Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Reason #1: Fire
"Oh, my God! You torched Pookie!"
Clark Kent patted out the small fire he'd created with his heat vision and looked toward his girlfriend. He could feel his cheeks turning red, and he didn't think it was from the heat of the fire. "You're a little old to be sleeping with a stuffed toy anyway, aren't you, Chlo?"
"I've had it since I was three." Chloe Sullivan looked sorrowfully at the small stuffed dog, which had been perched in a place of honor atop her headboard, but was now scorched beyond repair. "My mom gave it to me."
Chloe's mother was catatonic, and in an asylum, and she had little enough to remember her by. Clark bowed his head, feeling like he'd murdered a real puppy. "I'm sorry," he said, very softly. "I didn't mean to. I just got carried away, I guess."
And it was true. Sometimes, when he got really turned on, he couldn't stop his heat vision from activating, and this had been one of those times. He tried really hard not to let it go indoors, but every so often he just couldn't help himself.
At his crestfallen expression, she smiled, a little too brightly, and patted his shoulder. "It's okay," she assured him. "No big deal, really. It's just a toy."
But he saw the way she glanced sadly at the little pile of ashes, and he knew it was a lot more than just a toy to her. It was a memory. And he'd inadvertently destroyed it.
And the situation could have been a lot worse, he knew. Because instead of just setting a stuffed toy on fire... he could have set her on fire.
Reason #2: Physical damage
"You know, the college is going to make you pay for that."
Clark looked ruefully at the fist-sized hole he'd made in his dorm room wall. He'd had Chloe up against the wall, making love to her, and in a moment of extreme pleasure he'd clenched his fist and pressed it hard against the wall. And his hand had gone right into the cinderblock wall as if it were made of paper.
"Never mind the wall," he answered, his voice rough. "The big problem is that I could easily do the exact same thing to you."
"You'd never do that."
"If I can do it to a cinderblock wall, I can do it to you. I don't want to hurt you, Chlo. And I'm really afraid I'm going to, one of these days."
She looked at him unflinchingly, her chin tilted at a stubborn angle. "No," she said firmly. "You won't."
But a few minutes later he noticed her glancing at the hole in the wall, and he saw a flicker of nervousness in her eyes that echoed his own.
Reason #3: Air travel
"Clark. We're floating again."
At the sound of her voice, he stirred against her, mumbling into her hair. "Mmmmph," he answered.
"Clark." Her arms tightened around his neck. "Do not drop me."
"Hmmm." He didn't open his eyes. "You talk too much, Chlo. I'm trying to sleep."
"You're trying to sleep a thousand feet up, Clark."
At the words, he jerked, and his eyes popped open. He looked around. The world was lit by silvery moonlight, so he could see their surroundings perfectly-- and there wasn't anything to see. The ground was far, far below them. He uttered a little squeak of horror and made sure he was holding her very, very tightly. He wasn't afraid for himself, because he'd fallen from much higher than this and walked away without any damage whatsoever. But Chloe couldn't possibly survive a fall from this height.
"I've got you," he said, feeling his heart pounding wildly.
"Obviously. If you didn't, I'd be a little spot on the pavement by now."
She spoke lightly, like waking up to find herself floating far above the earth was perfectly normal, but he heard the little quaver of fear in her voice. They'd made love outside, and fallen asleep together under the stars. And that had clearly been a huge mistake.
Because he hadn't just drifted off to sleep. He'd drifted.
"Chloe," he said, concentrating, so that they floated slowly downward. "We have got to make sure we never fall asleep outside again. Okay?"
She was silent for a moment. "Even just falling from the height of the ceiling could hurt me, Clark."
"Yeah, I know. Goddamn it." He growled with irritation. "Ever since this floating thing started, I just can't seem to stop myself from floating in my sleep."
She patted his arm reassuringly. "It'll probably stop soon. You've said yourself that your abilities usually start out kind of crazy, but they die down. Pretty soon you'll probably be able to go to bed without worrying about floating."
"I hope so." He held her more tightly, imagining what could have happened if he'd dropped her. Awful images played in his head like a horror movie, and he shuddered. "I sure hope so."
Reason #4: Wind damage
"What the hell just happened?"
"Um." Clark felt his cheeks turning crimson. "I'm not sure, exactly."
"Because we were just making love, and then it was like there was a hurricane in here."
"Um." His cheeks grew a lot redder, his blush so hot he was amazed he didn't catch the pillow on fire. "I guess it was my superbreath."
"I thought you had that under control, Clark."
"Well. Yeah. Usually. It's just that what you were doing to me-- well, it was really intense, Chlo."
"Yeah, but you can't breathe out that way, Clark. I mean, you can't just let it go like that. Look at the mess you made of my papers. And... oh, my God. Look at the door! You blew it right off its hinges!"
She was standing up and yanking on clothes, looking shocked and appalled. He rolled over and watched, a little surprised by the vehemence of her reaction. Because she'd known he could blow doors off their hinges, after all. She'd seen him do it before.
"I didn't mean to, Chlo. It was just an accident."
She ignored his words. "How the hell are we going to explain this to the university? Huh?"
He couldn't restrain a little smile. "I guess we'll just have to tell them they just don't make hinges the way they used to."
She rounded on him fiercely. "It is not funny, Clark. Since we started dating, I've been in danger of being torched, dropped, squished, and now blown apart or killed by flying debris. Pardon me if I'm not laughing."
He looked at the very real distress on her face, and his smile died away. He realized she wasn't just upset about this one event. The distress had obviously been building up inside her for a while.
"I'm sorry," he said, very softly. "I didn't realize I was freaking you out so badly."
She stared at him for a long moment. "I love you, Clark," she said, her voice as soft as his. "But honestly, when I make love to you I feel like I'm taking my life into my hands."
He glanced away from her and spoke in a low voice.
"You are, Chlo."
He'd known he shouldn't make love to a human woman, considering how fragile humans were compared to him, but he'd fallen for Chloe, and his hormones had gotten the best of him. But he'd been fully aware it wasn't safe, and subsequent events had proved that conclusively.
One of these days, he was going to hurt her very badly, or possibly kill her. And he couldn't risk her that way.
This had to stop. Now.
He rolled out of the bed, yanked on his clothes in superspeed, and was gone before she could say another word.
Reason #5: Heartbreak
Clark didn't turn around at the sound of her voice. He was sitting on a bench on the Met U quad, studying, or trying to. In point of fact, what he was doing was staring into space. Which was pretty much what passed for studying lately, as far as he was concerned.
"Go away, Chlo," he said softly.
"No." Her hand came down on his shoulder, and she squeezed him gently. He tried to ignore the little rush of heat that shot through him. It had been two weeks since he'd touched her, and he missed her so badly he could hardly stand it. He couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, couldn't focus enough to study. He missed her emotionally as well as physically. But he knew there was no way they could maintain a romantic relationship without physical involvement, so he'd decided it was best just to break it off entirely.
He sighed and put his history book down on the bench. "Chloe..."
"Shut up, Clark. Look, I'm sorry I freaked out on you that night, okay? I know you've always been afraid of hurting your partner during sex, and I didn't mean to bring all your neuroses to the surface that way. I was just kind of..."
"Scared. Yeah. Me too."
"Look," she said, squeezing a little more tightly. "There's a certain risk involved when we make love. I think we both realize that."
"Yeah. And I can't take that kind of risk with you, Chlo. You mean too much to me."
"But things are getting better," she said earnestly. "I mean, the accidental floating thing's stopped already..."
"Thank God for small favors."
"And you haven't set anything on fire in weeks. You're obviously learning to control your reactions."
"It's the learning part that scares the hell out of me, Chlo."
"So what are you going to do, Clark? Never have sex again?"
He closed his eyes, aching to turn around and pull her into his arms. He hadn't touched her in two weeks, and he very badly missed the feel of her body against his. "I guess I don't have a lot of choice, do I?"
"Sure you do." She leaned forward and slid her arms around him, holding him. He could feel her breasts pressing against his shoulders, soft and warm, and he sucked in a deep breath.
"Listen, Clark," she said softly. "We just have to keep practicing. Eventually, we'll get to the point where we can have safe sex."
The phrase wrenched a grim laugh from him. "Safe sex. God, Chlo, I wish it were as simple as using a condom."
"Nothing with you is ever simple." She squeezed him in an affectionate hug. "But I knew that when we started dating."
He looked down, at her arms locked around his chest, and his hand slowly lifted, closing over hers. "Chloe," he said softly. "I'm not just scared. I'm terrified. I'm afraid I'm really going to hurt you."
"I know." She bent and brushed a kiss over the nape of his neck, just beneath his hairline, and he shivered. "Me too. But we can't break up, Clark. It just doesn't work. I miss you too much."
"Yeah," he answered, squeezing her hand gently. "Me too. I've missed you an awful lot."
"And if we're going to date... we both know we're going to have sex."
"We could try to keep it, you know, platonic."
"Oh, please." She snorted. "Like that's actually going to happen."
He sighed, feeling his skin burn everywhere she touched him. "You're right. It's not going to happen."
"So there's really only one option here. Let's go back to dating, and just try to be super careful. Okay?"
He turned his head, so that his nose pressed into her throat, and inhaled her sweet fragrance. Almost instantly his eyes began to burn, and he felt himself lift an inch or two off the bench. He groaned.
"This is dangerous, Chlo."
"I know." She bent and bumped her nose against his in an affectionate gesture. "But we don't have any choice, Clark. Really, we don't. There's no way we can live without each other, right?"
He swallowed. "Right."
"So come on. Let's go back to your dorm room."
She straightened up and held out a hand. He hesitated, then put his hand into hers, stood up, and followed her back to the dorm.
And when she drew him down onto his bed and made love to him, for the first time in two weeks, he concentrated very hard on not doing anything that could harm her.
"There," she said afterward, her head pillowed on his shoulder. "You managed to control the heat vision, the superbreath, and the floating thing. Told you it could be done."
"Yeah." He closed his eyes and let himself enjoy the warm sensation of afterglow. It felt almost like floating, even though he was still firmly on the mattress. "I guess you're right. Practice makes perfect."
"Well, you're not perfect yet. Did you happen to notice what you did to my quilt?"
"I didn't mean to rip it in two, Chlo."
She laughed softly and cuddled against his chest. "I guess you'll be needing a lot of practice."
Her hand stroked his hair, and he drifted closer to slumber. He'd hardly slept in two weeks, and suddenly he realized he was very tired. He'd missed her an awful lot, missed this feeling of peace and tranquility he only experienced around her.
They hadn't really settled anything, he knew. Sex between them was still dangerous, and they were taking a huge risk every time they did it. The thought of hurting her still scared the hell out of him. But he'd have to learn to control himself and his reactions, instead of running away from his fears. Because he knew now he couldn't live without her.
And she felt the same way about him. That realization made him almost as warm and happy as the physical satiation did. He blew out his breath in a long sigh of contentment.
He pressed his face into her hair and spoke sleepily. "You're going to help me with the practice thing, right?"
She tightened her arms around him in a hug.
"Of course," she answered, her voice soft. "Trust me, Clark. You're going to get lots and lots of practice."