Season 5, after "Fanatic"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me.
Read this story from the beginning.
Read the previous chapter.
"I really don't think Sara Conroy could have done this, Chlo."
Clark leaned over Chloe's shoulder, staring at the computer screen, watching her as she followed a trail only she could see. They'd gone back to the loft, carefully avoiding his parents. Now she was clicking away on her laptop, which had been in her car, because Chloe Sullivan never went anywhere without her laptop.
Clark was supposedly looking over her shoulder to see the screen, but instead he found himself noticing the fragrance of her hair, and he had to struggle not to bury her nose in the golden strands. God, he thought. Had he and Chloe really...?
The idea that he'd made love to her, and somehow couldn't remember it, irritated the hell out of him. It was hard to believe that he and Chloe had been intimate. And yet the evidence was unmistakable, and she'd confirmed it. Anyway, something had been taken from him earlier this afternoon. Something he wanted back, very badly. Something that had meant so much to him that he ached terribly with the loss of it.
He took a deep breath, inhaling her sweet scent.
My deepest desire.
The thing was, making love to Chloe wasn't his deepest desire. It couldn't be. They were just friends. Always had been, always would be. He'd always wanted Lana Lang. And the idea that somewhere deep down, the thing he wanted most was to make love to Chloe... well, he was certain it wasn't true.
Or almost certain, anyway.
But even so, he couldn't stop himself from taking another surreptitious sniff of her hair. He could smell the faint but unmistakable odor of female arousal, and he guessed she still wanted him. She'd told him they'd both been out of control. Maybe she still was. Maybe she wanted to turn around and grab him and have her way with him...
But if she did, she was sublimating it pretty well. Her hands moved quickly over the keys, shifting rapidly from window to window, and she spoke in her normal brisk tones. "Why couldn't it be Sara, Clark? It seems like the logical conclusion. She's the only meteor freak we know of that can induce dreams, and hold people in them against their will. Right?"
"Yeah, but she only had that ability while she was in a coma. She woke up, remember? And besides, it sounds like half of Lowell County's been affected by this. As far as I know, the only person Sara could affect was me."
"We don't know that for sure." The keys clicked. "For all we know, she was reaching out to help for years before someone finally listened to her."
"I guess it's possible," he admitted. "Still. Unless she was in another wreck, and that put her back into a coma, I don't see how..."
"It's weird," she said, talking right over him, "but I can't find a record of her at school. She wound up back in Granville with relatives, right?"
He tried really hard to ignore the way she smelled. The faint fragrance of sex still clung to her, and it was... distracting. "Yeah, I think so. But I guess she'd be in college now, same as us."
"Right. She was at Granville High through eleventh grade... and then she withdrew. No explanation in the records, no indication of a transfer of credits. No graduation. I can't figure out where she went from there."
He frowned. He'd only met Sara a few times, but he'd liked her. She'd been trapped in her own mind for six years, kept comatose by her uncle, and there had been a defenseless, fragile quality about her. And yet she'd managed to retain a sense of humor as well as a stubborn determination.
He had a bad feeling she was in trouble again. Part of him was worried for her and wanted to help, and part of him just wanted to leave her alone to fend for herself. If she was really the black-scaled dragon, the thought of getting anywhere near her gave him the shakes.
But he shoved his fear aside, because if she was really in trouble, they had to help her.
"We need to figure out what happened to her, Chlo."
"Working on it." A pause, while she read the screen she'd pulled up.
"That's weird," Clark said, looking over her shoulder. He could naturally read far faster than she could. "So she wound up living with another aunt. And that aunt suddenly moved into a much bigger house..."
"Right around the time Sara dropped out of school. Yeah. That looks kind of suspicious, didn't it?"
"So do you think someone..."
"Paid for Sara? Because of her abilities, maybe? I suppose it's possible, although why anyone would want to do that, I'm not sure. But yeah, it seems awfully coincidental."
"Shit," he said softly. Sara had already been through enough, what with losing her parents, and then being trapped in a coma for six years. He didn't like the thought of her suffering through more troubles. "That poor girl."
"No kidding. I don't see-- wait a minute. Ah-ha." She sounded triumphant. "That new house in Granville isn't actually owned by Sara's aunt. It's owned by Edgemont Realty."
"Uh..." He frowned, puzzled. "Okay. Does it really matter who owns the house?"
"Oh, yes," she said, leaning back in the chair and looking at him. "It definitely matters. Because Edgemont Realty owned the house I was living in that summer I 'died,' too. It just so happens that Edgemont Realty is a subsidiary of LuthorCorp."
"Aren't you done yet?"
Clark hissed the words, very quietly. Chloe was seated at a desk in LuthorCorp tower in downtown Metropolis, working at a computer. She'd decided the only way to find out Sara's location was to break into LuthorCorp's records.
Clark had suggested they talk to Lex again, and she'd reminded him that Lex had denied any knowledge of the dreams. Clark's memory of their meeting with Lex, just like most of his memories of the afternoon, was fuzzy, but when she recounted the conversation for him, he had to admit she had a point. Either Lex was lying, or he truly knew nothing. In either case, there was no point in discussing the matter with him again.
They'd waited till night fell to break into the building's file room, because breaking and entering was better done under the cover of darkness. The office building was dark and still, but even so, he was nervous. Doing illegal stuff always made him nervous.
Using his superspeed, Clark had hunted through the paper files, reading them all in thirty seconds or so, but hadn't found anything useful. So now Chloe was trying to hack into the company's electronic files.
"I'm working as fast as I can, Clark." She sounded exasperated. "I don't have superspeed, remember?"
"Yeah, well, you need to hurry up."
"No kidding. We have to wrap this up tonight. Because the minute I go to sleep, I figure your black-scaled dragon is going to come calling, and then I won't remember what we did this afternoon, either. And I don't want to lose it all."
He remembered the awful panic of his dream, the horror of being pursued, the terrible feeling of having something drained from him that he needed, and he nodded. He didn't want Chloe to have to go through that, didn't want her to have to cope with this awful, empty feeling that something terribly important was missing.
"Okay," she said. "I think I have an address."
"No. Just outside the Smallville town limits. Which figures, since that's where all the dreams have been happening. But they had her in Metropolis till about a week ago, so it all fits. Let's go, Speedy."
She got up and walked toward him, and his head swiveled as he listened intently. "Crap. A security guy's coming."
"No big deal." She spoke softly, but with absolute confidence in his abilities. "Just pick me up and hit the accelerator."
He lifted her into his arms. She felt warm and soft against him, and once again he wondered about everything that had been stripped from him. He wondered what it had been like to make love to her, to feel her body naked against his. The thought gave him a pang of sorrowful loss.
But the security guard's steps were coming closer, and they didn't have time for him to stand here and mope about whatever it was that had been taken from him. They needed to get a move on.
He burst into superspeed, still holding her, and zoomed past the guy in the hall, so quickly the man saw nothing. The only hint of his passing was a sudden breeze.
In two seconds they were back in Smallville. Stars spread out overhead, scattered densely across the dark velvet of the sky, a sharp contrast to the pewter-gray sky of Metropolis. He drew to a halt and lowered her to the ground.
"Okay," he said. "What's that address?"
Read Chapter 11 here.