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 previous chapter here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
"Okay," Chloe said, trying to keep her tone steady. She wanted to cuss out Clark for leaving, for scaring the hell out of her by disappearing, for putting on the damn ring in the first place, but giving in to her temper and having a screaming fit wouldn't accomplish anything but to amuse Kal. "So what exactly are you doing for Mr. Wayne?"
Kal grinned up at her, that bad-boy grin that melted her stomach and her defenses all at once. A woman could have an orgasm, just from the brilliance of that grin.
"I'm his bodyguard," he said.
She frowned, because Wayne was just about as big as Clark. Yeah, he probably didn't have any real combat training, but still, he looked like he could handle most confrontations on his own.
"Looks like you're doing a great job of it," she drawled. "He was walking around Gotham City all by himself. There's a pretty high crime rate here, you know."
"I've heard that," Wayne said.
Kal grinned, more widely than before. She saw a glint of red in his eyes, echoing the glow of the stone on his finger. "I'm only his bodyguard at night, Chlo."
So "Kal" was acting as Wayne's bodyguard when Wayne went out on the town. Okay, she thought. That made sense. Maybe the party boy had dangerous tastes, like low-class strip joints or drug dens, and he needed some muscle to keep him safe.
"Kal," Wayne said, and she heard the hint of steel in his voice.
Kal stretched his arms out on the back of the couch, still grinning. "Chill out, Bruce. You can trust her. She's kept my secrets for years."
"She's a reporter, Kal."
"An ethical one. You tell her it's off the record, it's buried and gone forever. She can be trusted, believe me."
The fact that Clark trusted her so much, even in his current altered state, brought tears to her eyes. She blinked them back, and spoke gruffly.
"Okay, then. You trust me, so talk. What exactly are you doing for Mr. Wayne?"
Kal snickered. "You make it sound dirty."
She sighed. Kal was like a fourteen-year-old boy in some ways. His mind spent most of its time in the gutter. "Get to the point," she snapped.
"I'm starting up a new line of business," Wayne said smoothly. "Kal's helping me with that."
"A dangerous new line of business that operates only at night." She frowned suspiciously. "Are you dealing drugs or what?"
"Hardly." Something hard and cold glinted in Wayne's eyes. "The exact opposite, in fact. I'm trying to restore order and safety to the streets of Gotham City."
She stared at his cool features, while the memory of a few articles she'd read recently ran through her mind.
NEW VIGILANTE IN GOTHAM CITY?
CITIZENS OF GOTHAM INSIST THAT IN THE SHADOWS, SOMETHING IS HIDING
WOMAN CLAIMS TO HAVE BEEN SAVED BY A "BAT MAN"
"You're the new vigilante," she said slowly. "The... the 'bat man.'"
Wayne crossed his arms over his chest and didn't answer.
"Makes sense," she said, remembering another billionaire she knew, who'd followed a similar path. "You've got tons of money. You can probably get any toy you want. I read that the so-called bat man has an incredible car. It would take a rich man to afford something like that."
"I don't--" Wayne started, but Kal broke in.
"Don't bother denying it, Bruce. She's not stupid."
"Gosh, thanks so much. Okay, so you've taken up the life of a vigilante. How long have you been at this, Mr. Wayne?"
"That sounds like the sort of question a reporter asks," Wayne observed. "Is this on or off the record, Miss Sullivan?"
Chloe sighed, because every time she got a good story, she wound up keeping it to herself. She could have had three or four Pulitzers by now, damn it.
"Whichever you prefer," she answered.
"Off, then. I've been doing this for the past six months, Miss Sullivan. At first it was fairly easy to take criminals by surprise, because the police have virtually ceded the streets to crime after dark. They didn't expect to run into any opposition, and I was able to get in and out of a situation before I was ever spotted. But slowly, word began to get around."
"And now they're watching for you. They're on guard."
Wayne nodded. "I'm better trained than you'd imagine, but even so, I'm only human. When I get into a jam-- and I've gotten into several-- it's Kal's job to get me out."
"So," she said, looking down at Kal. "You're his sidekick."
"Watch who you're calling a sidekick, sidekick. I'm just helping him out for a while, till he gets a reputation for being so invulnerable the criminals don't even try to take him on."
"Admirable," she said dryly. "What about Metropolis?"
"What about it?"
"Don't you think you could be doing more good doing this kind of thing on your own, at home?"
"Metropolis isn't my home." He glared at her. "I don't have a home, damn it."
"Oh, yay, here we go with the self-pity. I can't tell you how much I've missed it."
Kal rose to his feet, his teeth bared. For a long moment, he glared at her. She glared back, refusing to show any fear.
And then there was a whoosh, and he was gone.
She lowered her head in defeat. Wayne's hand fell onto her shoulder.
"Miss Sullivan," he said, "I was right. You've got guts. You know as well as I do that he could tear your arms off, but you stood up to him anyway."
"He's my friend," she whispered.
"I know. And you'd risk anything to save him, wouldn't you?"
She nodded mutely, and he patted her, his hand surprisingly gentle.
"Believe it or not," he said softly, "he's my friend, too."
"No, he's not," she whispered. "You're just using him."
His hand squeezed her shoulder, and his deep voice rang with sincerity.
"No, Miss Sullivan. I'm trying to save him, too."
Read Chapter 5 here.