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 2 here.
"Hurry up. I'm freezing in here."
Chloe Sullivan was always in a hurry, Clark Kent thought, not without affection. She'd called him on her cell no more than five seconds before, so he was pretty sure she wasn't on the verge of frostbite. Even so, he reached for the handle and tried to turn it, but it must have been jammed somehow, because it broke off in his hand. He huffed with annoyance.
"The handle broke, Chlo. Hold on."
He considered the huge metal door for a second, trying to figure out the best way to get Chloe out without leaving a lot of incriminating evidence behind. He could easily punch through the door, but that wouldn't be too easy to repair. He thought about it an instant longer, then grasped the door and pulled it right off its hinges.
Chloe walked out, no surprise whatsoever in her eyes. She'd seen him do a lot of inhuman things since she found out his secret two years earlier, so she didn't even blink at the sight of him holding a huge steel door the way other people held paper plates.
He was surprised to realize that her lack of reaction did disappoint him just a bit. He'd kind of liked the way she always used to react to his superhuman feats, with wide, admiring eyes. Now she tended to act like anything he did was no big deal. At this point, he'd probably have to spin the Earth backward on its axis to impress her.
She might not be amazed and astounded, but she seemed appreciative. She put her hand on his forearm. Even though his arm was covered by his red jacket, her light touch made warmth blaze up in the nerves beneath his skin. He did his best to ignore it.
"Thanks," she said.
He looked down at her, and the warmth spread from his arm to other regions. He tried to ignore the reaction, and smiled a little. "Next time you have a craving for wine at eleven in the morning," he said, "go for red."
"I'm sorry. Really." She pulled her hand away, and he tried really hard not to be disappointed. "Lana hid Lex's wedding present down here, and she asked me to get it for her, and... well, the door got stuck somehow."
He ought to feel a stab of pain at the mention of Lana's upcoming marriage to Lex, because he was supposed to be in love with Lana. He'd said so, often enough. But he hardly heard the words, because he was just too busy studying Chloe. She looked so pretty right now, her hair rumpled, her cheeks flushed from the cold, her eyes bright...
Abruptly he realized he was staring. He looked away, lifting the door back into place and welding the hinges back together with his heat vision. He held the door for a moment, until the hinges cooled, then turned back to her.
She still looked distractingly pretty.
Suddenly, what ought to be a normal situation felt awkward. He didn't like noticing how pretty his best friend was. The truth was, he'd been noticing that a lot lately, and he didn't like it. Because he was in love with Lana Lang, damn it.
"Uh," he said, fidgeting and looking away from her. "I'd better go."
Startled by her accusing tone, he looked back at her and lifted his eyebrows. "What's it?"
She frowned at him. "You filled your damsel-in-distress quota for the day, and now you're just going to... walk away?"
He thought walking away was probably his safest move. Being alone with her in a dark, quiet room made his heart thud and his palms sweat. And that was crazy, because he and Chloe were alone together all the time.
Well, not so much lately. Because recently he'd discovered being alone with her had that effect on him, and he'd been trying to avoid it.
He was a big wuss.
He really thought it would be prudent to walk away, but she sounded a little pissed, and he didn't want to leave if she was actually mad at him. "What am I supposed to do?" he asked, cocking his head on one side.
"Well, for one thing, I'm still freezing. You could at least warm me up."
She obviously wasn't really annoyed, and he couldn't stop himself from smiling at her snarky tone. "Chloe," he said. "I thought you'd never ask."
As soon as the words left his mouth, he was alarmed to realize he meant it more seriously than he'd wanted to. But she seemed oblivious to his alarm.
"Dork." She smacked him affectionately on the shoulder. "Use your heat vision, doofus."
He couldn't resist teasing her a little more, because he loved the way she was smiling up at him. "Well, if you're not going to ask nicely..."
"Come on, Clark. Seriously. I'm really cold."
He didn't want her to be cold, so he quit with the teasing and narrowed his eyes, being very careful to control the heat level. He was extremely aware that he could seriously burn her, and there had been a time when he never would have dared to turn his heat vision on a human, but he'd had the ability for four years, and he felt pretty secure in his ability to control it now.
She sighed as the heat from his eyes washed over her. Her eyelashes fluttered, her lips parted, and her head fell back against the wall. "Ahhh," she murmured, in a soft voice that sounded so sexy, so satiated, it sent more flames racing through his nervous system. "Much better. That feels really good, Clark."
The way she was leaning there against the rough stone, looking like she'd just engaged in hot sex, the sexy tone of her voice, the fact that they were totally alone in a very quiet room, all combined to make his body react. He suddenly realized he was hard, so hard he ached, and at the same instant his heat vision flared very, very hot.
Aware that he could hurt her badly, he jerked his head to the side and let the sudden flare burn itself out. A wine bottle shattered on the opposite wall, and then the heat faded.
She lifted her head and blinked, looking puzzled.
"Nothing." He could feel a hot blush of mortification scalding his cheeks. Knowing he could have seriously burned her scared the hell out of him. And anyway, he was seriously embarrassed to have lost control of his heat vision that way. His heat vision was related to thoughts of sex, so it was sort of like coming in his jeans, only a lot more obvious. "Come on, let's go."
"No." She crossed her arms over her chest, which had the unfortunate effect of enhancing her cleavage. She was wearing a lowcut blouse under her jacket, and when she crossed her arms-- well, it made his eyes itch and water with the need to release more heat. "That was not nothing. What just happened?"
Guilt and embarrassment combined to make him very grumpy. "I just almost turned you into a chicken nugget," he snarled. "Extra crispy. That's all."
She studied him curiously, looking like the investigative reporter he'd always known. "I thought you had better control over your heat vision, Clark."
"I do, usually. It's just..." It's just that you make me hot. But he couldn't say that to her. He realized his eyes were still burning, and he lifted his hands and rubbed at them. "Never mind."
She stared at him for a long moment, and he felt like she was looking right through him. As if she was the one with x-ray vision. At last she took a step forward and placed her hands on his shoulders.
He felt a shudder run through him, but he didn't step away from her. He couldn't, somehow.
"You lost control of your heat vision," she said softly, looking up into his eyes. "Because of me."
Almost of their own accord, his hands dropped to her waist, settling onto the feminine curve of her hips. "I didn't mean to," he answered roughly. "I never want to hurt you, Chlo."
"You didn't hurt me."
"I could have." He thought of how hot his heat vision had flared, and an involuntary shiver racked him. He couldn't stop the truth from falling from his lips. "I think about this all the time. But then I worry that I might hurt you, and I..."
Her eyes widened slightly, as if his honest words had explained something she'd wondered about for a long time. "So you keep chasing after someone who's unattainable, and safe," she answered softly. "Instead of a woman you could actually have."
He couldn't actually have her. That was the problem. No matter how much he wanted her, he couldn't. Because he could hurt her, very, very badly. Sudden bursts of heat vision, his hands closing too tightly on her, his body moving too hard in hers-- any of it could hurt her, or even kill her.
But knowing that didn't stop him from wanting her so badly it hurt.
"I guess maybe you're right," he said softly. He bent toward her, brushing his lips over hers. He thought he heard a little sound, a gasp of surprise, from somewhere off to his left, but he was way too preoccupied to look around for its source.
Little sparks of electricity seemed to jolt through his lips, and from there right through his body, and he blinked hard to stop another burst of heat vision from erupting. The knowledge that he was losing control of his abilities was enough to make him pull away from her, just a bit. He forgot entirely about the little sound he'd heard as he stared down into Chloe's golden eyes.
"I can't have you," he said softly, his lips only an inch or so from hers. "I can't, Chlo. I could do you so much damage..."
"So, what?" she answered. "You're just going to pretend you're in love with Lana for the rest of your life? Even after she marries Lex?"
He knew he ought to argue that he did love Lana, but somehow the words just wouldn't come to his lips. He remembered how jealous he'd been when Chloe had started dating her current boyfriend. He'd wanted to break them up so badly. He'd wanted to make love to her, so much so that he'd fantasized about it every goddamn night. But every time he'd thought about it, he'd envisioned what his Kryptonian body could do to her fragile one, how terribly he could hurt her, and he just hadn't had the nerve to approach her.
And then Lana had gotten engaged. The minute she'd become unattainable, he'd decided he was "in love" with her again. And he really had convinced himself he loved her. But given the way his eyes burned, the way his hands itched to touch Chloe, the way his lips tingled from that very light kiss, he realized she was right.
It wasn't Lana he was in love with.
Read Chapter 4 here.