Manip by worias. Used with the permission of the artist.
Season 5, rewrite of "Exposed"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Rewrite of my story You're My Angel, based on a prompt by worias (original story idea prompted by Khyla).
"What are you doing in here? Are you lost?"
They'd been caught in the file room red-handed, and Clark Kent gulped audibly. "Um," he mumbled. "Um, we were just looking for..."
"Oh, don't be shy." Fortunately, Chloe Sullivan could think her way out of situations faster than Clark could-- which was ironic, since he was the one with superspeed-- and she put her hand on his back, pushing him forward. She flashed her beaming grin at the guy who'd caught them. "He's here to dance."
She remembered the sign on the Wingate's door: Ladies' Night. She could tell Clark remembered, too, because he blushed bright red, shooting a glare at Chloe. She smiled innocently at him.
"Are you the replacement Rocco sent over?" the guy asked.
"Yes," Chloe answered promptly. "He was really sorry to see him go."
The guy looked Clark over with a detached but careful gaze, as if Clark were a farm animal he might be interested in buying. Clark flushed redder under the scrutiny, and Chloe tried not to be amused by his obvious discomfort. At last the guy shrugged.
"Take your clothes off," he said. "Let's see what you've got."
"And now," the announcer said over the PA system, "making his first appearance at the Wingate... please welcome the Guardian Angel!"
Chloe was seated at a table, sipping her Coke and trying hard to ignore the parade of male flesh in front of her. She was here to listen in on the conversations of the patrons and try to clear Senator Jack Jennings of murder, not to admire the talent. Besides, she shouldn't enjoy seeing men exploited this way. Men were people too-- hard though that was to believe sometimes-- and she had absolutely no interest in seeing them treated as sex objects.
Well, okay, that wasn't totally true. The truth was that she liked rippling male muscles and sculpted torsos as well as the next girl. Still, she'd managed to pay attention to the conversations around her, for the most part.
But when the "Guardian Angel" strutted out on stage, she totally forgot why she was here. Her mouth fell open, and all the breath left her lungs in a rush.
Clark was dressed all in white. He wore a tight sleeveless shirt, and even tighter white jeans, the clothes enhancing his musculature rather than obscuring it. Unlike the other guys who'd been featured on the stage, he didn't sport a single sequin. But on his back he wore a pair of big feathered white wings.
She looked at the bulging biceps, the tight butt, and the gorgeous flat abs, not to mention the impossibly beautiful face, and wondered why on earth she'd ever let their relationship stay at the just friends level.
Oh, right, he was dating Lana. Her friend. So all that masculine beauty was off limits to her.
Still... she could look. Couldn't she?
The simple truth of the matter was that she couldn't help looking. Clark moved across the stage in time to the music-- some loud, fast rock song she didn't recognize. He wasn't dancing, exactly. He was... well, just as she'd thought earlier, he was strutting.
She remembered how red Clark's face had been earlier. When he'd taken off his clothes, he'd looked like he wanted to drop through the floor and disappear. But now he moved in a totally confident manner, without a trace of self-consciousness.
Apparently Clark had somehow accessed his inner Kal, the bad-boy self who was normally only released when Clark got near red meteor rocks. Chloe could easily imagine Kal up on that stage, grinding his hips to the beat and grinning his bad-boy grin.
She couldn't imagine Clark doing the same thing. Yet there he was.
And that grin was directed straight at her.
He wasn't blushing any more. In fact, he looked like he was having the time of his life. He reached up and yanked on the t-shirt, and it fell apart. He tossed it aside, exposing a broad expanse of rippling muscles beneath golden skin, and every woman in the audience squealed and whistled and applauded. Chloe did too, just to look like she belonged here.
It wasn't like Clark Kent actually made her squeal. She was totally over that. Really.
Okay, Clark happened to feature prominently in a lot of her sexual fantasies. Maybe most of her sexual fantasies. But that was just because he was a great-looking guy.
She looked at his bare chest, beaded with sweat under the hot lights of the stage, and sighed despite herself. Lana was a lucky girl. If she herself had that chest at her beck and call-- well, she'd never let Clark out of the bedroom.
His hands slid down his abdomen, slowly and sexily, and then he tore off his jeans. She couldn't quite tell if they were the tearaway kind of jeans, or if he'd just used his superspeed to remove them. Regardless, suddenly he was standing in front of a crowd of women, wearing nothing but a g-string, wings, and a dangerous grin.
The other women whistled and clapped more loudly than ever, but this time she couldn't join them. She could only stare, flabbergasted. Those thighs... that abdomen... that... that...
Well, even in a g-string there was no mistaking that Clark Kent was huge.
The music ended, and Clark made his way off the stage. Eager, clutching hands groped him as he passed, stuffing bills into his g-string, and he grinned down at the women who touched him as if half an hour earlier he hadn't been blushing scarlet at the idea of stripping on stage. Clark, she thought, was really taking his role to heart.
He paused next to her table. She gazed at the portion of his anatomy which was at eye level, unable to look away.
"Hey," he drawled. "I'm up here."
She tore her gaze away, blushing, and looked up to find him grinning down at her. He looked evilly amused.
"Uh," she said. "Um, I didn't, uh..." Ruthlessly she yanked her mind back onto their purpose here-- a purpose that didn't involve ogling gorgeous guys, particularly not her best friend. "So did you find anything out?"
"Yeah," he said. He dropped to his knees and knelt by her chair, staring intently into her eyes. "But we can't talk about it right here. Why don't you slip me a twenty so it looks like we're doing business, and then I'll meet you out back."
"Um..." Awkwardly, because being this close to Clark made her feel like a fifteen-year-old again, she extracted a twenty from her little beaded purse. She considered him for a moment, then reached down and slid it into his g-string.
"Hey," he said. His voice was deep and teasing. "Are you feeling me up?"
"I don't think so." She ran her finger along his abdomen, from the navel to just above his skimpy garment. "This is feeling you up."
She heard his quick intake of breath. "Chloe."
"Just trying to protect your cover," she said innocently. "We wouldn't want you to get fired."
He leaned a little closer, so that there was barely an inch separating their lips. In his eyes she would have sworn she saw a glitter of lust if she didn't know better. But of course she did know better. He was just acting.
"Thanks," he said. "Don't forget to meet me out back." His voice went low and sexy. "I'm looking forward to it."
He rose to his feet and strode away. She stared after him, admiring the gorgeous taut buttocks, the powerful muscles of his back, the way he moved like a panther, his lithe, predatory grace hinting at barely restrained strength.
She wasn't the only one staring, either. There was some other guy up on stage now, but absolutely no one was looking at him. Every female eye in the place was trained on Clark.
Hands off, ladies, she thought. He's mine.
She blinked, startled by the vehemence of the thought, and shoved the unexpected possessiveness away. Clark wasn't hers. He was dating Lana, not Chloe, and she needed to remember that. Just because Clark had incredible shoulders and beautiful biceps and an impossibly gorgeous ass, that didn't make him hers. They were just friends. Always had been, always would be. Just friends.
She watched him disappear backstage, still wearing the feathered wings. He really did look like an angel, she thought. A very, very masculine angel. She remembered the wicked gleam in his eyes, the way he'd so clearly enjoyed strutting his stuff, and smiled.
He'd looked like a fallen angel.
Suddenly a voice behind her caught her attention. She turned her head slightly, straining her ears and wishing for Clark's superhearing. A woman at the table behind her was speaking in a thick Slavic accent.
"That new fellow-- who is he? I want him."
You can't have him. He's mine.
The unfamiliar feeling of possessiveness rose in Chloe again. She pushed it away impatiently and continued to listen in on the conversation.
"I don't know," the man sitting with her replied. "He's new. For five hundred K, you know I don't ask any questions."
Five hundred K? What on earth? Chloe frowned, confused.
"And for that much," the accented voice answered, "you better not answer any questions, either."
Chloe turned just enough to get one quick glimpse of the woman, and her reporter's mind recorded the details. Blonde hair coiled on top of her head, high, elegant cheekbones, cold blue eyes. The woman wore a green suit, with an emerald necklace gleaming at her throat. She was beautiful, but there was a dangerous glint in those blue eyes that Chloe didn't like in the least.
The conversation was the first real hint Chloe had gleaned that something strange was going on at the Wingate. She strained, trying to hear more through the noise of the crowd, but suddenly the lights went on, the music stopped, and a loud voice spoke.
It took a couple of hours for Chloe to get free of Detective Maggie Sawyer. Eventually she was let out with a warning-- thank God for that, because her dad so would have killed her if she'd been arrested. Clark, being "talent," was still tied up. She hoped like hell he wasn't going to be arrested, because his parents would have his head on a platter for sure. And then she'd feel guilty, because this had, after all, been her idea.
She was burning up with curiosity about the woman she'd overheard, so she made her way to the Planet, which was only a few minutes away by car, and checked the license plates she'd photographed earlier. She'd overheard Sawyer say the woman was the daughter of a foreign diplomat. Only one of the cars had a diplomatic plate, so she checked it against the database and rapidly found its owner, a woman with the last name of Lyon, who resided in the UN tower downtown.
She leaned back in the chair and tried to put the limited puzzle pieces together, but without success. A woman who worked at the Wingate had been murdered. She'd apparently been involved with Senator Jennings somehow. And now there was another woman who was apparently buying men, for really significant sums of money.
Not that Clark wasn't worth half a million. He totally was, at least as far as she was concerned. Still, that was a hefty chunk of change.
She decided she didn't have enough data to solve the puzzle, or even come up with a reasonable hypothesis. She needed to get back to the Wingate. But she knew that Clark, who was invulnerable to everything up to and including bullets, was in no immediate danger, and besides, he was still in the custody of the cops.
Her eyes drifted closed, and she let herself indulge in a pleasant daydream of the way he'd looked in those wings, and very little else. She remembered the sweat beading on his chest until his skin glistened, and imagined herself sliding her hands over the damp, golden flesh of his chest...
A hot ache blossomed between her thighs, but she tried her best to ignore it. She breathed slowly, trying to get control of herself. It was stupid for her to have this reaction to thoughts of her best friend. Just because he'd been almost totally naked, and mere inches away, and she could have so easily put her hands all over him...
Her train of thought didn't do much to calm her down. In fact, she was pretty badly wound up. She thought longingly about sliding her hand between her thighs and releasing the almost unbearable tension.
But no. This was her workplace. She couldn't be caught doing something like that. Even though it was the middle of the night, she wasn't the only workaholic in the building, and if someone caught her...
Anyway, she was trying to clear someone of murder here, and that was a lot more important than her physical needs. Besides, Clark might not be in danger, but if that woman was buying men for nefarious purposes, then the other male strippers of the Wingate might be in danger. She needed to get a move on and figure out what was going on.
Her stupid body was just going to have to chill out for a while.
When she got back, the cops were gone. And so was Clark.
At first she thought he'd run off on some trail, trying to find an answer to the puzzle, but when she questioned the few male strippers who were left in the changing room, they told her he'd left with Lyon-- and he'd looked sick.
"All doubled over," a redhead with pecs to die for told her. "Practically crying in pain, looking like he was going to throw up. The woman said something about taking him to the emergency room. She thought it might be his appendix."
The emerald, she thought, grimly angry with herself for not realizing. It hadn't been an emerald at all.
It was kryptonite.
The UN tower was on West Washington Street, and Chloe found the apartment without any trouble. She got in with no trouble as well, breaking and entering being one of her many useful talents.
The first thing she spotted was a Polaroid picture someone had carelessly dropped on the floor. It was a snapshot of Clark, wearing his g-string and wings, his face contorted in pain.
She snarled and dropped the snapshot on the carpet, then began pacing around, looking for clues.
The computer was turned off, but it was still warm, so she guessed the woman had left the apartment with Clark only moments before. Hoping she could find something useful, she flipped the computer on and waited impatiently for it to boot up.
Unfortunately, it was password protected. She tried a few passwords at random, then gave up. She didn't have time to try to break through a zillion layers of security. She had to rescue Clark.
She stalked restlessly around the apartment, looking for some clue as to his location. She found a box with snapshots of various good-looking men, all clad in g-strings, and inferred that Clark was not the first gorgeous guy to be abducted by Lyon. She also found an empty syringe, which she guessed had contained some sort of sedative. If you were going to abduct heavily muscled guys, drugging them was probably a sensible precaution.
None of which gave her any hint where to find him.
She walked back to the computer, frowning, and stared at it thoughtfully. It occurred to her Lyon might have been using the printer for something, because it was still turned on.
Experimentally, she reached out and pressed the "print" button again. The printer whirred, and she picked up the sheet of paper that came out of it.
It was a fake passport, with Clark's picture on it.
Her heart started to thud heavily. Lyon must be taking him out of the country, which almost certainly meant an airport. She needed to get to Metropolis International Airport and find them somehow, before they got on a plane.
Clark. Oh, Clark.
She did her best not to overreact. No one other than herself and the Kents knew of Clark's "allergy" to kryptonite, so Lyon had presumably been wearing kryptonite by coincidence, not because she knew it had an effect on Clark. Sooner or later she'd leave Clark's side, and then he'd recover almost instantly, no matter what sort of drugs she might have injected him with. Drugs had no effect on Clark.
But he must be feeling sick and miserable from the kryptonite. She hated to think of him trapped on a plane with Lyon for hours. For all she knew, such prolonged exposure to kryptonite might just kill him.
She headed for the door, then stopped, arrested by a thought. She'd researched a story on the medical transport system in Metropolis last month. Some other reporter had gotten the byline, of course, but she'd done a large quantity of research for him. She'd learned all about air ambulances in Metropolis, and where they could land. And she remembered that there was a helipad on the roof of the UN Tower.
What if they were taking Clark out of here by helicopter?
It was a long shot, she knew, but it couldn't hurt to check the roof.
Chloe Sullivan was no athlete, but she made it up the three flights of stairs in record time. She burst out onto the roof and saw a helicopter sitting there, its rotors whirring.
Another sprint, and she had yanked the door open. A single glance told her Clark was inside, seated between Lyon and her bodyguard. He was hunched over in abject misery, and she doubted he even noticed her presence.
But Lyon certainly did. The other woman barked out a sharp command, and the helicopter began to rise into the air, with Chloe half in and half out.
Hanging on desperately with one hand, she grasped Lyon's necklace and yanked it hard. The delicate gold chain snapped under the rough treatment, and Chloe flung it free of the helicopter with all the force she had. She glanced down, seeing that they were already forty or fifty feet above the helipad.
If she fell, she was going to break every bone in her body.
Even as she had the thought, Lyon shoved her, hard, and she felt herself falling.
"It's all right." His deep voice was soothing. "I've got you."
Expecting to find that she'd been splattered on the rooftop of the UN Tower, she slowly opened her eyes to find herself in Clark's arms.
"Oh," she said. Her voice sounded shaky to her own ears. "I thought I was going to die."
"I'd never let that happen." He grinned at her. It was his honest, open, farmboy grin, but somewhere in his eyes she saw the glint of the bad boy, too.
She glanced down and realized he was naked.
Well, mostly naked. He still wore the g-string. Still, it was a damn good thing they were up here, rather than down on the streets, or he'd be stopping traffic for sure.
"Um..." She frowned, seeing the helicopter safely tethered to the roof. "How'd you do that?"
"I jumped down and caught you, then I found a hook, jumped up and attached it to the copter, and reeled them back in. Lyon's no danger, don't worry. I tied her and her bodyguard up."
"I may not have gotten As in physics," she said slowly, "but I don't think it's possible for you to have gotten out of the helicopter and jumped down here fast enough to catch me. I mean, unless you were..."
"Flying?" He smiled. "Don't be silly, Chlo. I can't fly. Not even with wings on my back."
She shook her head at him and returned his smile. She wasn't sure how he'd done it, but it didn't really surprise her that Clark had managed to break the laws of physics. It was something he seemed to do on a regular basis.
"Thanks," she whispered, putting a hand on his cheek. "You really are a guardian angel. My guardian angel."
His smile faded, and he looked into her eyes, his expression suddenly intent. He lowered his head, and she realized he was going to kiss her.
And she wanted him to.
But then he lifted his head, gazing at something across the roof. She turned her head and saw Detective Sawyer approaching, stalking across the flat rooftop with two uniformed cops flanking her.
"The cavalry's here," he said.
"No," she said, letting her arms tighten around his neck. "The cavalry already arrived."
"So here's what's been going on." Clark spoke earnestly to Detective Sawyer, all hints of the bad boy eradicated. "Apparently the lovely Ms. Lyon was abducting guys from the Wingate and selling them into a life of sexual servitude in other countries. Melissa was a close friend of one of the guys who disappeared, and when she started asking too many questions and tried to go to the Planet, Lyon had her 'taken care of.' It had nothing to do with Senator Jennings. Yes, they were... close... but he didn't kill her. Lyon did."
Sawyer nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Kent. I’m glad you’re all right. Now..." She nodded to the other cops, who untied Lyon's hands. "I’m afraid Ms. Lyon is free to go.
Clark blinked. "Excuse me? You can’t just let her walk away."
Lyon got to her feet and walked toward them. She bestowed a really nasty smile on Clark. "Diplomatic immunity."
"That's right," Sawyer agreed, looking like she'd bitten into a rotten apple. "As a consulate guest in our country, Ms. Lyon can't be arrested or tried for any crime she commits on our soil... not even murder. I'm sorry. But I can't touch her."
Chloe felt rage bubble up inside her. This woman had killed a woman and abducted men. She'd abducted Clark, with the full intention of selling him into slavery.
"Maybe not," she answered. "But I can."
She spun around and slammed her fist into Lyon's face. The other woman yelped, clutching her face as blood streamed from her nose. Chloe looked up at Clark, seeing him smile at her with something very like admiration.
The smile faded, though, as the bodyguard walked toward them, helped Lyon to her feet, and steered her back toward the helicopter.
Chloe couldn't believe the bitch was just going to be let go, after everything she'd done. She looked back at Sawyer, unable to keep the accusing look out of her eyes.
Sawyer gazed back at them both. "Some people live above the rules," she said, her voice terse. She didn't sound any happier about it than they did. "Guess what? That’s life in Metropolis. You want justice…I suggest you stay a little closer to home."
Clark and Chloe stood shoulder to shoulder, watching Lyon climb aboard the helicopter. She gave them a nasty, jeering grin and blew a kiss in their direction.
And then the helicopter lifted into the air, and she was gone.
Chloe gritted her teeth, angered by the thought that Lyon could get away with kidnapping, even killing, with impunity. But at least she was on the cops' radar now. Hopefully the Metropolis PD would keep a closer eye on him from now on, and this wouldn't happen again. That was the single positive outcome of this situation.
No, she thought. The other positive outcome was that Clark was safe.
She looked up at him, seeing his disheveled dark hair blow wildly in the breeze from the helicopter. He smiled down at her and wrapped an affectionate arm around her.
"Come on, Chlo," he said. "Let's get out of here."
"So," she said. He was dressed in his customary jeans and flannel, his shaggy hair hanging over his forehead, and he looked like the farmboy she'd always known, but she couldn't quite forget that dangerous gleam in his eye. "You kind of seemed to enjoy that."
"What, the stripping?" He lifted his chin. "Of course I didn't."
She slanted a look up at him. "Come on, Clark. Be honest. You were really having fun up there on the stage."
He sighed, and lowered his head a bit. "Well," he said, very softly. "It was kind of... different. I mean, ordinarily I do my best to blend in, and it's not like women fall all over themselves when they see me..."
Except me and half the population of Smallville, she thought.
"But all those women were staring at me, Chlo. I could hear their heartbeats, and I knew... I knew they were enjoying looking at me. It was kind of..." His voice dropped to a whisper. "Intoxicating."
Like red K, she filled in mentally, remembering the way he'd reminded her of Kal. He had been high, in a manner of speaking. High on the feminine admiration he rarely allowed himself to notice.
And then an uncomfortable thought crossed her mind. She squinted at him. "Could you hear my heartbeat?"
"Yeah." He swallowed. "I could hear it more clearly than anyone else's, actually. It was kind of, uh, fast."
It was her turn to blush. Great. She'd been drooling over Clark, and he knew about it. Not that he hadn't seen her staring, but that could have been part of their cover. Her heartbeat, however, wasn't something she had conscious control over.
"Look," she said, trying to fight back her blush, "we're just friends. We both know that. You're in love with Lana, and I'm just the sidekick. I get that. And you know, the fact that I happened to be in the audience when you were up there onstage, well, it feels a little awkward, but really, it's no big deal. We're both adults, right?"
"Yeah," he said, very softly. "We're both adults."
It was true, she realized. They were adults, and they could do anything they liked. Anything at all.
But no. They couldn't. Because he was dating Lana, and she was just his friend.
A quick flash of rippling muscles beneath golden skin filled her mind, and she blew out her breath in an irritated sigh. She was never, ever going to be able to look at him as just a friend again, and she knew it.
Clark came to a halt. He turned his head and looked at her for a long moment, and there was a strange intensity in his green eyes. She stared back, unable to look away. Their gazes locked and held.
And then he picked her up in his arms and supersped into a nearby alley.
"Clark," she whispered as he lowered her feet to the ground, wrapped his arms around her waist, and leaned into her. "What are you doing?"
He pushed his hips against hers, and she heard him hissing with pleasure at the contact. She could feel his erection, hard and hot, even through his jeans. "What do you think I'm doing, Chlo?"
"Well, okay. I guess a better question would be, why are you doing it?"
"Because I can't help it." His voice was a harsh rumble in her ear. "The way you looked at me, Chlo... the way your heart was racing..."
She tried really, really hard to stop her body from responding to the pressure of his, with absolutely no success. "Maybe you haven't noticed," she answered tartly, "but you're a nice looking guy, Clark. That doesn't mean I want to screw you."
"Chloe." He lowered his head, and his lips brushed over her ear. She shivered despite herself. "I'm tired of lying to myself. I'm tired of you lying to yourself. We both know what we want, okay?"
"Don't want Lana," he mumbled into her hair. "I want you."
Tears sprang to her eyes. She wanted to believe that, more than she'd ever wanted to believe anything. And there was a desperate sincerity in his voice that made her think it was true. At least it was true at this moment.
She knew she shouldn't do this to Lana, that she should make Clark back off and take some time to think about what he wanted. But he was warm and powerful against her, his skin hot and satiny beneath her hands, and...
Well, she just couldn't say no to this.
"I want to see you," she whispered, sliding her hands up beneath his shirt.
He laughed softly. "You saw pretty much everything I've got a few hours ago, Chlo."
"Not quite everything." Her hand slid down over the front of his jeans, and he hissed again. She turned her head and saw that his eyes were clenched shut, his teeth bared.
She stroked her palm over him, up and down, and he gritted his teeth together, but a low moan escaped him anyway.
"I want to see you," she whispered, and unzipped his jeans.
He was huge, so big that her questing fingers barely closed around him. She held him in her hand gently and began to stroke, and his body jerked as he flung his head back.
"Shhh." She continued sliding her hand up and down. "We're in public, Clark. If you don't keep it quiet, someone's going to notice us."
He quivered violently, and a low groan rumbled in his throat.
"You like that idea." Her hand moved on him steadily. "I'm not surprised, considering the way you got off on stripping. Maybe you should consider that as a career path, Clark. You're beautiful. You were meant to be looked at."
He moaned again, and she felt precome spilling from him, wetting her hand. She felt herself growing moist, too, and an ache blossomed between her thighs.
His hands were all over her, as if he couldn't stop himself from touching her. His fingers caressed her nipples, making her tremble, and she moved her own hand even harder. Even in the shadows of the alley, her skin looked pale against the flushed rose of his cock.
His hands fumbled at her skirt, shoving it up around her waist, and he ripped her panties off and flung them aside. And then he was lifting her by the waist, trembling as he pressed against her, his hard flesh right up between her thighs.
"Oh, God." His voice was hoarse. "Oh, God, I can't not do this, I just can't..."
She heard the desperate plea for approval of his actions in his voice. Her hands slipped around his neck, and she kissed his throat and spoke very softly.
"I want you to do this, Clark."
He gasped with relief and moved his hips, flexing them so the broad head of his cock was right up against her. And then he hesitated, shaking.
"We're in public," she whispered. "Better make it quick."
His hips jerked, and he sank into her deeply. She gasped at the pleasure of it, the long, slow slide of his satiny flesh inside her, and her hands gripped his shoulders with sudden desperation.
And then he was moving in her, hard and fast, his skin slick with sweat beneath her hands, his breath coming in frantic gasps. She threw her own head back against the brick wall and let the pleasure roll over her in surges, each wave breaking higher and higher until ecstasy overwhelmed her. She cried out, forgetting where they were, forgetting everything except the sensation of his body in hers.
He gave a long, low moan, and then she felt him shuddering all over as he came, liquid heat gushing inside her in spasm after spasm, until it overflowed and spilled down her thighs.
And then he sagged against her, drawing in frantic gasps of air, still holding her off the ground.
She wiggled, and spoke softly but firmly. "Hey. Let me go, Clark. We can't stay here."
Slowly, he pulled away from her. His eyes were downcast, like he didn't quite dare look into her face. Her heart sank.
He zipped up his jeans, and she pushed her skirt down. Apparently they'd gotten away with it, because there was no squad car blinking at the end of the alley.
But Clark didn't look like a guy who'd just gotten what he wanted. He looked like a guy who was stricken with guilt and remorse. Fear lodged in her chest, the fear that by making love to him, she'd ruined their friendship.
She didn't know how to live without Clark. He was her friend, her partner, her guardian angel.
"Come on," he said at last, his voice harsh. "Let's go home."
"Check it out." Despite the awkward ending of their last encounter, she couldn't stop herself from smiling broadly as she walked up the stairs of his loft the next day. "My first Daily Planet byline."
"No kidding." Clark had been staring out the window into the afternoon sunshine, but at the sound of her voice he turned around, grinning. "Congratulations."
"Well..." She offered a self-deprecating little smile. "It's not exactly the Torch, Clark. Page 78. At the bottom."
He took the paper from her hands and looked at the article, and she couldn't miss the pride in his eyes. He scanned through it and raised his eyebrows.
"Hey," he said. "It says here Interpol was able to arrest Lyon due to an anonymous tip."
"Yeah." She smiled innocently. "Fancy that."
He stared at her, looking impressed. "Wow," he said, handing the paper back. "Remind me never to piss you off."
She smiled. "You could never piss me off, Clark."
His gaze flickered down. "About that..." He swallowed audibly. "I thought maybe I did. I mean, yesterday morning."
"Not at all." She tried hard to sound cheerful, but she knew it was totally unconvincing. "It wasn't a big deal, Clark. I mean, we'd just been through a stressful experience, and we were both--"
She blinked. "Stop what?"
"That rationalizing thing you do. Cut it out. It didn't happen just because of everything we'd been through, and you know it."
"Fine," she answered, letting her voice get sharper. "Let's be honest, then. You were feeling horny because you'd gotten a chance to let out your inner exhibitionist, and I was the only available female."
"Chlo..." He closed his eyes, looking unhappy. "It wasn't like that."
"Sure it wasn't."
"It wasn't." His voice rose angrily. "I wasn't turned on because of all those women watching me, okay? I was turned on because of you watching me. The way you stared at me... the look in your eyes... the way your heart pounded..."
He fell silent, and at her startled glance, he turned away, as if afraid he'd said too much. She stared at his broad back for a moment, then crossed to him and put a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"You're incredibly sexy," she told him.
He laughed softly. "I'm glad you think so."
"It's true. And I'm certainly not the only one who thinks so. But the thing is... you have a girlfriend, Clark."
"Well, no, I don't. Not any more." He still didn't look around at her. "I went to Lana yesterday, right after you and I... anyway, we had a long talk. I think we both realized things weren't really working out between us, even before this happened. And... we broke up."
"Oh, my God." She clapped her hand over her mouth. "Did you tell her we slept together? She's my friend, Clark."
"I told her I'd been with another girl. I figured I owed her that much. But I didn't tell her who. I thought you might not want her to know right away, or that you might want to tell her yourself."
"Oh." She felt a warm affection fill her. "That was very honorable of you, Clark."
"No," he said, and she clearly heard the self-annoyance in his tone. "I should have broken up with her before I made love to you. But I...well, I just couldn't seem to help myself, Chlo."
The warmth inside her grew, shifting slowly from affection to something else, something more. "I'm glad you couldn't help yourself," she said softly.
He glanced around for the first time, and she saw a flash of nervous vulnerability in his eyes. "So I'm not quite sure where you want to go from here..."
She smiled. "I think I want to see you naked again."
He blinked, clearly startled, and then that slow bad-boy grin curved his mouth. "You've already seen me naked," he pointed out. "So this time, do I get to see you naked, too?"
"That's good." He reached out, taking her hand and pressing it flat against his chest, and his expression grew more serious. "Because you make my heart pound too."
Sure enough, she could feel it thundering beneath her palm. She smiled up at him. "I bet I can make it pound even harder."
He laughed softly.
"Okay," he said. "Let's get to work on that."