Season 3, "Whisper"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
After all this time
I never thought we'd be here
Never thought we'd be here
When my love for you was blind
But I couldn't make you see it
Couldn't make you see it
That I loved you more than you'll ever know
A part of me died when I let you go
"Look, as much as I try to avoid unbearable cliches, if there's anything I can do..."
Chloe Sullivan spoke as gently as she could. Her best friend Clark Kent was standing in the familiar confines of his parents' barn, but he seemed as uncomfortable and apprehensive as if he were lost in a deep, dark forest. He'd been blinded in a freak accident yesterday, and even though he wore dark glasses, covering his expressive eyes, she thought he looked scared to death. She put a hand on his upper arm in an effort to comfort him.
"I'll manage." Clark pulled his arm away from her hand and moved cautiously away. She watched him, seeing that his steps were uncertain and hesitant. He clearly wasn't confident of his ability to navigate even familiar places yet.
He paused, turned a little, and offered her a humorless half smile. "But you didn't come all the way out here to check out the blind guy."
Of course I did, she thought. It hurt that Clark thought she cared so little that she wouldn't drive out to the Kent farm just to check up on him, after a major disaster like this. She blinked hard and scrabbled for a cover story. "Well, I thought I might write something about you and your, uh, experience in my column. You know, if you don't mind."
His head jerked up, and he fired words like bullets. "The column Lionel Luthor helped you land?"
At the unexpected words, she froze in shock and horror. He knows, she thought. How the hell does he know?
For a moment, she hesitated. Then she crossed her arms defensively, even though she knew he couldn't see her, and bluffed. "What's that supposed to mean?"
He turned his back on her and bowed his head, so all she could see of him was wide, flannel-clad shoulders. "I may have lost my sight," he said, his voice low and cutting, "but things are becoming much clearer now. Exactly how long have you and Lionel been looking into my life?"
"I-- I--" She floundered for a moment, uncertain what to say. She took a deep breath and got a grip on herself, and her innate honesty rose to the surface. "Since last spring. The day after Lex's wedding."
"When you saw me and Lana together. So is that why you did this?"
His voice was low with rage, and she drew another tremulous breath, uncertain how to answer. Denial seemed fruitless. He'd struck on the truth, and the truth was horrible. I was angry and hurt and I wanted you for myself, and I was furious that you chose Lana instead of me. So I betrayed you.
It was true, but it was so immature and petty and pathetic that she felt profoundly ashamed.
"Your silence is deafening," he said at last. "What did you give Lionel?"
"Nothing," she answered, truthfully. "Nothing he didn't already know."
She could see his anger in the rigid line of his shoulders. "Well, then, what is he sharing with you? What has he told you about me?"
"Nothing. Believe it or not, Clark, I...I was just... I was trying to help you."
He snorted. "Yeah, right. By spying on me."
"No, by just trying to understand why he's so intrigued with you." It was a rationalization she'd offered herself time and time again over the past few months. She wanted to cast herself as the noble best friend, coming to Clark's defense, protecting him against the evil Lionel Luthor...
The only problem was, it wasn't true, and she knew it. She'd betrayed Clark because she'd felt betrayed, pure and simple.
Somewhere deep down, she'd been certain Clark loved her, not Lana Lang. She'd thought he was just somehow blind to it, but that one day he'd open his eyes and look at her and realize how much he loved her. Clark was hers. She'd been calmly certain of that... right up until the moment she'd seen him kissing Lana in his loft.
Seeing him kissing Lana, smiling at Lana, holding Lana's hand, had been more than she could take. Knowing that he'd chosen Lana over her had destroyed her long-held hopes and shattered her heart. She'd been crushed, and in her rage and hurt she'd struck back savagely, like a wounded animal defending itself.
"Sure," he scoffed. He didn't buy her rationalization any more than she herself did. He knew her far too well. "And if the Torch got a few new computers and you made a name for yourself at the Daily Planet, that was okay too."
"No... Clark..." Her voice quavered, and he turned around as if trying to look at her. She struggled to explain, more honestly this time. "Lionel just... he caught me at an especially bad time. And I caved. I've been trying to get out of it ever since, but when people like Lionel Luthor have you, they don't want to let go."
He was silent, and with his eyes hidden behind sunglasses, she couldn't see what he was thinking. She went on, her voice trembling harder. "I thought that you of all people would understand making a stupid decision in a moment of weakness. But I guess I was wrong."
He hesitated a long moment. At last he sighed.
"No," he said softly. He stepped forward and reached out, groping until his hands were on her arms. He stood in front of her, his head downbent, his lips parted, looking very vulnerable and young and scared. "Believe me, Chlo. I understand all about moments of weakness."
He raised a hand and found her cheek, awkwardly, then lowered his head. She realized with shock that he was trying to kiss her.
He was upset, she thought. Overwrought. This was his moment of weakness, and she ought not to take advantage of him.
But she was upset and overwrought too, and she desperately wanted some reassurance that Clark still cared for her, despite everything she'd done.
She lifted her head, and their lips brushed together.
She'd been trying to let him go, to distance herself by allying herself with Lionel instead, but suddenly she realized she just couldn't. Letting go of Clark was an impossible feat. He meant too much to her. No matter how many bridges she tried to burn, no matter how she deliberately tried to alienate him... she couldn't seem to walk away from him.
She loved him, and she always would.
At the touch of her lips against his, he drew in a shuddering breath, and his arms went around her ribs, holding her tightly. "Chlo," he muttered, his voice rough. "It's dark... and I'm scared..."
"Shhhh." She kissed him again, a soft whisper against his lips. "It'll be okay."
"No. It won't." He sounded like he was near tears. "It's dark, and I... I feel like a little kid, Chloe. Afraid of the dark."
She was pretty sure he'd never let himself admit his fears to Lana or his parents or Pete. But the two of them had always talked about everything together, and to her relief, that didn't seem to have changed. Despite what she'd done, Clark still trusted her enough to let himself be vulnerable with her. He trusted her to offer reassurance and consolation, in a way he didn't trust anyone else. The thought warmed her.
"It's okay to be scared." She brushed a kiss over his chin, yearning to comfort him somehow, to take away his fear. "We're all scared of something, Clark."
He gave a little moan that sounded like it was composed of equal parts distress and need, and their mouths met again. At first the kiss was gentle and platonic, but slowly it began to melt into something hot and passionate and intense.
Her lips parted, and suddenly his tongue was brushing over her lips, very lightly, and then probing lightly into her mouth. The tips of their tongues caressed lightly, and a tingle of electricity shot through her.
He buried a big hand in her hair and held on, and she could feel his desperation, his fear. She imagined what it must be like for him, trapped in an unfamiliar, frightening world of darkness, and her arms tightened around his shoulders in an instinctive effort to comfort him.
And then he broke away from the kiss, breathing hard.
"Chloe," he muttered. "What you did-- Lionel--"
"I'm sorry," she whispered, her voice choked. Suddenly she realized that her worst fear was losing Clark. Losing him for good would plunge her world into darkness. And she knew that if she lost him, she had no one to blame but herself. "So sorry. I'd do anything to take it back, Clark. Anything. And somehow, I'll fix it. I swear."
He hesitated, and for an instant she was afraid he didn't believe her. But then he lowered his head and sought her lips with his again, and she knew she was forgiven. Clark had always had a remarkable capacity for forgiveness, and he was willing to overlook what she'd done, as bad as it was.
She was acutely aware she didn't deserve absolution for her sins. But she and Clark been friends for a long, long time. And in his own way, he needed her as much as she needed him.
Especially right now, in his own moment of weakness.
They kissed for a long, long time, clinging to each other tightly. She knew he was looking for physical comfort, for reassurance, and no matter how intense his kisses were, it didn't mean anything had really changed between the two of them. Clark might have forgiven her, but that didn't mean he was in love with her.
But to her surprise, she realized she was okay with that for now. The truth was that after everything she'd done, she honestly wasn't sure she deserved his love. Clark might be able to forgive her despite the enormity of her betrayal, but she couldn't forgive herself so readily. She suspected she'd have to atone for years before she really felt worthy of him again.
But even so, her anger and her feelings of betrayal and her guilt had faded into a quiet faith that everything would work out in the end. She'd been right all along. Clark was hers. He might be blind to that fact right now, but he was hers, and always would be. And sooner or later he'd realize it.
Because Clark might believe he was in love with Lana Lang.
But when he was afraid, or freaked out, or lonely... it was Chloe he turned to.