Season 6, "Promise"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read Chapter 1 here.
"Hurry up. I'm freezing in here."
"The handle broke, Chlo. Hold on."
Hidden behind a rack of wine bottles, Lana Lang stared in shock as Clark Kent casually yanked the massive metal door to the wine cooler off its hinges. Chloe Sullivan walked out, smiling up at him.
"Thanks," she said, putting a hand on his arm.
One of those little wry smiles that were so typically Clark tilted his mouth at the corner. "Next time you have a craving for wine at eleven in the morning," he said, "go for red."
"I'm sorry. Really." Chloe sounded a little flustered. "Lana hid Lex's wedding present down here, and she asked me to get it for her, and... well, the door got stuck somehow."
Lana could hear the confusion in Chloe's voice, and knew her reporter's brain was already working on the problem of just how the door had closed behind her and gotten jammed. It probably wouldn't take too long for her to figure it out, unfortunately. Particularly if either of them happened to spot her. She remained perfectly motionless behind the bottles, her eyes going even wider as she saw Clark lift the door back into place as if it weighed nothing.
And then he stared at the hinges. She saw a red glow and felt heat as they were welded back together, and shock hit her like a freight train.
Clark could melt metal with his eyes.
The shock reverberated through her. She'd trapped Chloe deliberately, in order to learn more about Clark's abilities, and she wasn't sure whether to be impressed or revolted. Clark was obviously capable of amazing feats. But those feats were so strange that they scared her more than a little.
She watched as Clark turned back to Chloe. Something a little awkward and uncomfortable passed through his eyes. Which was odd, because the one person he was never awkward and uncomfortable around was Chloe. Lana had envied their easy rapport many times over the past six years. Even when she and Clark had been dating, there had never been that sort of closeness between them.
And that was okay, she thought. Because Clark and Chloe were just friends. She'd never felt threatened by that, not really, because what existed between her and Clark wasn't comfortable and friendly. It was hot and passionate and intense, bordering on obsessive.
It was something that Clark and Chloe had never had.
"Uh," he said, shifting his weight from foot to foot. "I'd better go."
His eyebrows went up in his customary questioning gesture. "What's it?"
Chloe glared at him, looking dangerous. "You filled your damsel-in-distress quota for the day, and now you're just going to... walk away?"
More likely he's going to blur away, Lana thought, remembering the way Clark had arrived. Chloe had called on her cell phone, and he'd been here instantly, so fast he'd just seemed to appear out of nowhere.
Just how fast could Clark move, anyway?
Clark tilted his head. Lana saw him shift his weight again, and she realized something about the situation was making him nervous. If he'd been in this cellar with anyone other than Chloe, she might have guessed being alone with a female might be making him nervous, because Clark tended to get edgy when he found himself alone with a woman. But he and Chloe were alone together all the time, and nothing ever happened between them.
At least, nothing that she knew about.
"What am I supposed to do?" he asked.
"Well, for one thing, I'm still freezing. You could at least warm me up."
Clark stared at her for a moment longer, then, slowly, a wide, genuine grin curved his mouth. It was an honest smile, the type she'd rarely seen on his face. Clark didn't grin that way around her often.
And that was okay, too. It was just a reminder that their relationship was totally different. Clark and Chloe were just friends, but she and Clark had something bigger, something deeper.
Their relationship wasn't about smiles. It was about passion.
"Chloe." The smile was in his voice, too, warming it. "I thought you'd never ask."
Lana's mouth dropped open, and she felt almost as shocked as she had when she'd seen him yank the door off its hinges. A little knot of confused emotion formed in her chest, a knot that felt almost like jealousy. Oh, my God, she thought. He's flirting with her.
She'd seen Clark and Chloe together many times, talking and laughing, and she'd always felt a little envious of the very real intimacy of their relationship. But she'd never seen them flirt. Not since their freshman year of high school, anyway. Clark and Chloe had briefly tried dating back then, but they'd rapidly come to realize they were just friends, and she hadn't noticed them flirting since.
For the first time it occurred to her to wonder if they interacted with each other a little differently when she wasn't around.
Or maybe... maybe she just hadn't been paying enough attention.
Because she'd never thought of their relationship as having any sort of underlying sexual current. But there was no mistaking the little double entendre in Clark's comment.
"Dork." Chloe rolled her eyes and batted at his shoulder. Clearly she didn't take his flirting seriously, and the little knot in Lana's chest loosened. "Use your heat vision, doofus."
"Well, if you're not going to ask nicely..."
"Come on, Clark." She looked at him with big eyes. "Seriously. I'm really cold."
His smile got wider, and Lana realized with some relief that he'd just been teasing her. She almost laughed at herself. She'd been silly to imagine there was any sort of sexual tension between Clark and Chloe. Yes, they were close, but only in a totally platonic way. She was absolutely certain about that.
Clark narrowed his eyes, staring at Chloe, and Chloe reacted by leaning her head back against the stone wall and closing her eyes. Lana realized he was using his "heat vision" to warm her up, and that thought creeped her out. If he could melt metal with his eyes, how on earth could Chloe possibly ask him to turn that heat on her?
Chloe must trust him a whole lot. Lana wasn't sure she could trust him that much. Not now that she knew for certain what he could do with his eyes.
"Ahhh." Chloe's voice was soft, and oddly sultry. "Much better. That feels really good, Clark."
Suddenly Lana felt a wave of heat, as if someone had turned on a sun lamp. Clark blinked and jerked his head to the side, and a wine bottle on the other side of the room shattered.
Chloe straightened up and blinked at him, looking confused.
"Nothing." His voice sounded low and growly. Lana had heard it drop into that register before, on the occasions when they'd made love. The thought made her heart pound in her chest with a strange mixture of emotions.
No, she thought. Clark and Chloe together-- no. Just no.
She could not be seeing what she thought she saw. There was no sexual tension simmering in the air between them, no barely controlled passion shadowing his green eyes. She was feeling insecure and anxious about how Clark felt about her, and she was projecting, or something.
Clark and Chloe were just friends. Anything else she thought she saw in the way they looked at each other was just a product of her overactive imagination.
"Come on," Clark said impatiently. "Let's go."
"No." Chloe crossed her arms over her chest, looking stubborn, which didn't surprise Lana in the least. Stubborness was definitely one of Chloe's stronger attributes. "That was not nothing. What just happened?"
His teasing tone was gone, and he sounded downright annoyed. "I just almost turned you into a chicken nugget," he answered tersely. "Extra crispy. That's all."
Chloe frowned, and Lana didn't blame her. If she'd almost been melted by Clark's eyes, she was pretty sure she'd be frowning too. "I thought you had better control over your heat vision, Clark."
"I do, usually. It's just..." Lana saw him lift his hands and rub at his eyes with both fists, as if he were sleepy, or as if there was something in his eyes. "Never mind."
Chloe stared at him a moment longer, and Lana saw emotions flash over her face, one after the other. Chloe had an expressive face, and it wasn't hard to figure out what she was thinking. She took a step forward and put her hands on Clark's chest. Clark flinched a little, but didn't back away.
"You lost control of your heat vision," she said softly. "Because of me."
Slowly, as if he couldn't quite help himself, he lowered his hands and put them on her waist, just above her hips. "I didn't mean to," he answered, his voice as soft as hers, and very far into the baritone range. "I never want to hurt you, Chlo."
"You didn't hurt me."
"I could have." Lana could see his hands tighten on her, tugging her a little closer. His voice sank still lower, until it was a deep growl. "I think about this all the time-- but then I worry that I might hurt you, and..."
I think about this all the time. That couldn't be right. Clark never thought about Chloe that way. Lana was certain of it.
"So you keep chasing after someone who's unattainable and safe," Chloe said softly. "Instead of a woman you could actually have."
Anger flooded Lana in a sudden torrent. Obviously Chloe didn't really understand what she and Clark had together. Unattainable and safe? That wasnt what Clark saw in her, what he wanted when he looked at her. Thinking about it, she had to admit it was true he hadn't shown much recent interest in her until she'd agreed to marry Lex, but that didn't mean his interest in her was simply because she was unattainable.
Those awful words made her sound like a substitute for Chloe, like what he really wanted, deep down, was Chloe. And that was so totally not the case.
But he stared into Chloe's eyes for a long moment, and Lana's heart sank as he nodded slowly.
"I guess maybe you're right," he said at last.
No! Lana wanted to shout at them both. They were both wrong, totally wrong. She knew how Clark felt about her. She and Clark were forever, linked in some deep, emotional, passionate way. He saw Chloe as a friend, platonic, practically asexual.
The idea that deep down he really wanted Chloe rather than Lana was just so wrong. The woman he really wanted more than any other was Lana. She was absolutely certain of it.
But he bent slowly toward Chloe, his gaze locked on her face.
And Lana's eyes went wider than ever as their lips brushed together.
Read Chapter 3 here.