Elseworld (inspired by The Princess Bride and A Fighting Man of Mars)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read the previous chapter here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
Clark still felt weak, but not from the rocks. What made his knees weak was the knowledge that he had left Chloe alone in the woods, and she had come very close to dying as a result.
He'd allowed her to come along, promising to protect her... and then he'd run off at the first excuse and left her unprotected. He had made a serious error in judgment, and he was angry with himself, and still reeling from the sheer terror of seeing that enormous green lizard coming at her, its mouth gaping open.
He'd left Chloe alone because he felt an obligation to protect Lana, the woman he loved. And if truth were told, he'd seen an opportunity to glorify himself in her eyes, so that she might actually see him as a hero, rather than as a humble farmboy. But he now realized he had had no business leaving Chloe alone in the woods. Chloe might not be the woman he loved, but she was his friend, and his responsibility.
If Chloe hadn't possessed wit and intelligence and composure far beyond that of anyone else he knew, she would be the one lying on the dirt floor of the hut with her throat torn out.
Now that his abilities were restored, he picked her up in his arms and moved into his fastest speed, putting some distance between them and the great lizard. The candle she held was extinguished in the sudden rush of wind. A second later they were standing next to the horses, which stamped their feet and tossed their heads nervously at his abrupt appearance.
Chloe blinked, clearly confused by his sudden movements, as he lowered her feet to the ground. He didn't let go of her, keeping her within the protective circle of his arms, and she gazed up at him. Her face was dirty, her too-short hair mussed, her shirt torn.
And yet in the dim light that filtered through the trees, she was inexpressibly beautiful.
"Chloe," he whispered, and pulled her against him in a very tight embrace. He felt her hesitate, just for a second, and then her arms went around his neck, and she pressed her face into his shoulder. He could feel her beginning to tremble, and he realized that now that the danger was past, she was frightened.
"It's all right," he murmured, stroking her hair remorsefully. "I'm so sorry, Chlo. I should never have left you alone."
"I am fine." Her voice wobbled despite her obvious efforts to sound brave. "It's just that you... you could have been killed, Clark."
The notion that she had been frightened, not for herself, but for him, lit a fire inside him that was brighter by far than the small candle's flame had been. His hand stroked down the graceful curve of her spine, pausing on her lower back. He tugged her a little closer to him, so that their bodies pressed together with indecent closeness.
Men did not hold respectable women thus unless they were wed, and he had no interest in the other sort of woman, nor any spare coin to pay even had he wanted to seek one out. Thus he had never been so close to a woman, and he was shocked by the way the sensations overwhelmed him. He had hugged her earlier in the evening, but their bodies hadn't melded together quite so... intimately.
Suddenly he was conscious of nothing but the way she felt and smelled, the rapid beat of her heartbeat and the rough, uneven sound of her breathing. Heat surged through his body with a bewildering intensity, and all his muscles went taut.
She must have felt the tension in his body, because she lifted her head and looked at him, her face only a pale blur in the darkness. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," he said hoarsely, realizing their lips were only an inch or two apart. Unable to stop himself, he lowered his head...
And kissed her.
Read Chapter 7 here.