Season 6, following my story "Ever the Same"
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 the previous chapter here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
"It's not that simple," Clark said. He could feel her hand scorching his. Ordinarily the intersection of their EM fields created a warm, low-level buzz, but by his personal timetable it had been forty years since they'd made love. His biological need to make love to her was consuming him, burning him up inside. He struggled to push the need away, to focus on the situation at hand.
Because even as desperately as he wanted her, this just wasn't the time to stop and have sex.
Chloe looked stubborn-- something she did well. God, he'd missed the way her pert little nose tilted up in the air when she thought she was right and he was wrong-- which she did a bit too often, in his opinion.
"Of course it's that simple," she answered. "They'll assume I'm Zod. Why wouldn't they?"
"It's a little more complicated than that, Chlo. It's just..." He glanced at the other woman, a lovely blonde with cold eyes, wondering what her part was in all this, and if they could really trust her. Right now, his trust in other Kryptonians was at an all-time low. He glanced back at Chloe, and drew her over to the window. "Look at what's happening out there."
They were on the tenth floor, and far below, the streets were filled with a milling, angry mass of people. He could hear the anger in their voices, even if Chloe couldn't.
"Calling them an army is probably way too kind," he said, trying to articulate his concerns. "It's a mob, Chlo. I'm sure they're armed with as many weapons as they could find, but they're not trained or disciplined like a real army would be. They're angry about everything that's happened, angry about what's happened to the Earth, and they'll attack anyone they think has harmed them. That means you, because as far as anyone knows, you're Zod. It means me if Lex spots me, because he knows I was working for Zod."
"You were what?"
"I was under duress," he said, feeling hot shame coil in his chest but trying to ignore it. "But yeah, Lex thinks I'm working for Zod. And it's not only us. What about Zod's army?"
"What about them?" Chloe frowned. "Weren't they working for him voluntarily?"
"Yeah, Fine recruited them. I'm not sure how, but I think he probably promised them superpowers like you have. Strength and invulnerability. But I don't know how many of them had those abilities yet, beyond Zod's bodyguards. I don't think they're all invulnerable. I don't think most of them are."
"Actually, I don't have those abilities any more, either," she said softly. "When Zod left, somehow he took the changes in my body with him. I seem to be perfectly normal now."
He blinked at her, not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed. His experience had been that having superpowers wasn't really a healthy thing for the human body. Even so, it might come in handy if all three of them could move at superspeed.
But if her powers were gone, they were gone. He shrugged.
"Some people would do just about anything to have those abilities," he said. "So yeah, I don't think Zod's soldiers are the greatest people in the world, for sure. But if you tell them just to lay down their arms, what's going to happen to them? At least, the ones that aren't superpowered?"
Chloe hesitated for a moment, staring down at the churning mass of humanity in the streets below.
"They're going to be ripped to pieces," she said, very quietly. "Aren't they?"
Behind them, Raya snorted. "Barbaric humans," she said.
Clark turned his head and glared at her. "Humans have a lot of good qualities," he answered, trying to keep the anger out of his voice. "But when they're scared, they lash out. And these people have a hell of a good reason to be scared. Their planet was invaded, and God only knows how many of them have died."
Raya had the grace to look abashed. "Yes," she said, very softly. "Sometimes Kryptonians lash out when they're frightened, too."
Clark saw Chloe and Raya exchange an odd look, and wondered exactly what that was all about. But he didn't really have time to wonder right now. He turned his attention back to Chloe.
"This isn't a normal situation, Chlo. The government's gone, and there's nothing to protect prisoners of war from torture or rape or murder. Nothing except human decency. And the truth is, I really don't think we can count on that right now."
"No," Chloe said, staring down at the street. "I don't think we can."
Clark pressed on with his thoughts. "The thing is, if we don't stop this right now, even more people are going to die. We have to prevent that somehow. So how do we avert a bloodbath?"
She thought about it for a moment. "We could tell them Zod is gone," she suggested at last.
He thought about that for a minute. "Too many of them have seen your face, Chlo. I don't know if we can convince them that you're not Zod. It would be a gamble with your life, and I'm not willing to take that risk."
I love you, he told her with his eyes. I can't lose you again.
A faint smile curved her mouth, and he knew she'd felt his thought through the odd semi-telepathy of their bond. He understood her reply as well as if she'd spoken it.
I love you too, Clark.
Out loud, she said, "Okay, then." She bit her lower lip in a way he found highly distracting, because it called his attention to her full, lush, beautiful mouth. "What about Lex?"
He tried really hard not to think about kissing her, with limited success. "What about him?"
"Didn't you say he was the leader of the resistance? Maybe he can control these people somehow."
He stared at her. "You really want to ask Lex Luthor for help?"
"Look," she said impatiently, "I don't trust Lex any more than you do. But he's gotten us out of trouble before." She stared down at the milling crowds. "Anyway, if they see him as a leader, don't you think these people are more likely to listen to him than to us?"
"Well..." Clark frowned. He didn't like the idea of approaching Lex, not at all. But she had a point. "The only thing is, Chlo... he knows my weakness."
Her eyes went wide. "He knows about kryptonite? How the hell did he learn that?"
"I don't know. He could have found out any of a dozen ways. He's seen me be weakened by it more than once. I always just tried to pretend I was sick, but Lex isn't stupid. Or he might have found out from Red. We knew there was a risk he'd pump her for information. Anyway, he's wearing a piece of green K as a ring now."
"Oh, my God." Her eyes were wide as she stared up at him. "That's seriously bad, Clark. That means you and Raya both are in danger from him."
"Yeah." He nodded grimly. "And the last time I talked to him, he was ranting about alien monsters. I really don't think he's going to want to listen to me, Chlo. As far as he's concerned, as far as Lois and Lana are concerned, as far as the world's concerned... I'm a monster."
Her fingers curled around his, trying to comfort him.
"Okay," she answered, lifting her chin in a gesture he knew all too well. "Then I'll go alone to talk to Lex."
Read Chapter 17 here.