Picture by chlarklove. Used with permission of the artist.
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.
She said no one will love you more than me
I looked at her
She looked at me
I think she's waiting for me to believe
-"Cain and Able," Josh Kelley
"So how long have you been in love with Chloe?"
Clark Kent looked up from the pot he was scrubbing and frowned at his mother. "What?"
"I'm not blind, Clark. I saw the way you were looking at her at dinner." His mother lifted an auburn eyebrow and gave him the barest hint of a smile.
He almost retorted, Yeah, and I saw the way you were looking at Lionel, but he really didn't want to go there. He was afraid of somehow making the attraction between his mom and Lionel Luthor more real by talking about it. It totally creeped him out to think about his mom being interested in another guy, when his dad had only been dead for eight months or so. It was even creepier for her to be interested in Lionel, of all people.
But it occurred to him that you really couldn't help who you fell for, so he decided to keep his thoughts to himself for now.
"I'm not in love with Chloe," he said instead, scrubbing the pot harder.
"Careful, Clark, that's my favorite casserole dish." She picked up a saucepan and began drying it. "You were watching Chloe all through dinner."
"Was not." He frowned at the casserole dish. "I was just eating."
His mother sighed. "Clark, honey, I know Chloe has a boyfriend, but if you feel that way about her..."
"She's a friend, Mom. That's all." He thought about the way she'd smiled when she'd gotten a text message from Jimmy, and his hand tightened on the dish. It cracked.
His mother growled, the way their dog Shelby did when someone tried to take a bone away from him, and snatched the dish out of his hands. "Go," she said, scowling up at him. "You're not helping me here."
"Sorry," he said meekly. Even though he was most of a foot taller than his mom, she could still intimidate him with a look, and frequently did.
"Just go. Now." She snapped the dishcloth in his direction, and he dodged it in an automatic response-- which was kind of silly, because if a bullet couldn't hurt him, a dishcloth sure as hell couldn't-- and headed for his loft.
He sighed as he trudged slowly up the rickety wooden stairs. He didn't feel like using superspeed tonight. He didn't feel like much of anything, really. There was an empty place in his chest, because it wasn't ever easy to celebrate the first holiday after someone died. He missed his dad an awful lot.
But he had to admit that wasn't all that was bothering him. The memory of the way Chloe had beamed when she got that text message from Jimmy was bugging him more than he'd wanted to admit to his mom, and he wasn't sure why. It wasn't like he was really in love with Chloe, no matter what his mom thought. That was ridiculous. They'd been friends for years, and nothing had really changed.
Well, except for one hugely hot kiss a couple of months ago, which she'd later blown off like it was totally irrelevant.
Not that he was bothered by that or anything.
He climbed the last couple of stairs and came to a startled halt. Chloe was sitting on the worn red cushions of the couch in his loft.
"Hi," he said, frowning a little. Not because he was unhappy to see her-- she was his best friend, and he was always happy to see her-- but because he'd thought she'd left. Her car hadn't been in the driveway. "I thought you went home."
She shrugged. "I thought about it, but Lois and Ollie headed over to her apartment, and she asked me to make myself scarce for a while."
Chloe was sleeping on the couch at Lois' apartment while Metropolis U underwent repairs, and it was a one-room apartment, so he could understand that. "How come they didn't just both go on Ollie's motorcycle?"
Chloe grinned. "She said they needed to take separate cars, just in case he wanted to go home tonight. I'm pretty sure she figured he wouldn't want to, though."
"I guess Lois and Ollie made up," he said, smiling a bit.
"Sure looked like it at dinner, didn't it?"
Lois and Ollie had barely been able to keep their hands off each other. He wasn't surprised they'd headed straight for a bed. For a while he'd been kind of concerned they were just going to use his mom's dining room table.
"Yeah, there were some serious PDAs going on." He cocked his head. "So why didn't you come back to the house when Lois ditched you?"
"I figured you guys would make me clean up," she said, her eyes twinkling. "I knew you'd come up here to mope eventually, when you were done washing the dishes."
She knew him too well. "I didn't come up here to mope," he lied.
"Sure you didn't." She leaned forward and looked up at him. "You're thinking about your dad, aren't you?"
He sighed and walked across the loft, dropping down on the couch next to her. "I guess."
"I'm sorry," she said, patting his hand. "I know the first big holiday after you lose someone is always hard."
Her hand felt soft and warm against his, and he had to struggle not to turn his hand over and clasp hers. He looked over at her. She was wearing a really lowcut purple dress that displayed her... well, charms. And they were definitely charming. Uncomfortable, he lifted his gaze and looked into her eyes. Her hair waved loosely around her face, in a style he liked a lot better than the stick-straight style she'd affected last year, and all of a sudden his fingers itched to touch her hair, to sink into its softness.
Jimmy, he reminded himself.
"So do you want to sleep here tonight?" he asked, and instantly could have kicked himself, because that hadn't come out quite right. She grinned at him.
"Gee, Clark, I thought you'd never ask."
He could feel his cheeks heating, and hoped his blush wasn't visible in the low lighting. "I mean, you know, you could sleep on the couch."
"I know what you meant," she answered, rolling her eyes. "And yeah, thanks. That'd be nice. I'd hate to go back to the apartment and walk in on, well..."
"Okay." He pulled his hand out from under hers, leaned forward, and dug in the trunk he used as a coffee table, pulling out the pillow he used when he slept up here. Which was pretty frequently, actually. He looked at the old, thin blanket on the back of the couch, and all of a sudden he realized the evening air might be kind of cold for a human. Low temperatures didn't bother him, but it was November, and it would probably dip into the forties tonight. She wouldn't like that.
"Maybe you should sleep in the living room," he said.
"No. This'll be fine."
"But you'll be cold."
"Clark." She shook her head at him. "Quit worrying. It's not going to be that cold. If you close the window, I'll be perfectly all right."
He got to his feet, walked across the loft, and closed the window that he usually kept wide open, because the encroaching winter cold didn't bother him. He turned around, seeing that she'd tugged the blanket off the back of the couch and was wrapping it around herself. She was cold, even if she didn't want to admit it. And no wonder, in that dress. Half her torso was exposed.
Which wasn't a bad thing, really.
He realized his mind was wandering down a very dangerous path, and tried really hard to think thoughts that didn't involve the degree of skin exposed by her violet dress. He noticed she was shivering.
"Hey," he said, walking back over and sitting down next to her. "You are cold. Come on in the house."
"No." She shook her head. "I don't want to intrude, Clark. Thanksgiving is a family holiday."
"And you're family." He put an arm around her and pulled her against his chest, because she was starting to shiver harder.
"No, I'm not," she said softly. "I don't really belong here, Clark."
She sounded a little bitter, and for the first time he wondered if maybe she'd wanted to spend Thanksgiving with Jimmy, and was a little annoyed because she hadn't gotten the chance. The thought that she'd rather spend a holiday with Jimmy than him sent a little pain through him, which he did his best to ignore.
He remembered how he'd been so happy to spend last Christmas with Lana. Chloe hadn't had anyone, and now he had a pretty good idea how she'd felt. Being a third wheel sucked.
"You always belong here," he answered, pulling her against him a little tighter. Because she was still shivering, and he didn't want her to be cold. "I know you'd rather have been with Jimmy, or your dad..."
"But Jimmy had to go to his parents' house in Florida, and Dad's got that new job in Tennessee." She sighed, and he could practically feel the loneliness coming off her in waves.
Or maybe that was just his own loneliness.
"I'm sorry." He squeezed her, trying to comfort her, and perhaps himself as well. "I know you miss them."
"Don't get me wrong," she said hastily. "I had a great time with you and your family."
"Yeah," he said softly. "Me too. I'm glad you came."
She tilted her head up, and he looked down at her. Their gazes met and locked, and all of a sudden he remembered his mom's voice. So how long have you been in love with Chloe?
I'm not in love with Chloe, he thought. I'm not.
But despite that thought, his hand reached up of its own accord, and he brushed his knuckles over her soft cheek. She shivered, and this time he didn't think it was from cold.
She reached up and slid her hand into his hair, stroking it very gently, and to his surprise, a shiver went through him too. His skin suddenly erupted with goosebumps. Since he never got cold, it was a strange and alien sensation.
He liked it.
Read Chapter 2 here.