Friday, January 05, 2007

Gotta Lose to Win

Season 6, following "Subterranean"
1000 words
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.

I know the pain you’re living in
Sometimes you gotta lose to win
It’s ok, don’t you worry baby
We all live to love another day
- Rascal Flatts, "Love Another Day"

"I can't believe you did that."

Clark Kent had heard Chloe Sullivan's footsteps coming up the stairs to the roof, so her voice didn't startle him. He didn't bother to turn from his perusal of the city. Since he'd been raised in the wide-open spaces of Smallville, the Metropolis skyline never failed to awe him, and from the top of the Daily Planet building, he could see the city spreading out in all directions, drenched in the crimson and gold light of sunset. It made him wonder what it would be like to fly over it, far above everything.

Not that he could fly. But he thought about it an awful lot lately.

"Did what?" he answered, although he had a pretty good idea what she was talking about.

"Don't play dumb with me, Clark. I can't believe you let Jimmy win at basketball."

He turned his head, just a little, and regarded her, raising one eyebrow quizzically. "Did you really expect me to open up a can of superpowered whoop-ass on him?"

"Well, not exactly, I guess." She paused next to him, looking out over the city. "But we both know you don't have to show your superpowers in order to kick his ass on the court. I honestly didn't think your male ego would let you lose."

"You make it sound like I'm a walking mass of testosterone or something," he said, disgruntled.

Her mouth quirked in a little smile. "You may be an alien, Clark, but as far as I can tell you have just as much testosterone as the next guy."

"Thanks. I think." He glanced down at her. In contrast to his white t-shirt and faded denim jeans, she was dressed in work clothes, a low cut, navy blue business suit that managed to look professional and alluring all at the same time. His eyes were drawn irresistibly to her cleavage, and he looked away uncomfortably, staring out over the tall spires of Metropolis. He had to struggle to force words out past suddenly dry lips. "I'm still not sure exactly why Jimmy thinks I have problems with him."

She chuckled. "He thinks you're madly in love with me."

He managed to keep his mouth from falling open. Jimmy's smarter than I thought. "Uh, I don't know where he got that idea."

"It's because we spend so much time together. He thinks you have a thing for me."

His cheeks got red. Thank God the sun was setting. She'd probably figure it was the light making his cheeks red, rather than embarrassment.

"Um," he said. "Well, I..."

"Relax," she said, reaching out and patting his arm in a friendly gesture. The touch of her hand on his bare skin made all the little hairs on his forearm stand up, but he did his best to ignore the reaction. "You haven't done anything wrong. It's just because we're such good friends and we hang around together all the time. You know, he hasn't failed to notice you call me three times a day."

More like five. He was so used to calling Chloe all the time that he'd never thought of stopping when she got a boyfriend, but all of a sudden he realized how his frequent calls and visits must look to Jimmy. He was pretty sure he'd be uneasy if another guy constantly called a girl he was dating. "I'm sorry," he said sincerely. "I didn't mean to cause you any problems with him, Chlo."

"You didn't." She smiled up at him. In the light of the setting sun, her blonde hair was touched with copper fire. "He knows I don't have any feelings for you."

Ouch. He winced. Twist the knife, why don't you, Chloe?

"Great," he said, thinking he sounded really unconvincing. The truth was, he wasn't sure exactly what he felt for Chloe, but every day he grew more certain that he had some feelings for her. And not just the friendship he'd always felt for her, either. He wasn't sure he was madly in love with her, exactly, but he was definitely... conflicted. "Well, okay, then. That's great. I'm glad he's not upset or anything."

"But he knows how important you are to me," she went on. "And I guess he just kind of wanted to try to make friends with you."

He suddenly realized he was staring at the waning sunlight on her hair, and jerked his head around, looking out at the city. "I know he's important to you, Chlo. And I want to be friends with him, too. For you."

"And that's why you let him win."

"Yeah," he said softly. There was no point in denying it. She knew as well as he did that Jimmy couldn't possibly defeat him in any athletic pursuit unless he allowed it.

"That was really nice of you, Clark," she said softly, her fingers squeezing his arm gently. "Thanks."

He was glad she thought so. Letting Jimmy win, when he could have totally kicked the little geek's ass, had been one of the hardest things he'd ever done. Every competitive instinct he possessed had kicked in and urged him to crush Jimmy like a bug. Well, not literally. But he'd wanted to win, to give Jimmy a small hint of just who he was dealing with.

He could have totally humilated Jimmy... and instead he'd let Jimmy win. And he'd hated every minute of it.

At least he had till now. But Chloe was smiling up at him, so sweetly that he felt like he could take a swan dive right off the top of the Daily Planet building and fly off into the sunset. Basking in the radiant warmth of her smile, he suddenly felt like he was on top of the world.

Letting Jimmy win, he decided, had been totally worth it.

"You're welcome," he said softly.

-The End-


Anonymous said...

Aww, fluffy chlark is always welcome too ;)

Oh the basketball game. I liked how you didn't even mention that besides the super powers clark's got the massive height advantage. Also enjoyed that this took place on the planet's roof. It's a nice change of pace from thoughtful barn reflection.

Very sweet,

sally said...

I like this. I wondered if Clark would let Jimmy win at basketball. This was a very sweet ficlit.

Anonymous said...

aawww...this was sweet! i like it when clark starting to or starts to realize that he likes chloe and not having his feelings reciprocate. just love it.

very cool,

joanna - kidkarmina

SelfAppointedCritic said...

Oh, how utterly sweet and endearing! I do love 'charming clark'. It's not like he's not usually sweet and giving, but making this particular sacrafice for Chloe was just...charming! I so love your work Elly; thanks for sharing with us.

Amber said...

Awesome Job as usual Elly!!!! I Loved this fic!!!! It's Sooo Cute, and Sweet!!!! I could really feel Clark's character!!!!! Just really happy you decided to do a Post-Subterranean ficlet! Again Awesome Job, and keep up the Awesome work!! Take Care.

blackheart_me said...

aww the blind love! i rlly sorta like how clark is jealous of jimmy haha. yea that serves him right :p

Anonymous said...

Awwwww!! How sweet! Jealous Clark, I love it!