Season 6, end of "Rage"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Clark had been raised as a farmer, and he was incapable of sleeping late. The rest of the country regarded the Friday after Thanksgiving as a holiday, but the work on a farm didn’t stop just because of a date on the calendar. Clark was up at six—which for him constituted sleeping in—and somehow managed to get himself extricated from the couch without waking Chloe up. Speeding over to the house, he scooted up the stairs in superspeed. He took a quick shower and changed, then went back down the stairs more slowly.
He’d hoped his mom might sleep in, but after twenty-five years as a farmer’s wife, she was no more capable of taking a vacation day than he was. She was already up, puttering around the kitchen. He inhaled, breathing in the scent of batter and bananas, and realized that she was making pancakes.
“Hi, honey,” she said, smiling at him. “Did you and Chloe work things out last night?”
He stared at her blankly, aware that his mouth was hanging open but unable to close it. She smiled wryly.
“I came over to the loft to check up on you around eleven-thirty,” she said by way of explanation. “I know you’re grown up now, but I can’t seem to stop myself from wanting to tuck you in. But you and Chloe were already asleep, and you looked… cozy.”
He had a feeling she’d been about to say intimate. He sighed, wishing that word were the right one.
“We didn’t work anything out, Mom. She just needed a place to sleep.”
His mom’s eyebrows went up. “With you?”
“It was cold,” he said defensively.
“Oh.” She gave him a knowing smile. “Cold. I see.”
He was irritated, because she somehow managed to see so much more than he wanted her to. He’d never been able to keep secrets from his mom. But right now she was seeing more than was actually there, since nothing had happened between him and Chloe last night.
Well, okay, nothing except a couple of great orgasms. But he didn’t think that was a solid basis for a relationship, somehow.
“Mom,” he said, exasperated.
Still smiling, she turned around, putting a few pats of butter onto the griddle. “Clark,” she said gently, “you spent years pining for Lana, without ever letting her know what you felt for her. You wouldn’t even admit your feelings to yourself. I just don’t want to see you go through that again.”
“I’m not…” The automatic rebuttal died unspoken, because all of a sudden he realized that, yeah, he was definitely pining for Chloe. He thought about her all the time, he got irritable whenever he ran into Jimmy at the Planet, and he spent hours in the loft moping.
All classic pining signs. He’d experienced them enough to know.
"I just don't want to see you get hurt, sweetheart." Martha started deftly pouring batter onto the griddle, dismissing the subject. "Why don't you tell Chloe breakfast is almost ready?"
Clark shook Chloe's shoulder gently, and her eyes flickered open. She looked at him, a soft, warm light in her eyes. All at once the warmth in her eyes died, and her expression suddenly went shuttered and cold. He figured she'd just remembered what they'd done last night. What they'd pretended they hadn't done.
He decided it was safer not to bring that up right now. "Breakfast is ready if you want it," he said instead. "Mom's making banana pancakes."
Chloe blinked sleepily. "It's awfully early for breakfast." She glanced at her watch, and her eyes went wide. "It's six-twenty!"
"Yeah," he said, unable to repress a smile. City girl. "It's the day after Thanksgiving, so we slept in a little."
She sat up, rubbing her eyes, and ran her hand through her hair, trying to untangle it. He remembered how it had gotten tangled-- remembered her writhing against him, her teeth grinding together, her heart pounding wildly-- and the images sent a shower of sparks through his nerves. He tried really hard to ignore the sensation, without much success.
She looked up at him. Some glimmer of lust must have shown in his eyes, because a little wrinkle appeared between her eyebrows, and she looked away. "Maybe I just better get going," she said stiffly, untangling herself from the blanket. "I don't usually eat much for breakfast. Most days I just have a cup of coffee."
"You've got to wait for me anyway," he pointed out. "Unless you're planning on walking downtown. So you might as well have a pancake or two."
She shrugged. "Okay."
She was still wearing the low cut purple dress, and her shrug made certain anatomical features move in an extremely fascinating way. He was sure she was wearing a bra, but that didn't prevent her torso from, well, rippling. His gaze drifted down, without any conscious intent on his part, and he stood frozen, staring as if he'd never seen a pair of breasts before.
She rose to her feet and glared at him. "Hey," she snapped. "Keep your eyes in your head."
His chin jerked up, and he felt his cheeks flame. "Sorry," he said meekly. "I just..." He couldn't think of any graceful way to say I was just admiring your boobs, so he changed the subject. "Look, Chloe, about last night..."
"Nothing happened last night," she said tersely, brushing past him and heading for the stairs.
Annoyance lit inside him. He caught her by the wrist, gently enough not to hurt her, but hard enough to spin her around to face him. "Something definitely happened last night, Chlo."
She tilted her nose into the air, meeting his gaze with annoyance. "I'm dating Jimmy, damn it."
"You have a hell of a way of showing it," he answered, irritated.
She raised her free hand, looking like she might just slap him, then thought better of it and lowered her hand. "Why do you do this to me?" she demanded. "Why are you always complicating my life this way?"
"Who's complicating whose life?" He blinked at her. "I'm trying to clean up the mess I made when I got out of the Phantom Zone. The last thing I really want right now is to get involved with anyone."
"Fine." She yanked her wrist from his hand-- and he let go, lest she hurt herself-- spun around, and stalked toward the staircase. "So we're on the same page here. Neither of us is interested in the other that way."
"I didn't say that."
At his soft words, she spun around and stared at him. He saw shock in her eyes, and maybe even hope, for just an instant before her eyes narrowed. She spoke impatiently.
"What exactly are you trying to say to me, Clark?"
He looked at her for a long moment. Suddenly he realized he wasn't merely pining for her. His mom was right. His feelings for her were a whole lot more serious than that.
He spoke in a quiet, even voice.
"I'm in love with you, Chlo."
Her eyes went wide, then suddenly filled with tears. He took a step toward her, but she put out a hand in a defensive gesture, stopping him.
"I spent years waiting for you to believe there was something between us," she said, her voice trembling. "Years, Clark. Why did you have to wait till I was involved with someone else?"
"I didn't know how I felt," he said softly. "It took me a while to figure it out."
Her lower lip quivered. "Clark."
"I'm sorry it took me so long, Chlo. I didn't mean to screw up your life. I'm just..."
"Slow? Emotionally constipated?" Despite the tears, her eyes glittered with what he thought was amusement. "None too bright?"
"All of the above," he admitted. He tilted his head and looked at her hopefully. "So do you think there's the slightest chance that maybe you might love me back?"
She hesitated a moment longer, then stepped toward him and flung her arms around his neck. He heard a muffled sob, and he put his arms around her and lowered his head, pressing his face against her hair.
"Is that a yes?"
She laughed through her tears, rubbing her face against his flannel shirt. "It's a maybe."
"A maybe." He felt mildly disgruntled, although he supposed maybe was a lot better than an outright no. Since he'd stupidly let her get involved with Jimmy, instead of grabbing her when she was available, he figured he should consider himself lucky that she was giving him any kind of chance at all. And he had a feeling he could change maybe to yes.
With a little effort, anyway.
He ran his hand gently through her hair. "You think I could change your mind on that?"
She looked up at him and smiled. "It's a possibility, I suppose."
That definitely sounded promising. He reached up and brushed her tears away with his fingers, then bent to kiss her.
"Hey," she said, moving her head slightly, so that his lips grazed her cheek rather than her mouth. "What about your mom's banana pancakes?"
"They'll wait." He captured her chin in his hand, so she couldn't turn away again, and brushed his mouth against hers. "But I'm not so sure about you. I figure you've been waiting long enough."
She rolled her eyes. "You think?"
"Yeah." He looked into her eyes. "I'm sorry, Chlo. I just wasn't sure how I felt."
She gazed back at him, a measured, challenging look. "But you've definitely figured it out?"
"Yeah," he whispered, and kissed her again. "I know now."