Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Chloe Sullivan drifted into consciousness at the sound of a deep voice saying her name. The voice sounded oddly hoarse, but she thought she recognized it as her best friend, Clark Kent. She wanted to open her eyes and confirm that it was him, but she couldn't quite force her eyes open.
"Come on, Chlo," his voice said. "Come back to me."
She thought that was kind of an odd thing for him to say, because as far as she knew she hadn't gone anywhere. She'd been investigating an old warehouse, checking out a tip that a new sort of designer drug was being manufactured there. And all of a sudden she'd heard a crashing sound, and looked up to see an overhead beam falling toward her.
After that she didn't remember anything else. The logical conclusion was that the beam had hit her and knocked her unconscious. But it had been a pretty damn big beam. She didn't think she'd be alive if it had hit her full on.
Maybe Clark had saved her again. She didn't think he'd been around, though. She remembered letting out an involuntary yell of fear when she saw the beam falling-- but surely he couldn't have gotten there that fast?
"Chloe," his voice said, more insistently. "Wake up."
Her eyes flickered open to see his face leaning over hers. The warehouse was dark, but a few shafts of sunlight slanted through holes in the roof, providing enough illumination that she could see the anxiety in his eyes. As she blinked at him, his face lit up in a huge smile.
"Thank God," he said. "I was starting to think I'd killed you."
She stared at him, puzzled. "You mean you thought the beam had killed me?"
He shook his head. For the first time she realized he looked a little on the scruffy side. His dark hair was rumpled, and she saw some hay in it.
"I got you out of the way of the beam when you yelled," he said. "But I had to hit you pretty hard, and getting hit by me can be as dangerous as being hit by a big metal beam." He tugged at her arm. "Come on, let's get out of here. Someone just tried to kill you."
She frowned dubiously at the beam. "Could have been an accident."
"Could have been. It's damned unlikely, though. I think the smart thing to do would be to get the hell out of here."
"No." She struggled to sit up, and his arms went around her, helping her up. She liked the feel of his strong, muscular arms around her waist, and she had to fight not to lean into his chest. "I'm trying to write a story, Clark. And the fact that someone tried to drop a beam on my head makes me think there's a good one here."
He sighed. "I don't suppose I can talk you into doing the smart thing and leaving?"
She grinned up at him. "Have we met? I'm Chloe Sullivan, and I'm a reporter."
"You were almost a pancake." He scowled. "You're just lucky I heard you."
"Yeah, and I don't get that. I thought you were at the farm. How on earth did you hear me?"
He looked slightly offended. "Chloe, when you yell for help, I hear you. It doesn't matter where I am."
"Really? So if you were in, say, Antarctica, you'd hear me if I called you?"
"I can hear you from anywhere in the world," he said with absolute confidence. "Don't you remember the time I was in South America, and Dr. Casselli tried to shoot you? Didn't you wonder how I got there so fast?"
"But I didn't yell for help that day."
"I heard your heartbeat speed up, and I knew you were in trouble. I was just a little too late that time, and Bart had to save you." His big hand stroked through her hair. "I'm glad I wasn't too late this time."
"So are you telling me you listen to everything I say?"
"Of course not." He sounded more offended than before. "That would be a violation of your privacy. I only hear you if you yell for help, or if your heartbeat suddenly changes."
"But you could hear me all the time. If you wanted to."
"Um. Well, yeah. I guess I could. But I wouldn't."
She lifted her head and looked straight into his eyes. "I wouldn't mind if you did," she said softly. "I don't have anything to hide from you, Clark. I never did."
"Uh..." His arms tightened around her, and she gave in to temptation and leaned her head on his shoulder. She heard his little intake of breath, felt his hand tangle in her hair. "You, um, well, when you're dating you kind of need your privacy."
"I'm not dating Jimmy any more, remember?"
"Yeah," he said hoarsely. "I remember."
There was a sensual note in his voice that she couldn't miss, a note of hunger and longing and pure desire. She lifted her head and looked into his eyes. He looked back, a complicated jumble of emotions reflected clearly in his beautiful green eyes. And then their mouths were melded together, and he was kissing her fiercely.
At last he lifted his head and stared at her, his eyes wide.
"I like listening to you," he said softly. "Your heartbeat, your voice, the sound of your breathing... it's so hard not to listen to you all the time. It's so hard not to intrude on your privacy all the time. I just... I love the sound of your voice, Chlo." His voice fell to a bare whisper. "It's so hard not to listen."
She stared back, arrested by his words and tone. She'd never thought that he might have any particular ability to hear her, or any particular affinity for her voice. But the idea that he had to struggle not to hear her made tears spring to her eyes. Warmth and affection swelled inside her.
"Listen all you want," she said gently. "I don't mind."
"I..." He hesitated. "I really don't think I should do that. I mean, unless we, you know, become an item or something."
She reached up, caught him gently by the hair, and drew his face down, kissing him again. He hesitated, just a second, then his lips parted, and he kissed her so deeply and intimately it took her breath away. At last she pulled away from him.
"I think we're now officially an item," she said. "So you can listen to me all you want, okay?"
He looked stunned, then a smile curved his full mouth. "Okay," he said.
She smiled back, then scrambled to her feet, feeling surprisingly steady, and he rose to his feet as well. "Glad we settled that," she said, lifting her chin and looking around the charcoal shadows of the warehouse. Dust motes danced in the rays of sunlight that pierced the darkness, but otherwise the place was still. "Now I've got a story to write."
"And you're sure I can't talk you out of this?"
"Of course not. Don't be silly. Investigating bad guys is what I live for, and I'm not going to let a little thing like a falling beam stop me."
He shot an incredulous glance at the enormous metal beam that lay on the ground a short distance away. "A little thing?"
"Cluck cluck. Quit stressing so much, Clark."
"Yeah, you're right. I'm totally overreacting. Just because someone tried to drop a freaking beam on your head is no reason to worry."
She rolled her eyes, and he sighed. "Okay. Fine. Do your investigation. But I'm not leaving you, Chlo."
"I kind of figured you wouldn't." She reached out and took his hand, wrapping her fingers around his securely, then tugging him toward the back of the building. She had a lot of investigation to do. "Because now... we're in this together. We're an item, remember? We're partners."
"Partners." He squeezed her hand with affection. "Except one of us listens all the time... and the other doesn't listen at all."
"Well, yeah." She laughed softly. "Except for that."