(a/n - disclaimer: I do not own these characters or Smallville...)
Come Back to Where You Belong Part Three
…She’d held back the tears…
It wasn’t because she knew he was listening for them; he’d never told her he ‘heard’ her tears. From the look of guilt on her face he assumed correctly that she felt she’d had it coming; she felt she deserved it and had tried to be brave, probably in the hopes that Jimmy would calm down soon.
For a second Clark wasn’t sure who he was most angry at:
Jimmy, for hurting her like this? At the moment he wanted nothing more than to strangle the ungrateful coward.
Himself? For letting her convince him this was none of his business and he couldn’t do anything to help her? He ignored the fact that he still tried to rescue her each time he thought she was in trouble, whether she wanted his help or not.
Or Chloe? For somehow believing she deserved this kind of treatment?
She had so often helped him believe that not every wrong done in the world was his fault, but this time he knew deep in his soul that he bore a large part of the blame. How badly had he failed her if she could think so little of herself?
How could he have forgotten the vulnerable trusting soul that hid behind that disguise of toughness she showed the world? He had seen it enough times over the years how her trust in people, her willingness to give her heart had so often brought her pain. That Jimmy could become the angry jealous animal that now tried to escape his hold would never have occurred to Clark in a million years. He would not have picked Jimmy as becoming someone so cruel that Chloe would need protection from him.
He cursed himself for letting her continue protecting his secret at the cost of her own safety. He knew he should have told Jimmy the truth himself the minute he realized Chloe never would. He almost welcomed the painful headache those quiet tears were causing him. It served him right for not keeping her safe.
But this ended today. He would not let her stay a moment longer with Jimmy.
He had almost been too late because he’d foolishly listened for her tears, blocking out everything else, and by the time they’d fallen, the racing of her heart beat had drowned out the desperation in her tears.
Still holding onto Jimmy’s shirt collar with one hand, while Chloe was securely wrapped in his other arm, Clark got to his feet and took a close look at her shimmering hazel eyes and trembling lips. She looked tired. Much too exhausted. Like she had reached a breaking point and didn’t know how to go on.
The defiant, strong-willed Chloe who’d told him during each previous botched rescue attempt to mind his own business, that she didn’t need his help, was gone. The change in her was so shocking he was torn between the feeling of losing a part of her and the gratitude that she was finally going to give in and let him help her.
As Chloe slowly maneuvered her way out of Clark’s arms and stumbled onto the couch, Clark tossed Jimmy across the room with one small powerful push against his chest, “Touch her again and you’re a dead man!” he promised angrily, letting go of a rage that made him realize how easily he could and how badly he wanted to fulfill that promise.
“Yeah, freak… you can have her!” Jimmy shouted back, trying hard not to show his fear of the unbelievable strength Clark had just exhibited as he tried to recover from having been thrown across the room and landing on the floor against the wall he’d literally bounced off. He was momentarily stunned as he slowly moved his arms and legs checking for any broken bones. Clark’s size had often intimidated him, but it had never occurred to Jimmy that he would one day come to fear him. Who would have believed mild-mannered Clark Kent disguised such a violent strength?
In a disgusted rage he ignored his fear and continued his tirade, “You freaks should stick together. You always have anyway. You barely have to look at her and she runs to your side. She always defends you. Now I finally know why. You’re just as much a freak as she is.”
Clark, realizing that Chloe was trying to heal the bruise on her arm, contained his rage, only for her sake, “Get help, Jimmy, or I’ll have you arrested for assaulting her.”
“I don’t believe you; I’d tell ‘em what you are!” Jimmy reached for the only threat he thought could work.
He hadn’t expected the cold angry laugh from Clark, “You think I care? To protect her, I’d do anything. You’d do well to remember that!”
“Yeah? You wouldn’t dare!” Jimmy challenged as he finally recovered enough from his flight across the room and got up from the corner Clark’s push had landed him in.
Clark looked at Chloe huddled in one corner of the couch trying to hide the large bruise on her upper right arm from him. Her tears were not stopping, her body shaking so hard, her self-healing slowed by her emotional trauma. He could tell she didn’t have the strength to heal herself and the attempt was just making her weaker.
He went to her, kneeling down in front of her, and spoke to her quietly as he gently wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumbs, “Stop the healing, Chloe, please. Your body doesn’t have the energy for it right now. I’m taking you both to a police station. It’s the only way to stop this.”
She lifted her eyes to his, the tears starting anew, “I’m sorry, Clark…” she started to say.
It tore something deep inside him. He tried to smile. “Don’t apologize to me. Just come back to where you belong. Come back to me. I’ll take care of you, Chloe. I’m done standing by helplessly. I can’t let you take anymore of this.”
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Jimmy attempting to leave the apartment. Clark turned his head and blasted his heat vision towards the door handle just as Jimmy reached it and instantly screamed out in pain as he looked at his hand, “What the hell? You…? What kind of monster are you?”
“Want to find out? Take another step and the next target won’t be the door handle…” Clark threatened.
“I’ve read that you freaks all turn violent eventually. I guess you’re just proving that to be true…” Jimmy accused as he backed away from the door, clearly trying to figure out how he was going to escape from this.
Clark’s anger was barely under control; seeing Chloe’s tears was more devastating than just hearing them; it didn’t appear to matter to him what he revealed to Jimmy.
“I’ve been a ‘damned freak’ all my life, Olsen! If I’d turned to violence, you wouldn’t have survived to touch her after the first time. You have two options if you want to leave this apartment: the police station or a clinic to start some serious therapy. And you have all of two minutes to make up your mind.”
Jimmy, as if resigned to the trap he appeared to be in, leaned against the wall next to the door and took a long look at Chloe. He tried to remember when his world had gone so wrong.
Maybe she had loved him in some part of her heart. He now wondered why he couldn’t just have been happy with what she did give him. Even if her heart hadn’t been a hundred percent his, the love she had given him was more than he’d ever received before. But he’d gotten selfish and had wanted her whole heart to belong to him. And he had truly believed that he could make her love him and only him.
Or at the very least to love him more than she loved Clark.
But Clark had never gone away! Whenever he wanted something, Chloe was always there. It never seemed to matter if she had other plans with her boyfriend; she always chose Clark. As if no-one and nothing else mattered. And too many times the reasons she gave were so far-fetched he felt she was mocking him.
So he came to the only conclusion obvious to him. She’d lied to him. About everything! About what she did with Clark all the times she snuck off to be with him. And especially when she’d said she loved him, Jimmy, and that she was over Clark; that the love she’d had for Clark had only been a teen-age crush. They were only friends now. He’d soon stopped believing her and started calling her a liar to her face.
That had been the beginning.
After that his world started collapsing into a crazy merry-go-round of paranoia.
It soon turned into a life of accusations to make Chloe feel guilty enough for always causing him pain by ditching him for Clark, that she eventually stopped. For a while she didn’t break a single date with him. He had been happy, especially when they finally became close enough to move in together.
But his utopia didn’t last. Clark was still there in their lives! The fact that they all worked together made him hard to avoid. And even though Chloe had been more attentive to him, he still felt she was holding back a huge part of herself. There were too many secrets in her life. And a lot of them appeared to involve Clark.
Maybe if he’d been more patient she might someday have been completely his.
But his patience had run out. He’d become obsessed and his jealousy of Clark only increased. He’d turned possessive in a way he didn’t recognize and he’d let it control him as he soon wanted to control her.
Maybe HE hadn’t loved HER enough!?
He’d just been so surprised that Clark had let her slip out of his grasp when she so obviously loved him. He’d wanted to annihilate that love for Clark. He could see that now as he saw her trusting eyes fixed on Clark, knowing without a doubt that she could trust Clark completely.
Like she never trusted him!
It had taken her forever to explain her healing ability! And even though he had understood that his attitude towards the meteor ‘freaks’ had a lot to do with her keeping it a secret from him, he still couldn’t get over that she hadn’t trusted him with it from the start! He’d also felt betrayed that she had even continued their relationship in the beginning when she knew how he felt about them. She should have broken up with him right then before he’d fallen so deeply for her!
He’d finally accepted her ability, had actually been awed by such a power even as deep down he still feared it And even though he did try hard to convey a complete turn-around of his negative attitude towards the meteor ‘infected,’ she’d still never trusted him with how she was also always protecting Clark’s secret. The looks they had so often shared when they thought no-one was watching had raised his suspicions that Clark was hiding something and Chloe was in on it.
But he also suspected it wasn’t only the secrets they shared that kept them so close together; they had a bond that he and Chloe never had. A bond that somehow grew each time Clark showed up whenever he and Chloe got into a fight. Not knowing how to create such a connection with her had only served to inflame the jealousy.
Jealousy had become the creature that now controlled him. And he had no clue how to get rid of that monster.
Maybe Clark was right. He did need therapy. He knew if he ever wanted to have a normal life again he’d need help to figure out why he’d let it get this bad.
He’d never ever hurt anyone else in his life. And no-one had ever cared about him the way Chloe seemed to. He had wanted to hold onto that at any cost and hadn’t known how; and had therefore done everything wrong.
Chloe hadn’t deserved that; she probably couldn’t help how she felt about Clark anymore than Jimmy could stop how he felt about Chloe. He should have walked away a long time ago; probably the very first time she broke a date to go help Clark.
She may have convinced herself she was over Clark, but he’d known better. He’d had no right to guilt her into staying with him. He could fix that now. It was probably the only thing he could fix; he certainly would never be able to make up for how he’d treated her.
He stared at his hands for a moment, surprised there was nothing more than a slight redness on his right palm, the door handle had literally sizzled. Slowly he raised his eyes towards Chloe and then to Clark.
“Okay, you win,” he said quietly. “I don’t want to go to jail. I’ll accept the second choice. I won’t ever bother you again, Chloe. I know words won’t ever be enough, but I am sorry for hurting you so much. And for what it’s worth, even if you don’t believe me, I swear I won’t reveal your secrets.”