction. Chloe thought about dumping the cup of pudding on his head, but decided that would be petty.
Satisfying, but petty.
"I don't want to sit with Lana," he said. "I'd rather sit with you."
"You're so full of crap."
He turned around again and looked at her, an amused smile on his face. She did her best not to melt into a little puddle at his feet. When she'd met Clark last year, he'd been hardly any taller than she was, and his father had laughingly called him a beanpole. Now he was as tall as Jonathan Kent, way over six feet. He positively towered over her-- in fact, he towered over most of the student body. He was still pretty skinny, but rapidly putting on muscle. He was one of the best-looking boys in school... and he was sitting with her.
And staring at another girl.
"Don't keep it all inside, Chlo," he said, grinning so widely his dimples showed. "Tell me what you really think."
"For heaven's sake, Clark." She knew she sounded exasperated, but she hoped she didn't sound jealous. Even though she was. But she didn't want him to know that. "If you like Lana that much, go sit with her."
He tilted his head and looked at her like he was giving the matter serious consideration. "I don't want to hurt your feelings."
"You won't hurt my feelings," she lied. "Go."
He hesitated a moment longer, then shrugged. "Okay," he said. Grabbing his stuff, he headed over to Lana's table. Her boyfriend Whitney was in a different grade, so he had a different period. Naturally there were lots of people at Lana's table, because she was Miss Popularity, but Clark walked over and dropped into a nearby seat, and Lana turned around and smiled at him.
Clark smiled back.
Chloe growled and tried really hard to pretend she was enjoying her peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Sometimes I want to rip off the façade like I did at the spring formal.
"You look terrific, Chlo."
Chloe pirouetted in front of Clark, wearing a black satin dress with those glittery bead things all over it. He stared at the way it clung to her curves-- and when the hell had Chloe gotten all those curves, anyway?
He thought back to the day they'd met. He was pretty sure she hadn't had them then. She'd been straight all the way down. Yeah, she'd developed some by the time they went to the spring formal last year, but he was pretty sure she hadn't looked quite like this.
Maybe it was just the dress. It kind of exposed a lot of her... front. A part of her front that he was really better off not thinking about too much, considering they were just friends.
Friends didn't stare at their friend's boobs. It just wasn't cool.
"Thanks," she said, grinning. She seemed oblivious to the direction of his gaze, for which he was grateful. "So you think Hunter will be impressed?"
Oh, yeah, he'll definitely be impressed. Assuming he's a boob man. Aloud, he said, "Of course he will, Chlo. He's not stupid. He asked you to the dance, right?"
Her smile turned almost dreamy. "I still can't believe he asked me."
Clark tried really hard not to let his annoyance show. He was the stupid one. He'd been thinking about asking Chloe to the fall dance himself, but he'd dithered, same as he always did, and on the very day he'd finally worked up enough nerve to ask her, she'd come bounding into homeroom, practically floating on air because Hunter Austen had asked her.
"I knew he'd ask you," he lied. "Anyway, I'm surprised you didn't have guys lined up at your locker waiting to ask you."
She smiled at the compliment. "Thanks," she said, then looked pointedly at the clock. "I guess I better do my makeup now."
He'd come over to her house on the pretext of asking about homework, just so he could see her all dressed up, and he recognized his cue to go. But he didn't want to leave. She looked beautiful, and he wanted to just stand here and stare at her.
And it wasn't just the boobs. It was everything. The dress, the hair, the smile on her face.
He wanted to tear down the walls they'd put up between them, the yellow tape marked Friendship Line: Do Not Cross, and kiss the hell out of her.
But Hunter Austen was coming to take her to the dance in an hour and a half. And judging from the glow in her eyes, she was really happy about that.
"Okay," he said, trying hard not to sigh. "I'll see you at school Monday. Have fun, Chlo."
Instead of kissing her, the way he wanted to, he turned around and walked away.
But I can't because you'll get scared and you'll run away again.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
Chloe stared at a face she'd thought she'd never see again. It was Clark, yet at the same time it wasn't. His amiable, sweet smile had been replaced by an unpleasant sneer, his walk was more of a swagger, and his hair had grown out. It was thick and wavy, and it curled at the ends. Instead of his normal flannel shirt, he was wearing a black silk shirt that looked like something Lex Luthor would wear.
He looked much older than his sixteen years, and he emanated something powerful and dangerous. And sexy. She might not be legally of age, but she wasn't immune to the sexual vibes that came off him in waves.
"I could ask you the same question," she answered, trying to keep her voice steady. "Your parents have been worried sick, Clark."
He made a rude sound. "Screw my parents."
"Clark." Her mouth fell open. "How can you talk that way about them?"
He shrugged. There was an unpleasant gleam in his eyes. "I'm done with Smallville, Chlo. They aren't my real parents. And you aren't my friend. It's all history."
"Of course I'm your friend," she said softly, even though she wasn't sure that was the case. She'd been really mad when he'd decided to go for Lana instead of her, and she'd agreed to investigate him for Lionel Luthor. Not that she'd told Lionel anything. She wasn't going to tell Lionel a damn thing.
But even so, she felt like a backstabbing bitch.
"No, you're not." He glared at her. "Go away, Chlo. You don't belong here, anyway. You're underage."
"And you're not?"
A corner of his mouth lifted in that sneer. "I've got an ID that says I'm not."
She looked at him, and love and longing rose up in her throat, so sharp that her eyes prickled with tears. "Clark," she whispered, reaching out to him and putting her hand on his shoulder. "Please. Come home. There are people in Smallville that love you."
She could have told him she was one of those people, but she couldn't expose her feelings that way. Not after everything that had happened between them. But she had a feeling he knew it anyway. He looked back at her for a long moment, and she saw the sneer fade, saw an echo of the sweet, gentle farmboy she'd always known. His lips parted, and his eyes went wide and vulnerable.
She tightened her hand on his arm and stared at him pleadingly, then ran her hand down his arm and slipped her hand into his. Their fingers twined together. He looked down at their clasped hands for a long, long moment.
And then he looked up, and the sneer was back.
"Go away, Chlo," he said.
Turning his back on her, he stalked off into the crowd.
So I decided that it's better than live with the lie than expose my true feelings.
"Geez, you just went off to write that ten minutes ago. How do you type so fast?"
Clark grinned as he handed Chloe a diskette containing his "expose" on the school's new bleachers, which he'd typed in the empty computer lab. "I'm just a really good typist," he said smugly.
She shook her head. "I think you type faster than I do."
Since he could type in superspeed, that was definitely true. But she didn't know he had special abilities. At least he was pretty sure she didn't. Lately he'd been making some pretty weird comments that had him kind of freaked out. And he'd noticed all the stories about him had disappeared off the Wall of Weird, which was strange. But he wasn't going to inquire into it too deeply. If Chloe knew his secret, he was certain she'd keep it to herself.
"Hey," he said. "You've been in here since school ended. It's seven o'clock. Have you had dinner?"
"I had some coffee," she said absently, typing.
"That's not dinner, Chlo. Dinner involves the intake of solids."
"I really don't have time tonight..."
"Yeah, you do. Step away from the computer, Chlo. Let's go grab a pizza or something."
"Well..." She frowned at the screen. "Okay."
She stood up, and at the same time Clark bent to retrieve her jacket from the back of her chair.
Their lips brushed together.
Sparks shot through him. He felt like humans did when they stuck their fingers into an electrical outlet, only it wasn't his finger that was tingling. It was... well. Better not to examine that thought too closely. But there was some serious tingling going on.
His hands came up, totally of their own accord, and grasped her upper arms, and he let his lips brush over hers again.
She leaned back, just a little, and looked up into his eyes. "Hey," she said softly. "I thought we were going to get pizza."
Instantly he felt very, very stupid. They'd just bumped heads by accident, and he'd responded to her closeness. But he knew better.
They were just friends. They'd always been just friends.
"Sorry," he said sheepishly, letting go of her arms. "It's been a long day..."
It was a lame defense, and he knew it. But it was the best he had to offer, aside from I just realized that you have an incredibly sexy mouth. Which wasn't so much a defense as it was an excessively truthful explanation.
"Yeah," she agreed, shrugging into her jacket as he held it for her. "I'm pretty tired, too."
She smiled up at him over her shoulder, and for just a second, he thought he saw something sad and wistful in her eyes. But then she grinned, looking as snarky as ever, and he decided it was just wishful thinking on his part.
He didn't want to kiss Chloe, anyway. Not really. He was just running low on fuel, and the lack of calories was making him sort of... vulnerable, somehow.
Nothing a little pizza wouldn't fix.
My dad said there are two types of girls -- the ones you grow out of and the ones you grow into. I really hope I'm the latter.
"We're just friends, damn it!" Clark glared down at Chloe, looking well and truly pissed. "I'm not interested in you that way. I've never been interested in you that way. Quit trying to make me feel guilty about it!"
The words made her chest hurt, but she crossed her arms and looked up at him unflinchingly. "Are you sure that's how you feel, Clark?"
"I told you, I don't want a relationship with you." He turned his back on her and stalked across the Daily Planet's basement, every inch of his big, powerful body radiating anger. It was late at night and the place was empty, fortunately, so there was no one to witness their argument. "I'm going to have to leave soon for my training, Chlo. I'm not getting mixed up in anything emotional right now."
"So is it that you're not interested, or just that you're scared of getting hurt when you have to leave?"
He didn't look back at her. "We're friends, Chloe. Friends. Period. We've always been just friends."
She knew that wasn't true. She'd loved him almost from the moment she'd met him, and no matter how hard she tried, she'd never been able to stop. She wasn't sure how he felt about her, but she was pretty sure he didn't just think of her as a friend. There was a gleam in his eyes sometimes when he looked at her nowadays, a gleam that didn't say friend. It said, I want to throw you down on your desk and ravish you.
Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on her part. God knew that over the years, she'd indulged in plenty of wishful thinking where Clark was concerned.
"Fine," she said softly, trying not to let him see how badly his words hurt. "We're just friends. I'll quit hassling you about it."
"Thank you." He was still standing with his back to her, his shoulders stiff. She went toward him. As she approached, he turned around, looking wary.
She reached up and put her hands on his shoulders, and that gleam immediately appeared in the depths of his emerald eyes. "Chlo," he said softly, and she couldn't miss the fact that he was staring at her mouth. "Maybe I ought to get going. It's late."
"Okay," she said, taking another step toward him, so that their bodies brushed together. "Go."
He swallowed audibly. "Chloe. Uh. I, uh..."
She was amused to hear him regress to his stammering days. Standing up on tiptoe, she brushed a kiss over his chin.
His hands settled onto her waist. "Chlo," he said roughly. "This is a really bad idea."
"I don't think so." She dropped a kiss onto his throat, and he lifted his chin, letting her kiss him. A soft noise broke from him, a sound of yearning and desire. "I think the bad idea is continuing to pretend we're still just friends after all these years."
"Chloe." His voice was a hoarse whisper. "I'm not... interested... in you... that way..."
She lifted her head, standing on tiptoe again, and all of a sudden he was kissing her fiercely, like a dam had suddenly burst somewhere deep inside him and all the pressure had to be released, right now. His arms went around her waist and pulled her against him, and she could feel his totally unmistakable arousal. She rubbed against him, and he groaned and held her more tightly than before.
"God, Chloe," he muttered against her lips. "I just want to throw you down on your desk and screw you."
"Ha," she whispered. "I knew it."
He lifted his head and blinked, looking perplexed. "What?"
She smiled. "I said, go right ahead."
I may not be the one you love today, but I'll let you go for now, hoping one day you'll fly back to me.
It had been three years since she'd seen him. He'd headed off to the Fortress to begin his training, and she'd told him she'd wait. He'd tried to discourage her, telling her he could be gone for a decade, for all he knew, but she'd shrugged, unconcerned by the prospect of waiting.
It wasn't so much that she wanted to wait, as that she couldn't really help it. She'd loved Clark ever since she met him, and she'd never been able to stop loving him, no matter how much she'd tried. She had no reason to believe her feelings would ever change.
They hadn't. It had been three years since she'd seen him, three years since she'd heard from him. She hadn't gotten so much as an email. Kryptonians had some pretty amazing technology, but apparently they'd never heard of dialup.
She'd begun working full-time for the Planet two years ago. This morning she was on assignment, out in Smallville. Which actually wasn't all that surprising, because weird things still happened in Smallville on a regular basis, thanks to the heavy concentration of meteor rocks.
She was walking across a field where a freak sighting had occurred, looking for clues as to what had happened, when she looked up in the sky and saw something hurtling across the sky.
Meteor, she thought instantly. When you'd lived in Smallville for as long as she had, that thought tended to come instantly to mind. It was like living in California-- you tended to think every rumble of a passing truck was an earthquake.
But this didn't look like a meteor. She watched in astonishment as it changed course and headed straight toward her.
Part of her wanted to run, but something deep inside her told her to stand and wait. She stood there, staring into the clouds, and seconds later a man dropped down out of the sky, right in front of her.
She hadn't seen him in three years, but she knew him instantly, even though he was wearing an alien-looking, one-piece black suit rather than his customary flannel shirt and jeans.
He smiled, a little hesitantly. "Chloe."
"Clark." She stared at him, unable to believe he'd suddenly come hurtling back into her life in the middle of a field in Smallville. The flying was a bit of a shocker, too. "How did you find me?"
He looked a little abashed. "Just listened for your heartbeat."
The idea that he'd been able to find her heartbeat, among all the millions of heartbeats in Kansas, made tears spring to her eyes. But she tried to ignore them. "Are you back for good?"
He nodded. "Yeah," he said softly. "I'm back for good."
"I'm glad." She was more than glad. Joy flooded her like a river, but she couldn't articulate it, because her throat was suddenly tight, choking off words. He looked wounded, and she suddenly realized he'd taken her shock the wrong way. He thought she wasn't pleased to see him.
She ran toward him, flung her arms around his neck, and kissed him.
Because I think you're worth the wait.
God, he'd missed her.
Clark held Chloe against him, his arms around her waist, his mouth fused to hers. He'd spent three lonely years in the Fortress, with absolutely no company except a bad-tempered AI, and he was desperate for human contact. But even more, he was desperate for Chloe. He'd come straight to her the moment Jor-El had told him his training was finished, hoping against hope that she still wanted him. Hoping that she'd waited for him.
Judging from the way she was kissing him, she had.
At last he pulled away from her. It had been so damn long since he'd held her in his arms. He felt tears fill his eyes, and blinked hard to try to get rid of them. "Chloe," he said hoarsely, burying his face in her hair. "God, I missed you."
"I missed you, too." She kissed his cheek, then turned her head and smiled into his eyes. He looked down at her, at the smile he'd loved for years, and his heart swelled in his chest till he thought it might burst.
He'd fallen for a few other women in the past, but Chloe was the one he'd dreamed about for the past three years, the one he'd longed for. The one he'd flown back to as soon as he possibly could.
She was the one he loved today.