Authors: Laurelnola and Elly
Artwork by leothelion. Used with permission of the artist.
These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to us.
Fix You, Book 4
(following Laurelnola's stories Fix You 1 and Fix You 2, When You Love Someone, When She Loved Me)
Since the moment I spotted you
Like walking round with little wings on my shoes
My stomach's filled with the butterflies...
Bouncing round from cloud to cloud
I got the feeling like I'm never going to come down...
Why don't you and I get together and take on the world
And be together forever
Heads we will and tails we'll try again
So I say why don't you and I hold each other and fly to the moon
And straight on to heaven
'Cause without you they're never going to let me in
-Chad Kroeger and Carlos Santana, "Why Don't You and I"
She loves me.
The words flowed through his whole body like a refrain as Clark moved through the kitchen, putting away dishes and whistling. He hardly ever whistled, but he couldn’t help it. The irony was that he wasn’t thinking at all of the woman who now lived in his house, the woman whom he was almost sure was incapable of real love, no matter how much they were both pretending to the hilt to be the picture of domestic bliss.
No, the woman that was making him whistle like a happy fool was his best friend, Chloe Sullivan. Because now he knew that she still loved him, just as he loved her. Ever since he had seen Chloe gazing lovingly at an old photo of them at the Spring Formal, he had felt so giddy with joy that it was an effort not to skip around the kitchen.
“Someone’s in a good mood.”
He spun around to see Lana facing him with interest. Instantly, his good humour vanished, but he managed to hide it with a half-hearted smile.
“Lana,” he breathed, “I didn’t hear you.”
She looked at him quizzically, “I thought you could hear just about anything for miles.”
Clark cleared his throat, “Well, only if I try to.” Unless it’s Chloe’s voice, Chloe’s heartbeat, Chloe’s… the voice in his head reminded him. “Er,” he paused, “Did you sleep alright?”
Instantly he regretted the question, because Lana stepped closer to him, looking up at him from beneath fluttering lashes, and he knew immediately where this was going.
“Actually, Clark. As comfortable as your parents’ bed is… it’s a bit lonely.”
He forced himself not to flinch. He’d known she was going to bring this up again, that it was only a matter of time.
“Lana, we already talked about this,” he swallowed, hoping she couldn’t see the revulsion in his voice, “My strength... it’s too much of a risk.”
He glanced at her and could almost smell the suspicion leaking from her.
“Clark,” she whispered, coming still closer, her lovely eyes shining, “You know you can trust me. Look at what I’ve done for you. I even married Lex to protect you.”
Clark sighed, because he had learned to believe Lana about as much as he believed that little green rocks were good for his health.
“I know,” he lied.
She studied him, then slow disdain swept across her face, “But you still won’t sleep in the same bed with me, will you.”
He turned eyes on her that he hoped weren’t as cold as the anger in his heart whenever he looked at her. “Give it time,” he said, and shoved the cutlery drawer shut with such vigor that the plates in the cabinets rattled.
Lana jumped slightly, and he could feel her watching him. He needed to be more careful. He had so far convinced Lana, and everyone else, that he was desperately still in love with her. The problem was keeping up the charade, now that the only thing filling his brain, his body and soul, was the knowledge that Chloe Sullivan still loved him, every bit as much as he loved her.
But he had to keep pretending, because he was determined to keep Chloe safe. He’d been pretending for almost a year now, and so far, it had worked. She might not be thrilled that he was back with Lana, or that her relationship with Jimmy had shattered like the Daily Planet window during Black Thursday, but at least she was alive. And in his more desperate moments, he could watch her sleep, safe in her bed, while he floated outside her bedroom window and thought of how he could wait forever for this woman.
“... It’s not like she’s going to wait forever,” he heard Lana say.
Clark snapped out of his reverie, “Sorry, what?”
“I said it makes sense that she’d consider leaving the Daily Planet since she’s not getting recognized there like she hoped.”
A dark bubble started to form in Clark’s chest. “Who’s leaving the Daily Planet?”
Now Lana pursed her lips with annoyance, “Chloe. Haven’t you listened to a word I said?”
The bubble grew, pushing at his lungs, “Chloe? Leave the Planet?” His pulse began to quicken. “You must have heard that wrong.”
Lana looked affronted, “Well, she told me herself, Clark. She got an offer in Edge City.”
The bubble filled every molecule in his body and suddenly he felt his legs grow weak. “No,” he whispered, “No, she can’t leave.”
She can’t leave because she loves me.
Lana drew herself up, appraising him coldly, “She didn’t tell you?”
He shook his head wordlessly, and she arched an eyebrow, “Maybe you aren’t as close as you thought.” And with that, she swept from the room, with Clark clutching to the counter for support.
It couldn’t be true. Working at the Planet had been Chloe’s dream since she was a kid. He couldn’t believe she’d leave it any more than he could ever really believe that she’d leave him.
No, he thought, shaking his head. Lana had to be wrong.
He’d find her. As soon as Lana left this morning, he’d find Chloe and she’d tell him it was all a mistake.
Edge City was a long, long distance away. And that was a good thing, as far as Chloe Sullivan was concerned.
She sat at her desk, typing. She spent most of her time here in the stately old Art Deco building, topped with a gleaming golden globe. And until recently, this was where she'd expected to spend most of the rest of her days.
Her deepest dream, ever since childhood, had always been to work for the Daily Planet. She'd earned her way into the Planet's basement two years ago, in what still ranked as the proudest moment of her life, and she'd loved every minute of working here. She'd slowly worked her way up from the tip line to obituaries to front page headlines, and she'd expected to continue getting front page headlines, and eventually get promoted to the bullpen upstairs. As the old song said, her future had been so bright she had to wear shades.
And then things had all gone to hell.
She'd discovered she was meteor infected, and had manifested strange and frightening powers. She'd broken up with her boyfriend, a coworker named Jimmy Olsen, and watched her cousin Lois get hired at the Planet, despite her lack of qualifications for the job. Lois had instantly become the new editor's pet project, being sent on assignment to big cities, and getting assigned big stories she hadn't earned.
Meanwhile Chloe was still stuck in the obscurity of the basement, slaving away, working late nights and weekends, but somehow never getting noticed.
The Planet sucked.
Her life sucked.
She leaned back in her chair, observing the early morning bustle of the basement newsroom. She sighed, thinking about everything that had gone wrong recently, and admitted to herself that none of it mattered as much as Clark did.
That was what was really bothering her, if she was going to be totally honest with herself. As bad as everything was, none of it weighed on her more heavily than the situation with Clark. He was now living with Lana, the woman he loved. And he was happy. Really happy.
She ought to be delighted for him. She ought to be thrilled that he'd gotten everything he ever wanted.
And yet there was a dark core of jealousy deep inside her that just wouldn't go away.
I need to get out of here, she decided grimly. Edge City Post, here I come.
She hated to run away, but her life was simply crumbling to bits around her, and she was afraid of being buried alive in the rubble. Too much bad crap had happened lately, and she just couldn't cope with it any longer.
Last week she'd grown so desperate to get rid of her meteor powers, so desperate to impose some control on a life that was rapidly spiraling into chaos, that she'd made an uncharacteristically stupid decision. She'd gone to a doctor who was able to cure meteor freaks. He'd almost cured her permanently, all right, but not in the way she'd hoped.
He'd planned on ripping out her heart. Without anesthesia.
Chloe wasn't in favor of having her major organs removed, but since she'd been strapped to a table, she hadn't been able to defend herself.
But Clark had saved her.
She remembered crying out in pain as the scalpel cut into her flesh. And then Clark had exploded into the room, coming straight through the door without even bothering to open it first. She had no idea if he'd heard her cry out, or if he'd tracked her down some other way.
But as long as she lived, she'd never forget the look on his face, the look of sheer protective rage, as he charged into the room. The look that said plainly, She's mine and I won't let you hurt her.
She closed her eyes and shook her head in denial, knowing it couldn't have happened that way. The stress of coming so close to death must have caused her imagination to run wild. That unforgettable look had obviously been all in her head, because of course she wasn't Clark's. She'd never been Clark's.
She remembered the way he'd stared at her afterward, too. There had been so much emotion in his eyes that it had made her heart-- still safely in her chest-- swell. But he hadn't approached her, hadn't wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his shoulder, hadn't hugged her. He'd only looked at her with wide eyes.
And that was a good thing, really. Because adrenaline had still been pumping through her veins, and she'd been so terrified by the whole experience she had a feeling she might have thrown herself at him, heedless of anything and anyone else. She was afraid she might have reached up, caught his face in her hands, and kissed him.
But she was glad she hadn't gotten the opportunity, because that would have been wrong. After all, she'd still been dating Jimmy at that point.
And besides, Clark loved Lana. No matter how many times she thought she glimpsed him looking at her with his heart in his eyes-- he was in love with Lana. Otherwise they wouldn't be living together.
She imagined the two of them curled up in bed together, Clark's big, muscular body wrapped protectively around Lana's slim, fragile one, and tears welled up in her eyes. She dashed them away impatiently.
She didn't have time for self-pity, damn it. She had a new life to plan. A life far away from here.
A life far away from every dream she'd ever had. Far away from every dream that had been shattered to bits in the past month of hell.
A sudden breeze scattered the papers on her desk. She grabbed for them, managing to keep them from flying away, and looked up irritably. "You know," she said, trying to ignore how gorgeous Clark was with his coffee-dark hair blown into messy, windblown waves, "you really need to stop doing that. Sooner or later, people are going to notice if you just seem to pop into existence in front of my desk all the time."
Clark didn't seem to notice her sharp tone. He leaned forward, putting his palms flat on her desk and staring at her with big, earnest green eyes.
"Chloe," he said. "We need to talk."
Read Chapter 2 here.