Clark and Ollie (offscreen Chlark and Dollie)
Season 7, part of "Siren"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Still from KryptonSite.
Can you feel love
Can you feel joy
Can you feel pain
Got a feeling they're on their way
-Erasure, "Siren Song"
"You put Chloe in danger!"
Clark Kent came stalking into my apartment in Metropolis, striding right past me. It looked for all the world like he was trying to restrain himself from taking my head off, literally. He turned his back to me and stood there, staring out the windows, and I could see his chest heaving as he breathed hard.
I blinked. I hadn't seen the kid in a year, and we'd developed a pretty close friendship in the few months I'd been around last year. I was kind of fond of him, and this wasn't exactly the way I'd expected to be greeted after all this time.
"Soooo," I said, trying not to sound hurt. "I take it we're skipping over the whole hello, good to see you! part of the conversation?"
The kid rounded on me. His green eyes were gleaming with fury, and his nostrils were flaring.
I took a step back, because flaring nostrils on Clark are never a good sign. They're usually followed by someone getting tossed thirty feet.
I don't like being tossed thirty feet. It messes up my hair.
"If you and your crew want to put your own lives on the line," he spat out, "then go ahead. But not Chloe! Do you understand me?" He glared at me, and I noticed his teeth were actually showing.
Shit. I was definitely about to be tossed into a wall. So much for my hair.
He either didn't hear me, or didn't care that I was trying to get a word in. He was still ranting. "Sure, she's smart, but smart doesn't help you when someone's attacking you on a rooftop. She could have been killed, Ollie!"
My instincts were telling me to back further away, but I ignored them and took a step toward him, keeping my voice as calm as possible. "First of all," I said, "I don't think our leather-fetish mystery woman was trying to kill Chloe..."
"She shouldn't have been in danger at all!"
Despite myself, my voice rose. I couldn't help it. The kid and his attitude were seriously pissing me off. "Secondly, Chloe's in danger like every other week with you by her side, Clark!"
"I can protect her!" he snapped. "You obviously can't. She's got a cut on her face!"
He spoke with as much horror as if Chloe had had an arm ripped off or something. "Look," I said, my voice almost as loud as his, "Chloe can take care of herself!"
"She's not invulnerable, damn it! You go plunging into things without giving it a second thought, and I won't let you drag Chloe along. Next time she might really get hurt. Why don't you try to think about someone other than yourself for once?"
Anger lit in me. Who did the kid think he was, lecturing me on being self-centered?
"Are you really daring to stand there and telling me I'm selfish?" I demanded. "You know, some of us sacrifice being with the people we really care about so we can go out into the world and make a difference." I was talking about my breakup with my ex-girlfriend Lois, and he knew it. "But you-- what do you do? You sit around in domestic bliss, curled up on a couch while a world of trouble spins outside your door!"
"I don't--" he started, but I wasn't finished yet.
"Someone's got to fix all the troubles out there. You hide on the farm and leave people like me and Bart and Chloe to do all the work, damn it!"
The kid had the grace to look abashed. He lowered his gaze, and some of the fury drained out of his expression. He turned again and paced past me, toward the window, staring moodily out at the Metropolis night.
"This blonde woman," he said, and I could feel him turning his fury away from me, and toward the woman who'd dared to leave a cut on Chloe's cheek. "Chloe said she shattered your arrows."
"Not my proudest moment," I admitted. Unlike Clark and the guys on my team, I didn't have any special powers. All I had was archery, and against an opponent who could rip my arrows to shreds, I was pretty much helpless. And that pissed me off. "She must have some kind of sound frequency control. All the noise around us went muffled, right before it happened."
I walked past him, out onto the balcony. He followed, and I shot a cautious glance in his direction, noticing that his tension seemed to be draining away, and his posture was relaxing. It looked as if my 'do might survive the evening after all.
"The file she stole," he said, his tone more moderate. "Chloe said she didn't know what it was."
"That's because I didn't tell her what it was," I answered. "We've intercepted Lex's latest project. It's a photo file."
He glared, a look I had no trouble interpreting: You got Chloe mixed up with Lex again? Are you crazy? "And this masked woman just happened to show up."
Despite myself, I felt a little throb of excitement at the memory of the blonde woman who'd attacked Chloe. She'd worn black leather and fishnets, and a mask of heavy makeup, and she'd been, well, hot. I shrugged. "Maybe Lex has a blonde sidekick of his own."
He gave a long sigh, so deep that I swear I felt a breeze coming from his direction. "It sounds like Chloe's your sidekick now, not mine."
I studied him. "And that bugs the hell out of you, doesn't it?"
He turned his gaze away from the skyline and glared at me again. "I just want her to stay safe, Ollie. That's all."
His body language was shifting again, from his normal nonaggressive, harmless farmboy posture back toward the alpha male end of the spectrum. His stance, his expression, all said clearly: She's mine, damn it. Back off.
I cocked my head, considering him.
"When did you fall in love with Chloe, Clark?"
He blinked, looking as startled as if I'd offered him a million dollars, tax free. "Excuse me? I'm not in love with Chloe. I'm living with Lana, remember? Domestic bliss, curled up on a couch?"
"Yeah," I said. "I know. But the thing is... Lana's obviously not the one you're in love with, Clark."
He lifted his chin and squared his shoulders in the way big guys do when they're trying to intimidate shorter men, and the dangerous gleam reappeared in his eyes. "You're full of crap, Ollie."
I recognized I'd better drop the subject before I got dropped off the balcony. "Okay," I said, shrugging. "Whatever. My mistake."
"Totally. In love with Chloe." He snorted. "Please."
"Right," I said, remembering the way he'd looked when he walked in, all full of defensive, superprotective rage. "Definitely a stupid thought. I don't know what I was thinking."
"You weren't thinking at all," he answered coolly. "I don't love Chloe. I just want to keep her safe."
"And you don't want her running off to work for Justice."
"And you'll fight for her, if that's what it takes to keep her around."
He slid an uneasy look at me, like he didn't like some of the implications of what I was saying. "Chloe is my friend, Ollie. I don't want her to leave me."
"Because you can't live without her."
"Well..." He looked out over the skyline, and there was a long silence. I saw his shoulders sag. "Shit," he said at last. "I am in love with her, aren't I?"
"Sounds that way to me."
His shoulders drooped further, and I went over to him and clapped him on the back. Poor kid. He'd succumbed to a siren song he'd never even heard.
"Don't worry about it, Clark. We can't help who we fall in love with."
"Yeah, but I thought... I mean, I really thought... Lana..."
"I think you've been falling for Chloe for a long time, Boy Scout. It just took you a while to notice."
He sighed, and I saw the flags on the building across the street ripple. I swear, I did. "Look," he said, "I want to make sure she's safe. I have to keep her safe. We need to find this other blonde woman, okay?"
I thought of the blonde woman Chloe and I had encountered on the roof of the Planet last night, and despite myself, I felt a little leap of excitement inside my chest. And suddenly I remembered my words to Clark: You can't help who you fall in love with.
Ridiculous. I wasn't in love with Miss Leather Fetish. I wasn't even all that attracted to her. I was still carrying a torch for Lois, and I just wasn't ready to move on. Not yet.
But even so, as we left the balcony and went back into my apartment, I couldn't help myself from feeling that little throb of anticipation.
Clark hadn't meant to fall for Chloe, and I certainly didn't have any intentions of falling for the fishnet-wearing mystery woman.
But sometimes... you just can't help yourself.