Season 6, "Combat"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
"Okay, Clark. So if you're not creeped out by me, what's the problem?"
She pressed her face into his shoulder, and he bent his head, inhaling the sweet fragrance of her hair. He was kind of worried she might figure out the "problem" all on her own, because, well, it was a big problem. And getting bigger all the time.
"It's just been a bad day," he answered, half truthfully. It had been a bad day, but that wasn't why he'd been trying to avoid her touch. "I mean, I killed a guy..."
She was silent for a moment, and he felt her discomfort with the concept. "How'd you kill him, Clark?"
He shifted uncomfortably. "Remember that big bone spike he had in his wrist? He kind of fell on it."
"So you didn't kill him on purpose."
"Not exactly, no. But that's just an excuse, because I would have. I really didn't have any choice."
"Your dad would say there are always choices."
He spoke quietly, his voice raw and ragged. "I'm not sure that's true, Chlo. I was so mad about about everything I thought I might actually enjoy killing him. But eventually I realized... I really didn't want to do it. Even so, if I hadn't killed him by accident, I would have had to do it on purpose sooner or later. I mean, he was killing people, Chlo. He'd killed an awful lot of people. And Lois was there, you know. If I hadn't killed him, he might have hurt her. He might have killed her."
"Yeah." She fell quiet. He listened to the beat of her heart, the soft in and out of her breathing, taking comfort in the sound of the steady rhythms of life in her body. "Clark," she said at last, softly. "There might be other times when you have to kill one person to save another."
He remembered his earlier bleak thoughts of having to kill her. He'd finally acknowledged the blunt truth that every meteor freak out there had once been an ordinary person, who'd had friends and family and a life before they'd been infected. Just like Chloe. The thought of killing her sent a cold tremor up his spine.
"I don't want to kill anyone ever again," he said hoarsely. "I don't think I can."
Her arms tightened around him. "Maybe you won't have to," she said softly. "If you're lucky."
"I hope not." He thought about her developing powers, about the possibility that he might have to confront her, to fight her, to hurt her, and another shudder ran through him.
"Clark," she said softly, holding him still more tightly. "What's really bothering you?"
He shook his head wordlessly, unable to answer.
"It's me, isn't it? It's the meteor freak thing."
"I just..." He felt himself begin to shiver uncontrollably, and he pulled her against him harder, trying to warm himself up. "I've been out there patrolling Smallville lately, and I've caught all these meteor freaks doing bad things, Chlo. They don't care about other people any more. They just go..."
"Not crazy so much as amoral. It's like they don't care about anyone but themselves anymore. I just... I just can't imagine you that way."
"They don't all go bad, Clark. Remember the Angel of Vengeance? And Jordan Cross?"
"But so many of them..." He heard his voice break and swallowed hard. "So many of them go wrong, Chlo. And if it happens to you..."
"If it happens to me, you can't let me hurt anyone," she said softly. "No matter what, you can't let me hurt anyone."
"But I can't fight you, Chloe. I can't fight you like you're just another meteor freak."
"No one is just another meteor freak." Her voice sounded sharp and brittle as glass. "None of them are any worse or better than I am. They didn't ask to be infected, Clark, any more than I did."
"I can't fight you, Chlo." His voice fell to a whisper, low and desperate. "I can't hurt you. I can't."
"You might not have any choice, Clark. It's just like killing Titan. You didn't have any choice... and you did what you had to do."
"This is totally different."
"Of course it is. He was a dangerous criminal, and you..."
"Might become a dangerous criminal." Her voice was muffled against his shoulder. "We both know it can happen, Clark."
"I don't care. I'm not going to hurt you, damn it."
"What if I go really bad?" She lifted her face and stared into his eyes challengingly. "What if I start trying to kill people? Are you seriously going to just let me go free?"
He stared back at her, speechless. The corner of her mouth curved up a bit in a wry smile.
"Sometimes you have to do something you don't want to do," she told him softly. "No matter how much you hate doing it. You're my personal bomb squad, Clark. And that means if you can't stop me from exploding... you have to stop anyone else from getting hurt in the explosion."
He looked into the hazel depths of her eyes, seeing the steady calm that was always there beneath the snark and the humor. God, Chlo, he thought wretchedly. If anything happens to you...
Pain flashed through him at the thought. He knew she might never go bad, might never have her ability manifest. She might be perfectly normal for the rest of her life. Or she could change tomorrow. The idea that she might suddenly change into someone completely different, someone totally unlike the girl he'd known since eighth grade, made his pain that much more intense.
He realized he was desperately afraid of losing her.
He was very aware of her soft body, pressed tightly against his. He ached for her with a physical need he'd never really admitted before, and he couldn't fight his impulses any longer.
He lowered his head and very gently kissed her.
Read Chapter 3 here.