Quid Pro Quo

Chapter Five

Clark strode through the doors of The Daily Planet and headed straight for the lift. Things had changed a great deal for him in the last month. He moved straight passed his very own corner office towards Tess’ and was unsurprised to be greeted with a smile.

“You are looking very pleased with yourself”, he greeted her, not adding that, as always, she was stunning.

“And why shouldn’t I be? My brother has returned from the an ice cave - thanks to a very kind, anonymous stranger”, she gave him a knowing look. “The circulation of The Daily Planet is up considerably since we hired you as the head of the crime section plus our new fiction section”.

Clark blushed. It had been a very kind stroke of genius on Tess’ part to create a new crime section for him to ‘edit’. He could come and go as he pleased and everyone believed that he was going through the thousands of freelance articles they received on crime in the city.

“I heard something about that on the radio. Latest reports stated that an extra four million people are buying this newspaper outside the state of Kansas just for the novel”, he had been so proud when he had heard that. “Chloe loves getting back to writing by the way. Thanks for giving her the chance”.

“It was just good business”, Tess shrugged the praise off.

He had learned a lot about his boss over the last month. The first of which was that she wasn’t used to receiving praise and couldn’t quite digest it yet.

“No, it was more than that”, he walked over to her and held out his hand to her. She took it and he rubbed his thumb across the backs of her knuckles. “You have a real gift, you know that?”

She stared up at him, not understanding.

“You can look into someone’s heart, into their head, and understand what makes them tick”, he said in a low voice.

“It’s in the Luthor genes”, she brushed it off.

“Yes”, he agreed, “but you use it to help them. To give them a chance”, he broke off, this was getting too mushy, “and Chloe really loves writing, like I said”.

“I didn’t have much choice when I saw how much she cared about Lex, even when we thought that he was going to be paralysed she cared for him. She was the one who convinced him to give both you and me a chance”, the list of things that Chloe had done for them was too long to itemise.

“Yeah, Chloe and Lex came as a bit of a shock to me”, he agreed, dropping her hand as he thought about it.

“True, but you also didn’t know that Lois and Oliver had got back together. Or Kara and Davis. Or Jimmy and Cat”, he teased him.

“Yeah, that last one still scares me slightly”, he shuddered.

“Just be happy that it had made her so much nicer”, Tess reminded him.

“Believe me, I am”, he remembered what she had been like before he had discovered Jimmy kissing the stuffing out of her in the copy room, “but she isn’t the only one with a wagging tongue”.

Tess raised an eyebrow at him.

“Even with Lois protecting me, there are rumours”, he informed her gravely.

“Rumours?” The Blur couldn’t be spooked by little things like rumours, could he?

“Yes. I come into your office a lot. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours ...” He would really rather not go into any further detail with her, he was already blushing. He didn’t seem to be able to get within ten feet of her without turning scarlet.

“Well, in that case they are either under or over estimating your abilities tremendously”, she smirked at him.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that”, he said, almost suavely, responding instantly to her tone. He wondered if there was red K in her hair. Maybe that was why it was so shiny.

“Really that fast?” She feigned a look of shock.

“Tess, that was unkind”, he tisked as he pressed himself against her.

“Well, we aren’t all good little farm boys are we?” She pushed back.

“Speaking for myself I’m very happy that you aren’t a boy”, he assured her, his hands going to run down her back.

“Noted”, she stroked her hands over his chest, “But don’t you think that I would look good in flannel?”

The image of her, dressed only in his flannel shirt flashed through his head. “Yes”, he admitted.

She smirked at him knowingly.

They moved so there lips were only inches apart ...
~*~

“It happened again”, Tess sighed over her glass of red wine.

“Again?” Two female voices chorused.

“How on earth is that possible?” Chloe asked, staring at her new friend over the table.

“That’s crazy”, Lois backed up her cousin, “you’re hot”. Upon seeing the odd looks that she was getting Lois defended herself, “What? I still love Ollie but she is”.

“It happened again”, Tess brought them back to the topic. We were this close to kissing”, she held up her thumb and forefinger barely an inch apart to illustrate her point, “and then ... He hears a cry for help and has to go!”

“Ohhhhhh, but that does happen when you are dating a hero”, Lois put in. She had adapted to the news that Clark and The Blur were one and the same very well.

“That’s why I opted for an evil super-villain”, Chloe shrugged and sipped her wine.

“Hey”, Lex protested from the couch. He was almost fully recovered but Chloe was still insisted that he lay down for an hour in the afternoon as his doctor had ordered. And monitored him to make sure that he did. That was how they happened to all be in the Luthor Penthouse.

“You never have to leave mid smooch to save someone”, Chloe reminded him.

“Of course not”, Lex wrinkled his forehead at the idea.

“Occasionally to fulfil an evil prophecy and get suck in a block of ice for months sending Chloe into a depression”, Lois pointed out, still not having quite forgiven him now that she had found out what he had done to her cousin.

“Hey, I’ve cut right back”, Lex complained, feeling genuinely bad for everything he had put Chloe through.

“I know you have baby”, Chloe blew him a kiss. Then she turned back to Tess, “He does have to save people a lot and he does have super-hearing”.

“I know, but every single time?” She stressed every single word.

“Yeah, that’s not normal”, Lois agreed.

“No kidding”, Tess and Chloe rolled their eyes in unison.

“Come on Lex, we need a man’s opinion and Ollie and Jimmy are working as productive members of society rather than lounging around”, Lois nettled her future cousin-in-law.

Lex shot her a scathing look. They had been going at each other like this since he had returned. Just Lois’ way of keeping him in line, even more than Chloe already was.

“I’m not giving my little sister advice on how to seduce my best friend. It’s just plain creepy”, he informed them. It was bad enough that Chloe wouldn’t let him have any alcohol.

“Fine, we will try my way”, Lois announced. “Whipped cream, all over your tits”.

“I don’t need to hear this”, Lex got up.

“You are supposed to be lying down”, Chloe reminded him.

“I can do that in our bedroom baby, believe it will be more restful”, he explained.

“Fine, but no cheating”, Chloe replied.

“I won’t”, he rolled his eyes.

“I’m serious Luthor if I find you on your laptop again, I’ll ...”

“I said I won’t”, he snapped, then sighed and went and kissed her on the head. “I’ll be good. For now”, he added with a wink.

“Great”, something that I didn’t need to hear”, Tess groaned.

They waited for Lex to leave and then Chloe sneaked after him quietly, just to check.

“I told you ... For God’s sake woman!” Came Lex’s voice from the bedroom before she was even halfway down the corridor.

“Honestly, you use up the last of your meteor freak abilities saving a guy. You would think that he would let you check on him”, Chloe grumbled as she returned to the table.

Lois and Tess traded knowing looks. Chloe and Lex seemed to be able to fight almost continuously like an old married couple but still loved each other.

“So, what do you think of my whipped cream idea?” Lois asked.

“No”, Chloe shook her head, “Clark is strangely particular about his dairy products. He would probably want it hand whipped etc and none of have any culinary skills and we can hardly ask Martha for help with this”.

“I don’t know, she likes Tess”, Lois considered the matter, “and I know that she wants grandchildren. She must know how they are made even if Clark is adopted”.

Tess smiled but agreed with Chloe, “No, I don’t think that we should do that”.

“No”, Chloe agreed. “Which just leaves my option: trick him into playing strip snap”.

“Please tell me you didn’t try that on my brother”, Tess groaned.

The blonde’s eyes shifted. “No, of course not”.
~*~

It was just passed nine o’clock when Tess made the call. “Clark, hi, it’s me”. She couldn’t help but smile when he immediately recognised the sound of her voice. She ignored the fact that his phone had probably told him who it was before he picked it up.

“No, no”, she her smile grew, “nothing is wrong. I just needed your help with one tiny problems, if you are not too busy”.

“Of course not”, he said, standing there in person before her, “I mean, not for you. What’s up?”

“This is going to sound really stupid”, she hedged.

“I’m sure that it isn’t”, he grinned at her.

“I can’t leave the office”.

“What?” He looked over at the entrance, “Is the door stuck?”

“No, it’s not like that. You see, I need to make a good impression and there are a lot of employees down there still working hard so I can’t let them see me leave but I’ve had a really good week and have actually finished everything that I needed to do”, she gave him her best innocent look.

“Oh, I understand. Do you want me to fly you out via the window?” He offered, moving towards her.

“No”, she said, a little too quickly. “I mean, would you mind just keeping me company?” Chloe’s little gang had promised that there would be no interruptions.

“Of course”, he said cheerfully. “Anything in particular that you feel like doing?”

“Well, I do have a pack of cards”.
The End

Quid Pro Quo - Chapter Four

Chapter Four

Tess sat in her office at The Daily Planet, the warm mid-morning sunshine pouring through the large windows and warming her shoulders pleasantly. It was really oddly comfortable sitting around in a fuzzy bath towel, she might have to do more of her work like this.

She typed away efficiently. “Extraordinary stamina”, was in one of the thought bubbles off the main topic “Effects of red K on the subject”. She added another leg, “What level of this relates to red K or is innate?” She pondered different ways that she could test this theory.

Her fingers hovered over the laptop’s keyboard and then, suddenly, they weren’t. Tess blinked. Her laptop was closed, her fingers were safely restrained by a large hand, and an angry face was glowering down at her.

“Clark!” She tried to shoot up to her feet but ended up scrambling about for a few seconds, the gentle pressure of his hand more than capable of keeping her in place, her towel slipping down slightly embarrassingly. “What are you doing here?”

“What the hell do you think I’m doing here Tess?” He growled.

She had never heard him, or anyone else, make that sound before. He hadn’t sounded quite that angry even under the influence of red K. She pursed her lips, knowing that she could not answer him.

“You don’t feel like talking? Right, well I’ll put together the pieces on my own shall I?” He offered, his voice a low rumble of anger. Like the threat of a thunder storm. “You get the job of CEO and decide to imitate your brother in every single way, down to continuing his research projects while telling us all that you were different”.

Although he hadn’t overtly threatened her, she still felt the adrenaline beginning to pulse through her system urging her to fight or fly. Neither would do her any good in this position. She knew enough to pick her battles and forced herself to remain as calm as possible.

“Those pictures this morning. You set me up. Tell me the truth”, he stated plainly, finally releasing her hands and brushing his long, deceptively strong fingers up her arm, over her shoulder until he could cup her face. Gently, he raised her chin so that she had no choice but to look at him.

Tess harnessed every bit of her resolve to force herself not to shake and prayed that her voice would remain neutral as she answered, “Yes”.

“Then you set up a series of events that would lead me into a quarry where there was kryptonite”, he continued.

“Red, not green”, she pointed out, more for her sake than for his.

“You know”, he surmised straightening up and removing his hands from her with something like disgust.

“I know its not fatal to you”, she said, more confidently than she felt, “it doesn’t hurt you it just makes you a bit ...”

“Amorous?” He leant back against her desk and folded his arms, his eyes never leaving hers.

“No”, she managed to force out the syllable but it was with notable trepidation.

“You aren’t leaving until you tell me the truth”, Clark informed her resolutely. He didn’t know why it mattered so much to him, but if she had betrayed him then he was going to make her say it. If Chloe had been there, she would probably have guessed that it had something to do with his deep seated desire to believe the best in people and that he was hoping that Tess would come up with something that would completely exonerate her.

Tess gripped the arm rests of her chair, her nails digging deeply into the dark leather, too scared to care if he noticed this slight concession to weakness, only caring about not making a complete fool of herself by bursting into tears or begging for mercy. She had never cried before, not even when her arm was broken in two places. “I was told that it only made you do what you wanted to do. No inhibitions or something”, she stated in a tight voice.

He raised an eyebrow at her.

“You ...” A thought suddenly occurred to her. A thought so horrible that it banished every other concern from her mind. “Doesn’t it?” If it didn’t, if Lex and his scientists had got it wrong ... If it actually effected his desires at their core point rather than just his willingness to act on them ... Oh God what had she done?

“It lowers my inhibitions yes”, Clark informed her, almost gently. He had seen the spark of true remorse in her eyes. Maybe they could come to some understanding, they could wipe the slate clean if she would just tell him the truth. “Are you admitting it?”

She clamped her jaw shut. She knew that it wouldn’t do any good. She knew that he knew. But this was her best defence mechanism. It never helped to argue, or to defend yourself, even if you were innocent.

Clark stared at her for several long minutes, waiting for her to crack but she only seemed to grow more resolute in her refusal to come clean. He sighed. “Why am I even bothering? I thought you were like Lex when he was younger”. He stared at her in disgust, “You aren’t. You are like he was in the last few years: twisted”.

“I never said that I wasn’t like Lex. I’m not ashamed of my family”, she snapped, jumping to her feet and yanking her towel back into place as it slipped.

“You should be”, he sneered. Or came as close to sneering as Clark Kent ever did.

“Fuck you, farm boy!” She spat.

“You almost did”, he reminded her, pressing against her in a second. “Tell me was that part of testing me?”

She felt sick and far more exposed than she had done with red K Clark. She tried to push passed him.

“Like hell you are getting away from me”, he wrapped one arm around her, cupping her face with the other. “Admit it”.

She shivered but tilted up her chin; she would not crumble. “Fine, I admit it. I was trying to get to the bottom of the mystery that was Clark Kent. I did what I had to do.”

“You are a stupid callous bitch”, he roared, way passed fury now.

Clark had been through years of cumulative stress ever since he had arrived in that cornfield. His parents had been kind and sympathetic: when he had broken the kitchen table; when he had accidentally run several miles in the blink of an eye chasing a ball; and even more embarrassingly when he had set fire to things in a lustful haze. Most parents had only had to deal with sticky bedsheets, not spontaneous combustion.

He had been more scared about that than he had ever dared to admit. His power, strength, abilities, all of it. He wanted to use his Kryptonian ‘gifts’ to help mankind but every time he reached for someone, hugged them, even shook their hand ... He risked so much.

He was so tried of it all. He actually felt sick. Years of pent up anger and frustration at Lex exploded, at the wrong person. “You’ve got everything in the world and yet you are following Lex’s path to a T. It’s disgusting and I’m not playing this game again”. He felt his guts twisting, he’d wanted to fuck her senseless that morning and unfortunately with him that wasn’t necessarily hyperbole.

“Get your hands off me!” She snapped.

He didn’t. She had to learn that he wasn’t a man to be trifled with. “You want to know something about me, just ask. And here’s something to start with: I’m faster than a speeding bullet, invulnerable,have x-ray and heat vision. I can be an enemy, an ally or your friend but I am not going to be kicked around. Got it?”
~*~

Chloe watched in horror as a tear trickled down Tess’ ivory cheek on one side of her screen and on the other she read through Tess’ medical records. Not the ones which Chloe already had on file, those must have been forged.

History of systematic abusive. Alcoholic step-father. Broken arm. Broken ribs. Black eyes. Lacerations too numerous to mention. The phrases jumped out at her.

“Oh fuck!” She moaned as the weight of these discoveries bore down on her. As did her reaction to the man in her office at that moment. She was petrified. “What have you done Clark?”
~*~

“Smallville where have you been?” Lois demanded, of her journalistic partner the second that he walked into the bullpen.

“What? Nowhere?” He used his finally honed ‘dear in a headlight’ stare.

“Nowhere, that’s a great alibi”, Lois huffed, “and what the hell happened to your suit? It looks worse than it did this morning. You know you wouldn’t look half bad if you smartened yourself up a bit”, she berated him, as she attacked him with a lint roller,

Clark had changed into his old suit, cleaned and pressed the one that he had borrowed before returning it, and then hurried back to work after confronting Tess.

“Lois, please”, he started. Clark never got ill but he had a headache.

“Honestly Smallville, it’s as if you want to get fired!” Lois exclaimed, cutting him off.

“Lois for God’s sake stop fussing and stop calling me Smallville”, he extracted himself from her meddling hands, causing her to frown. “I know that you like to belittle me but ...”

“What?” Lois gaped at him and not just because Clark never stood up to her. Or anyone else for that matter.

“You know the rules of journalism that change on a daily basis, brushing my suit, calling me Smallville”, he started to list the ways in which she continuously pestered him.

“Listen to me you over grown, wannabe boy scout”, she poked him in the chest, “I will repeat what I told you the very first day I met you. Or it might have been the second, I can’t remember. The only thing I like about you is your mother. Mrs Kent has been really good to me and I’m hardly going to let her only son get fired, get into debt and end up as a useless wastrel just because he can’t be on time, don’t know how to dress and have a tendency to look like you were just bailing hay!”

He blinked at her.

“And your name is Smallville. Are you ashamed of where you come from?” She demanded with a particularly hard.

“No”, Clark answered perplexedly, softening his chest so as not to damage her finger.

“Well then”, she turned and replaced her lint roller.

He sighed, seeing that she was really hurt by his actions and had only been trying to help. “Lois, look I’m sorry it’s been a bad day, I ...”

“Don’t sweat it Smallville”, she shot him a sunny, if a little forced, smile. “You look like enough of a state already!”

He smiled back at her. “Thank-you Metropolis”

Before Lois could respond to her new nickname, the messenger of doom otherwise known as Tess Mercer’s personal secretary, came in and announced, “Lane. Kent. The boss wants to see you”.

“Now?” They asked in unison, but with differing degrees of apprehension.

“Now”.

“Don’t look so scared Smallville, I’ll protect you”, Lois whispered.

“You don’t know what that means to me”, he muttered, not wanting to admit that he really was grateful for Lois’ protection. For as long as the meddlesome brunette was around, Tess couldn’t want to talk more about his secret life. She didn’t, as it happened when they got there Tess was dressed formally and staring at the stacks of papers on her desk.

“Here are your assignments for the today”, she said, handing over the pages without even looking up at them.

“Thanks boss”, Lois said taking the page and reading it over. It was strange, Tess was normally more involved than this.

Clark was momentarily relieved as he read the document that he had been handed and saw that it had nothing to do with meteor rocks or aliens. If he had any sense he would run away then with his tail between his legs but he couldn’t. He stayed where he was, staring at the red head. He couldn’t see much of her face but what he could appeared pale and shaken.

“Tess?” He inquired gently.

“Miss Mercer”, she raised her head to stare at him. “And you may leave now”.

“Geez what did you do to tick her off”, Lois asked as they left the office.

“I um ...” he strained, “I broke one of your rules”.

“Well Smallville it’s like I always say ...”
~*~

Clark strode up the stairs of one of the most exclusive bars in the city. Not exactly his usual haunt. He would not have been able to bypass security without his superpowers. He entered the large, dark room and scanned the area. He had no idea why Chloe had sent him there or why the place was so empty until he made out a familiar figure, “Tess?”

The statuesque redhead turned, slowly and blinked blearily at the person calling her name. She swayed slightly on the spot and squinted hard before turning back to the bar.

He sighed and really wished that it had been some Kryptonian eating meteor freak he had to face down. You know, something simple. Wondering what was going on and how he was going to fix it, he made his way over to the bar and took a seat next to his boss.

Before he could open his mouth Tess raised her hand shakily above her head and the bartender materialised with two large glasses of what he assumed was vodka and coke and lined them up next to their empty, fallen comrades. He was more than a little concerned.

“Bottoms up”, Tess raised her glass to both men and sloshed half of it out and over her fingers. She stared at it in confusion, as if trying to work out what had happened.

The second that the bartender retreated Clark downed his drink and then hers. He had to stop her from drinking it somehow.

She stared at him.

“Alcohol never effects me”, he explained with a shrug.

“Me neither”, she said, unable to sit without moving.

“So I see”, in spite of the seriousness of the situation, he couldn't help but smile slightly.

Tess stared at him even harder then tried to stand up and leave the conversation only to have her legs give way.

“Come here”, Clark was by her side in a nano second, pulling her up into his arms bridal style.

“What are you doing?” Tess wondered, frowning at her knees which were now much closer to her face than they normally were.

“God you really are drunk”, Clark commented.

“No shit Sherlock!”

“Come on, I’ll take you home”, he checked that the bartender was gone, then sped out of there.

“What do you care?” Tess asked, part of her sentence spoken in the bar the other in the penthouse apartment.

“You really think that I need a reason not to want my boss to be drunk and helpless on the streets of Metropolis?” He stared at her incredulously as he laid her down on the bed. Her only response was to raise her shoulders a millimetre. He guessed that she had been aiming for a shrug.

“Should I call someone?” He asked quietly.

“Who?” She stared at him blankly.

“Someone to look after you”, Clark clarified.

“Oh, the staff will already be asleep. Don’t wake them. I’m fine”, Tess managed to get, although it seemed to take her far longer than normal.

He frowned, realising for the first time that she didn’t have anyone in her life she could count on. Just like Lex. He watched as she closed her eyes and laid her head down properly. She didn’t look comfortable or relaxed, in fact, she kept on wincing. “Does your head hurt?”

“Yes”, she sighed.

“Just hang in there”, he reached over and brushed his fingers across her forehead, “I’ve got an ace up my sleeve when it comes to dealing with this kind of thing”. He straightened up and slipped his phone out of his pocket and pressed a few buttons. Two rings later, he spoke softly, “Hi Lois, I have a favour to ask you”.

“Shoot”, came her instantaneous reply, just as he had known it would in spite of their earlier blow up.

“I am dealing with a hangover and I thought of you”, he informed her with a smile.

“Ah Smallville, I’m touched”, Lois’ voice came through the phone. “I’m glad to hear that the boyscout is finally loosening up a bit. What were you drinking?”

“I wasn’t the one drinking, well not enough to get drunk”, he explained. “I found a woman vulnerable. I don’t want her to be alone or hung over”.

“Seriously?” Lois sounded disappoint. “You can take the boy out of the farm but not the farm out of the boy. Right, three litres of sports drink, two aspirins, and one pickle”.

“A pickle?” Clark repeated.

“Don’t argue with me Smallville!”

“Alright, I’ll get her a pickle. Anything else I should know about?” He made a mental note of everything he needed to get.

“We will deal with your knight in shining armour complex later. Have fun”, Lois rang off.

“Bye”, Clark said to an already dead line. He transferred his attention back to Tess’ recumbent form. “I’ll be back in a second”, he told her and disappeared for a moment and then returned with arms ladened with goods. “Okay, here you go. I got everything we’re going to need”.

“Huh?” She cracked an eye open, “You’re still here?”

“As you see”, he opened the bag, “sports drink, aspirin and ...”

“Is that a pickle?” Tess broke in before he could finish.

“Um yes”, he blushed slightly. It sounded like a weird thing to bring into a woman’s bedroom but he trusted Lois and her encyclopaedic knowledge on certain subjects.

“Don’t bother I just need some aspirin”, she reached over for her bedside table but couldn't make it the whole way.

Clark opened it for her and looked inside, he found vial after vial of pills. He pulled one out and read the label. It wasn’t aspirin. “Tess, what is this?”

“Wha?”

“This”, he grasped her shoulder and showed her the vial.

“Don’t shout”, she protested, placing her hands over her ears.

He hadn’t been shouting but, nevertheless, he lowered his voice to a whisper. “Then answer the question”.

She took the pills and pulled the vial so close to her face that it was touching her nose. “Sleeping pills”, she finally decided and popped the top of it and poured a load into her hand.

“What the hell are you doing?” He demanded not caring about his volume or that Martha would have serious words for him if she ever found out that he had used that kind of language period, let alone in front of a woman. “Do you want to kill yourself?”

Tess blinked up at him. “I have problems sleeping”.

“Oh”. He had prevented her from taking the pills by taking possession of her wrist and still did not feel compelled to return it.

“Not that it is anything to do with you”, she fought for control of her wrist until didn’t manage to move it a fraction of a centimetre.

It wasn’t a suicide attempt, he didn’t think. She was just drunk and didn’t know what she was doing, but it was still incredibly dangerous. He removed the dangerous pills from the state in the blink of an eye and then read the back of the packet of aspirin that he had brought for her. “When was the last time that you ate?”

“Umm”, she thought hard, “yesterday, I think. Why all of the questions?”

“I don’t think that you are the one to talk about asking questions”, he mumbled. Apparently she couldn’t sleep, drank heavily and could eat and he felt sick about it but he couldn’t forget what she had done. “Do you think that you can stomach anything to eat?”

“No”, she shook her head but then stopped when that made her dizzy.

“Right, well here you go”, he produced a glass out of thin air.

“What’s this?” She wondered.

“Milk.”

“Milk?”

“Yeah, you know comes from cows”, he said with an amused smile in spite of the gravity of the situation.

“I don’t like milk”, she found the strength to complain.

“Well drink it anyway”, he positioned himself to help her drink.

Tess drank it, mostly because she didn’t have any choice in the matter, and commented, “This is better than the stuff I have”.

“It’s just regular organic farm fresh full fat milk”, he didn’t add that it was from his favourite cow Trudy. Or that the newest Luthor scion had a milk moustache.

“Full fat?” Those two words somehow managed to penetrate her alcohol ladened mind.

“Of course. You don’t drink skimmed do you?” He wrinkled his nose. “That’s just not natural”. He had grown up on a farm and he had yet to see a skimmed or even semi-skimmed cow. He wondered if they had different coloured spots. Or maybe they were striped.

“Says the man who can fly”, she muttered.

“I can’t fly”, he replied with a frown.

“Never mind. Hung over”, she closed her eyes as if that would make her invisible to him.

“Well come on, drink up then you can have some aspirin then”, he lifted the glass to her lips once more, “a pickle, apparently”.

She frowned, “Why are you here?”

“I brought you back, remember?” He continued to try to get the rest of the milk down her, but she wouldn’t cooperate.

“I mean, why didn’t you just leave me there?”

He stared at her, unsure how to react to that. “Why would I leave you there? Who would do that? You could have been hurt or ...” It didn’t bear thinking about. “Best case scenario some pap gets a picture of you and your reputation is ruined. You’ve worked hard. You don’t deserve that”.

“Sure I do, I’m a callous bitch, remember”, she pointed out, a little more loquacious after her milk.

“I didn’t mean it”, he said dismissively.

“Yes, you did”, she challenged.

He stared at her and then admitted shamefacedly, “Yes, I did mean it, at the time but I still shouldn’t have said it”, he sighed and sat down next to her. “Here, take your aspirin”, he held the small white pills out to her.

She did so slowly and with his help had some more milk. She was really developing quite a taste for it.

Clark wiped the milk off her upper lip and placed the glass on the bedside table before lying down next to her. For some time they both just stayed there, staring up at the ceiling.

“You know what you did was really awful. Didn’t your parents ever teach you any better?” He finally broke the silence; Chloe and he hadn’t had a chance to talk until she had called and sent him to the bar.

“What, you think that just because we were both adopted we had the same luck?” She chuckled dryly. “Your parents are farmers. Mr and Mrs Kent. Pillars of the community and all of that”.

“You’ve researched me”, he stated simply.

“Yep. Lots and lots and no in my house we didn’t do the whole family dinner time, talking about our problems, morals and all of that crap”, she dismissed him sarcastically, as if she scorned those things.

“You wish that you had had some of those things”, he stated, gazing at her.

“No”, she lied, not very convincingly.

He swallowed. “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t excuse what you did”.

“I know”, she sighed.

“How long have you known about me?” He asked.

She pondered the matter. “A while”.

“That’s informative”.

“Clark, you are an honest guy, right?” She turned her head to look at him.

“I like to think so. Deep down”, he replied. He lied, a lot unfortunately, but only to protect himself and his family.

“Do you know where Lex is?” She stared at him beseechingly.

“No, I’m sorry”, the words stuck in his throat and he wanted to die as he witnessed the small flicker of hope in her eyes dying. “I have scoured every inch of the Arctic, followed every lead, done everything I can think of but I can’t find him. I wouldn’t lie to you about that”, he reached out and rubbed her shoulder. “I know how much you must miss him”.

“I barely knew him”, she admitted quietly. “I didn’t even know that he was my brother until after he disappeared”.

“You didn’t?” He swallowed. He had always assumed that Lex had found his long, lost sister during the years that they were no longer friends. “What is it?” He asked gently when he saw her frowning.

“Do you think that he would have liked me?” She finally posed the question which had been bugging her since the moment she had found out that she had a real, biological family.

He stared at her and stroked her flaming hair. “Of course he would. Lex always wanted a real family of his own. He would have been the proudest big brother in the world. He wouldn’t have let me (or any other man) near you”, he smiled.

She returned the smile, sleepily.

He continued to caress her hair gently, thinking that it would help her to drift off to sleep. It didn’t, after a few minutes, she began to giggle.

“What’s so funny?” He wondered.

“After years in an abusive household, cowering in a closet at night, a year on an island, several years in grad school, living hand to mouth as a waitress, I finally get everything and I can’t sleep in a big soft bed”, she giggled.

Clark felt like a shit. He wrapped their arms around her.

“What are you doing?” She asked, alarmed and tried to pull away from him.

“I need a hug”, he explained.

“You are so weird”, she informed him, but stopped trying to escape from his embrace, “are you sure that you don’t get drunk?”

“I’m sure”.
~*~

Clark had had a productive morning. He had got up, showered, dressed, had a conversation with Chloe and tracked down Tess’ bastard of an adoptive father and had misplaced him - he would enjoy the phantom zone he was sure - all before Tess had woken up.

When Tess finally bestirred himself, he was sitting on the side of her bed with a gourmet breakfast from Paris laid out on a tray on her bedspread.

“Oh crap!”

“That wasn’t the expression that I was expecting”, Clark admitted with a rueful smile.

“It wasn’t a dream”, she put her hand to her throbbing head.

“No”, he admitted. He had done a great deal of research the night before, by which he meant Chloe had and had written him several long emails. Phones really were wonderful things.

“Oh God”, she groaned. “So, got any embarrassing pictures of me?”

“No”, he leant forwards and caressed the side of her face, careful not to seem like he was looming over her this time. “I meant what I said before: I won’t be threatened and I won’t be your little play thing.”

“Good to know”, she did her best to sound nonchalant.

“But I’m never going to hurt you and I think that if we were to team up, then it would be beneficial for everyone concerned”, he said earnestly, “What do you say?”

She fixed her piercing blue eyes on him. “I say: hand over the coffee”.

He smiled, “I’ll take that as a yes”, and poured them both some coffee. They ate together in silence for a while until Tess finally managed to get up the courage to ask the question that had been torturing her since the day before. She had sort of got an answered but ... “Clark?”

“Yes?” He stopped mid bite.

“Red K only makes you do things you already wanted to do? Right?”

“Yeah”, he blushed.

“Soooo ...”

Quid Pro Quo - Chapter Three

Chapter Three

“Alright Clark, walk me through this again and this time try not to get quite so emotional”, Chloe said with a heavy sigh. Clark was her best friend and she loved him dearly but sometimes he could be such a drama queen. He had arrived in her apartment at The Talon with a whoosh - without so much as a ‘by your leave’ - and had begun to pour out some story about him and Tess which sounded ridiculous even to Chloe’s ear. And she always loved a good meteor freak story, in fact, she had invented the genre.

Clark took a deep breath, trying to control himself. He clenched his fists and began to pace the length of the apartment from Chloe’s bed to Lois’ and then back again. It wasn’t really big enough to accommodate his long legs and short temper.

“This morning I went to work”, he began, trying to go through it all point by point without sounding patronising.

“Always a good idea”, Chloe broke in, unable to help herself.

Clark shot her a look.

“Wipe that look off your face or you find someone else to help you”, she informed him with in a calm tone.

“Right sorry”, Clark rubbed the back of his neck with his hand, the way that he always did when he was embarrassed.

“Alright then, go on”, Chloe replied, placated.

“I was late”, he continued.

“In the interests of getting to the end of this story I won’t add ‘What a shock’”, Chloe said helpfully.

Clark was too stressed out to laugh.

“Come on Clark, we deal with terrible things every single day of the week. What is so bad that you can’t crack a smile?” The blonde smiled at him from behind her laptop where she was poised, ready to save the day.

“I was walking along when Lois called to ask if I could pick her up something sweet, so I went to the bakery and just outside was a crash”, he explained. It hadn’t been a huge surprise, Lois always wanted something sweet.

“A crash, what are we talking about here, two bikes, two cars?” Chloe began to add legs to her spider diagram. She thought that she would entitle this one Clark’s Morning Trouble, at least provisionally until she could come up with something better.

“Two juggernauts carrying petrol that had got lost”, Clark explained.

“Two juggernauts carrying petrol that had got lost”, she repeated, “wow Clark you don’t go for halves do you?”

“No”, he smiled, “but I didn’t plan on that happening. I know that it was risky but what choice did I have when people were in trouble?”

“None at all Clark, that’s why you are you”, she gave him a warm smile. “I take it that no one was hurt?”

“No”, he confirmed, oddly touched by her words. They had been doing this for so long that sometimes they took each other for granted. He would have to be better about that.

“Why wasn’t that on the news, I wonder. And what were they doing there. People transporting petrol don’t tend to get lost”, Chloe pondered, as she clicked her mouse a few times.

“I’m not sure”, but he had several suspicions. “And it gets worse”.

Chloe stared up at him and waited for him to continue.

“When I got to work I was late and Tess called me into her office”, he took a deep breath. He always hated giving Chloe bad news, “She had pictures”.

“Pictures? Of you at the accident?”

“Yes. To be more precise of a man in a suit holding up one of the juggernauts with one hand, moving someone out of the way and then pushing it back onto its wheels”, he explained. “One had tried to get around the other and was beginning to topple over when I saw it”.

“Can you tell that it was you?” Chloe demanded.

“I ... I’m not sure. Part of my profile is showing. It is obvious if you already know, I don’t know how anyone could miss it to be honest but we have got away with worse photos of me. It could probably be brazened out but ...”

“What?”

“Not if the caption read my name and had a picture of me normally by its side”, he continued.

“Right, we have to stop those pictures being published and destroy the originals”, she announced as she began to jot down a plan. Before Clark could get a word in edgewise, she continued, “How soon after the accident was this meeting?”

“Ten minutes. If that”, he considered.

“Ten minutes?” Chloe’s head snapped up from her laptop’s screen. “And these were printed pictures? You were set up! Right, this changes things ...”

He stared at her. “I was beginning to think that myself, but it gets worse”.

“How much worse can this actually get?” Chloe asked with a groan, almost continuously typing now.

“Well, the good news is that you don’t have to worry about anyone else seeing the pictures as they are well and truly destroyed”, he said, rubbing the back of his neck again.

“But this isn’t good news?” His sidekick regarded him sceptically, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“Tess knows. I think”, the words came out but not fluently. “She didn’t come right out and say it so I couldn’t but then she said that I needed to get her the story on this or else she would have to publish those pictures”.

“Yep, she knows” Chloe agreed. “But don’t worry, you came straight to me so we can sort this out”.

“Actually, I didn’t”, he said, for all of his superpowers and towering height suddenly resembling a naughty little boy who had been found with his hand in the biscuit barrel.

“You didn’t come straight to me?” Chloe’s obsessive typing halted.

He shook his head in the negative.

“Damn it Clark, how many times have we gone through this?” She demanded, slapping her palms down on the desk. “When it comes to running faster than the speed of light no one is better”, she paused, “except Bart, but super-speed aside you are the number one superhero and you and Ollie tie for who looked best in lyrca and I think that you have the edge on the whole hair thing but when it comes to solving mysteries for goodness sake let me handle it. You never get it right”.

“I almost ...” He considered, no Chloe did have the edge.

“So, what did you do?” She asked with a heavy sigh as she began to massage her temples.

“I went back to the crime scene”, he started, cautiously.

“So it is irrelevant whether they have the first set of pictures or not because now they have even more photos of you?” She needed an aspirin.

He swallowed, he hadn’t thought of that, he had just been acting quickly to prevent this all blowing up in their faces. So much for that. “Then I found clues and I followed them, it was very easy”.

“Yes, it normally is when you are being set up”, Chloe sighed, there was no point in getting upset about it. It wouldn’t change anything.

He blushed slightly.

“Go on”, she persisted, bracing herself for the worst.

“I followed the trail to a quarry just outside the city”, Clark informed her slowly.

“Do I even want to know what the logic was there?” She broke her pact with herself not to display any more anger over his stupidity.

“I swear that it made sense at the time”, he tried to defend himself.

“Go on. You went to a quarry, hopefully not one of the ones containing green meteor rocks”.

“No”, he took a deep breath, “red”.

“Red! Oh”, a tidal-wave of expletives crashed over him. “But wait, you aren’t all red now?”

“No”, he admitted. “The first thing that I did was go and see Tess - well, actually that was the second, the first was to um borrow a very nice suit from a store”.

“At least tell me that they didn’t see you there”, she sighed.

“No, but Tess definitely did”, he blushed at the memory.

“Is she ...” Chloe swallowed, “you were angry. Is she alright?”

“Yeah”, he let out a shaky sigh and sat down, his legs suddenly feeling weak, “when I came round that was the first thing that I thought of but I’m sure that I didn’t. I was furious though”. He steeled himself and fixed his eyes on Chloe, feeling guilt gnawing at him. “I told her the truth about me”. He had put them all in danger. He should have never let Chloe find out the truth about him all of those years ago.

“You what?” Chloe exploded. “I realise that I lowers you inhibitions, does it also lower your IQ, I don’t know, a couple of thousand points?!?”

“Well, not in so many words and she already knew. We, um”, he turned his trade mark colour, “somehow we kind of ended up well you know ...”

“No”, Chloe stared at him blankly.

“Chloe, you know”, he couldn’t believe that she was really going to make him say it. She had to know.

“Know what? You argued, you destroyed her pictures, what?” God she wished that he would just come to the point. The sooner she knew what it was that he had done, the sooner she could fix it.

“Remember that time that I came in in a hurry and Jimmy was here but he didn’t see anything because well”, Clark gestured, now so deeply scarlet that he was verging on purple.

“Oh”, comprehension dawned on Chloe’s features, followed swiftly but a pinkish hue, “that yes. Um well ...” She pulled herself together. “When this is all over we need to go over the whole knocking procedure. So how long ago was this?”

“Five minutes? I doubt that she is even out of the shower yet”, he answered, “I came straight here”.

“Shower?” Why was it that Clark could never relate all of the facts in a clear and concise manner?

“Yes, that’s when the red K wore off or got washed off?” He wasn’t really quite sure what had happened vis-à-vis the red K this time. He just knew that he had been operating under its effects and now he wasn’t.

“Either is possible”, Chloe nodded and resumed her typing, even more furiously as if that could banish the images she had no wish to be imagining.

“Chlo, what are you doing?” Clark inquired as he came around to look over her shoulder. He never really understood what it was that she was doing - she was the tech wiz, not he - but this time he recognised that she was doing something in the LuthorCorp files. “I don’t want to pry, but why does your computer have Tess’ name, user-name and DP ID number on it?”

“Because I just hacked into her computer”, Chloe informed him placidly.

“And just how illegal is this exactly?”

“It’s irrelevant as no one is ever going to know”, she answered with a shrug.

“You know, if Oliver isn’t paying you enough to do all of this for the Justice League then you could make a fortune working for the NSS with answers like that”, he suggested.

“Nah, bastards turned down my application”, she muttered as she began to download all of Tess’ files.

“What, you really applied? I was only joking”.

“Yeah, a few years ago when MetU was first destroyed. I had to do something to make a little bit of extra spending money. Reporting pays squat”, she said and then apparently remembered that she was speaking to The Daily Planet’s newest employee. “Sorry”.

“It’s fine”, he smiled. Compared to farming the pay wasn’t bad, but no where near what a tech wiz like Chloe deserved.

“No, I enjoy doing what I’m doing. Besides, Oliver’s is a great employer. His bonus package is huge. No pun intended”, she smirked.

“Thanks, that was an image that I really needed seared into my brain”, Clark grumbled.

“You’re welcome” she paused, “Hello!” The files had finished downloading and she now had complete access to Tess’ entire system, thankfully just in time as the laptop was being booted up. A few seconds later they were greeted by a split screen, one half Tess’ computer screen and the other the feed from the web-cam which automatically came on thanks to a bug of Chloe’s.

The new head of the Daily Planet sat at her desk, dressed only in a towel, tangle of damp curls framing her face, unknowingly staring at them.

“I wonder what her workout regime is”, Chloe pondered, examining her current enemy’s arms.

“You can find that out form her files”, Clark replied tersely, uncomfortably aware that in spite of the rage he felt towards the red-headed temptress his eyes were drawn to her body, and unlike Chloe not to her arms.

“Very true, oh”, Chloe broke off in excitement as Tess began to type. She loved it when a mystery began to unravel itself.

“Effects of Red K on the subject”, Tess’ manicured nails tapped, an small, satisfied smirk on her lips.

“Shit”, Chloe swore. “Okay Clark we have to handle this with ...”

Whoosh.

“Clark?” She looked around but already knew what had happened. She could call in her team to stop him if she were really quite and she glanced back at her screen. Maybe she could ... Oh sod it, she would just watch the blow up. Tess already knew so what was the worst that could happen? She wondered if she had time to get some popcorn. Oops, no.

“Here we go”, she said to the empty room.

My Own Personal Cheerleader

Your Username: FutureScribbler/Hotcrossedbunny
Username of the requester: Malugargula
The prompt: Chloe/Jason - fanfic where Lana never went to Paris so Jason arrives on SV after S3, still becomes the coach and meet Chloe at the school.
Title of the work: My Own Personal Cheerleader
Pairing: Chloe/Jason
Type of fill: Fic
Rating: PG-13
Length: 3,368
A/N: I have taken many liberties.

My Own Personal Cheerleader

“I can explain”.

“You have no idea how much I hope that that is true Chloe”.

“I can, I swear it Jason”, the diminutive blonde declared as she grabbed for his arm. She was out of breath having just run out of the school after him, “just give me a chance”, she begged.

“Fine”, he stood his ground and folded his arms, staring down at her.

Chloe took a deep, shaky breath and tried to remind herself that all that she had to do was talk. She was good at talking. Excellent, in fact. She had got her allowance raised by twenty four point two percent when she was only five years old. Suddenly her verbal skills appeared to have dried up under his unwavering gaze, “Please”.

“I said fine Chloe”, he responded shortly.

She swallowed as the ball in her throat, which had been plaguing her since he had first turned his cool, distant gaze on her, grew even larger. He had never said her name like that before. Whenever he addressed her, or even referred to her, his rich baritone always held a mixture of warmth and mirth. Always. From the first time that they had met and she had given him a false name. When he had discovered the truth. When he had followed her to Smallville. Even when they were arguing. He had never treated her like this before. She had never dreamed that he could be so cold towards her.

“I’m sorry”. The words were heartfelt but not sufficient. She could see the pain in his eyes and his jaw tense. She never wanted to see him like this. “Baby, I’m so sorry”, her hand found its way back to his arm. He was so tense that she thought he might break in two.

“For what exactly?” He asked shortly. He didn’t take a step back from her, he was too strong to retreat, but he did move his limbs so that she was no longer touching him. It was as if he couldn’t stand to have her close to him.

“For everything”, she replied, blinking back the tears. She had never seen him like this, she had certainly never thought that she could cause him this much pain.

“For what exactly? For ignoring me?” He suggested tightly, “For dressing up in a cheerleader costume and fawning over Clark? For coming onto him dressed in nothing but his football jersey? For begging him to fuck you? For letting me see it?” His mouth quivered, “For being in love with Clark for years?”

“For drinking that damned stuff”, Chloe answered desperately, grabbing hold of his arms again.” That was what made me act like that. You know that it was only the drink. You drank it too”. He had to understand what had happened. She hadn’t been herself, if she had been ...

“Do I?” He demanded, this time his hurt outweighing his pride as he retreated from her touch. “Because the funny thing is that when I drank that gunk my eyes went straight to you”.

Her lips formed into a silent “Oh”.

“They always do”, he continued coldly.

“Please baby, just listen to what I’m saying. It was just bad luck that I happened to be looking at Clark at the same moment that I happened to be dehydrated. If the janitor had got in my way at that moment then I would have fancied myself in love with him and ... I don’t know, dressed up like a janitor to seduce him. What do you do to get into a janitor’s bed?” When she put it like that, he had to understand, he always had a lively sense of humour. He was always teasing her out of her bad mood, even when she didn’t want him to.

“Well it wasn’t the janitor”, Jason stated unimpressed, “No, it was the man you’ve been in love with for years. The man who has some dark and mysterious secret. The man who you always defend. Who you are always running off to be with. The man who gets to put his arms around you in public and have everyone know that he knows you. Who ...”

“It’s just”, she broke in desperately. She could see how it must appear from his perspective but his continuing with that line of thinking wouldn’t help.

“When I drank that potion Chloe”. During the course of their conversation, his eyes had not once been anywhere but on her and yet she suddenly felt as if he were focusing even more on her, “I was looking at you”. He took a step towards her yet it didn’t seem conciliatory. “Because I am always looking at you, and I’d love to be able to blame that potion for everything that would be a lie. I hated Clark when I was under the influence and it made me do things that I would never normally do but it didn’t create that hatred. I wanted to kill him when he touched you, looked at you, spoke to you ... That isn’t something that just magically appeared out of nowhere. Nor was the love that I feel for you”.

She stared at him. He had never said those words before.

“I love you Chloe” he reached up to caress her face, his voice thick and beginning to crack.” And I want you to be happy so if you have decided that now you are safe and back home that some fling you had over the summer isn’t enough for you”, his voice did break. “If the thrill is gone and”, he blinked and cleared his throat, “if you think that he is going to make you happy then go be with him”.

“No, Jason. Just wait, listen to me”, she began in desperation but stopped as his lips pressed against her forehead.

“Chloe”, he placed his hands on either side of her head and moved so that they were staring into each other’s eyes and their foreheads rested against each other. “I know that you never want to hurt anyone, that you want to make this all alright but one of us is going to end up with a broken heart. I’m okay with it being mine, it just can’t be yours”. With that, he turned and walked away.

Chloe stared after him too hurt and heartbroken to response. She opened her mouth and shut it, unable to do anything else. Through the tears that filled her eyes and began to trickle down her cheeks, she watched him stride away from her, get into his truck and drive away.
~*~

Jason sat in his apartment in Smallville with his head in his hands. The ‘deluxe studio apartment’ consisted of a room which was smaller than the closet of the bedroom he had grown up in and cost less per month than he normally spent on a midweek restaurant dinner. He was slumming it but it was worth it to be with Chloe.

Wearily, he raised his head, he looked around the small space. Every inch of it reminded him of his lost love: the kitchenette where they had attempted to reheat some Italian leftovers, the floor where they had played scrabble, the settee where they had watched movies the bed where they had ... Never mind.

If he breathed in he could still smell the faint scent of her perfume

If he strained he could still hear her dulcet voice moaning in his ear.

“Jason open this god-damn door before I break it down!”

“Chloe?” That couldn’t just have been his imagination.

“I mean it Teague!” Her voice was heard again, strident if slightly muffled. He stared at the door to his apartment in confusion. What on earth was she doing there? Had she come to return his stuff? To deliver yet another blow to his already broken heart?

Before he could decide what he should do, he found himself staring down at her. Lost for words.

She was beautiful, angry, and tear stained. In spite of everything that had passed between them and the heartbreak she had wrought, he longed to reach out and hold her. She did not feel the same way, she pushed him back and stormed into his apartment.

He closed the door and turned to face her. “Chloe, I ...”

“No”, she held up her hand. “You’ve had your turn to talk, now listen!”

He gazed at her in shock but obeyed.

“Clark and I have been friends forever. I have been in love with him since the first time that I saw him and that is the kind of thing that everyone says that you will grow out of but I didn’t, it just grew over time until it became this huge all consuming thing”, she got out all in one breath. She had rehearsed what she was going to say on the way over there and he would hear her out this time if she had to tie him down to make it happen.

Jason opened his mouth but she forged on, “It was really quite convenient, pining over someone who is pining over someone else. It’s easy. I mean its depressing but there is always an excuse when they don’t want you back so that is easier than actually putting yourself out there for someone who could actually like you back and then blowing it.”

“Alright”, he muttered coming over to the couch and sitting (or rather falling) down. It was a lot to take in all at once.

“Baby”, Chloe sat down (more gracefully) on the coffee table and reached over to take his hands. This time he didn’t stop her. “I’m not going to say that I didn’t care about Clark, I did, or that he wasn’t my school girl crush, he was but ... It isn’t everything that it is cracked up to be”.

He stared at her, long and hard as if trying to work out if she were real or toying with him or ...

Before he had the chance to get any more confused, Chloe persisted. “Clark and I went on one date and it wasn’t that great. Even before he left me t go after Lana”.

“He left you?” Jason exclaimed in surprised, apparently unable to help himself.

“Yeah, to go out into a tornado to save Lana”, Chloe explained and, in spite of the seriousness of the situation, almost succumbed to laughter at the expression on his face. “Yeah, that’s the thing with Clark, most of the time when he does something that you think is simply unforgivable he has a really good reason for it. Either that or some weird secretive silence. One or the other”.

“Sounds like a swell guy”, Jason muttered bitterly.

“He is”, Chloe stroked his hand to try to pacify him. “He’s kind of my own personal superhero”.

“Look Chloe”, Jason pulled his hands away from hers, “I’m trying to be supportive here but I really don’t need to hear a list of the guy’s virtues”.

“Well, too bad”, Chloe wrested control of his hands once more.”Because here they are: noble, smart, nice, kind, good with the elderly and children alike, no one better if your cat is stuck in a tree and surprisingly good at algebra. Oh, also very handy and has a tendency to rescue people”.

“How is a guy supposed to compete with that?” Jason expostulated, trying to get up but finding himself prevented by Chloe.

“But he has his fair share of defects too: he is habitually late, very secretive, is incapable of seeing things in anything other than black and white, he gives the wrong people too many chances and the right ones too few, he bites his finger nails rather than cutting them like a normal person, he can be very selfish, and he never noticed me except when he needed something”. The pain in her eyes was evident in the sorrow in her voice. She knew it and that he would pick up on it. There was no helping it. She reached up to stroke his cheek. Her pain hurt him and she didn’t want that but she had to make him see. “All over Clark is a great guy. Someone to be looked up to admired, he deserves his own cheerleader but I am tired of being it”.

Jason stared at her with hope for the first time that day.

“I have wasted so much of my life being a groupie, researching things for Clark, just waiting around. I’ve been his cheerleader for years and I’m sick of it. I don’t want to be cheering for someone who doesn’t the same for me”, she lifted his hand to her mouth and kissed the palm gently.

He looked at her, a small hopeful smile forming around his lips as he began to understand what she was saying.

“Last summer should have been the worst in my life. I was presumed dead, away from my friend and family, scared, and wearing that ridiculous disguise in Paris with rather shaky French on some half baked exchange scheme. I wanted to be invisible, I was trying me best to be and you saw me”, she smiled at the memory.

“You will never be invisible to me”, he promised her pulling her to sit on his knee. “Every single day in that small café I saw you sitting there”, he caressed her face. “I had to speak to you”.

She smiled at him. “You were pretty persistent”.

“I was”, he smiled, remembering those days.

“I was trying to get away from you, I was so scared that you would blow my cover, but I couldn’t tear myself away from you”, she wrapped her arms around his neck.

“I know the feeling”, he smiled ruefully.

“And it wasn’t because you were handsome”, he rubbed her nose against his.

He raised an eyebrow.

“Which of course you are. Or because you are rich, or because I was bored and lonely and you took me on fun outings. Nor was it because of your jokes - which suck, by the way”, she rubbed his shoulder as she informed him of this last, ego bruising, fact.

“Not very flattering”, he pouted, any real sense of injury gone.

“It was because you were sweet”, she explained and upon noting his confused expression tried to explain. “You saw a girl who was sad and lonely and you couldn’t help but get involved. I know that that doesn’t make sense to you because in your mind that was the only course of action possible, but trust me, most people are not like that. And you had this joie de vivre which was new to me”, she continued happily, “and you smile more than anyone else I have ever known, and yes it was an exciting romantic adventure the kind that should be turned into a summer romcom but it was just you. I love you so much”.

“You do?” He stared at her. This was more than he had dared to hope for.

“I do. Everything about you”, she confessed and he grinned, pulling her even closer to him. “And I want to be with you. Now, does that answer all of your questions?” She changed her position so that she was straddling his lap. She would not be refused this time.

“Oh yeah!” He grinned at her like a fool.

“Good, because there is one thing in particular - which is more reason enough to be with you by itself - that a boy like Clark can’t give me but you can”, she leant in until he could feel her breath on his cheek.

He smirked cockily.

“Write me a note to get me out of gym”, she teased.

“Brat”, he growled, pulling her closer to him, grinding himself again her, “I’ll give you note”. The threat of his terrible vengeance only made her giggle. He flipped her over so that she was pinned underneath him but neither of them could stop smiling. They were both exactly where they wanted to be.

“Say it again”, he challenged

“Note”, she kissed him.

“The other thing”, he replied, chuckling warmly.

“I love you coach”, she tried again still tittering.

“Chloe”, he warned and she relented: “Jason, I love you Jason with all of my heart, soul, body and even my pom-poms”.

“Even your pom-poms? Well it doesn’t get any better than that”, he kissed her again only this time he didn’t break away.

“I love you, I love you”, he repeated as he began to kiss his way down her neck and a pile of clothes began to form next to the settee.
~*~

“Chloe?” Jason asked, as they lay in bed together, tangled his his very male sheets, his voice muffled by her neck and hair.

“Ummm?”

You know that I don’t want you to be my cheerleader, right?”

“Yeah”, she replied sleepily.

“Good”, he said with a kiss to the back of her head.

There was silence.

“What else?” She wondered.

“Hmm?”

“You are thinking about something, I can tell. Tell me, whatever is it”, she coaxed.

“You didn’t get rid of that cheerleader costume, did you?” He finally asked.

“Men”, Chloe rolled her eyes,”no I didn’t. I still have it and that naughty school girl one too. It was buy one get one free”.

“I love you so much”.

An evil smile formed on her lips. “Prove it!”
 

Shake Your Pom-Poms

Your Username: FutureScribbler/Hotcrossedbunny
Username of the requester: Malugargula
The prompt: Chloe/Jason - fanfic where Lana never went to Paris so Jason arrives on SV after S3, still becomes the coach and meet Chloe at the school.
Title of the work: Shake  Your Pom-Poms
Pairing: Chloe/Jason
Type of fill: Fic
Rating: PG-13
Length: 6,850
A/N: I have taken many liberties.
Shake Your Pom-Poms

Chloe hugged her knees tightly to her chest and buried her face in them. She was beyond humiliated, there was no way that she could ever show her face in school again. She was asking, no telling, her Dad that she wanted to be home-schooled from now on, that was the only option. No, even that wasn’t an option, she couldn’t go home either, that was why she was huddled under the bleachers, shaking with tears running down her face.

“Knock knock”, a deep masculine voice called to her gently.

“God Clark just please go away”, why couldn’t he see that she didn’t want to talk to him right then? She didn’t want to talk or see him ever again actually.

“Sorry, I’m neither God nor Clark”, the voice continued.

Chloe raised her head to see who it was, her natural curiosity getting the better of her.

“Just your friendly neighbourhood football coach”, the newest member of faculty smiled kindly at her, “Well”, he shrugged one shoulder, “part-time assistant football coach technically speaking, but that had too many syllables”.

In spite of herself, Chloe felt the corner of her mouth turn upwards. If only for a second.

“Can I come in or is this a very private place?” Jason Teague inquired politely but with a laugh in his eyes.

“Oh yes, I’m sorry but you have to get reservations these days to sit alone under the bleachers”, she told him with as much solemnity as she could muster.

“Well, I always believed that rules are supposed to be broken”, he ducked under the odd seat/stairs commination and remained bent as he approached her. He wasn’t as tall as Clark, but he was no slouch. “I can see why it is so coveted” he looked around, pointedly at the gum sticking under the benches. “Very … earthy”.

“Yeah, it’s part of its rustic charm”, she wiped her face with the back of her hand when he was inspecting the gum.

“Yes, well I can see that”, he said, sitting down next to her. He didn’t try to curl into a ball like her, but he sat with his knees bent a little and looked as if he found the position rather uncomfortable. He shrugged out of his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders.

Normally, Chloe would have objected most strongly to this as she had always found it ridiculous and didn’t want him to be cold either, although he was also wearing a sweater, but allowed it in this case thinking that he was probably embarrassed by her in her cheerleader’s outfit. She certainly was. It hadn’t seemed quite this small, or quite this red when she had put it on.

“So, a lot of strange things happen in Smallville huh?” He commented after a few minutes of silence had passed and it became clear that Chloe wasn’t going to start the conversation.

“Yeah”.

Nor was she apparently going to try to continue a conversation. “Although I suppose that spiking the punch is quite common”, he pondered the matter, examining her out of the corner of his eye, “I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of anyone creating a fully functioning love potion and slipping it into the athletes’ water supply before”.

“It wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t have funny coloured sport’s drink”, Chloe replied, seeing him staring at her, “As a general rule in Smallville, if it glows green don’t touch or eat it”.

“I’ll have to remember that”, he laughed. “Although that probably applies to most things in life, not just things in Smallville”.

“True”, she considered the matter. “Most things don’t naturally glow green”.

“Why did you drink it then?” He couldn’t help but ask.

“I was thirsty”, she replied with a shrug. She hadn’t been thinking at the time, she had been more interested in her potential article and, well, watching Clark play football.

“If I had a nickel for every time I’ve used that excuse …” He gave her a knowing nudge, “although that was mostly alcohol”.

She opened her mouth and then shut it. He saw it and grinned.

“You were about to say ‘I know the feeling’ or something along those lines until you remembered that I am a teacher, weren’t you?”

“No”, she straightened up immediately, goaded.

He looked at her penetratingly. The only other person she had seen do that had been Lex Luthor. She briefly wondered if that was something that they taught in certain schools.

“Fine, maybe”, she relented.

“Well, I’m only a part time teacher and I’m not on duty at the moment”, he winked at her, “so your secret is safe with me”.

She narrowed her eyes. “Sure”. Clearly he was on duty, if he weren’t then he wouldn’t be crouching underneath the bleachers on the damp ground with a high school girl he didn’t know who was wearing a cheerleading outfit.

“You know, I was advised to read some of your articles actually. I’ve only got through a handful of them so far but from what I can tell, for you at least, this is a fair typical day. I mean spiking the punch probably doesn’t come close to some of the weird stuff that you have encountered”, he tried to coax more out of her.

“No”, she agreed but then her gaze went back down to her bare knees. She never wore short skirts, or shorts, or in fact ever let anyone see her knees. She swallowed as the humiliation of that day crashed over her in a tidal wave once again, washing away all of the coach’s attempts to take her mind off things. “Parading around in your own person cheerleader costume probably tops it all though”.

“Yeah, I imagine that it would”, he agreed with a sly grin, “I mean, if you’re a dumb teenage boy then that would give you bragging rights for a verrrrrrry long time!”

“So there is no chance this will be forgotten by say Monday?” She sure as hell was taking tomorrow/Friday off.

“No, not a chance”, he replied honestly and cheerfully. “Most of the boys won’t have stopped drooling by then, however I think that I’ve got you beat for all time most embarrassing moment that has ever happened to a high school student”.

She looked back up at him, her expression an equal mix of dubiousness and hopefulness.

He leant in conspiratorially, “Do you solemnly swear not to tell anyone?”

She nodded eagerly.

“I’m serious Miss Sullivan, your reputation precedes you”, he warned.

“It’s off the record I swear”, she held her hand up like a Girl Scout. She had never actually been a member of that fine organisation of course, but he didn’t need to know that.

“I was a really puny little kid. I mean, really awful, and I went to a boarding school where there is this very rigid hierarchy and the people on the bottom are basically treated like garbage”, he started his story with due gravity.

“That’s high school everywhere”, she informed him.

“Yeah, probably. Anyway, there was a midnight feast come party thing”, he continued with a rueful smile.

“Sounds fancy”, she put in.

“I was determined not to be the butt of everyone’s jokes anymore so when the older boys started handing around the whiskey I took it”, he painted the picture.

“You drank it?” She surmised.

“I glugged it, seriously. It was so stupid I could have given myself liver failure or something. I didn’t, obviously”, he indicated to the fact that he was still alive and kicking, “I just got so drunk that I let them dress me up in the matron’s clothes and take pictures of me. Then I threw up, rather spectacularly”.

“Did you get one of them at least?” Chloe asked hopefully, trying not to show the compassion she felt for the small scrawny boy he had once been. She wanted to cuddle him but knew that that was completely inappropriate.

“Oh yeah, I got all of them, and a few of my friends, and a suit of armour, but mostly me”, he recounted, not without humour.

“Probably a good job you threw up though, right?” Chloe reached out a hand to rub his arm and then used it to pull his jacket around him more closely instead.

“Probably”, he admitted, “from my health’s perspective at least, but it didn’t really feel that way at the time”.

“No, I don’t imagine that it would”. She knew what he was trying to do, put her problems into perspective but it wasn’t working. When he spoke to her it got better, but the second that his warm baritone disappeared so did the feeling of comfort.

“Not good enough?” He saw. “Okay, here’s another one. My first kiss”.

“Juicy?”

“More saliva-y really”, he rubbed the back of his neck. “I also head butted her, got my braces caught with hers and drooled on her a bit”.

“You are making that up”, she accused him even as she laughed at the image.

“Chloe, I’m shocked …”

“No one is that pathetic!”

“Hey, be nice or I won’t tell you the rest”, he warned her.

“Fine, I promise”, she extended her pinkie towards him.

“What’s that?”

“A pinkie promise. Here”, she reached over and took his hand ignoring the sparks that went through her as she did so. She did her best to hide her blush as she explained, “you put your pinkies together like this”

“Like this”, he intertwined his fingers with hers.

“Yes, this is a pinkie promise. A sacred vow”.

“Wow, I can’t say that I’ve ever made a sacred vow before”, he gave her a knee melting smile. Thankfully she wasn’t using her knees at that moment.

She carefully extracted her hand from his and demanded, “So tell me!”

“I finally had a growth spurt, gained enough weight to almost balance it out, got the braces off and finally went to a party where I wasn’t known as Vomit Boy”, he started and she noticed that he blushed slightly.

“Inventive lot when it comes to naming, teenaged boys”.

“Yes, that was what really hurt the lack of originality”, he joked. “Anyway, I was at this party. I saw this girl that I thought was gorgeous … and didn’t have the courage to ask her out. So I approached the chubby one next to her and got turned down. It was the most awful moment of my life at that time, I was sure that I would die right then and there. She ripped my heart out, chucked it in a blender, pureed it and shoved it down my throat”.

“She was that brutal?” Chloe asked compassionately.

“No”, he admitted with a smile, “she was really sweet. But I swear that wasn’t how it felt at that moment”.

Chloe placed her hand over her mouth so that she wouldn’t be seen giggling. She had promised after all.

“That’s great”, he grinned, “I get humiliated so badly that I thought that I was going to die and you laugh”.

“Did that really happen or was that just one of those stories that adults tell as part of the whole ‘High School Isn’t Your Whole Life’ thing?” She asked, pulling herself together as best she could.

“Ouch?” He clamped his hand over his heart dramatically, “Adult? That hurt!”

“And clearly”, he opened his arms, referring to their location, “high school is my whole life!”

She smiled. A real smile.

“It’s going to be alright, you know?” His voice was tender, “The next week is going to be tough. Actually, the rest of the year probably will be. I mean you’ve got the prudes, the bitches, the guys who are drooling over you, the girls of the guys who are drooling over you … But, that’s not what you are really dreading is it?”

“No”, she admitted.

“Right, well as we have already established, that story I told you was crap”, he teased her, “sorry you’re a minor”.

“I’m 17”, she cut in.

“A minor”, he reiterated, “I should have said poopy and, getting back to the point, I have never myself met with rejection”.

She laughed, even though she wasn’t sure whether he was being serious or not.

“Hey, I was being serious”, he said, but with a teasing glint in his eyes.

“Sorry”, she apologised, trying to keep a straight face. She had no idea how it was possible that he could make her so giggly when she had been so depressed and the problems hadn’t disappeared.

“But I can imagine that it would be hard. Telling someone you like them and then not having them say it back. That’s got to hurt”, he commiserated.

“Yeah”, time after time after time after … “Thanks for reminding me”.

He smiled. “See and you thought that you would never forget it”.

“You think I will?” Suddenly every trace of mirth was gone from her tone. She stared at him not as a teacher but as a man who seemed to have more knowledge about her on this subject. She needed someone, other than her Dad, to promise her that it was going to be alright. That she wouldn’t always feel the way that she had when that accursed drink had worn off.

“No, you will remember it for the rest of your life. But the rest of the world won’t”, he reached over and squeezed her shoulder, “or in the case of the boys it will just be a pleasant memory”.

“Hmmm …” She didn’t seem to be capable of saying anything else or ignore the feel of his hand on her shoulder. It seemed incredibly large to her.

“Want some advice?” He said, in a tone which implied she was going to get it whether she wanted it or not.

“I don’t know, do I?” She titled her head to examine him. He was very handsome. She hadn’t noticed it before because she was so strung up on Clark to notice anyone else but he really was handsome. He didn’t have Clark’s natural ebony curls, having being given more ordinary boring brown straight hair but it looked good on him. His eyes were not piercing and blue, but they were warm and chocolatey.  He was so incredibly masculine, warm and comforting which was odd considering his strong cheekbones and long, almost feminine lashes. How had she never noticed what the other girls did before?

“I think so. It’s really good”, he encouraged her.

“Fine, hit me with it”, she resigned herself.

“Thank him and brazen it out”. There it was. His advice. Short and sweet.

“What?” Chloe exclaimed. This was probably why she had never noticed his looks before, because he was not that smart.

“No one knows exactly what caused this whole mess. If the concoction/potion thing magnified an already existing attraction or just made you attracted to the first person you saw. I suggest that you go for the second one, write it that way in your article and before that comes out go and thank him for ‘not taking advantage’ the way that someone else would have.”

“That idea has merit”, she considered the point carefully.

“It has more than merit, it is genius if I do say it my very humble self”, he grinned.

“I’ll think about it”, she conceded.

“Stand up straight, seek him out, sound convincing and”, he grinned even more broadly, “if all else fails: shake your pom-poms at him. Men like that”.

“Thanks for the pep talk coach”.

“Anytime. I do especially well with girlie problems”.

~*~

Chloe checked her make-up in the car, by which she meant she scrubbed it off and reapplied it, before shoving her shoulders back and heading into the house. She wished that Lana had moved to Paris like she had been thinking last year. As it was, Chloe knew that she would probably have to face her and that Lana would know that her blonde host had once again made a fool of herself.

“Please please please don’t let her be in”, Chloe thought to herself as she opened the door and walked into, “Clark?”

“Chloe”, he gasped and looked almost scared.

“And Lana”, her eyes fell on the girl standing only a few feet behind Clark, looking equally anxious. “What no Talon today?” She asked conversationally as she dumped her book bag by the side of the door. Messy was her middle name after all. It would have raised suspicions if she had put it away.

“Hey Chloe”, Lana greeted a little too brightly, “no, Clark came over to talk to me about something actually”.

“Oh, intriguing”, Chloe said in a funny voice, “I’ll leave you too love birds alone then”.

“No, it’s nothing like that”, they both hastened to assure her.

“Okay then”, Chloe smiled, the coach at been right, this was easier than she had thought. Just thinking about their conversation brought a warm, genuine smile to her lips. “Well Clark when you have a sec I wanted a word, I was about to call you actually, but …”

“No”, Lana cut in, “I’ve got something to do.”

“Okay, cool”, Chloe waved as Lana headed out of the back door, apparently without even bothering to take her keys, unless she already had them on her. “That was odd. Clark”, she turned to him. “Are you two okay?”

“Um yeah I mean we’re not together, we’re …”

“I know. Stringing around”, she smirked at him, causing his eyes to widen dramatically.  “Look Clark”, she changed to an utterly sincere tone of voice, “I just wanted to say thank-you”.

“For what?” The confusion which plagued his brow did not lessen.

“Well, you saved me once again.” She laughed. “I could have ended up in a much worse situation today if I had seen anyone but you first after I had drunk that damned punch”. She gave this information a second to sink in before she pressed on, “When will I learn to check for glowing green substances before eating or touching anything?”

“What?”

“You don’t remember? I turn into your own personal cheerleader and you don’t remember. Well that’s flattering”, she declared in an over-dramatic fashion, desirous of getting a laugh.

It didn’t work, Clark only became more flustered. “No, I mean of course I remember I just didn’t know exactly what was going on …”

“Right, cheerleaders feel insecure, buy a ‘love potion’ off the internet which clearly doesn’t work, add some green powder to make it the right colour but being in Smallville of course it was meteor rock which has weird properties. They give their boyfriends the drink ergo they are the first one they see after drinking it and they become obsessed. I, on the other hand, helped myself while watching the game”.

“Right “, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“Imagine if it had been one of the already taken football players. I would probably have ended up nearly dead again and I promised my Dad this year no death threats – or at least fewer than last year”, Chloe continued, hoping that he was buying this.

“Right”, he couldn’t quite joke about it the way that she did but he was starting to relax. At least Chloe didn’t still have feelings for him.

“Or the coach, I would have been suspended. Or coach Teague” she shivered.

“Right”.

“You were the safe option so I guess what I’m saying is”, she bounced up onto her toes and kissed him on the cheek, “thanks for being a gentleman as always and … can we please never discuss this again?”

“Right”.

“Know any other words there big fella?” She teased him and slugged him lightly on the arm alla Lois.

“Right, um, yeah. Just the first person you saw.” He stared at her.

“Yeah”, she blinked up at him, “oh no, Clark you didn’t think that I …”

“No no of course not”, he hastened to assure her.

“Lana doesn’t? Do you want me to explain what happened to her?” Chloe moved as if she would have run after her friend there and then.

“No no”, Clark said, his arm closing around her arm to keep her in place. “It’s fine she understands that we are just friends”.

“Great, well in that case I need to shower”, she announced and stared at his hand on her arm, noting that she felt no fireworks.

“Um okay”, Clark released her.

“Great”, she repeated and bounced up the stairs only to turn back around just in time to find him staring at her legs, “Clark?”

“Yeah”, he fixed his eyes on her face with a blush.

“Do you want to stay for dinner?” She asked cheerfully, as if she had noticed anything out of the ordinary. “I’m thinking of making my speciality!”

“Ordering in?” He grinned at her.

“Yeah, Italian!”

“Count me in”, he said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“Great”, she grinned and continued to bounce along her way, before she got to the landing, “oh and Clark?”

“Chloe?”

“Here”, she tossed her pom-poms down to him. “The whole cheerleader thing just isn’t me”.

He laughed then articled something that he been bothering him. “Chlo”, he called out.

“Yeah?”

“Whose is the jacket?”
~*~

“Hi Coach Teague. Hello Coach Teague. Good morning Coach Teague”, none of those introductions sounded right Chloe pondered the problem as she paced out of the boy’s locker rooms.

“Chloe?”

“Coach Teague”, she squeaked.

“That’s my name but I am enjoying the new method of pronunciation Coach Teague”, he did an imitation of her for the last two words.

“Pitch and pronunciation are different things”, Chloe pointed out, unimpressed.

“Very true. So tell me Chloe Sullivan”, his voice raised to a falsetto, “what can I do for you?”

“Nothing, I just wanted to give you this back before school started and say thanks for not telling anyone about …”

“Oh, you mean that you didn’t want me to put it on my Facebook page?” He asked in mock horror, then laughed. “I’m just kidding. It was Myspace”.

“What a relief!” Chloe said with a good deal of sarcasm.

“Don’t worry, my multitudes of followers won’t pay any attention to that piece of information, they are too busy reading about what I had for lunch five days in a row. Peanut butter and jelly! Hell yeah!” He held up his hand for a high five.

She laughed at him but did not slap his hand. She got the feeling like he liked to make a lot of jokes.

“Honestly, kids today they have no respect for their elders”, he continued to nettle her.

“Anyway”, she was apparently the more mature of the two of them, “here you go”. She handed the neatly folded, ironed garment back to him. She had got her Dad to iron it for her to avoid the possibility of burning a hole straight through it.

“Spring time fresh”, he inhaled.

“I used fabric conditioner”, she said feeling uncomfortable. Who on earth announced that they had used fabric conditioner?

“Thank-you, but you didn’t have to do that”.

“Oh that’s okay, we had plenty in the house.” Why the hell couldn’t she shut up about the stupid fabric conditioner? Did she work for the company who sold it or something?

He smiled at her as if he could hear the conversation going on in her head but this time, instead of nettling her, he changed the subject, “Thank goodness I thought that you were going to ask me for an interview”.

“An interview”, Chloe instantly perked up, forgetting her embarrassment. “Would you?”

“No no”, he suddenly looked rather scared, “I’m boring. Really, terribly boring”.

“Oh come on”, she started to cajole him even as she privately thought that that love potion must really have done a number on her. How else was it possible that she hadn’t thought of asking him for an interview?

“I don’t think that that’s a good idea”, he tried to dissuade her.

“Come on”, she smiled at him winningly.

“Chloe …”

“Please”.

“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to put my foot down and say no”.
~*~

“So Coach Teague, thank-you for having agreed to do this interview”, Chloe beamed at the newest (and hottest) member of Smallville High’s teaching staff from behind her desk at The Torch.

“You really didn’t give me much of a choice”, he grumbled good-naturedly.

“It’s not as if I lay down in front of your car or anything”, she said dismissively.

“No you … wait, you didn’t really do that did you?” He stared at her in shock.

“Yeah, actually I’ve used it several times but I stopped using that as a ploy when someone ran me over”, she explained, finding it surprising and almost refreshing to meet someone who didn’t know they lengths she would go to for a story.

“They did what?” He exploded, jumping to his feet.

“Ran me over”, she repeated. “Actually that’s happened to me several times” she said, thinking about it.

“Are they in jail now, right?” He asked, running his hand over his head and the back of his neck as he sat back down, trying to compose himself.

“One of them is. The other is in Belle Reeve. The other was never found”, Chloe thought about it. This new teacher had really better toughen up if he was going to last in Smallville. Maybe he would have been better off in Granville.

“Never found?” He repeated, incredulously.

“My Dad has an alibi for the whole night”, she replied cheerfully.

He smiled, “I’m sure he does. You know I think that I remember seeing him at that bar”.

“Church”, she corrected him.

“Right church, all night”, he announced solemnly.

She laughed. “I’ll tell him that. So, are you going to continue to try to evade questioning or can we get on with the interview now?”

“You know I’m fairly certain that I can give you detention Miss Sullivan”, he threatened.

“No, you can’t”, she shook her head.

“Really?” He crossed his arms over his chest and leant back, “because I have been going through your records”.

“My grades are excellent”. She wasn’t bragging, it was just a fact.

“Yes, they are”, he agreed, “until it comes to gym”.

“Well, gym isn’t a real subject”, she shrugged it off. She was hardly going to get upset about gym! Then she noted the expression on the face of the man sitting opposite her, and remembered who he was and what he did. “I mean it is, all of that running and jumping and …”

He laughed. “Tactful”.

“What I mean”, her brain began to formulate an excuse which would, hopefully, hold water, “is that due to my busy schedule, classes, running The Torch, saving Smallville from meteor freaks on a regular basis and bringing down Lionel Luthor I just don’t have time for it!”

“Well”, he leant forwards conspiratorially, “I will give you one personal tid bit about me ..”

“What?” Chloe mimicked his motion.

“My father always preached a healthy mind in a healthy body”, he informed her.

“Good for him”, she might be dense – what had that potion done to her?  - but what did that have to do with the situation in hand?

He crossed his arms. “I believe very strongly in fitness too”.

“Hence the choice in profession?”

“I think that you should go to class”, he concluded.

“That’s worse than detention”, she cried out.

“That’s worrying”, his voice lacked its usual mirth.

“I’m not that out of shape”, she took umbrage.

“That’s not what I meant …”

“I get all of the exercise I need outrunning golf carts”, she expostulated, her ire rising. She should have known that he would only respect a gym bunny like Lana.

“Chloe that’s not what I meant”, he declared, far more forcefully this time. She paused in the middle of her tirade and stared at him, for a second so shocked by his transformation that she wasn’t really sure what to say. “No workout, no questions”, he stated simply.

“You know that this is cruelty to …”

“Actually”, he cut her off, “it’s exercise that you are required by law to do”.

“Law shmaw. It’s never stopped me before!”
~*~

“You sadistic bastard!”

“I’ve been called worse”, Jason said with a grin, “but this is only the warm up”.

“I’ve already pulled every single muscle in my body”, Chloe complained as she stretched her back out. This was the first time that she had been in the gym – for none reporting reasons – since her freshman year. At least this time there was only one other inhabitant as it was after school and she didn’t have to wear a stupid school P.E. skirt. She didn’t have any clothes really suited to working out so she had slipped into a pair of leggings she normally used for layering a look, a random tank top that she would never be able to look at again after this and had borrowed a sports bra from Lana which was a bit too tight.

“Hence my belief in regular physical activity”, Jason explained, somehow without sounding judgemental.

“Really?” She wiggled eyebrow at him, he wasn’t the only one who could make inappropriate jokes.

“Sullivan”, he warned. “Come on, let’s get that heart rate up”.

“Don’t you know that an elevated heart rate is a sign of high blood pressure?” She protested.

“Move it, Sullivan”, he began to jog and Chloe moved alongside him begrudgingly. “So, what do you want to know?” He asked, he was a man of his word. If she did the exercise then he would answer her questions.

She tried to remember her questions, but it was hard. “You were born into a rich family, with a silver spoon in your mouth, never need to work a day in your life, why are you here working in a middle of nowhere high school while you get your education at MetU?”

“You aren’t starting me off easily”, he inquired with a grin.

“Well, neither did you”, she pointed out.

“Come on Chloe, pick up the pace”, he smirked at her and revealed that he could go far faster than he was letting on and she had to matching it if she wanted to hear his answer.

“Fine”, she huffed, “but this had better be good!”

“I went through high school – well, all of my life really – very easily. Loads of friends, everything that money could buy, amazing women …” He began to talk, increasing his speed as he did.

“Sounds terrible”, Chloe snapped as her chest began to hurt. She hated running.

“But I didn’t know what was real, what I had earned, who was just sucking up. So I decided to strike out on my own”, he somehow began to run even faster.

“Impressive. A cliché but impressive”, Chloe called deciding that she wasn’t running any faster even if meteor freaks were on her tail.

“And we are going to be doing the sprint finish”, he said dropping back into line with her.

“I don’t know why half the female population of the school has a crush on you. Do they know how sadistic you really are?” She groused.

“Probably not”, he smirked. “Come on”, he powered on to the finish line.

Chloe followed, several minutes later collapsing onto the floor. Lying on her back. Panting.

“I wanted a fresh start”, he explained as he crouched down beside her.

“That makes sense”, she panted out once she could.

He brushed a sweaty lock of hair from her forehead. “Come on lazy bones”.
~*~

“I hate that no good sadistic bastard!” Chloe groaned. She was lying on her bed, after taking a shower still in her fuzzy towel, too tired and sore to move.

“Chloe?” She heard her name being called from the other side of the door.

“Wha?” She replied tiredly.

Apparently taking that as permission to enter the inner sanctum, Lana came through the door, followed by Clark who blushed and looked away when he saw the condition that Chloe was in.

 “What happened to you?” Lana exclaimed.

“Coach Teague”, she moaned, “God I’m so sore”.
~*~

“Oh for the love of God stop ringing the damn doorbell”, Chloe groaned. She had been lying on her bed for the last hour or so, Lana and Clark had finally left and she thought that she would have some peace and quiet.

“This had better be bloody important”, she groused as she reached the bottom of the staircase.

The doorbell continued to ring.

“Keep your panties on”, she snapped at the door. She moaned as she lifted her arm (had is always been this heavy?) up to unlock the door. She didn’t have the energy to look through the peephole first. If a meteor freak hell bent on destruction had come calling, then she could just hope that he would be quick about it.

Slowly the door opened, creaking so loudly that Chloe thought it was probably her back the way that she was feeling. Neither Chloe nor her father were handy. She would have to ask Clark to see if he could do something about it. Finally the door was fully open and revealed not a meteor freak, but Coach Teague, looking pretty damned mad.

“Chloe what the hell were you thinking when … Oh, sorry”, he turned around automatically when he saw what she was wearing, or rather not wearing.

Chloe looked down at herself, her neck protesting as she did so. Oh yeah, she was still wearing a fuzzy towel and nothing else.

“I’m too tired to get changed”, she said, also too tired to care about manners. “Either say what you came to say or go away”.

“I can’t talk to you with my back turned”, he protested.

“So turn around, I’m mostly covered”, Chloe huffed. Her feet hurt.

“Right”, Jason turned around and she noted that he was blushing, although there was still a bite to his tone when he spoke to her. “Can I come in?”

“Sure”, she got out of the way and was relieved that he closed the door. It looked very painful in that moment.

“Why did you do it?”

“Do what?” She frowned. It turned out that even her forehead muscles had been overworked.

“What do you think?” He demanded.

“I haven’t the faintest idea and I’m far too tired to try to figure it out so why don’t you just tell me?” She sighed, sagging slightly even as she said it.

“Chloe?” He stared at her, his anger temporarily abated.

“Yeah?”

“You really aren’t well are you?” He stared at her with concern.

“I’m fine or I would be if some sadistic, probably meteor rock fuelled, lunatic hadn’t escaped from Bellereve and decided to vent his anger on me”, she groused, and seeing his increased consternation, adding, “by pulling every single muscle in my body”. Had he really not get that she was referring to him?

“Oh, sorry about that”, he looked around the Sullivan’s small hallway and located the open plan living/dining/kitchen area towards the back of the house. “Come on”, he wrapped his arms around her waist and helped her over there and onto the sofa. His heart genuinely going out to the girl as she winced as she sat down.

“Did you do the cool down exercises I recommended?” He inquired as he placed a cushion in the right place to support her lower back.

“Of course I bloody didn’t, I was shattered”, she snapped.

“That was probably a mistake”, he commented.

She rolled her eyes. “God”, she moaned, as she realised that even this method of venting her wrath was to be denied her.

He smiled at her in commiseration, “Even your eyes hurt?”

“Yes”, she pouted.

“That’s terrible”, he supressed the urge to hug her with difficulty. “Is there anything that I can do for you?”

“No, I’ve already taken painkillers so unless you want to reach above the fridge to get another packet so that I can drown myself in the damned things then …”

“No”, he stated gravely.

“Then just say whatever it is so that I can lie down again and try to get to sleep”, she said tersely.

“If you sleep like this then you will just end up even more stiff”, he told her, trying to remember what it was that he had even come here to tell her. It must have been important, he had looked up her address in the school’s directory and driven over there like a man possessed. Ah, yes, that was it. “Chloe, how could you?”

“Oh goodie, we are back to this”, he didn’t sound particularly happy.

“What the hell did you tell Clark about me?”

“Clark? About you?” She stared at him perplexed, “Nothing. I haven’t even spoken to him really. I mean I took your advice yesterday and …”

“No, today”, he snapped, “between our workout and half an hour ago”.

“What are you talking about? I haven’t even spoken to him today … I don’t think. Wait he might have been here when Lana was in my room”, she pondered.

“Oh great! And you told her what exactly?” He demanded seeing his reputation and professional career going down the tubes.

“Nothing, I don’t think. I don’t remember. Probably something about you being a bastard and being sore”, she tried to shrug and ended up wincing.

“You said that I was a bastard and that you were sore?” He questioned, a small smile playing around his lips.

“Yeah, I think so. Why?”

“Well, that would probably explain his decision to track me down, pin me against a wall and threaten to rip my still beating heart out of my chest and shoe it down my throat, before he turned me into the police if I ever went near you again”, he said, quivering with mirth now that he had discovered the source of the misunderstanding.

“Oh no. He didn’t. You … Are you alright?” Chloe asked, as she tried to wrap her mind around the idea.

“Yeah, I’m fine”, he smiled, “thanks for caring”.

She narrowed her eyes at him, knowing that he was teasing her again. “What are you talking about? I don’t care. In fact, I think that you got what you deserved after the way that you treated me so abominably”.

“I answered your questions, didn’t I?” He challenged.

“Yes, but you made me do exercise! What’s next? Cooking?” The thought was enough to make her shudder and the local hospital pale.

“No, I can’t cook”, he continued in a light tone.

“Thank God for that”, she couldn’t help but smile at him. She really should get him checked out for meteor rocks.

“But  I can do something to make this up to you”, he offered persuasively.

“I’m listening”, she tried not to sound as if she were being won over.

He grinned in a way that made her heart melt. “Sports therapy”, he explained as he positioned himself behind her and began to massage her tight shoulders.

“Oh God”, she groaned involuntarily.

“You okay there?” He asked with a smile.

“I forgive you”, she sighed.

He grinned, “This is my superhero ability”.

“Yeah, good”, she said as coherently as she could considering that her brain was turning to mush.

Chloe began to relax and somehow ended up lying on her front, her towel undone down to her waist, with the Jason happily massaging her back.  He was discovering a lot about her: 1) she was incredibly tense, 2) she probably needed a new computer chair with better lumbar support, 3) she had the cutest smattering of freckles he had ever seen, 4) the softest flesh that he had ever felt, and 5) she made sex noises when she got massaged. Real, honest to God, sex noises.

Somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that this was wrong but it just felt natural to be here with her and he couldn’t seem to stop himself from trying to make her moan again and again. He swallowed and shifted his weight slightly; he didn’t want her to be able to feel his growing hardness against her ass.

“What the hell is going on here?”

They both jumped, Jason’s hands automatically going to cover her back up with the towel.

They craned around to see Clark standing in the doorway, with Lana hovering behind him, scowling, fuming and looking about ready to commit murder.

“Seriously, six years I can’t get him to notice me and suddenly he’s everywhere like a bad rash”, Chloe mutter.

“I told you”, Jason whispered back, and tried to deemphasise his hard on. “boys go nuts for pom-poms”.




A/N: Yeah, so I had a little trouble filling this prompt in that I filled it twice. Sorry. Go to the next post if you would like to read my other option.
 

Quid Pro Quo - Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Tess strode into her office, closing and locking the door behind her. It had been an hour since Clark had left to get to get the front page story for her and half an hour since she had checked on its progress. She headed for her desk only to come up short.

“What the hell?” She exclaimed as the distinctive odour of smoke assaulted her nostrils. It took her less than a second to locate its source. There, on here coffee table, lay the smoking remnants of some documents. They were somehow scorched beyond recognition without the wood underneath being damaged at all. In spite of herself, she had to admit that it was rather impressive.

Her eyes went automatically to the safe on the wall. The portrait of Lex which hid it had carefully been moved to one side with the safe door neatly sitting right in front of it. Even more impressive. If you were impressed by displays of strength.

Finally, her attention settled on her settee. Or rather on the man who reclined upon it.

6,3, 230 pounds of bone and pure muscle, dark curly hair and bright blue eyes. Clark was a sight to behold at the best of times, but there was something different about him now. His normally guileless face was now smirking, challengingly.

Tess raised an eyebrow. “Should I ask?” She inquired as she removed her coat and hung it up on the ornate stand, another relic of when this office had belonged to someone else.

He didn’t answer. Or give any other indication of having heard her. Instead his eyes openly devoured her. In spite of herself, she felt a slow blush creep up her neck to stain her cheeks but she wasn’t going to allow him to get the better of her with such tactics. He wasn’t the first man who had thought that he could back her into a corner by staring at her like a sex object and he unfortunately wouldn’t be the last. She was too well accustomed to it to be effected by it normally, but, in Clark’s case, she felt as if he could see right through her clothes. Thankfully, she had on her good undies.

“I take it”, she took her time in returning his voyeuristic gaze and was a little annoyed to note that he didn’t blush. Normally she could turn him scarlet with a smile. “That you have my story?” She glanced at the pile of ash which she assumed had been her pictures, before pinning him with a look.

He didn’t quail and, doubting her own sanity, she felt the corner of her mouth beginning to curl upwards.

With a languid grace she had not known he possessed, Clark swung himself around so was sitting instead of lying making her feel that he was focusing even more of his attention on her. He leant forwards, resting his forearms on his thighs, the intensity growing with every second. She found herself taking a second forwards. His lips parted, he licked his lips, he was about to speak, and Tess strained to hear. Then, he exhaled.

Clark leant back, reclining against the sofa’s back, stretching his arms across the entire width of the piece of furniture. He was casual, controlled, confident and dominant. She didn’t like men like that. And yet ...

She would not swallow. She would not allow her legs to clench. She folded her arms, pleased that the padded bra afforded her some protection.

He smirked. As if he knew exactly what she was thinking.

This did make her blush

There was a flicker of hear in his eyes, tiny but clear. He knew.

Exuded arrogance as he slowly placed one foot, then the other on her extremely expensive coffee table. Only inches away from the smouldering mess. As if daring her to say something about it.

Tess bristled. She walked over to stand beside the table and gave his shoes and then him pointed look. He really did have huge feet, currently encased in Italian leather shoes by the look of them.

“What are you going to do about it?” His look clearly challenged her.

Tess may have only learnt that she was Luthor a few short months ago, but the blood still flowed strongly within her veins and such a challenge could not go unanswered. She kept her eyes on her unruly associate as she placed her dainty, high heeled foot on the side of the small table, and then pushed it away from her hard and suddenly enough to send his feet hit the floor with a thump. He seemed to be more amused than anything.

“I believe that I sent you out to find me a story”, she stated simply.

“That sounds about right”, he agreed, his eyes flashing red for a second. It was so quick that most people would have missed it or thought that they had imagined it, but Tess took it in and stored the piece of information.

She uncrossed her arms and took a step towards him, demonstrating that that she was not afraid of him. “Well, as you have apparently seen fit to bypass my security, break into my office, destroy my private property and put your grubby feet all over a priceless antique I hope that you have something for you”, she paused, taking another step closer to him, standing between his now spread legs, “Otherwise I might be tempted to do something ... Unpleasant”.

The smile that accompanied these words was sweetness itself, but usually had the effect of making grown men cry and beg for mercy. Clark seemed to find it rather stimulating.

“What? Fire me? Something tells me that that isn’t going to happen”, he replied far too smugly, “aside from anything else, you are trying to create a new, greener, kinder image for LuthorCorp; you don’t need the negativity publicity”.

“You are very sure of yourself”, she persisted, unfazed, “There are other things that I could do to you”, or have done to him, “other than unemployment”. Lex’s pet projects were neither gone nor forgotten, they had merely been ‘refocused’. She saw no need to tell Clark that she would never do that to him.

He seemed to know that without her telling him though. He cocked his head on the side, not an unusual thing for Clark to do, but this time there was no trace of his normal boyish charm. “What are you going to do boss? Spank me?” His face broke into a wicked grin at these last words.

Tess blushed. Actually, blushed didn’t quite cover it. She felt heat radiating from every single pore of her body, turning her the same shade as her hair, as the saliva disappeared from her mouth. She licked her lips, knowing that she would never be able to form words if she didn’t, acutely aware of his eyes detailing her every movement. She felt a little dizzy.

“What has got into you?” She snapped. It had been exciting before, prodding him to see what his reaction and how it would differ from normal. Well, exciting and annoying in about equal measure. Now annoyance (if not downright anger) was winning out. He had won, at least one round, making her betray herself like that. She was going to destroy him!

“What do you think?”

She wasn’t going to take another syllable of his impertinence. Of his handsome face smirking at her like that. Of that knowing gleam in his eyes. Of that huge, hard body of his just lounging around her office ...

“One too many espressos?” She suggested, in a tone that was a little closer to peevish than the aloof condescension that had been her intention. Even as her lips moved, she heard Lex’s numerous warnings about giving away the advantage by displaying ire. Damn it and damn him. She was already losing!

Rich warm laughter filled the room, taking her by surprise. “Maybe its time for me to start asking some questions of my own”, he stood up and loomed over her.

She stood her ground, scowling at his ability to control the exchange and more specifically at his hand as it found its way onto her hip, searing his through the suddenly-too-thin fabric.

“I don’t think so”, Tess dismissed the idea and him, she stalked out of his grasp and over to her desk. As she circled the large wooden table she allowed her hand to drift, apparently unintentionally, across its polished surface, inching closer to one of the many secret emergency buttons in the room. She was in over her head. One more second and her digit would make contact with the alarm and then, as if by magic, several of her armed security men would just appear. Interviewing the suddenly smug bastard with them in the room would be a hell of a lot easier.

“Ah”, she gasped.

Her finger was no longer on the table, it was suspended in the air in front of her, captured in a hand much larger than her own. Her breath caught in her chest.

“A naughty naughty”, he rebuked her errant finger and lifted it to his mouth and nipped at it.

“So much for getting out of this situation”, Tess thought as a jolt of electricity went though her, but only said, “How did you do that?” Her gaze darted from where he had been, to where he now stood. That shouldn’t have been possible.

“I think you know”.

 She tilted her chin up, impressed despite herself, that he had finally had the gall to pull her up on that. He never had before although she was certain that he had suspected what she had discovered.

He smirked at her, “Nothing to say? That’s a change”. In another display of his super speed, he twirled her around and pressed her with odd tenderness against the window. He had no intention of hurting her, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t enjoy the way that she arched against him in response to the cold glass. “You appear to have an obsession with me. Is this a family trait?”

“Your the one who seems to have an obsession with my family. Tell me were you and my brother really just friends?” She taunted him.

“Watch”, he brought his face so close to hers that she could feel his hot breath on her cheek, “your”, he grasped her ass firmly, “mouth”, he slanted his head and bit the lobe of her ear gently.

“And if I don’t?” She somehow managed to get out. She wasn’t going to just submit and beg him to ravish her, however tempting it might be.

Clark proved himself to be a man of action. He squeezed her ass and ground himself against her. She grasped his shoulders, trying to remember why pride was better than being taken against a window in the middle of the day, only to blink when she realised that her nails were not digging into him. They should have been. Bloody hell, he must be a man of steel. Their eyes met and realisation, on both parts, was impossible to deny.

“Something will occur to me, I’m sure”, he nibbled his way along her jawline. “And, in your case, I can’t say that I mind quite as much. If you really want to follow me around everywhere I’m sure that I would get used to it”.

“Is that so?” She tried to sound nonchalant as her hands ran along his broad shoulders and her body trembled against him.

“So casual in such a position”, he grinned, “It does raise concerns about how you normally conduct your business meetings”.

Tess’ eyes narrowed and before she had the chance to think better of it, she made to slap him. Her hand was captured millimetres from his chiselled jaw.

“You are going to be very glad that I didn’t let you”, he said in a low voice, completely devoid of malice.

It galled her, almost as much as his overt taunts earlier had. She flung her other hand at him but was similarly unsuccessful.

“Oh I get it, you’re that kind of girl”, he teased her provokingly. “You like being pinned down”, he braced her hands either side of head.

“Woman”, she corrected him.

It only made him smile even more brightly. “Women then. I notice that you don’t feel compelled to deny anything else?”

“Why should I?” She locked her eyes with his challengingly.

“No reason I can think of”, he leant in to kiss her but at the last second his lips met her cheek.

“What’s got into you Clark?” She demanded, as he nuzzled her undeterred.

He ignored her question, focusing his attention on the expanse of neck that she had unwittingly exposed to him.

“Damn it Clark, answer me”, she demanded with as much bite as possible as his thumbs brushed across the sensitive insides of her wrists. She had no idea how he had in only a few minutes been able to discover one of her weak points, she dreaded to think what he would manage if she let him take her to bed ... Or she she shivered at any rate.

“You don’t know what that bossy tone does to me”, he growled into her throat.

She had a fairly good idea actually. She had caught glimpses of it before, and right at that moment it was pressed rather firmly against her. “Doesn’t get any articles written though, apparently”, she tried to keep her cool and turn the situation to her advantage. She rubbed her hip against him. Just because she wasn’t able to move her hands, didn’t mean that she was going to let him get away with anything he wanted.

“Or that business suit”, he ignored her comment, stroking his hands down her arms then tugging her suit jacket off. She didn’t object or move to stop him, instead using her newly released hands to snake around her sweet tormentor. Not appeased, he ripped off her blouse sending buttons flying all over the place. He look distinctly pleased with himself as his eyes latched onto her heaving breasts which were barely covered by the dark green silk of her bra.

“Your own wardrobe seems to have improved a great deal”, Tess remarked as casually as she could given the circumstances, “in only an hour or so especially”.

“I thought that you might like it”, he declared, “it’s so much more me”.

“And you would be ... ?”

“Hard”, he smirked and pressed himself back against her.

“Yeah, I’d gathered that much”, she raked her nails down his back, noting that the fabric really was very good quality.

“My ego might have been bruised if you hadn’t”, he covered her breasts with his large hands and massaged them and began to kiss his way along her collarbone.

“Fuck Clark”, she moaned, her hands ran up and down his back, through his curling locks and finally, when she could stand it no more, down to clutch at his firm ass.

He smirked against her warm, salty skin; he was going to enjoy this, even more than he had thought. He regrettably released her silk clad milky orbs with a final squeeze, and seized her by the hips. “And this skirt, was it invented solely to drive me crazy?” The black material seemed to have been sprayed onto her lithe form.

“You certainly think a lot of yourself”. The fact that she had in fact thought of him when she brought it and checked that her butt looked good in it was neither here nor there.

“Please I know what you want”, he straightened up and stared her right in her beautiful green eyes. Why did he always fall for the green-eyed girls? “Every time you look at me Every time you come up with some flimsy excuse to get me in this office. Don’t tell me that you don’t have a few twisted fantasies”.

“More than a few”, she admitted and then defended herself, “It’s not like you don’t have them! I’ve seen the way that you gawk at me”.

“While I take except at the word gawk”, he started only to be interrupted as she did a rather unflattering impression of his normal geeky bumbling ways with an add touch of awestruck.

A low rumble of laughter came bubbling up out of him, but he did sneak a hand around to the back of her head, tangling it in her flaming red hair making her gasp. He kissed her hand on the mouth and then bit down on her bottom lip, tugging it between his teeth, before licking over the afflicted area. “Don’t be naughty or I’ll have to punish you”, he growled.

She responded with an equally passionate kiss of her own which left him breathless.

“Fine, I will admit I thought of you when I picked out my shirt this morning”, he only had one suit at that point, “and this much nicer suit this morning”. He relented, a very small amount.

“Then I will admit that I did put this skirt on with you in mind”, she offered.

“Good, it almost makes me feel guilty”.

“About what?” She wondered. His only answer was to rip her skirt down the seam.

“You had better get me an amazing front cover story because that skirt costs about one week’s worth of your wages”, she informed him, trying not to be impressed.

“I promise you won’t be complaining about the loss for very long”, he smiled smugly, “I’ll take you to Paris this afternoon, if you’re not too sore afterwards”, he offered in a more conciliatory manner.

“I do have access to the LuthorCorp jet”, she reminded him, trying to ignore the fact that she was only wearing her lingerie.

“I’m faster”, he bragged.

“That’s not always an advantage, darling”, she sneered at him.

“You have no idea what hearing that name on your lips does to me”, he teased her, gave her a final kiss and tore himself away from her. He took two large steps back so that he could survey her properly.

Tess knew that she was hot but she couldn’t help feeling self-conscious at that moment. She responded to the awful sensation with an overblown display of bravado. She struck an overly dramatic pose, as she asked, “Enough for you?”

He laughed, “More than enough. You are gorgeous. Complete and utter perfection”, he answered her in a voice more close to his normal one.

“Don’t overdo it”, she replied sardonically.

“I’m not. I swear”, he promised as he drank her in. Her figure was perfect: tall and lithe with full breasts and hips all in porcelain skin. She could drive him crazy on her worst day, there dressed only in a strapless hunter green silk push-up bra and matching panties, with old fashioned stockings and high heels, he didn’t stand a chance.

He groaned and tore his eyes from her delicious curves and back up to her face. Her visage was exquisite. There were no words in language to describe her. She was closer to the stories that Lex used to tell him, from Greek mythology. From the first moment he had laid eyes on her, even covered in ash, he hadn’t been able to shake the thought that she looked as if she had been crafted out of marble. As if every man in the world had combined their fantasy and somehow made it reality.

“Old fashioned beauty with modern confidence”, that was how his mom had described her when Lois had shown her the article with his new boss in the New York Times. Martha had also pointed out that Tess reminded her of Clark’s school boy crush. Not Lana. Long before the ethereal brunette, there had been. Katherine Hepburn. Lois had teased him mercilessly about that but Clark had never thought that the comparison did the young Luthor justice. She was so much more. She was simply beyond perfect. He couldn’t keep his hands off her.

Her supersped over to her and kissed her again, relishing the way that she clung to him and returned his ardour. Then she bit his lower lip, causing him to pull back, to see her breathing hard causing her breasts to rise and fall appealingly.

“How did you get so good at this?” She panted, her entire body humming with electricity.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” He grinned at her wickedly.

“That would be the general idea of questions”, she tried to nettle him.

He saw it for what it was, a defence mechanism, and laughed. He ran his hands along her trim body, relaxing her and increasing her excitement before announcing, “You know, I’ve never been a fan of green. It’s not my colour”, he took hold of her bra and sent it to the floor with the rest of her clothes.

“Did something happen to you Clark?”

He stared at her suspiciously, then proclaimed, “You ask far too many questions”.

“I thought that you didn’t have a problem with strong, confident women”, she reminded him of their second meeting.

“I don’t”, he smiled, he didn’t seem to be able to do anything else around her today. “On the contrary, I find your bossiness - like everything else about you - to be a turn on. But, at the moment”, in a flash she was back on the settee, sprawled out once again, “I can think of better uses for that mouth”.

She raised her eyebrow at him. Not that the idea wasn’t appealing.

“I want more if I’m going to give you any information. What was it that you said earlier, quid pro quo?” He seemed very taken with the idea, but then again what man wouldn’t have been?

“Please you aren’t going to tell me anything”, she snorted even as she sashayed forwards.

“Probably not”, he agreed. “But we could have a lot of fun while I’m not telling you anything”.

“So no article?” She had already guessed as much, but confirmation never hurt.

“No”.

“No pictures?”

“No”.

“No answers?”

No”, he finally admitted.

“Well”, she strode over so that she was once again standing between his parted legs, “I better get something in return”.

“I’ll fly you around the world baby”. His kind offer was met with rolled eyes.

“Baby, I’m hurt”, he taunted her. “Come here”, he patted his lap.

“Fuck it!” She swore and he grinned wolfishly. She jumped on him, straddling him grabbing his shoulders and heaving him towards her. She attacked his mouth with hot, primitive kisses. He responded in kind. They devoured each other but were still unable to get enough.

He grabbed her ass again but she moved them to her breasts.

“I like a woman who knows what she wants”, he growled, for the first time feeling her bare flesh under his fingers. He rubbed tight circles around her nipples, earning him a whimper.

“Then you’ll love this”, she ripped his shirt open and his jacket off.

“Yeah, it looks like I will”, he agreed.

Tess licked her lips, amazed by what she saw before her. She had never seen a man so gorgeous and she had been in a long term relationship with Oliver Queen. She leant in and began to kiss him, travelling down his hard chest down his stomach, Clark’s hips shifted forwards, then she stood up.

“Hey”, Clark complained at the loss of sensation and warm weight that had been filling his hands.

“Stand up”, she commanded.

He complied, both surprised and amused.

“Strip”, she ordered and once again he was powerless but to comply.

“Anything else?” He inquired getting to his feet and enjoying the way that she seemed unable to keep her attention off his belt. He took his time, opening it, pulling it out of the loops in his pants.

She licked her lips and waited expectantly and this new far-too-confident-for-his-own-good Clark, did not disappoint. He dropped his pants and kicked them off, along with his shoes and socks. Apparently in an expensive suit, he didn’t see the need for underwear.

It wasn’t the first one that she had seen, but it was definitely the biggest and she hadn’t been wrong about his arousal. When she was finally able to tear her eyes away, she placed her hand on his chest again and began to circle him, taking in every inch of his hard body. The man was complete and utter perfection with an ass that deserved to have epic poems written in its honour. She brushed her hand over what looked liked a small red freckle and smirked before coming back around to face him.

“What now?” He asked, content to let her take the initiative for the moment if she wanted.

“If you are getting something, I want something too”, she stated.

“Quid pro quo I remember”, he silently wondered who the hell she had been sleeping with if she thought that she wouldn’t get getting anything unless she haggled for it, then decided that he didn’t want to know. He would be too tempted to rip them limb from limb.

“Don’t worry baby, I’m going to make you scream with pleasure”, he declared as he sank to his knees in a fluid motion and began to tug at her panties inhaling deeply. He had known that she had been aroused before but now he could even see the damp patch.

“You’re extremely sure of yourself”, she taunted and found herself straddling Clark’s face as he lay on the settee. She had given up working out he was doing this ... For the second. First she would let him continue what he was doing, then she would work ou- “Ahhhh! Oh fuck! Of fuck! Oh fuck!!!”

Clark was a genius. A magician. A wicked alien intent on driving her crazy. It took all of her will power to pull herself away from him.

“What’s the matter?” He looked genuinely confused, and a bit damp.

“Just altering our position a little”, she said and turned around so that she could return the favour.

~*~

“Clark”, Tess let out a giggle of protest as she found herself being pushed back against the tiled wall of her en suite shower. She was so lost in a haze of passion that she didn’t even consider why Lex had added a bathroom onto his office in The Daily Planet or what else that bathroom had already seen.

“What is it with you and pushing me into cold objects?” She demanded. He was insatiable. Not that she was complaining.

“What’s it with you and asking questions?” He countered as he stroked her wet flesh.

“My inquisitive nature”, she teased him.

“Yeah, well your dirty mind needs some washing”, he reached for the shampoo, apparently intending on washing her hair. He seemed to have an uncanny ability to unearth the spots that made her go weak on the knees: wrists, knees, scalp. She would have wondered if there was something wrong with her had she not had something more pressing on her mind. Or rather, pressing into her hip again.

“You weren’t complaining about it earlier”, she reminded him. God bless whoever invented the idea of a sixty-nine. Or was it ninety-six. Her brain really was getting muddled.

“Very true”.

“And you weren’t exactly far behind”, she reminded him. He had brought her to five orgasms before he had come himself. She clamped her legs together, she was still tingling and he had only used his mouth.

“No, and speaking of behind that is something we are going to have to get to later”, he grinned as he leant in.

Tess raised an eyebrow at him as her hand travelled across his back, “I don’t know what you tare thinking but ...”

“Nothing kinky, I’ve just never done doggy style”, he explained, a little awkwardly.

“You haven’t?” She gasped before she could think better of it and so stroked his back soothingly, unconsciously rubbing over the red freckle which seemed to be dislodging itself under the effect of her hand and the steaming hot water.

“No”, he almost blushed.

She couldn't believe it. “How many times have you had sex exactly?”

“I ...”

“Clark?” She demanded.

“Twice. Almost three times”, he admitted guilty.

She gaped at him and watched as the colour rose up in his cheeks. “Oh come here”, she wrapped her arms around him more tightly. “I think that it cute ... Well, I think that you’re cute which is almost the same thing and ... Clark, what’s wrong?”

“What’s going on?” He asked with wide open, innocent eyes. The shard of meteor rock had fallen and been washed away down the drain.

“Well that’s not entirely flattering Clark, considering what we have been doing for the last hour”, she answered, teasingly.

“Tess, Miss Mercer, I ... I ... I’ve got to go”. These words were barely out of his mouth and he was gone.

Quid Pro Quo

Your username: FutureScribbler/Hotcrossedbunny (NS)
Username of the requester: skye718
The prompt: Tess is Clark's boss at the Daily Planet. And he gets called into the office a lot. Sometimes they're in there for minutes, sometimes an hour or so.
Title of the work: Quid Pro Quo
Pairing: Clark/Tess
Type of fill: Fic
Rating: NC-17
Length: As yet unknown!

Quid Pro Quo

Chapter One

“I swear to God if Smallville doesn’t get his ass here in the next five seconds I’ll ... Damn it!” Lois swore rather colourfully as all of her papers dived off her desk with an odd whooshing sound. That had been happening a lot recently. She was going to have to talk to someone about the air-conditioning system in this damned building.

“Is it really so hard for them to get one single thing right?” She groused as she carefully got down on her hands and knees and began to gather her papers together. High heels and a tight skirt might look good but they caused rather significant problems when you ended up with your ass in the air - which seemed to be happening about once a day since Clark Kent had become her partner. He kept being late and her papers kept falling off her desk. She wondered if there was a link.

Maybe ...

Nah. That was about as sensible as thinking that Clark was an alien come from the planet something-or-other-ton, caused the meteor shower all of those years ago and was secretly The Blur. She chuckled to herself at the thought as she located her final piece of paper.

“Lois?”

“Smallville?” She backed out from underneath her desk cautiously and then straightened up, her hand going to her lower back, her other one still holding her newly recollected stack of papers.

“Need a hand there Lois?”

“That’s what is so remarkable about you Smallville. You always manage to turn up once the crisis is over”, Lois handed him the papers to place on her desk and held out her other one to him.

“Sorry I’m a little late”, Clark smiled at her charmingly and helping her up.

“A little late?” She barked at him, in no way mollified by his boyish face or charms. “You know that the first rule of journalism Clark is always be on time”.

“That wasn’t the first rule last week”, Clark pointed out.

“Yeah, well they change, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t remember them all and obey them”, she snapped. “You know that Tess arrived over twenty minutes ago and she asked to see you already. I told her that you were covering a story. Do you at least have a good excuse this time?”

“I brought you a doughnut”, he offered, producing a box of them from behind his back causing her to blink. She was sure that he hadn’t at that a second ago. He must have ... No, she was going insane. She needed a holiday, or just a nice big sugary doughnut.

“Damn it Smallville, you are going to lose this job if you aren’t more careful”, she looked up and down and brushed some dust off his jacket. “How do you always get so mucky? Alright, here is what we are going to do ...”

“Quick, she’s coming. Look busy”, the alarm was raised by someone several desks over.

They both dived for their desk, crashing into their respective chairs and hurriedly shuffling through the stacks of papers which constantly seemed to cover every surface in The Daily Planet. The hum of chatter which always pervaded the newsroom was suddenly hushed, replaced by the sound of typing, the rustling of papers and nervous, shallow breaths.

Everyone was on edge. It was palpable. Clark peeked around the room at lightening speed, and noted the colour draining from people’s faces as the tell-tale sound of designer high heels came clicking towards them. The newest Luthor in town inspired awe and terror in about equal amounts.

Clark and Lois were probably the only two people in the room who were not sweating bullets or about to have a heart attack. The smart thing would have been to keep out of her way, to keep his eyes on the paper in front of him and yet Clark couldn’t stop his eyes from slanting to the side, this time slowly enough to be observed.

He took in every inch of her. He would have known her anywhere, even just from her feet. Since her second day on the job, she had paraded around the place in five inch designer heels. They must have been killing her but she walked like she owned the place - which, he reflected, she did -, and seemed to relish her height being increased enough to be eye to eye with someone when she went toe to toe with them. He was the only member of the staff who still stood over her.

He suppressed a slight groan as his ravenous gaze crawled up her legs, over her tight skirt and even tighter business jacket. He didn’t know how she managed to look utterly professional and like something out of a wet dream. Maybe she should be tested for meteor rocks.

When his eyes finally settled on her face, he found that she was staring at him. This was not an unusual occurrence in their complicated relationship. He was unable to tear his eyes from her, in spite of the voice in his head screaming at him not to be an idiot and Lois attempting to kick him in the shins. He moved his leg just in time to prevent the meddlesome brunette from shattering her foot.

He couldn’t help it. With her bright red hair and even brighter eyes, Lutessa Mercer was a sight to behold. And she didn’t look particularly impressed.

His eyes got hot. Thankfully his training with Jor-El, and the fact that he was no longer a teenager tormented by hormones, meant that nothing exploded.

“Mr Kent”, the vision greeted him coolly, “how nice of you to join us”.

He swallowed.

“I’d like to see you in my office”, she turned on her heel and strode off towards the door. When she didn’t hear him getting up immediately, she paused in the doorway and looked over her shoulder, “Now”.

Clark jumped up in a rather awkward way, one which if he hadn’t been Lois’ partner would probably have got him teased by the entire staff rather than just her.

“Nice going Smallville”, he could just hear Lois muttering under her breath as he followed Tess over to the lift, trying to keep his eyes somewhere other than on his boss’ ass. This wasn’t a problem he had ever had with Lex.

Tess didn’t bother to speak to him or even wait for him to get in the lift, he was expected to dash forwards (within the confines of human speed) and allow her to press the buttons. She was angry, he could tell.

He had to be cautious around her - and any other member of the Luthor family that might come crawling out of the woodwork in the future -, but he wasn’t actually afraid of her so he was at a loss to explain why his heart was hammering in his chest or why his palms were so sweaty. He focused his eyes straight ahead and tried to get a hold of himself and prepare himself for every possible eventuality.

Maybe he had been late one too many times and she was going to fire him. Perhaps she had discovered the truth about him. Or even ... The thought died as he saw the image staring back at him.

In the polished lift doors he could see them standing next to each other. So close yet so far apart. He could have reached out and touched her hand and yet he dared not do so. They were ripped apart as the doors opened.

She didn’t miss a beat, she just strode forwards once more leaving him to follow along behind like a puppy. Clark felt a spark of annoyance and greatly wished to overtake her. He couldn’t explain it; he would always have insisted that she went through any door first.

“Close the door behind you”, she called over her shoulder to him as she entered her office. Clark did as she asked/commanded and then looked around the room. It had not changed one jot since Lex’s disappearance. He felt a pang not just for the loss of his friend, nor for the pain they had all been through in the last few years, nor even for all of the things that he had done wrong, but for her. She had everything in the world and yet had no life and never would for as long as she continued to life in the shadow of the great (although rarely good) Lex Luthor.

“Something on your mind?” She inquired, apparently politely but Clark could sense something simmering.

“No, nothing at all”, he said, mentally wincing as he realised what a vapid, bumbling moron that made him sound like. “Just admiring your art work. Lex always had impeccable taste”.

Her lips pursed imperceptibly to anyone who had not spent years intimately acquainted with the Luthors, either as friend or foe. Clark was well practised in reading micro-expressions, although not always the intentions behind them. He was not, for example, that he had just gravely insulted her.

Fixing her eyes on her quarry, she sauntered towards him until she was only a few inches away from him. She stared up at him with large green eyes, drinking in every inch of him. She placed her hand lightly on his board chest and he wondered if she could feel his heart thumping. Judging by the knowing gleam in her eyes, he suspected that she did.

Tess began to slowly circle him, her hand trailing around after her. Clark’s jaw’s tensed, his Adam’s apple bobbled and he glanced back over his shoulder at her. She was checking him out. His eyebrows shot up and he only just got them back under control when she came back around to face him, her hand over his breast again.

He hoped like hell she didn’t look down. Thankfully her attention seemed to be otherwise occupied. She ran her hand up to his shoulder and removed a tiny piece of debris from the collar of his jacket.

“Busy morning?” She inquired mildly.

“Nothing out of the ordinary”, he replied, in a voice which was slightly strained.

She stared at him. Hard and shrewd. Like Lex had started to at the beginning of the end. When discovering the truth and achieving his own ends had started to mean more than friendship. There was always an air of familiarity about her. An air of danger too.

“In your case, Mr Kent, that doesn’t surprise me at all”, she pulled her hand back and twinkled at him. He felt the bones in his sizeable body go weak. Was there Kryptonite in those green eyes?

“You wanted to see me?” He asked, in a voice a little thicker than normal.

“I did”, she confirmed. Since she had taken over from Lex, she had called him into her office with increasing regularity. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours. There had been whispers about it, about how Clark had really got his job but none of it was true. She was normally pumping him for any possible leads about Lex or prodding him to know where he had been. He always had the oddest sensation about her, as if she already knew and was just waiting for him to crack.

Clark braced himself for the interrogation that he sensed was coming, but as always with Tess she turned the tables on him. Just when he was expecting to be bombarded with questions, she flashed him a brilliant smile and asked, “So, are you going to continue doing your impression of a coat stand or are you going to come and sit down so that we can talk comfortably”.

“Whatever you want”, was on the tip of his tongue but he suppressed it. It felt wrong. Instead, he followed her over to the seating area where he saw, laid out on the coffee table, a collection of images which made his heart stop.

He strove not to stare that the pictures in horror, instead transferring his gaze to the only other acceptable point of focus in the room: her. She was sitting there, next to him, with her legs elegantly crossed, her hands folded in her lap and an expectant expression on her face.

He swallowed and ran a finger about the top of his collar. He missed the days of wearing t-shirts and flannel.

“Got anything to say, Kent?”

He swallowed again and was disgusted with himself. He was a product of an odd combination of parenting. He had been brought up in a family that detested lying and yet instilled in him the deadly importance of absolute secrecy about his abilities. He detested lying and sometimes wondered if it had been his lies which had pushed Lex away if it wouldn’t have been better to just tell him the truth right from the start. Tess was different ... No. It it were just him that it would have been different, but it wasn’t. It was Chloe and the whole of the Justice League. He stopped himself from sighing as he realised that once again he was going to be forced to tell a falsehood.

He thought of Lex. The man had been a master manipulator and (for the first time in his life) hoped that he had picked up something from his time around him. He made his face as blank as possible so that she could read almost anything she liked into it. Looking innocent only raised suspicions.

“They are a little blurry”, he commented, as if he were noting a change in the weather.

“Very true, in that last image”, she lifted it up and studied it, “it actually looks like a man in a business suit, lifting a juggernaut up with one hand, removing its driver from under it with the other, and then scooping the toxic material up and replacing it in the vehicle”.

He didn’t comment. He wasn’t entirely sure that he could.

She studied him again and removed another piece of debris from his jacket. He wasn’t sure if it was really there or if she was just making a point. He was rather inclined to believe that it was the latter, based on her wicked smile. It stated, quite clearly, that she had him exactly where she wanted him. “Pictures like that would be worth an absolute fortune”.

“So I should imagine”, he replied, feeling like he was in the presence of green Kryptonite.

“I should certainly hope so”, she continued and her lip curled up as she noted the spark of fear in his eyes which he couldn’t quite smoother. “I certainly paid enough for them”.

She left him dangling for a few seconds as she leant forwards and - in spite of the seriousness of it - he couldn’t help his eyes going to her cleavage. She took her time inspecting the images.

“It’s a shame that it is almost all completely unusable”, she sighed as she sank back into the settee.

“It is?” He gaped, not able to follow what was going on.

“Of course, everyone will think that they are doctored. I would hate to use these as a cover story”, she gave him a meaningful look.

He felt relief coursing through his body but then it halted, being replaced with dread, as he realised that she was aware of that fact and was playing him. “Of course”, she drew the words out, “I would if I had no other choice ...”

He stared at her, completely unsure of what to do.

“Get me a story Kent”, she snapped.

“A story?” He repeated, slowly.

“Yes, that is your job, is it not?” She was the image of befuddled innocence. It didn’t suit her one bit.

“Um yes”, he said inarticulately, feeling as if he had been railroaded.

“Well, if you want to keep it get me a story on this”, she waved the pictures at him, “that is not only worthy of the first page but that will blow every other paper out of the water”.

“Why not ask Lois?” He tried to keep it out, but suspicion began to creep into his tone. He needed to know what she knew and suspected.

“I don’t know”, she murmured thoughtfully, her eyes never leaving his, “I just have the feeling that you are a little more invested in this particular story and you will use every possible skill in your repository to get me what I need”.

“I will do my best”.

“That’s good to know. I’m sure that you will leave no stone”, her gaze flicked over to the image of the enormous truck being lifted by one suited man, “unturned”.

“And if I get you your story ...” He reached out his hand for the picture that she was holding, ostensibly only to get a better look at it. He didn’t known what he was actually planning on doing as it wasn’t as if he could wrest it from her and then super speed out of there. That would probably have raised more suspicions than the pictures. As it turns out, it didn’t matter.

Tess moved her hand back, depriving him of his prize, and used it to fan herself. “Quid pro quo, Clark. Quid pro quo”.