Author's Notes: I got a little happy with use of 'third person'. 'He' references Clark. 'She' references Chloe. Just in case anyone was confused there. Everyone who's been sending feedback and encouragement, you guys are amazing, and such great boosts for my energy to keep writing. g Special thanks out to Di, since I've been steadily wooing her over to the CC frame of mind, and Teri, for being extremely supportive and encouraging. Big hugs!
They've been staring at each other from across the room, in complete
silence for almost five minutes now. The first time they've seen each other
in just over a week. Since it...since everything happened. She hasn't been able
to tear her gaze away from his eyes. Eyes that are normally so filled with
laughter and happiness...now they look so lost, so unbearably sad, and her
heart bleeds with his pain.
She wishes she could think of something to say. Hundreds of meaningless
platitudes swell in her throat, but she can't seem to force them out.
She knows nothing she has to say could really matter, anyway. Nothing
could really make a difference. Words, always her weapon of choice, have
deserted her and left her with nothing to offer him. She has nothing but the
look that passes between them, and even that feels small and weak.
Because she can look at him like this until the end of forever, but
Lana will still be gone.
No. No, not 'gone'. That's the wrong word. 'Gone' implies that Lana will
be back someday. The word 'gone' hints that Lana's only off on vacation,
sipping a tropical drink with a little umbrella in it and sunning herself on
a beach in the Caribbean. Hints that she's charming the population of some
other town with her friendly smile and caring nature, her warm eyes and
But she's not doing any of those things, because she's dead, Chloe
reminds herself. Lana's dead. Not alive. Not breathing. Kicked the
bucket. Yet none of those phrases feel right, and even though she's had a
week to adjust, her brain can't wrap itself around the images. Her brain flat
out refuses to wrap itself around the images.
Because she liked Lana. She really did. It was impossible not to, no
matter how hard she tried. She couldn't resent her for Clark's crush on her.
It wasn't Lana's fault, and she'd finally begun to accept that. Hell, the
girl had gotten her back on The Torch. She'd helped to save her life. She was
one of the few genuinely good people left in the world, and Chloe had admired
her. Had been glad that she was part of her world.
It would be so much easier if she'd hated her. Because that might make
the hurt lessen.
No body recovered. No flowers, no shiny oaken casket, not even a real
funeral. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that when a girl gets
trapped inside a tornado, she's just not coming back. Ever.
Not unless her name is Dorothy, and even then, this is Smallville, not
Oz. There are no ruby slippers here. People who don't deserve to die do, and
everyone else is left to pick up the pieces. Or sweep up the shattered
She still doesn't know exactly what happened. She isn't sure she really
wants to. She just thanks God that Clark somehow managed to evade death.
But now, eight minutes have gone by with no words, and she needs to say
something. Her tongue is thick, and the aching silence in the loft is making
her head pound.
She'd do anything if this could be just another night. If she could
open with a sarcastic barb, and he'd flash her that heart stopping grin. If
he could pull her over to his telescope and show her how bright Mars was
tonight, then they'd flop back on the couch, scarf his mom's double chocolate
brownies, and discuss everything they did all week. Wonder why Donald Duck
wears a towel around his waist when he gets out of the shower, even though he
doesn't normally wear pants. Brainstorm ideas for the next issue of the
Torch. Where they could just be Clark and Chloe, best friends, and she could
sneak little longing glances at him from the corner of her eyes.
It's not one of those nights. It can't be.
"Clark." His name is the only word she can find, nothing and everything.
And for some reason, that's the only word he needs. In three steps, he's
crossed the distance between them and pulled her into his arms. His face is
buried in her neck, and she holds him tightly, her tiny frame somehow
supporting his huge one. "Oh, God, Chlo," he says brokenly, his voice
sounding so much like a lost little boy's. "Chloe, God..."
"Shhh," she soothes, her own tears starting to spill over. Nothing else
matters, because he needs her right now. "It's okay, Clark, shhh, I'm here..."
He clings to her like she's his life preserver and he's drowning.
Somehow, even through the bitter sting of her own tears, she manages to guide
them over to the couch. They collapse down together, sprawled in a messy
tangle of limbs and salty, tearstained faces. He hasn't moved his face from
her neck, just snuggles closer against her. Crying heavy, hard tears, and she
weeps right along with him.
It suddenly occurs to her that she's never seen him cry before. They
grieve together, because they need to share that grief, and they need to
share it with each other. All issues between them are put aside. They don't
matter anymore. Not being left alone on the dance floor. Not their
almost-kiss. Not their status of a non-couple. Nothing.
But their tears spend themselves eventually, and when he begins to draw
away from her, his face is flushed red with embarrassment. Too intimate. "I'm
- " he starts to say, and she silences him with a gentle finger held to his
"If you apologize, I'll beat you down, Kent," she tells him, although
the threat is somewhat less effective since she's still sniffling.
He nods, but slides off of her, anyway. The sudden cold space where his
body was sends a chill through her, and she sits up, not protesting when he
slides an arm around her shoulders and draws her against his side. One armed
hug. Friendship. More appropriate than sobbing together while in the
missionary position, she supposes.
The silence is more comfortable now, and they sit together, curled
against the cushions. It's almost unbearably hot in the loft, the sweaty
Kansas summer heat. Still tornado weather...but mentioning the weather would
just be stupid. She nods to the coffee table in front of them, laden down
with baked goods. Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, fudge squares, lemon
bars, a vanilla frosted cake... "Hungry?" she asks idly.
"What? Oh, no," he responds, following her train of sight. "No. It's
Mom's way of coping with...you know. Baking like a thing possessed. She keeps
bringing them up here."
"There's worse things to be possessed by, I guess."
"I know." He sighs and rests his chin on her head. "I'm glad you came. I
"Yeah," she responds, not understanding, but understanding fully at the
same time. She's ashamed it took her this long to be able to come. "Me, too."
"Were you mad when I left you at the dance?"
The question is so unexpected, she jerks in his arms, turning abruptly
to face him. Does it even matter now? The look in his eyes stops her from
asking if he's kidding. He wants to know. He honestly wants to know.
"A little at first," she tells him hesitantly. It just feels wrong to be
talking about this when Lana's... "But I felt so petty being angry. There was a
tornado, one of our friends could have been caught in it, and I was mad
because you didn't stay at a dance with me? It was shallow, even though...okay,
and yeah, I was upset, because it felt like you were picking Lana over me.
After you promised you wouldn't. Even though now..."
She swallows. Now it's a moot point. "And I was mad that you'd do
something so stupid, that you'd put yourself in danger that way. You've
sixteen years old, and you have this need to save everybody when you should
just leave it to a professional rescue squad, and it's stupid."
"Chloe, I - "
"You could've died," she interrupts, her eyes flashing angrily. "You
could have died. And you don't know what it was like to have to stay in
that gym, punching in numbers on a cell phone trying to reach you until my
index finger actually turned bloody. I tried to go out after you, but they
wouldn't let me."
His face suddenly turns panicked. "You tried to go after me?"
"Yes!" she nearly shouts. "You think I wanted you to go out in...without
me right there with you?"
Her tirade is interrupted when he crushes her against him again, his
fingers tangling in her hair. "I didn't know. If I had known, I would have...I
don't know, but I would have done something different, and God, I'm glad they
didn't let you out," he tells her desperately. "Chloe, if I'd had to see you
caught in that, too...I wouldn't have been able to stand it. I would have
"Well, imagination is like twenty times worse than reality, Clark," she
says, horrified that she's burst into tears again. Horrified that she's
yelling at him. "When they finally told us we could go home, I was a wreck.
Pete had to calm me down in the back seat while Erica drove, because I was
hysterical! I thought we'd find you dead and bleeding, or lying in messy
pieces on the ground, or - " She covers her eyes with her hands, unable to go
"Chloe." He gently tugs her hand down, tilts her chin up to look at
him. "I'm not any of those things. I'm okay, I promise." He draws his thumb
across her cheek, wiping away her tears. "It's okay."
She takes a deep breath, leaning into the curve of his palm against her
face. "I was so scared," she says softly. "I was so scared."
"I'm sorry," he says, and she knows he means it. He hurts when she
hurts, just like he always has. And when he realizes that he's the cause of
her hurt, it's as though his multiplies even further. "Chloe, I didn't mean
to scare you, I swear. I wasn't thinking straight. I just had to..." He pauses,
then pushes on. "I had to find her. I had to make sure she was okay."
Hearing those words twists the knife in her heart just a little
further. Does that make her a terrible person, that she can be resentful at a
time like this? Lana was in trouble, and he went to her, like always. There's
a tiny, jealous part of her that envies Lana that. Even though she's dead.
"It turns out I was too late, anyway," Clark adds quietly, his voice
thick with some nameless ache. "I tried, Chloe. I tried to get to her in
time, tried to get her out of that truck, but I couldn't."
He leaves out the part where he blindly raced into the tornado as soon
as he saw the truck leave the ground. He leaves out the part about Lana
screaming, how he could hear her even with the bone crushing, tree ripping
wind rushing in his ears. He leaves out the part about the terror in her
lovely, wide blue eyes. He leaves out the part about how he blinked and saw
right into the eye of the storm, and he leaves out the part where he was
hurled from the maelstrom uninjured, his hands grasping for empty air.
For a minute, he thought he could fly. He was sure that he'd been just
about to. But he didn't. And Lana's dead just the same.
"You can't save everyone, Clark," she tells him, holding tightly to his
hands. "It doesn't work that way."
"I saw her get picked up into it," he whispers. "I saw the truck get
sucked inside, and I couldn't..."
"Clark," she says firmly. "It wasn't your fault. There wasn't anything
you could've done."
"I..." He drops his gaze once again. There should have been something
that he could have done. "Chlo, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. For everything.
I never meant to hurt you. I never wanted to hurt you."
"I think the issue of leaving me stranded at the dance is null and void
at this point. There's more important things," she tells him. "And I'm not
going to pretend I'm not pissed that you put yourself in danger like that.
But I guess...I guess it doesn't matter. I don't know how you got out of there
alive. And I don't care. I don't care, not as long as you're okay." She
pauses, then pushes on. "I know you loved her. I just want you to know...for
what it's worth, I miss her, too."
He doesn't answer, just slides his arms back around her. "I know. But
Chlo, I'm...I wanted it to be a great night. For you, for us, and I'm so - "
"You don't have to say," she shushes him, wiping at the tearstains on
his face with the pads of her thumbs. "There's nothing left to apologize for.
I'm here. No matter what, I'll always be here."
And she means it. Even if Clark never sees her as anything other than a
friend, she'll be here. Even if he breaks her heart a million times over, she
knows she won't ever be able to walk away. She loves him. Everything else is
"I love you, Chloe."
Her heart gives a quick, rapid beat, but she brushes it aside. Lana's
dead. Remember. "I love you, too."
His hands slide up to cradle her face. "Promise me I'll never lose you,"
he says, his voice pleading. "Promise."
She knows she shouldn't promise something like that. She shouldn't make
promises over things she can't control. But if he needs to hear this...as long
as the circumstances are within her control, yes, she can guarantee it. "I
promise," she says softly, leaning up and pressing a soft kiss to his
forehead. Then another to his cheek. And another.
God, she can't lose him, either. Maybe love burns, but there's been too
much loss in her world lately, and she needs something to hold onto. If she
could, she'd open up her skin and let him crawl inside. Just so she'd always
have that with her.
He looks into her eyes, and suddenly, she feels the subtle shift in the
atmosphere. Her skin turns heated, because his gaze is almost hungry. She
shouldn't be thinking this way. He's grieving. He doesn't want –
But then his lips are on hers. And nothing else matters, because this
is a kiss. It's the kind of kiss she hasn't experienced in...well, forever,
and it certainly isn't a platonic one. His mouth is sweet and soft and just
forceful enough that an unbidden moan of pleasure finds its way out of her
His tongue tickles the edges of her lips, and before she can think of
what she's doing, her mouth is open and welcoming. Her hands tangle in his
hair as she holds him to her, body thrumming and nerves dancing on end. His
large hands are moving up and down her back, clutching her tightly against
She dizzily wonders which stage of grief this is when he finally pulls
back, his eyes wide as he touches his mouth lightly with his fingertips.
"Chloe," he says softly. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to - "
He doesn't get the words out. Her fingers curl around his soft flannel
collar and yank him back to her before she even realizes it. But he doesn't
hesitate, he leaves no room for doubts at the touch of her tongue on his, the
feel of his lower lip being gently nibbled on.
She remembers reading something once about sex being a natural instinct
in times of grief. Something tangible that two people have, to remind
themselves that even if their loved one is gone, they're still alive. They're
still together. And the part of her brain that's telling her this isn't right
is quickly silenced when his hands slide up underneath the back of her shirt,
as he trails his fingertips across her bare skin.
She's wanted this for too long. How could something that feels this
good ever be anything but right?
Body takes over when Brain shuts down, and Body is telling her that
there are far more comfortable positions they could be in than twisted
sideways on a couch. Apparently, Clark agrees with her, because an instant
later, she's flat on her back, with his reassuring weight bearing down on top
He rains kisses down onto her face and neck, his hands everywhere. In
her hair, cupping her cheeks, running over her shoulders. He can taste the
salt of her tears on her face, and his own eyes sting again. "Chloe, Chloe,
Chloe," he murmurs between kisses, repeating her name like a mantra and
shifting ever so slightly on top of her. He doesn't want to hurt her.
"Clark," she gasps out in return. His mouth is so hot on her skin, the
air around them is thick with heat from the atmosphere and the heat between
them, and she doesn't ever want to be cold again. "Clark."
"Mmm," he agrees, trailing down the side of her face, pressing almost
desperate kisses to the underside of her jaw. His hands slip down her waist,
and he draws her to him, presses his rapidly hardening crotch against hers.
He briefly wonders if he went too far, but he can't seem to care when she
mewls in pleasure, when her legs find their way around his waist, helping her
arch her back to rub against him.
They fit together perfectly. How has he never noticed how easily her
body curls against his, how warm and soft she is? Has anything in his life
ever felt this good?
But now her hands are shaking as she slides them beneath the soft
flannel of his shirt. She lightly traces each of the muscles in his abdomen,
skims the cut of his chest almost teasingly. A groan rumbles in the back of
his throat. "Chlo," he says almost pleadingly. He knows what he wants, but
he's not sure it's what she does...
His fears die away when she begins to undo the buttons shakily. The
fabric rolls off his broad back easily, and in a moment, his bare skin is
open to her touch. She looks up at him, her eyes wide, her cheeks flushed,
her breath a little erratic, and he bends, pressing an almost chaste kiss to
her forehead. He rests his hands on her sides, silently asking permission.
She nods, biting her lower lip in anticipation. He drags her own shirt over
her head carefully, letting fall to the ground beside his.
She lets out a slight nervous giggle when his fingers tug
frustratedly at the back of her bra. "Problems?" she asks breathlessly in
between kisses. How did they get here?
"I'm...I'm bad with the little hooks," he admits, his voice shaky as
well. He's so hard, so ready, so desperate, wants her so much that it
physically hurts. "I've never done this before."
Their eyes lock, and their bodies freeze almost instantly at his
words. He's speaking about more than just undoing the clasp of her bra.
Neither of them has gone this far before, and yet, they both know what this
is leading to. The point of no return has arrived, so fast neither saw it
approaching. But it's here.
"Me, neither," she tells him quietly, her arms still tight around him.
"Do you want to stop?" he asks her, even though he's pretty sure that
stopping might actually kill him. He cradles her face in his hands, brushes
her hair back from her damp forehead. "We don't have to do anything you don't
want to do. If you're not sure..." He isn't even sure that he's ready. All he
knows is that he wants her like he's never wanted anything before in his
life. Wants to hold the full length of her body against his, wants to be
inside her and feel her tighten around him, wants to forget about everything
but Chloe, sweet, sweet Chloe, and this moment.
She doesn't reply for a moment, averting her gaze. But when she looks
back at him, he sees his own need mirrored in her eyes. She isn't stopping.
She reaches around her back, and suddenly, her bra is looser on her body than
it was moments before.
And then she slides the straps down her arms and peels the blue and
silver splashy fabric away. She drops it into their amassing pile of
discarded clothing, and he's honestly afraid for a moment that he's going to
pass out, because dear Lord, he's seeing actual breasts for the first time,
and hers are beautiful.
"You okay?" she asks quietly, terrified that something's wrong, that
this wasn't what he meant, that he doesn't like what he's seeing...
"Uh huh," he manages. "Sorry, I just...you're..."
Revolting. Misshapen. Grotesque. Hideous. Oh, God, God, God, God...
"Amazing," he breathes, trailing one hand up her stomach and hesitantly,
gently cupping her left breast in his large hand. "You're so beautiful,
"Thanks," she says in relief, the word coming out as more of a groan as
his fingertips brush lightly, almost teasingly over her stiffening nipple.
He lowers his mouth to hers once again, still continuing to explore the
contours and curves of her body with his hands as they kiss. Over her
stomach, across her shoulders, her sides, then coming back up to carefully
fondle her breasts. He wonders if he's only acting like some horny teenager,
the way he can't seem to keep his hands off of them for more than fifteen
seconds. And his cock is actually aching, his pants feeling like nothing so
much as wet Ace bandages binding him down.
But it's not long before her trembling fingers are undoing his fly,
before her feet are dragging his jeans down his legs. Time seems to speed up
and slow down all at once, and before he knows it, all their combined
clothing is crumpled on the ground, and she's naked and beneath him, her arms
tight around his neck, her breath coming in small, desperate hitches.
"Chlo...Chlo, it's okay," he soothes, unaware of where he's finding the
presence of mind to speak gently. Because nothing is simply ‘okay'
anymore. It's someplace far, far beyond that, someplace he's never dreamed
he'd get to, somewhere out past the stars that are shining down in from the
open window of the loft. The loft where she kissed him for the first time,
and now where he's losing his virginity.
No, not losing it. That's not the right word. He's giving it to her,
his Chloe, and accepting hers in return. And this...this is how it feels to
fly, right now, this moment. Nothing could be better than this. Nothing.
"I know," she breathes shakily, planting a kiss between the space
where his neck meets his shoulders. "I just...go slowly? Please?"
His heart is tugged by the tone of her voice, and he kisses her
forehead once more, then makes his way down to her neck, across her
shoulders. He tangles his hands in her hair as her legs tighten around his
bare waist. "Yes," he says in return, his voice thick and muddled as his
erection nestles against her, where she's so hot and wet and... "If I hurt you,
tell me. I don't want to hurt you, Chloe, please..."
"You won't hurt me," she whimpers, rubbing up against him and sending
another jolt of electricity through his entire body. "You couldn't ever hurt
me. Clark, Clark, Clark."
"I love you," he moans, burning with the glaring truth of that
statement. It's taken him too long to realize that he does love her, and now
that he knows, he's going to make damn sure she does, too.
It takes every single ounce of willpower he can summon not to just slam
into her. But he forces himself to do as she requested, to slide inside her
slowly, to make it good for her, as well. And as he feels her tighten
involuntarily around him, he can't help but let out a small cry of pleasure,
feelings that only increase when she lets out a similar mewling noise.
"Are you...oh, God, Chloe...are you o-okay?" he pants, stilling the
movement of his hips before sinking in any further. Even when he's run at top
speed, the world has never blurred together this much.
"Mmm," she manages. "Deeper, I need you closer..."
Who is he to turn down a request like that?
She bites her lip fiercely in the single instant that this soft, sweet
pleasure turns to pain. But it doesn't last for long, just one small, tearing
sensation, then he's all the way inside her. He increases their pace
unconsciously as soon as she becomes accustomed to the feel of him, and she
moves her hips along with him, closes her eyes, kisses any bare inch of skin
her lips come in contact with.
She's seen ‘American Pie'. Aren't guys supposed to finish quickly? But
oh, God, she's glad that he's not, glad that he's different, glad that he's
making this last, because she's almost there, flying right along with him.
The room is spinning around her, everything melting together until she can't
feel anything but his weight on top of hers, the frantic jerking of their
hips, the feel of him cradled between her thighs...
She buries her mouth in his shoulder when she reaches her crescendo,
calling out loudly into the salty sweet taste of his skin. Clark seems to
have no such qualms, a long, keening cry echoing from his throat as he spills
into her. She feels the warm rush of his pleasure between her thighs, and a
slight grin tugs at her lips as she prays that Mr. and Mrs. Kent are sound
sleepers. Prays that Mrs. Kent won't be making her way up here with a tray of
blueberry muffins anytime soon.
He rests his forehead against hers, the warm sweat pooling on their
bodies gently gluing them together. She opens her eyes, and he presses his
lips deeply against hers. "Wow," he manages when they part, and a breathless
chuckle escapes her.
"I'll...see your wow, and I'll raise you a ‘dear, sweet Lord'," she
pants. "When can we do that again?"
He laughs then, a real, honest to God happy laugh as he tightens his
arms around her, rolling over onto his back on the couch and tugging her on
top of him. He draws the blanket that was draped over the back of the couch
over her shoulders, then wraps his arms around her waist. "I love you," he
tells her again. "I should have told you before..."
"Shut up," she says, kissing a trail down his chest before coming
back up to meet his eyes. "I know. It's okay. And I love you, too."
"Will you stay?" he asks her, sounding almost childlike. "Tonight, I
mean. With me?"
"Of course," she murmurs, her eyelids suddenly feeling very, very
heavy as she snuggles her head against his shoulder.
Lana's still dead, this doesn't change that. Neither of them are
expecting the hurt to completely dissipate. But life does go on, eventually.
The way it has to. For tonight, they have each other.
Tonight, and all the ones after that.