Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Manip by worias. Used with permission of the artist. This story was inspired by the manip.
Written for Secret Chlark on a prompt from lunarknightz.
"It's cold up here."
Clark Kent nuzzled his girlfriend's long golden hair lovingly. "I thought I just warmed you up."
"You did." Chloe Sullivan pressed against his chest a little more closely. "But the air temperature up here-- well, it's supposed to resemble Krypton. Not really a hospitable environment, unless you're a tauntaun."
"I like it." He glanced around at the towering icy walls. "But I'll admit it's not Florida..."
"Definitely not. It even makes Kansas in the wintertime look like a balmy paradise."
"Here." He pulled the shimmering covers around her shoulders and held her more tightly. "Better?"
"Yeah." She rested her head on his chest, and there was a long silence, so long he thought she'd gone to sleep. At last she spoke again. "I wish we had somewhere closer to home where we could make love, Clark."
"Well..." He uttered a soft, wry laugh. "Things got awkward when Jimmy and I decided to share an apartment."
"Yes. And now that I'm living with Lois again..."
"How exactly did we wind up living with each other's exes?"
"Just one of those things that happen. I mean, they're our friends, and Lois is my cousin besides. But It does make things a little... uncomfortable."
He looked down at her rumpled blond hair and smiled a little. "Maybe they need to get over it."
"Getting over me is asking a lot," she said, offering him an evil smile, and he laughed.
"True," he agreed. "Getting over me isn't easy, either. After all... I'm Superdude."
She giggled. "I love that name. Too bad it didn't stick."
"The thing is," he said, more seriously, "Lois and I didn't date long. Just long enough to figure out we weren't right for each other. So really, there's nothing to feel awkward about there. Except..."
"Except she was more into you than you were into her, and she's still got some feelings for you."
"Yeah. Maybe. And with you and Jimmy... well..."
"We actually got married. Sort of."
He sighed. "Right. Sort of. So it's... complicated."
"I figure everyone's romantic life is complicated, once they get to a certain stage," she said quietly. "I mean, we're not teenagers any more, Clark. Everyone has a certain amount of baggage they're carrying around. Maybe we just need to drop the baggage when we're together."
He closed his eyes, enjoying the feel of her warm body pressed up against his. "I just don't want to hurt anyone else, Chlo."
"Me neither. But if we live our lives for other people... then we don't ever get a chance to live them for ourselves."
He considered that, his eyes still closed. "So what do you think we should do, Chlo? Quit trying to hide our relationship?"
Another long silence. At last she answered, "Yes, that's exactly what I think we should do. I think we need to stop running around like criminals, as if we're doing something wrong. We're grownups, Clark, and we're entitled to have a relationship if we want to, even an X-rated one. I don't want to have to sneak off to the Fortress every time I want to make love with you. We've got two perfectly good apartments. We should use them."
"But what about Jimmy and Lois?"
"What about them? Come on, Clark, if we're ever going to truly go forward, we have to let them know about us at some point. Or were you planning on just keeping me your dirty little secret for the rest of your life?"
"Well... no. I mean, eventually..."
"So we can head up to the Fortress every weekend, and tell Jimmy and Lois we’re on assignment? And eventually the two of us could run off to Las Vegas and get married, and still never tell anyone?"
"Uh... well, no..."
"And then when I get pregnant, I could just duck out of town when I start to show? And then when we have the baby, we can keep it hidden away and hope no one ever notices it?"
"Okay, well, when you put it that way..."
"Clark." She sighed. "Sooner or later, everyone’s going to have to know we're dating. It might as well be now."
He looked around at the vast crystalline walls. The Fortress was so cold, so impersonal. It was, he thought, no place to carry on a love affair. He thought about making love to her in his own apartment, in his own bed, surrounded by his own books and knickknacks and photos, and a strange longing coiled inside his chest.
"I have an idea," he said slowly.
"As long as it isn't let's keep our affair hidden until the end of time, I'm all ears."
"No, not that. I was just thinking... what if we moved in together?"
She went very still in his arms. She was quiet for a long moment. At last she said, "But we both have roommates."
"Okay. True enough. But Jimmy and Lois... well, they get along pretty well. In fact, they're best buds nowadays. So what if we let them have your apartment, and you moved into my apartment?"
"Um..." She frowned thoughtfully. "Strangely, that does make a certain amount of sense."
"Of course it does. Then they'll know about us, we can get things out in the open, and we can have sex whenever we want, without having to travel to the Arctic to do it."
She nodded solemnly. "I think I like that idea."
A weight he'd hardly been aware of lifted off his shoulders. It was a big step from secret affair to living together, and he'd been afraid she wouldn't want to take that step right now. The fact that she didn't seem horrified by the suggestion, that she even seemed willing to embrace it, made his mouth curve in a big, goofy smile.
"Great," he said, and hugged her. "So you want to head back home now?"
She laughed. "You know, Clark, it's always amazed me how quickly you can go from neutral to fifth gear. You've been scared to take our relationship past the secret affair level, and now all of a sudden you're ready to buy a headline in the Daily Planet."
"I was not scared," he said with dignity. "I was just worried about hurting other people’s feelings."
"You were terrified, you big wimp. But I'm glad you're getting over it."
Deep down, he knew she was right. He'd been paralyzed with fear, afraid to let anyone know they were dating, afraid that if anyone knew, somehow it might all fall apart. He’d been afraid of jinxing their relationship.
But they'd been dating for three months now, and it was great. It was better than great. It was awesome.
It was, he thought, time to admit that he wanted her in his bed and in his life. Not just occasionally, but all the time.
She shoved the shimmering covers aside and sat up, and he slid out of bed and pulled his suit on before she'd even managed to get her underwear on. She looked up at him, dressed in his crimson, blue and gold suit, and uttered another of her happy laughs. "In a hurry to get home?"
He looked down at her seriously. "In a hurry to move in with you," he said.
She pulled the rest of her clothes on, including a parka, and smiled up at him.
"Yeah," she answered simply. "Me too."
He smiled back, then swept her up, whooshed out of the Fortress, and leapt up into the sky, heading for the next phase of their relationship with her in his arms.