Smallville and all of its related elements are copyright © 2001 - 2007 Tollin-Robbins Productions, WB Television and DC Comics. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Buffy the vampire slayer and all of its related elements belong to Fox, the WB and Joss Whedon.
Chapter Ten 5891
Slowly, Clark turned the knob. It wasn’t locked, so he pushed it open, stepped sideways over the threshold, and closed the door before Lana could even look up.
“Clark,” she said, sounding pleased, and she turned back to her computer, moving to close the laptop, but he moved quickly and silently so that he was behind her, and he placed a hand on hers.
“No, please,” he said, a charming smile placed firmly on his face. “I’d like to see this.”
He kneeled next to her. “It looks like… some sort of space ship or something,” he said, allowing a stream of confusion and doubt to enter his voice. “But, that’s not possible, is it? I mean, you would have shared something this big with me.”
Her head tilted sideways slightly, “How did you get over here so fast?” she asked.
“Long legs in a small room,” he said, truthfully. “In the hospital, you let me believe that Lex telling you about a spaceship was a fabrication of my imagination,” he said, squinting at her as if his x-ray vision might better see through the lies.
“I—” she looked down at her lap. “Every time I try to bring up the ship I saw, you change the subject,” she said, starting to feel justified in being angry. “Those meteor showers changed my life and you were willing to dismiss it, like it was nothing.”
“So… you lied,” Clark said. “Lana Lang, the upstanding citizen, the advocate for truth and openness, kept something from me? Lied, straight to my face? So that, what, you could spend some time with Lex?”
“Lex is interested in finding the truth,” she said, her voice sounding venomous.
“There’s that word again,” Clark said, standing up. “Do you really think that secrets aren’t kept for a reason? You turned to Lex because he’s willing to give you all truth, all the time? Well, Lex is an idiot.” He backed up, and looked her over. “You’re an idiot.”
Lana stood up, too, knocking her chair over. The way he was acting, it was irrational, out of character.
“If honesty is what you really want, then I can give it to you,” Clark hissed. “But I’m not going to promise it isn’t going to hurt. Is trust what you need? You’re so hungry for someone to trust you that you’d turn to him?”
He grabbed her arm and drew her close, and a small part of him ached when he heard her wince in pain. “You think that Lex automatically trusts you, just because he showed you his spaceship? I could show you my spaceship, would that make you happy?”
A gasp escaped Lana’s lip. “What did you just say?” she demanded. He pushed her away from him and turned away, looked back at the laptop, the posters on the walls, anywhere but her. Close to the surface, he was enjoying this conversation, but Lana had always been the one person who had been able to reach him through his red Kryptonite rages, and that he had hurt her weighed on his conscience, even now.
A conversation that had occurred days before flashed through his mind, in which Lana had addressed a problem that Clark had known, as soon as his powers had been returned, would come up. “We haven’t been together, since I came to Met U,” she had said. “I can’t help but think that this has something to do with Buffy.” The accusation, so pure and assuming, had pained him at the time, had pushed him further away from her and he had shut it out; pretended it hadn’t happened. It bubbled to the surface, taking the place of secrets and lies as his issue of the moment.
“Or would sex make you happy?” he asked, turning back to look at her. “I think you said it best though: if you’re going to be all needy and insecure, maybe we need to reevaluate this relationship.”
Lana flinched as if she’d been struck. “Clark, why are you acting like this?” she said softly, lividly.
“Maybe you just didn’t think that there might be consequences to our actions,” he said. He grabbed her by the shoulders, spun her around, and placed her against the wall. He pressed his body up against hers, and he could feel her wanting to move away, to escape. “What?” he asked. “Not in the mood?” He laughed.
“There are always consequences, Lana,” he whispered into her ear. With one hand, he moved the hair off of her face. “I mean, the sky started falling the last time you poked someone with a rock hard—oh…” he smiled. “You don’t even know, do you? More secrets, more lies, my fault of course, for wanting to protect you.” He let her go, and she managed to recover herself before she fell.
“But this is the new Clark,” he roared. Lana drew breath sharply, her nostrils flaring. He was acting unreasonable; he was too angry, too confrontational. It seemed like he’d saved it all up for now, and was finally letting lose without inhibitions. He was acting like he had in Metropolis.
“The Clark Kent you know is a lie,” he had said before he had left.
“What do you mean: the sky falling?” she asked tersely.
“You were right, Lana, the second meteor shower wasn’t a coincidence,” he said, sounding calmer than he had all night. “You killed someone with the stone you brought me, didn’t you?”
She stiffened. “I wasn’t myself,” she said. “It was Isobel.”
“Yeah, that explanation would hold up in court,” he sneered. “You should know more than anyone that what your body does is your fault, regardless of who has the steering wheel,” Clark said, spreading his arms. “Or does that rule only apply to me?”
She stayed silent. “I mean,” he said, “if this is the real me, then everything I’ve said to you, all the things I’ve done, they’re all a lie too.” He approached her, and pressed his finger against her chest. “Your body, your responsibility. I have full liability for everything that happened what Lionel Luthor took over my body, you made that clear. Lois blames me for everything that happened when my biological father brainwashed me. So yeah, you contaminated the stone; the meteor shower was your fault.”
Everything that Clark was saying, it made no sense. How could what she had done have anything to do with the meteor shower? “Your biological father?” she asked, eyes wide.
Clark shrugged, not finding a discussion of his absentee birth parent very interesting “He was a real bastard anyway.”
“How could the meteor shower be my fault?” she said, because this was, by far, the simplest question she could put straight in her mind. Clark had never been this open with her, and, as confusing and terrifying as it was, it was also kind of refreshing. It created so many questions, so many inconsistencies that she had no idea whether he was being more truthful now, or whether the quiet, subdued Clark had it right.
“You really didn’t think you’d be punished?” he asked.
“By who?” she demanded. He grinned hugely.
“The Lord above,” he yelled, spreading his arms wide. “Who else?”
The amount of blood that Xander had vomited had been worrying, even to the doctors. They had taken him in immediately, despite his slightly lapsed insurance, and Willow had assured the doctors that Lex Luthor would be footing all the bills.
Fifteen terrifying minutes later, the doctor returned to Willow. He had questions for her, mostly regarding Xander’s eye transplant, and Willow answered as many as she could without divulging too much.
Xander was sedated in the hospital room, and the doctor spoke quietly, urgently. “He seems to have come in contact with some very large amounts of radiation,” he said. “We’ve seen similar cases like these in the very elderly here in Smallville; we suspect it might have something to do with the substance that fell in the meteor showers.”
“Similar cases?” Willow asked, her voice shaking. “What does that mean? What’s wrong with him?”
“He has several large tumors, two in his brain and one in his liver. We’ve booked the OR so that we can do an immediate biopsy, but if they’re malignant, then they’re probably inoperable. Has Mr. Harris been taking an immunosuppressant for his eye transplant? Because that would explain the rapid growth of these tumors.”
Willow felt the world slow to a stop. Inoperable meant that there was nothing the doctors could do. They would pump him full of chemicals and hope for the best. Xander would lose his hair, he would become pale and underweight; and then he would die. Her hands began to shake.
“How much time?” she asked. “If they’re malignant, how much time does he have?”
The doctor’s expression was sober. “Maybe a month; probably much less.”
Willow could feel her magic broiling below the surface, and she wished, more than anything, that she could let it loose, that she could tear the cancer from his body and heal him, the way that she had pulled the bullet from Buffy.
She hated, so much, that she had learned her lesson. That sort of magic, that kind of power, was impossible to harness. Using power that strong could end the world. It was the reason why disease hadn’t been eradicated by witches. Without restraint, she’d have never been able to return from her madness.
Without Xander, she’d have never been able to return.
“Thank you, doctor,” she whispered.
Without Xander, her best friend since they’d been able to talk, she’d be missing a part of herself larger than she could have ever expected, and now, with the prospect of his death so close at hand, she could feel herself hollowing out.
She placed her hand on her heart and waited while a tear rolled down her face and came to rest on the corner of her mouth. The hole was right next to the one that Tara had left.
During the drive, Chloe had talked about Kryptonite. There were different colours, it seemed, and when Clark had attacked her last, he had been under the influence of silver Kryptonite. This recent attack, of the slightly sexual variety, was because of red Kryptonite.
“His parents keep this in the house,” she said, pulling a lead box out of her purse. A green rock glowed inside.
“And this will make him slightly punch-able?” Buffy asked. “He won’t throw me like a football across the room?”
“He’ll drop like a stone,” Chloe assured her.
Buffy continued to watch Chloe drive, and Chloe looked back at her quickly, before turning back to the road. “What’s up?” she asked.
“Weird question,” Buffy said, “and totally not meant to imply what you’re going to assume it does, but, are you attracted to girls, ever? I mean, even slightly, or simply in a neutral sense?”
Chloe laughed. “You’re starting with the personal questions, aren’t you?” she asked. “This doesn’t have anything to do with Willow, does it?”
Buffy sighed. “Yeah, actually, it does.”
“Willow’s great, she really is,” Chloe said, blinking a few times, and trying to conduct the conversation in a polite way, sneaking in eye contact between driving. “I have so much to learn from her, and she’s funny and nice and all that awesome stuff.” She shrugged. “I’ve far from set my sexuality in stone; I’m still just a teenager, but right now…”
“You’re holding out for Clark,” Buffy whispered. When Chloe didn’t answer, Buffy continued, “I’m sorry you had to see that. The kiss, I mean.”
Chloe shrugged. “We’re here,” she offered.
Buffy opened the box and placed the stone carefully in her fist. She stepped out of the car and threw a practice punch with it in her hand.
“Remember,” Chloe said, “get the red Kryptonite away from him. I just hope we got here in time.”
“Come up behind me,” Buffy said. “I could use backup.”
They moved quickly through the residence and long before they reached the room they could hear the argument.
“The Lord above,” Clark’s voice raged. “Who else?”
“Clark, what are you talking about?” Lana yelled back. “You are acting insane.”
Buffy was always one to make an entrance, so she kicked the door open. Both parties involved in the heated argument turned toward her.
“Clark,” she said, as if she were surprised to see him standing there. “Didn’t we talk about this? Gentlemen are nice to the ladies and never raise their voice.”
“Buffy,” he replied. He winced. “What’s that you have there?”
“Just my fists, Kent,” she replied, bringing her hands up to a defensive position. “Just my fists.”
She knew what she had to do to protect his secret from Lana—though he was acting strangely, she had still made him a promise, and she intended to keep it.
In a flash of movement that was almost too fast to see, Buffy rushed forward. She could see the meteor rock starting to affect him as she moved closer, and she made she that she had landed her first, very powerful kick before he had time to fall.
Lana let out the scream of a terrified lover, and watched as Buffy rolled him onto his back and mounted him. Her punch knocked his head sideways and sent blood spattering over the carpet.
“You’re hurting him,” Lana shrieked.
“Better him than you,” Buffy pointed out, twisting around to look at her. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?” Clark moaned; Lana glanced at her arm and shook her head vigorously.
Buffy turned back to Clark, and regarded him with a distrustful eye. He was crippled now, but he wasn’t cured. She thought quickly: she had to get him out of the room so that she could search his body without arising Lana’s suspicions.
“You’re a jerk, you know that, Kent?” she said scathingly. “You’re nice Clark,” she continued, landing a punch with her Kryptonite-enforced fist, “and then you’re mean Clark,” she punched his face with her other hand, jerking his head to the side with force that could damage.
“And you’re goddamn confusing the girls,” she said, punching him again, for emphasis.
Clark spat blood out onto the carpet, and laughed. “You’re gorgeous when you’re angry,” he sputtered.
With a final punch, she knocked him unconscious, and stood, grabbing his arms, and started dragging him from the room. “Listen,” she said to Lana, “the sight of me beating your boyfriend here is clearly bothering you. I’ll take this outside.” Before Lana could protest, she pushed his large frame around the door and slammed it.
Chloe stood just outside the door. “Hold it shut,” Buffy demanded. Placing the meteor rock a little bit farther away from Clark, she started searching his body. She found, after not too long, a thin chain with a small red stone attached around his neck. From inside the dorm room, Lana was pulling on the door, trying to get it open; she sounded livid.
Snapping the chain off of Clark’s neck, she brought it down to the ground with tremendous force. She took the meteor rock and dropped it into the lead box that Chloe offered her. Slowly, Clark’s eyes opened.
“You remember?” Buffy asked. Clark’s eyes opened wider and he pushed himself up off the ground.
“Lana is on the other side of the door,” Buffy continued. “I can either leave you for the dogs, or haul you down to Chloe’s car.” She frowned, but took his hand in a comforting way. “You can figure out what you’re going to say to her later. Chloe will make up an excuse. From what I hear, she’s good at that.”
Obviously still feeling the aftereffects of the green Kryptonite, Clark nodded, his head quivering. Buffy hauled his arm over her shoulder and lifted him to his feet. Lana continued yelling from inside her dorm room; Buffy couldn’t help but notice that Clark looked terrified. What, she wondered, had he said to her? He had told her before how scared he was that Lana would discover his secret and hate him for it—had he let something slip?
Spike had some sympathy for the guy. He’d been through the same thing that Giles was going through now, and he knew the hunger of the reborn—it was a feeling that never left a vampire’s mind. He brought Giles some of his pig’s blood, and though at first he had spit at Spike and thrown the blood aside, he accepted the second mug of heated blood grudgingly.
“From what I hear,” Spike said, “you’ve been cut a break. Willow says that the orb of Thusulah has been broken; for not the first time, your buddy Xander has come through for you. Having a soul is painful. You wouldn’t like it.”
“You’ve got yourself a soul, haven’t you?” Giles asked. “You’re vile, dirty, scum,” he hissed.
“I know, mate,” Spike said. “But we all do dumb shit for love.”
Their heads both snapped toward the stairs as they heard someone approaching. It was Buffy, looking enraged.
“Drusilla,” she said. “You can find her?”
“Yeah, but, Buffy,” Spike said. “There’s something you should know.”
“I understand, she’s nuts; she’s dangerous, but she threw Parker in my face, killed Giles like I’d just take it lying down, and then turned Clark against us. Do you really think that I’m going to let her walk? You spent a hundred years with her, but you offered to kill her for me once before. You don’t need to kill her, just take me to her.”
Spike could see the anger in her eyes, flashing like knives in a Samurai’s expert hands. “Buffy,” he said, quietly. “It’s Xander; he’s really sick. Willow brought him to the hospital.”
Her stance stiffened, and he could see that she was getting defensive; putting her walls up around her.
“There’s more,” he said softly. “Buffy, the orb of Thusulah, it broke.”
“Willow will get another one,” she said, without hesitating.
“Willow had to pull every one of her contacts from Wolfram and Hart in order to get that one,” Spike said, remembering what Willow had said before she left. “Willow can’t get another.”
He saw, even in the dark basement light, that she had changed. Her eyes widened, and she got that look that he had seen only a few times before—when Buffy let her emotions take over, she didn’t look sad so much as petrified.
If Giles couldn’t be cursed, if he couldn’t get his soul back, then there was nothing left to discuss. There was no way of forcing the demon that inhabited him now to endure physical and emotional torture in order to earn his soul back, the way Spike had. And without a soul he was nothing but a monster.
The kind of monster he had trained her to kill.
“Giles,” she said, moving forward. She tripped and landed on her knees, barely wincing at the pain that shot through her legs. “This is hard… it’s hard, I mean, to see you like this.” The vampire hissed at her, but before he could say anything, she continued. “But I’ve had to destroy the ones I love before. You’ve trained me well, Giles, and I am strong. What I am today, the woman I’ve become, I could never have even glimpsed in myself before I met you.”
She felt a tear roll down her face, and she wiped it away, angrily. “I love you, Giles,” she whispered, “so much.” The vampire met her eyes, and for a moment, Buffy convinced herself that she could see Giles looking through at her.
In a swift motion, she drew her stake and threw it; it spiraled towards him, the force of her anger, her regret and her grief fueling the throw. She let out a sob as it struck, and she forced her eyes open, watching as his body turned to dust. Another cry slipped from between her lips, and she hated herself for crying, but it was as if she’d just killed her father.
Cold arms wrapped around her, and she looked up into Spike’s eyes. He held her as she cried, and Buffy took comfort in his familiar embrace.
Buffy’s anger was palpable throughout the house. She stormed up the stairs to her bedroom, and when one of the Slayers saw her running back down the stairs, her red scythe gripped tight in her white-knuckled grip, she quickly called to the other Slayers.
Some of them had been potentials in the battle against the first, and recognized, right away, the power flowing off of her. She had been angry before—she had decapitated the Turok-Han vampire with a wire from a construction site; she had saved them from the ‘uber-vamps’ after they had fallen victim to Kaleb’s trap. Her strength, as the true Chosen One, was legendary among the Slayers.
Spike followed close behind her, and soon they had a stream of Slayers following them. Even Dawn, looking more worried than intrigued, joined the cluster. That Buffy was too focused to tell her to stay home perturbed Dawn even more.
He led them, not surprisingly, to a crypt in the cemetery. Without hesitation, she pulled the door of the crypt open and walked inside. It was barely nightfall, and Drusilla was still sprawled on the top of the large stone coffin.
Buffy moved forward, and brought the scythe down in a smooth, powerful motion. It stopped less than a centimeter away from her neck.
“Drusilla,” Buffy said. “Get up.”
“You’re angry,” Drusilla said, her soft, baby voice grating against Buffy’s already drawn out nerves. “I never told you the rules of the game.”
“No, you didn’t,” Buffy replied. “But I can tell you the rules of my game.”
“It isn’t your game we’re playing,” Drusilla sang back.
“Yes,” Buffy said, firmly. “It is. The rules are simple. You hurt someone I love, and I destroy you.”
The Slayers, five or six of them, as well as Dawn and Spike—both of them hiding behind the Slayers—had gathered in the tomb, leaving very little space for a decent fight. Drusilla moved awkwardly, but efficiently, moving away from Buffy’s attacks with apparent ease. She was an old, skilled vampire, and had killed a Slayer before.
Now, she was protected by the space stones, and didn’t seem to be worried, despite the army of Slayers standing at her doorway.
Buffy could feel her eyes beginning to water; it seemed far too soon, she thought, to be thinking of moving on. Giles was dead, murdered by this demon; but she pushed her feelings down, refusing to let her tears cloud her vision.
She was advancing on Drusilla, boxing her into a corner. She shifted her grip on the scythe, grabbing it by the handle that was directly behind the large blade, and she pushed Drusilla up against the wall, pressing the blade against her pale neck.
Drusilla started to giggle, her laughs sounding half caught in her throat. “You can’t possibly think you can kill me,” she muttered. “Even when I’m gone, my ghost will live on… in Angelus, in my dear Spike…”
Buffy snarled, and freed one hand. This one inched down her neck, just below the blade, until it found the thin chain, identical to the one that Clark had worn. It snapped just as easily, and Buffy tossed it aside.
“Bitch,” she growled, and the blade slid through her neck like a knife through water.
Willow looked up from where she sat at Xander’s bedside. Buffy and Dawn, clutching hands, had just come in.
“We just got the results of the biopsy,” Willow whispered. “I’ve been trying to call you.”
“I had to deal with Giles,” Buffy said. “He’s gone, Will.”
“Drusilla?” she asked.
“She’s gone, too.”
Buffy stood next to Willow, and placed her hand on top of Willow’s. “Is he going to pull through?” she asked, softly.
Willow’s face crumpled and Buffy pulled her up, wrapping her arms around her. They stood, Willow sobbing into Buffy’s shoulder, while Dawn moved to Xander’s side. Buffy reached out and took Dawn’s hand, and the three of them stayed there, watching Xander’s unconscious form, for a long time.
“It isn’t fair,” Dawn whispered.
Buffy met her eyes, and for a while she said nothing. The words that finally escaped her lips seemed so hopeless; so unreal. “It never is, Donny.” She shook her head, looking shocked and devastated. “It never is…”
“When she asks questions, Clark, you have to give her answers. It doesn’t matter if they’re truth, if you’re not ready for that. But you have to give her something.”
Clark waited, up in his loft, Buffy’s words echoing deep in his mind. She had spoken with strength, assurance, and had said what Chloe and his parents had never been brave enough to say.
“If you can’t tell the truth, then the next best thing is an elaborate lie.”
He had fabricated, had spoken to those who knew the truth: Chloe, his parents. They had disapproved, his parents at least, but had agreed in the end; it was necessary.
“Stick to as much of the truth as possible.”
He could hear Lana’s car approaching from down the road, and he felt like this was the rehearsal for a play he hadn’t practiced enough for.
“Try to encompass everything that needs to be explained in one lie. Juggling too many lies can become messy.”
“Lana,” he said, as he saw her head appear. “I’m glad you came.”
“I wasn’t sure I was going to,” she said, looking nervous. “I didn’t know which Clark was going to be here to greet me.”
“Lana,” he said again. “I can’t—”
“Explain it?” she asked, bitterly. “I wasn’t expecting you to. Secrets are kept for a reason, right?”
“—tell you how sorry I am,” Clark finished. “I’m going to try my best to explain; I owe you that.”
Lana couldn’t place what was different about Clark, but perhaps it was just the stark contrast between the soft spoken boy that faced her now, and the confrontational man that had fought with her in her dorm room. That he was talking though, was an improvement on the Clark that she knew.
“You remember the silver meteor rock?” he said. “How it made me paranoid, violent?”
Nodding, Lana wondered how she could possibly forget the crazed look in his eyes, his pale visage.
“There’s another kind of meteor rock,” he continued. “It’s red, and it affects me too. It makes me act,” he chuckled, nervously, “like a big jerk, I guess?”
The first thought that struck Lana was that he was lying. It was too clean, too convenient, to be able to blame his extreme behaviour on the meteor rocks.
“Lana, you have to believe me,” he said, reached out to her. She flinched away, her hand moving to her bruised arm. “I would never hurt you intentionally. Every part of me was screaming out, but I couldn’t control myself.” He closed his eyes for a second, letting the feel of his first true lie wash over him. He had loved every moment of it, at the time, and though now it made him feel ill, at the time only the smallest part of him had protested.
“Why?” she demanded.
When he didn’t answer, she said again, “Why do the meteors affect you like that?”
“I’ve never seen anyone else infected by the red or silver meteor rocks,” he said. “I’ve never seen anyone actually have them in their blood stream—they might affect everyone like this.”
“The other things you said,” she mused, pulling her jacket tighter around her. “What did it mean? You said the meteor shower was my fault and that you had a spaceship…”
“I’m fairly certain that it was a metaphorical spaceship,” he said, laughing. “Lex’s spaceship literally was a spaceship. My secret is something less… less extreme.”
Lana’s eyes widened. “You have a secret… something you’ve been hiding, lying to me about?”
Clark’s stomach tightened; this was where the big lie, the elaborate one, began. “Stick to as much of the truth as possible,” Buffy had said.
“I met my biological father,” he said. Lana stared, her eyes stretched open, and she moved sideways, letting herself fall onto the couch.
“And you didn’t tell me,” she muttered. “You said… you said he brainwashed you?”
“I wasn’t myself, after I met him,” Clark said, sitting next to her. He shifted so that he was facing her, and took her hand. “He’s not exactly the kind of father that a person can be proud of.”
Lana frowned. “What was he like?”
Clark sighed. “Smart,” he said, simply. “Cruel, pitiless. I didn’t turn out to be the son he expected.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Lana asked.
She looked into Clark’s eyes and saw that the truth was burning him up inside. There was pain in his eyes, and she knew that what he said was true.
“Your parents died,” he said. “They died tragically, but they loved you, and you were wanted. My parents… they didn’t die. They gave me up because they didn’t want me, and knowing that… it brings out a kind of shame. How could you love me with the knowledge that even my own parents couldn’t force themselves to love me?”
The lie, so pungent on his tongue, made him feel sick, but he had to hope that any feelings he portrayed would be interpreted as emotion concerned with his painful story.
Lana looked heartbroken, and she drew him to her, holding him in her arms. “Clark,” she whispered into his hair, “I could never stop loving you.”
Even wrapped up in Lana, Clark couldn’t help but hate himself; what Buffy had coined his elaborate lie tasted sour in his mouth.
It was painful for Buffy to stay dormant, even if she was sitting at the bed of her dying best friend. She went for a walk, took some of her anger out on a fairly new vampire that had staked out a young woman, and then headed to the Kent farm.
She had never really developed close relationships with the other Slayers. They were all younger than her, less experienced, and held her on a fairly high pedestal; this was not exactly a great base for friendships to form on. Willow and Dawn were so deep in their own despair that they barely had time to realize that Buffy had just killed her mentor; in much the same way that she had after she had sent Angel to Hell, Buffy left.
That she ended up at the Kent farm seemed surprising, even to her, but she hadn’t headed there for solace.
She arrived just as Clark’s girlfriend, Lana, was leaving. When she saw Buffy, she paused.
“Buffy,” she said, “I’m so thankful for what you did for Clark today.”
Buffy’s face, somber and set in stone, didn’t react.
“I have to ask you something, though, and it’s going to sound crazy, maybe.” She came closer to Buffy and tried to catch her gaze, but Buffy was lost somewhere. Despite their lack of eye contact, Lana continued. “There isn’t anything between you and Clark; is there?”
Still staring off into the distance, Buffy closed her eyes and let the feeling of Clark’s smooth, forceful lips against hers wash over her. She felt, as if he were here right now, his hands on her waist, his teeth nipping at her lip. She could feel the power behind his motion, how every smooth shift was deliberate.
She snapped out of her reverie and turned her head slightly, meeting Lana’s eyes. “No,” she said firmly. “We’re just friends.”
Clark was waiting in the loft, his head in his hands.
“Despite everything I’ve been through,” Buffy said as she reached the top of the stairs, “I’m still dangerously naïve.”
Looking up, Clark allowed a ghost of fear to pass over his face. “I’m sorry,” he said, “for kissing you like that.”
She shook her head. “Don’t even worry about it,” she said. “It just made me realized something.
“I still feel like a child really; a child that’s been through wars and saved the world, but I’m still a child that just wants to believe in the good in people.
“You’re suspicious to the point that you shut everyone out of your life. You put yourself below everyone else because you think that treachery is around every corner. I trusted you, Clark, because you said that you could be trusted.”
Clark stood up, and moved toward her. “What happened, Buffy, I’m sorry—”
“I know,” she said softly. “I know you are. That’s not even the reason that I’m here. I mean, you scared my sister, threatened to kill my best friend, and refused to help my dying friend, but that’s not why I’m here.”
She sighed. “You’re a good person, I know you are. You threw yourself in front of a bullet to save my life, but there’s darkness in you that I can’t even begin to comprehend.” She shook her head, and her thoughts were starting to fall out of place. She couldn’t put them back into the order that they had been in, but she knew that she had to keep talking.
“It’s not the alien thing; it’s just that, I think we’re moving too fast. Friendships, real ones, take years to form, and here I am, putting a rift between you and your girlfriend, running after you to stop you from hurting her—twice now—and already wishing that your parents could be mine.”
“Buffy,” Clark said. “You’re not getting between me and Lana—”
“I just told you to lie to her,” she said. “She just asked me if there was something between us and I lied, because there is. You kissed me.”
There was a long silence, and Clark stared at her, not believing that this was happening. He cared for her in a strong way, but not in a sexual way. As usual, the red Kryptonite had twisted everything around, made his thoughts apparent in all the wrong ways.
“Xander says you’re not going to die,” she said quietly. “He says he saw every one of us die, but you… you were still just you.”
Clark didn’t reply. It wasn’t the first time a meteor powered person had told him something similar. “I had a vision of you, too, when you grabbed me in the hallway,” the boy, Jordan had said. “It’s like you don’t have an end like other people. It’s like you live forever.”
She turned to leave, feeling strangely empty, unfulfilled. “Buffy,” he called. She turned back. “Will I see you?” he asked. “Around?”
She smiled sadly, and in her mind she could see Xander’s tragic face, already hollowed out under his cheekbones, already sickly and pale. She thought of Giles, and wondered how it was possible that a person with so much substance, so much history, could just crumble into dust like any common vampire.
And she looked up at him, his green eyes glinting in the dim loft light.
“I’m always around,” she replied.
The finish! Please review. Sequel Hellmouth
is in progress. More stories at my fanfic.net account.