Season 6, "Labyrinth"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
It's her voice. Her voice. He turns around, staring, as she runs toward him.
His mind is still trying to sort out what he's just experienced. She's dead... isn't she? Or was that all a delusion? Isn't that what the "Martian" told him, that it was all an illusion created by a phantom?
She pauses two inches from him, so that he can smell the sweet scent of her shampoo, a familiar fragrance of roses and jasmine. Slowly, he begins to accept that her death was all in his head. He's in his barn, where he and Shelby were, before all this started.
For a brief moment, he wonders where Shelby is. It was Shelby's barking that he'd distantly heard in the midst of the delusion, Shelby's barking that had enabled him to realize none of it was real. Shelby's not here, yet Clark still hears him barking.
No, he thinks, it isn't Shelby. It's the sound of the blood pounding in his ears. His heart is thudding wildly, because he's still in shock from everything that's happened. And yet at the same time he's enormously relieved. Chloe is here, and she's alive. She's perfectly fine.
Overwhelmed with relief, he reaches out and grabs her, wrapping his arms around her and yanking her up against his chest.
She seems a little startled, but that doesn't stop her from returning the hug, her arms around his neck, her face in his shoulder. He buries his face in her hair.
"Chloe," he whispers, his voice harsh with something perilously close to tears. "Chlo."
"Clark." She mumbles into his t-shirt. "What's wrong? What happened?"
"You died." He holds her more tightly than before. "You died, Chlo."
"What?" She lifts her head and blinks at him. "I don't understand."
"I was in... I was in this place..." The words fall from him in unsteady bursts. "An asylum... you tried to save me... you got shot..."
"Clark..." She reaches up and strokes his hair, trying to comfort him. "I heard you fall. I know you're invulnerable, but maybe you hit your head hard enough to..."
"It was a phantom." He's still trying to understand exactly what happened, to piece together everything he learned and was told. "It wanted... it wanted to take over my body, so it made me believe everything I'd ever known was a delusion... so I would give in to it..."
She blinks at him. "But I heard you fall... and when I came in you were already standing up..."
He shakes his head, finding that hard to believe. He feels like he was in the other world for at least a day. But maybe not.
And it doesn't matter, not really. What matters is that she's alive. He lowers his head and clutches her against him.
"I thought you were dead," he whispers into her hair.
"Clark." Her arms tighten around his neck. "I'm fine."
And she really is. She's warm and whole in his arms. He remembers seeing her fall to the ground, crimson blossoming on her white shirt. He remembers the terrible gurgling sounds she made as she struggled to breathe, the way she went limp in his arms.
He remembers how defeated he felt afterward, as if nothing really mattered any more.
"Chloe," he says again, very softly, and lowers his head to kiss her.
She's alive. Very alive. Her lips are warm and soft against his, her arms holding him close, comforting him. He deepens the kiss, pulling her closer against him, so that her soft body molds against his.
Not that he wants to be intimate with her or anything. He's not turned on. He's just frantic with relief and overwhelmed and a little...
Okay, so maybe he's a little turned on.
His hands tighten on her hips, pulling her against him harder, and the pressure against his hard-on feels so good, fulfilling a need he hadn't even realized he possessed. He grinds into her a little harder, moaning into her mouth. She's moaning too, her hands on the nape of his neck and his shoulders, stroking him through his old red jacket...
The jacket, he decides, must go.
He shrugs it off, because he needs to feel her hands on his skin, not through the stupid jacket. He puts his arms back around her and yanks her to him, and her hands are on his back, caressing him through his blue t-shirt. That's much better.
But still not quite enough.
He wants to strip off his shirt, too, but he doesn't quite have the nerve. Instead he pushes off the jacket she's wearing, dropping it unceremoniously to the floor. Beneath it she's wearing a pink shirt, and he lets his hands roam over the back of it. She feels so small and slender and fragile under his hands, like she could be so easily shattered. She is fragile, and a bullet would tear right through her flesh...
He moans, a sound of distress, rather than lust, and she pulls back a bit, looking into his eyes.
"What's wrong, Clark?"
"I lost you," he whispers, his voice a harsh rasp. He can hear the blood pounding in his ears again, a low roar of sound. "I can't stand to lose you, Chloe."
"You didn't lose me." Her hands are gentle in his hair. "It wasn't real."
"It felt real." A shudder passes through his body at the memory. "I lost you, Chlo, I lost you..."
The words break off on a ragged choking sound. He doesn't want to call it a sob, but knows perfectly well that it is. He buries his face in her hair, shaking harder than before, and her hands stroke over his shoulders, and then she's kissing his throat.
He likes that. He likes it a lot. Suddenly he's trembling again. Not with loss and distress, but with lust and need. He wants her to kiss him everywhere. Not just his throat, but his chest and his stomach and his...
He carefully drags his mind away from that thought and lowers his own head. He kisses her throat, and her head falls back, her eyes fluttering shut in sweet submission.
He trails kisses up and down the graceful line of her throat. But it isn't enough, and suddenly his hands are shoving her shirt up.
And then he's on his knees, kissing the beautiful flat planes of her belly, simply because she's so lovely he can't stop kissing her.
Her hands dig into his hair, and then she's dropping down beside him. He strips off her shirt and tosses it aside, and she yanks his off, too. He wants to push her right over onto the floor, but a faint flicker of sanity in his brain reminds him that the floor of a barn is dirty, and no place for the two of them to... well, roll around.
Hay bales. He picks her up in his arms and whooshes for the stack of hay bales. It's scratchy, but he places their jackets over it, and then he's laying her carefully onto the jackets and leaning over her, dropping kisses all over her. She's kissing him, too, and it's so warm and sweet and perfect that he can't quite remember why they've never done this before.
In fact it feels so warm and familiar that it's almost like they have done it before, many times. And yet it's all brand new and wonderful.
He's all but forgotten the woman he thought he loved, Lana Lang. Suddenly he realizes he's moved on from Lana, moved on more completely than he would have thought possible. He loves Chloe, and maybe he's loved her longer than he'd ever recognized. He's not sure.
Regardless, all he cares about right now is the feel of her skin against his, the scent of her hair, the little noises she makes as she presses against him.
He hears his voice, raised in a groan of pleasure, as her hands trail downward, over his ribs, over his belly, over his...
She strokes him right through the denim, and he gives a soft sob and thrusts eagerly into her hand. He's harder than ever, and he can feel precome welling up, and his erection starts to quiver against the palm of her hand. He grits his teeth to hold back.
"Not yet," he whispers. He's still thrusting, because he can't stop the motion of his hips somehow, but he doesn't want to come this way, doesn't want to cream his jeans, not when he could have so much more, when he could have all of her. "Chloe... stop..."
Her hand slides up, to his mingled relief and dismay. But then she's unbuttoning his jeans. And that's all good, nothing to complain about there. Until she touches him again, through the flimsy barrier of his boxers, and he jerks violently at her touch, and calls out her name.
Her hand is stroking him, gently but firmly, and he shudders. It feels so good, but she needs to stop... like right now... or he's going to... he's going to...
Frantic noises fall from him, and he shoves up frantically against her palm. Oh, God, he's been waiting for this so long, and he never knew. He never knew.
She stops just before he can come all over his boxers, and begins to gently tug them over his swollen erection. He's a little shocked to realize her jeans have been removed. Did he do that? He thinks he must have, but he can't quite remember it. Everything in the past few minutes is a blur of need and pleasure, a blur of her scent and the satin of her skin and the dull thudding roar in his ears.
He strips off her panties-- pink, to match her shirt-- and then she's falling back onto the hay bales, her hands tugging at his shoulders, and he's dropping onto her, pushing inside her. He knows he ought to be worried about hurting her, and ordinarily he'd be panic-stricken about now, but she's pushed him too far, and all he can think about is how hot she is, how wet, how tight...
"Clark." Her voice whispers his name, and suddenly he's reminded of her whispering his name as she died. He blinks away the sudden moisture in his eyes, reminding himself that she's not dead. None of it was real. It was an illusion.
This is real.
His spine arches, and her hips lift to meet his, and he's sliding deep inside her, all the way to the hilt, and he hears another ragged sobbing sound rise from his throat, and isn't sure if it's a noise of pleasure or remembered grief.
He tries to push away the grief. It wasn't real. None of it was real.
But it felt real, and he'll never forget what it was like to lose her. It felt like having his heart ripped out.
He doesn't ever want to go through that again.
His body is moving in hers, as slowly as he can manage, sliding out, almost all the way, then sinking into her deeply, over and over again. It's so good, the best thing he's ever felt, and every movement drags a groan from his chest. She's making little sounds too, soft whimpers of unmistakable pleasure. Her fingers dig into his shoulders and her heels press into his ass.
He's kissing her everywhere, throat and shoulders and cheeks and ears and breasts. Her skin is damp with a sheen of perspiration despite the chilly evening air, and he realizes he's sweating, too. The sound of blood pounding in his ears is louder than ever-- or is it Shelby barking, after all? It sounds an awful lot like Shelby's bark.
But he can't think about Shelby right now. His mind is entirely focused on Chloe.
"Unnnhhh." He's moving a little faster now, despite himself. "Chloe... don't ever leave me... don't..."
"I'm right here." Her voice is soft in his ear. "It's all right, Clark, I'm not going anywhere..."
"I can't lose you again, Chlo... not ever again..."
"It's okay." Her hands smooth over his back, comforting him. "I won't leave you. I promise."
His hips are moving even faster. He can't stop himself. It's like being dragged along by a freight train. His body is out of his control, but he doesn't really mind. "When I thought you were dead... I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think."
"I know," she whispers. "I can imagine what it would be like if I thought I'd lost you."
"I couldn't struggle any more." He's not sure why the words are spilling out of him now, but he can't stop them any more than he can stop the movements of his body. "I couldn't put up a fight. Without you... I couldn't live."
"Clark..." Her hands stroke his hair reassuringly. "I'm fine. Everything is fine, okay?"
Everything is significantly better than fine. He's making love to her, and physically, he's filled with near-ecstasy. But in his head, things are still very, very dark. He moans again, a little sound of sorrow.
"Stop thinking so much," she whispers in his ear. "Stop remembering it all. Just let it happen, okay?"
"It's so hard to forget, Chlo..."
"Give in to me," she murmurs, holding him close. "Give yourself to me."
It's kind of an odd way to put it, but he understands what she means. To let himself move past everything he'd experienced in his head, he has to surrender to her, to this moment. He has to lower all his defenses and let her in.
Her body clenches around his, and her arms tighten around his waist. Moaning, he lifts his head and kisses her, his tongue thrusting into her mouth in an eager rhythm that echoes the movements of their bodies. Her hands tighten on his shoulders, and she cries out into his mouth. He can feel her contracting around him.
Heat and pleasure roar through him, an unstoppable tidal wave, and he surrenders to her completely. A climax pours over him, drowning him in fiery ecstasy, and he's all hers, body and soul and mind...
As the long, sweet waves of his orgasm fade and he slowly comes back down to earth, he feels something moving inside his mind, crawling around inside his brain like a bug crawling behind the walls of a house. He tries to push it away.
But it's too late.
He stares down at her in blank confusion, and she looks back at him with a cool smile. He can feel the bug burrowing into his mind, taking control.
And then suddenly the barn fades away, and Chloe with it.
To his shock, he realizes he isn't in the barn at all. Or maybe his body is, but he's not in his body, not really. He's in a small metal cell again, wearing the plain white garb of an inmate of the Fairview Mental Hospital.
Panic-stricken, he leaps off the cot and flings himself against the metal door, hard. The only result is a sharp pain in his shoulder.
"It took me some time to determine your weakness." The kind, grandfatherly voice speaks from the other side of the door. Clark looks through the bars of the door, seeing the gray-haired Dr. Hudson, smiling benevolently at him.
"My..." Clark is bewildered by the sudden change of scenery. He isn't quite sure what's going on here. "My weakness?"
"Yes. I foolishly thought your greatest weakness would be the woman you told yourself you loved. I recognized she wasn't the one, however, when you fell apart following the 'death' of your friend Chloe. You lost your will to fight, but once our Martian friend intervened, you regained some of it. Unfortunately, in that scenario, Chloe was already dead. It was necessary to create another scenario in your mind."
Clark stares at him with growing horror, beginning to realize that nothing he just experienced with Chloe was real. It had all been just a scenario, another delusion Hudson had put into his mind. The maze Hudson had trapped him in had been even more labyrinthine than Clark had imagined.
The only part of it that had been real was his recognition of how he feels about Chloe.
"You made me believe I'd escaped," he says slowly. "That I'd killed you."
"Yes." Dr. Hudson smiles approvingly, as if Clark is a student and he a professor. "And then I reintroduced Chloe into your mental landscape. It was the only way to get you to lower your defenses so I could regain my corporeal existence. But I've won now. I'm in charge of your body."
"Give it back," Clark snarls.
"I'm afraid not." Dr. Hudson's smile shifts subtly, becoming less benevolent and more creepy. "I have plans for this body-- plans starting with your friend Chloe--"
"Leave her alone!"
"After watching what human sexual interaction is like, via your fantasy? I think not. I intend to experience it with her, and perhaps with the other young lady in your memories as well. And once I have indulged in that new experience, I will begin to gather the other phantoms. Your body is a good one, likely the best one on Earth for my purposes. It will provide everything I need to conquer this primitive world."
Clark glares at him through the bars. "You'll have to kill me first."
"Not at all." Hudson gazes back at him seriously. "If I kill you, your body will cease to function, and I need this body. Therefore, you will remain caged for the remainder of your existence."
Hudson turns and walks away, and Clark yells in thwarted rage, grabbing the bars of the door and rattling furiously.
"Let me out, damn it!"
Hudson ignores him. A moment later there's the distant metallic clang of a door, and Hudson is gone.
Clark is alone, and trapped.
Panting in confusion and anger and distress, he drops down onto the cot. He's thinking clearly enough to understand that this isn't a real cell, just the mental impression Hudson left him with. Just one last delusion. His cell is somewhere in the depths of his own mind, and he's unable to exert any control over his own body.
And while he sits here, trapped and helpless, Hudson will impersonate him and hurt the people he loves-- and eventually hurt the world.
Chloe, he thinks. Oh, Chlo.
He's finally realized what Chloe means to him. After all these years, he finally understands that she's more than just a friend, more to him than Lana ever was. She's his strength, his support, his foundation. And he can't even tell her that. He can't even protect her from whatever Hudson might do to her. He's helpless.
In a sudden fury, he stands up and lunges against the metal door again, harder than before. All it accomplishes is to hurt his shoulder. But he keeps trying, keeps slamming his shoulder into the metal, over and over again.
Somehow, somehow, he has to escape. He has to. His friends are depending on him. Chloe is depending on him.
The world is depending on him.
Grimly, he keeps battering away at the door. Somehow, he's going to find a way out of this labyrinth.
Somehow, he's going to find a way back to Chloe.