Season 8, after "Turbulence"
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 story from the beginning here.
Her eyes went wide, and he felt his cheeks flame, and almost wished he could take the words back. They seemed... inappropriate, considering she was married to another guy, a guy he considered a friend. But the words were already out there. It was too late to erase them or change them.
And he wasn't sure he would, even if he could. Inappropriate or not, it was a question he desperately wanted the answer to.
"Us?" she repeated. "Together?"
Driven by his need to know how she really felt, he took a step forward and stared into her eyes. "Chlo," he said softly, "I never thought you and Jimmy were right together. I backed off to give you room, but..."
She blinked at him. "You backed off to give us room?" she repeated. "I thought you backed off because you weren't that into me."
He felt a wry smile curve his mouth. "Chloe. Do you remember the night you kissed me?"
It was her turn to flush. "Yes. Of course."
"Did I really give you the impression I wasn't into you?"
"Um..." Her cheeks got redder. "Well, maybe not. But when you got back..."
"When I got back, I was ready to go for it, Chloe. But then Jimmy showed up."
She stared at him, her eyes wide. "Oh," she said at last.
"I guess I should have, you know, tried harder. But you're my friend, and I didn't want to screw anything up."
"Yeah," she said with a little sigh. "I guess that was my thought, too."
"So I gave you and Jimmy space, and now... now it turns out maybe the two of you weren't all that right for each other anyway."
"It's okay." She reached out and patted his arm, a little awkwardly. "It's not your fault that my relationship with Jimmy didn't work out."
He looked down at her face, and very slowly lifted a hand. He ran a finger down her cheek. Despite the way she'd hastily splashed water on her face, tear tracks were still visible.
"Chlo," he said softly. "Why were you crying?"
She closed her eyes.
"Because of everything," she said softly. "Jimmy and you and the Daily Planet. Brainiac and Davis. Everything that's happened this year. Nothing's gone right, Clark. Nothing. I'm coming up on my twenty-second birthday, and my life is just... well, it's just this huge mess, you know? I feel like I took a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe a lot of wrong turns. Anyway... I just don't know how to fix it."
"Yeah," he answered. "I know what you mean." He looked down at her face, which was swollen and blotchy with tears. And yet to him, she was nevertheless beautiful. "Maybe we can fix it together."
Her long, golden eyelashes fluttered open, and she stared at him curiously. "Fix it how?"
"Like this," he answered, and bent to kiss her.
Read Chapter 3 here.