Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ever the Same, Chapter 3

Season 5, following my story "Never Let Me Go"
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.

The present

When Chloe woke up, Clark's arm was still wrapped around her, even though he was quite unconscious. She smiled, amused and touched by the fact that he wouldn't let her go, even in his sleep.

There was a warm buzzing sensation where their bodies touched. When they'd bonded, their electromagnetic fields had altered somehow. Now, whenever their EM fields intersected, they both experienced a feeling of warmth and reassurance and pleasure. She stretched a little, trying to get as much of her body into contact with his as possible. They were both naked under the sheets, and she felt his body react to hers. She looked back over her shoulder and saw his eyelashes fluttering open.

"Hey," she said.

"Hey," he answered sleepily. His arm tightened around her, and she wiggled.

"Clark," she reproved. "I have classes to attend, not to mention a paper to write."

"A paper?" He gave her big puppy dog eyes. "Aren't I more important than a paper?"

She grinned at his effort to con her. "Not when it's my journalism term paper, no. Let me go."

He grumbled, but released her. She could practically feel his gaze on her bare butt as she rose and walked across the room in search of clothes.

"I guess I better get back to the farm and get some chores done," he said. He fell silent, and she heard his unspoken thought: I don't want to leave you alone. It's not safe.

"Clark," she said softly. "You can't be with me twenty-four/seven."

"Maybe I ought to be, until we get rid of Fine."

"You can't be, Clark. We both have things we have to do. We can't be joined at the hip all the time."

He rolled onto his back and frowned at the ceiling. "If anything happens to you, if Fine shows up, I might... feel it."

They'd developed a kind of rudimentary telepathy since their lifebonding, but she wasn't at all sure it would work at a distance. "Maybe," she said dubiously. "I'm not sure."

"Me neither. Well, if anything happens, just yell for me. I'll be there."

"Can you hear my voice all the way from Smallville?" She'd known he could hear her heartbeat, no matter how far away she was, but hearing her voice was something else again. But he nodded solemnly.

"Yeah. If you say my name, I'll hear you."

"Okay. At the first sign of trouble, I'll yell."

He got to his feet and dressed in a blur of motion. As always when he went into superspeed, he was so fast she couldn't see his movements. But half a second later he stood in front of her, fully dressed from his beloved red jacket right down to his workboots.

"I'll be back as soon as I can," he said, cupping her cheek in his hand. "Be careful. Be alert."

"Cluck cluck," she said, rolling her eyes. "Get out of here, Clark. I'll be fine."

He lowered his head and kissed her. She felt the buzz of their EM fields, and could barely restrain herself from digging her fingers into his hair and deepening the kiss. But they both had things to do. They couldn't spend all day in bed.

Which was too bad, really.

He pulled away from her, flashed a quick grin, and was gone in a blur. The resulting breeze sent her notes for her journalism paper flying off her desk, and she growled under her breath and knelt to pick them up.

She managed to get them back into some semblance of order, read through them, and decided she was ready to start typing up the paper. What with everything that had happened lately to distract her from her schoolwork, it wouldn't be the greatest magnum opus of her life, but it ought to earn her a halfway decent grade. She stood up and flipped the machine open.

"Good morning, Miss Lane."

Chloe yelped in shock and spun around. At the door the robot that called itself Milton Fine stood, smiling a very nasty little smile. There was a purple crystal in his hand, and she wondered if it was a weapon. Then again, it might be the device he'd used to send Clark back in time once before. They'd thought that particular crystal had disappeared into a rift in time, but maybe they'd been wrong.

Or maybe he was holding a coffeemaker, for all she knew. Clark had complained more than once about the fact that all Kryptonian technology looked alike, even to him. If the Last Son of Krypton couldn't tell the devices apart, she sure as hell couldn't.

But she was pretty sure Fine hadn't come to offer her a cup of coffee.

She opened her mouth to call for Clark, but Fine held up the crystal. "Silence," he said. "Unless you want to die unpleasantly."

Since dying unpleasantly wasn't her preferred way to start a Monday morning, she didn't yell. "Didn't we kill you yesterday?"

"I told you," he said, smiling a little. "It takes more than death to kill me."

"Right. We have to destroy the ship. Where is it, by the way? Do you have it on campus, or is it in a parking garage downtown? Must be hard to find a place that doesn't charge an arm and a leg to park it."

Fine ignored her lame attempt at humor, and didn't volunteer any helpful information as to where the black spaceship that housed his consciousness might be. "You need to convince your bondmate to release Zod."

Chloe smiled sweetly. "Hell, no."

"Do it. Or I'll kill him."

"It's not as easy to kill him as you might think, either."

"I was built by Kryptonians. I know everything there is to know about them, Miss Lane."

"Stop calling me that," she said between her teeth. She wasn't sure why Fine kept calling her "Miss Lane." She wasn't Lois Lane-- it was her cousin's name. Despite some evidence to the contrary that Clark had unearthed in another timeline, she was pretty sure she was Chloe Sullivan, and always had been. She decided Fine was just trying to annoy her.

"Cooperate," Fine said. "Convince Kal-El to release Zod. Or I'll kill him. Trust me, I do know how."

The thought of this machine murdering Clark made her heart pound heavily in her chest. She felt her heartbeat accelerate, and suddenly knew that Clark had heard the change in her pulse, and was on his way.

Be careful, Clark, she thought, hoping he could hear her thoughts. But she wasn't too confident, because the empathy between them seemed based on sensing feelings and emotions rather than actual words. She didn't think it was genuine telepathy.

Even so, she knew he was on his way, so perhaps he could sense her warning, too.

Fine lifted the crystal and pointed it at her, and she suddenly knew she was going to die, knew the crystal was going to emit a blast of light that would burn a hole right through her chest in an agonizing flare of pain. She wasn't quite sure how she knew it, and wasn't sure where the strange sensation of deja vu had come from, but she didn't hesitate. She threw herself to the side, hard. And sure enough, light flared out from the crystal.

She realized with despair that despite the deja vu she'd experienced, she wasn't quick enough to escape her fate. The AI could move much faster than she could. She was going to die in a flare of light and a burst of pain. Just as she had... before.

But something suddenly flung itself between the light and her. She saw a blur of red and realized it was Clark.

The light slammed into his chest instead of hers, lifting him right off his feet and flinging him through the thick cinderblock wall as if it were paper. He fell through the air in a hail of shattered cinderblocks and dust, landing heavily on the grass outside, his arms outstretched, his head lolling lifelessly.

Chloe lifted her head and stared through the wall, seeing a gaping hole burned into Clark's chest. Pain and terror filled her, and she lunged for the robot with the notion of grabbing the crystal and turning it on him somehow, the way she'd used his own weapon on him yesterday.

But the problem was that the last time she'd attacked him, she'd been superpowered, her cells turbocharged by the red sunlight in the cell where she and Clark had been kept. This time she was an ordinary, weak human. Her hand wrapped around his, but she couldn't wrench the crystal from his grasp, or turn the weapon onto him. She just wasn't strong enough.

Fine could have pushed her away, as easily as a human swats a fly, but he didn't even bother. He just began to walk toward Clark, with her still clinging to him.

At his movement, her hand slipped upward, touching the crystal, and suddenly there was a massive explosion that sent her flying outward, through the huge hole in the wall.

She flew backward, slamming hard into the ground, and that was the last thing she knew.

Read Chapter 4 here.


Anonymous said...

thank you, thank you, thank you, elly.

that was great. again, i hope you'll continue this. i'm really hook. i'm going to read more of your stories since i need more chlarkness =).

thanks again, elly. i don't know what else to say except please don't take chloe away from clark! please??!!!

joanna (aka: kidkarmina)

SelfAppointedCritic said...

Just finished catching up on chapters 2 & 3 and as usual, the Trust series delivers the goods! Excellent updates Elly; I'm so, so looking forward to more. Though your one-shot/short stories are ALWAYS delightful, your novels are in a class of their own and always deliver the intrigue! Your plots are masterful. I'm nearly desperate to know how Clark/Chloe fare. What did Chloe sacrifice? I hope you'll come back to this soon. Thanks for sharing your amazing work with us.