Chapter 5: Trust
Sorry it's taken so long to post - for someone who's finished the fic, I'm being dreadful. For anyone who has read the fic before, there are a handful of minor changes in the chapter, but nothing serious. And for anyone annoyed by the song lyrics, there is but one song here - a title drop, one might say - and it ends the inclusion of song lyrics for several chapters.
Chapter 5: Trust
Clark revelled in the sudden silence as Lola entered the stage alone. She stood in a single spotlight, a solitary figure glancing around curiously.
He remained in the shadows, trying to avoid touching the mask that obscured his features. Character pieces like this were unusual for the club, but for some reason the musical director had insisted, and he couldn’t deny that the song was oddly appropriate.
His voice was booming yet silken as he sang from the shadows, watching her jump in fear.
“You have come here…
In pursuit of your deepest urge,
In pursuit of that wish,
Which till now has been silent,
He watched her shiver as his voice grew louder and he drew nearer, approaching from behind, so close that she could sense the danger.
“I have brought you,
That our passions may fuse and merge.
In your mind you’ve already succumbed to me,
Dropped all defences, completely succumbed to me.
Now you are here with me,
No second thoughts,
Lights increased across the stage as he stepped forward, allowing the stunned audience to see his masked face. He captured Lola in his arms, a hand moving dangerously towards her throat – Not Lana’s throat, too long, too pale,
he reminded himself, keeping his fingers straight – before he twisted her suddenly into position to slowly dance across the stage, his voice never wavering as he sang.
“Past the point of no return,
No backward glances.
The games we’ve played till now are at an end…
He dipped her low, caressing her face gently before pulling her up once more.
“Past all thought of ‘if’ or ‘when’,
No use resisting.
Abandon thought, and let the dream descend…
Another twist, her back to his chest, her fingers coming up to caress his face and hair as her other hand rested atop the one he lay possessively over her abdomen.
“What raging fire shall flood the soul?
What rich desire unlocks its door?
What sweet seduction lies before us?
Past the point of no return,
The final threshold.
What warm, unspoken secrets will we learn?
Beyond the point of no… return…
The music softened for a moment as he lowered her into a dip. A heartbeat later, Lola twisted out of his grip, apparently confused, before a smile danced across her face and she proved that she was as much sweet soprano as husky seductress.
“You have brought me,
To that moment where words run dry,
To that moment where speech disappears into silence,
She circled him as she sang, an expression of curiosity on her face as though weighing him up. A narrowed eye that he knew was not part of her acting.
“I have come here,
Hardly knowing the reason why…
In my mind, I’ve already imagined our bodies entwining…
She moved into his arms, arching her back sensually.
“Defenceless and silent.
And now I am here with you.
No second thoughts,
Lola’s face showed her confidence as she looked him directly in the eye through the mask. Clark could not help but wonder what else she was saying with those words, what, if anything, she had decided. One hand reached out to clasp hers as they once more began a slow, stylised tango across the stage.
“Past the point of no return,
No going back now.
Our passion-play has now, at last, begun...
Past all thought of right or wrong,
One final question.
How long should we two wait, before we’re one?
When will the blood begin to race?
The sleeping bud burst into bloom?
When will the flames, at last, consume us?
What was it with her and songs of flame and fire, Clark wondered as they swayed seductively. He could feel an echo of that burn deep inside his stomach, unbidden desires racing through his veins, and he ruthlessly suppressed every one of them. Women were trouble. He had been set up by one, his wife, the woman he should have been able to trust above all others.
But he hadn’t been. His mind turned back to Lola as they crooned in tandem, building towards the climax of the song.
“Past the point of no return,
The final threshold.
Their voices rose, Lola’s gloriously soprano.
“The bridge is crossed, so stand and watch it burn…
Then soft, gentle as the dance moved to a simple embrace, staring into each other’s eyes, the illumination dimming back to one lonely beam of light.
“We’ve passed the point
Of no… re…turn…
The music – soft, low and haunting – drew to a close, the spotlight dimming with each note until blackout.
Clark could feel her heartbeat; hear it, fast and energetic with excitement and something like fear. He ignored it as he offered her a gentle smile and pulled away from the tantalising warmth of her body to allow them the chance to bow and curtsey to an impressed audience as the lights came back up.
They took the praise gracefully before moving off-stage for the next item.
“You two’re gonna end up runnin’ the show at this rate,” one of the girls congratulated them a little grumpily.
“Hey, s’only ‘cause Lise was sick,” Lola protested. “Although how we ended up singing musical theatre…”
“John’s a fan,” another girl explained. John was The Metro Club’s musical director. “You were incredible.”
Clark shot her a grin as he removed the uncomfortable mask and slipped his glasses back on.
“Maybe you should sing in a mask every night, Romeo,” Lola mused thoughtfully. “That was your best yet.”
Clark rolled his eyes. “Maybe you should keep wearing corsets, Christine. Seems to be the best way to get you singing soprano.”
“I’ll make you sing soprano,” she muttered under her breath as Beth, one of the girls, helped her undo the offending item.
Clark laughed, removing his costume and making his way back to the bar once more. It wasn’t long before Toni appeared.
“Charlie, that was incredible. I had no idea… You and Lola compliment each other well. Good-looking couple,” she observed with a knowing smile.
“Strictly business,” Charlie assured her. “I’m not plannin’ on gettin’ mixed up with any more women.”
She almost looked disappointed. “Hey, Charlie, bring my martini to the table, would you? I got someone you need to meet.”
Clark looked at her warily. Who would she think he needed to meet? Carefully, because he wasn’t sure what was about to happen, he brought the martini to Toni’s table, only to see that she was accompanied by a blonde woman.
A blonde woman who, on turning around, was extremely familiar. He didn’t let his recognition show but muttered a “Kara” under his breath that he knew she would hear.
“Clark,” he heard her reply. “I’m on your side. Chill.”
That only afforded him a little comfort. Kara had disappeared right after his arrest, and he’d never found out what happened. Now, he hoped, he was about to get an explanation.
“Charlie, this is Laura Pierce. She said she’s been looking for you,” Toni explained, watching him closely.
“Oh, she has, has she?” His eyes narrowed suspiciously. How would Kara have known his false name so early? He had to be careful. He had trusted her once but after Lana he wasn’t sure who he could trust anymore.
“I have. There’s some information about your ex-wife you might want to hear.” Kara’s smile was predatory. He barely repressed a chuckle at her English accent.
“The only thing I really want to hear about her is that she’s dead,” Clark replied flatly. He thought he could observe something like a mix of shock and pleasure run through Kara’s eyes but it was hard to tell. It was just as much an Elliot feature as a Kent feature though – hurt one member of the family and hurt them all.
“Well, she isn’t yet, but I’m sure we might be able to work something out, Mr. King.”
Clark saw Toni’s brow rose, then sank again. He could almost hear her thoughts play across her face – that perhaps this was all to do with something as simple as a revenge hit. In which case, she didn’t need to hear it, except, perhaps, to find out about ‘Laura Pierce’s efficiency. Kara would never have made contact with Toni Taylor unless there was another angle, and Clark had sometimes wondered exactly what she had been doing since he was locked up.
“Perhaps you’d like to use my office, Ms. Pierce?”
“No,” Clark replied. “I think this can wait until the end of my shift, Ms. Taylor. You don’t mind waitin’?”
“Not at all.”
Clark nodded and Toni dismissed him. Kara’s appearance wreaked havoc on his peace of mind, such as it was. How had she found him? What did she know? Was she really on his side? He remembered that look in her eyes. Family loyalty had been everything to the Elliots. He remembered her telling him about how hard his aunt and uncle had tried to take care of him, how they had been refused by Mr. Potter. Jordan and Lara Elliot had already been murdered. He hadn’t wanted to risk Zachery and his pregnant wife as well. They would do better without the young Carl Elliot but he was to be placed within his own family, with his mother’s cousin. It had been the argument that Martha Kent was unable to have children that swayed them. No one would find it surprising that the Kents adopted a child and perhaps they would be able to raise Carl without fear.
As glad as he had been to discover what was left of his biological family had wanted him, Clark couldn’t help but be grateful he had been placed with the Kents. They were his family, every bit as loyal as the Elliots. Despite everything, despite Lana, despite politics, he knew his parents hadn’t given up on him. They were the only people he was totally confident of.
Oh, he thought others might support him – Chloe, Oliver, Bart, Victor, A.C., those people who knew about his secrets and knew about Lex’s true evil – but it wasn’t quite as certain. It wasn’t the same thing buried deep in his gut that told him to trust them.
The same gut that told him Kara was on his side. The same gut that had never let him tell Lana his full secret. She knew he was strong but that had been all and she had always assumed it was from the meteors.
He wondered if she had told anyone he was a ‘meteor freak.’ As far as he knew, no one else had found out. Maybe she had forgotten. Or maybe she had her own reasons for it. For all he knew, she planned on finding him again, persuading him that it had been part of a plan to discover Lex’s complicity in his conviction and that she actually planned to have him kill Lex for her – so that everything would go to her and her child, the Luthor heir.
Or maybe she really loved Lex. He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure Lana was capable of love anymore.
Kara, he observed, remained at Toni Taylor’s table, no doubt gathering as much intel about the criminal world as possible while she was at it. She had certainly played the game well enough to be regarded as some sort of independent operative or assassin.
For all he knew, that was what she was. The Elliot family history had every kind of profession within it except ‘king’ – or ‘queen’ for that matter. But there were plenty of biologists, teachers, scholars, thieves, assassins, historians, spies, doctors, nurses, artists, writers, rat-catchers… Possibly even the odd courtesan. His family history was eccentric to put it mildly. At least the Kents were relatively simple – farmers, invariably well thought-of, up to his father who was a senator, but who had been a farmer. He wouldn’t even start on his mother’s side of the family. Given her relationship to the Potters – of the Potter Foundation – he wasn’t sure he even wanted to get into that
Thomas Edge moved in the room. Clark had seen him enter well before his number with Lola, and now he was about to address Kara. Now this was a welcome distraction, he thought as he tuned into the conversation.
“I’m ashamed to admit I have never seen a beauty such as you, and now I have, I have no idea of your name,” Thomas Edge charmed. Or attempted to.
Kara simply leaned back in her chair with a wry smile.
“Then you are not as well informed as you ought to be, Mr. Edge,” she replied. He raised a brow, undefeated.
“You know of me?”
“Naturally,” Kara replied, something akin to disdain dripping from her voice. Clark had to admit that no accent did contempt like an English one.
“Then may I know your name?”
Kara pursed her lips for a moment before shrugging elegantly. “I can see no problem with it. Laura Pierce.”
“And, Miss Pierce, might I ask what you are doing in this part of Metropolis?”
“Business, Mr. Edge, like all of us,” Kara replied, her voice cool. “Perhaps you know of my associate, Mr. King?”
Clark saw Edge stiffen, his glance turning his way, and his gaze met the other man’s icily. He hid the smirk he felt as he saw Edge suppress a shiver. There was something empowering about making such a dangerous man fear you.
“I know of him,” Edge admitted. “And how do you know him?”
“I do not divulge the nature of my connections so easily, Mr. Edge. Now, I was enjoying the floor show. Perhaps you might allow me to return my attention to it?”
Knowing he had been dismissed, and uncertain how he felt about it, Edge reluctantly moved away from the icy blonde.
Clark snickered as heard Toni mutter “Nicely handled,” to his cousin in appreciation. Kara responded with a smug grin of her own.
A few hours later, his shift ended and he walked outside.
He had expected to see Kara. He hadn’t expected to see Lola beside her. His eyes narrowed.
“What’s going on?” Clark growled suspiciously. “Kara?”
“She’s on our side, Carl, I swear,” Kara replied, choosing to use Clark’s birth name. Even if someone was watching, they’d think Charlie was covering for the name Carl – not Clark.
“How can I –?”
“I never told your parents that it was you who was responsible for the ‘interesting damage’ in the barn, now, did I?”
Clark sighed but knew he would leave this to his instincts, and they were screaming that he would be able to trust this stranger.
“Fine,” he growled. “Follow me.”
He guided them through the labyrinthine streets and alleys of the bad part of Metropolis, headed for the wealthy end where all the criminally rich dwelt – except for the Luthors, of course. He noted their surprise as he allowed them into his apartment, a sterile bachelor pad like no other.
“How’d you get this in three days out?”
“Four, actually, if you count the day of my escape,” Clark replied idly. “And I didn’t. This is from my ‘rebellious’ period.”
“You had an apartment like this during a rebellious period?” Lola asked doubtfully. She pursed her lips, and Clark had to tell himself that it was not adorable, nor did she look even more delicious than normal in her simple jeans and jacket.
“Well,” he grinned, “the rebellion was a little more marked than most.”
“Is this the summer you ended up on red meteorite?” Kara asked curiously.
“And the winner is the blonde in the killer suit!” Clark announced as he entered his kitchen, pulling out glasses. “Very Jessica Sanders by the way.”
Kara rolled her eyes, recognising his allusion to one of their favourite TV shows before everything went to hell. “Thanks.”
“Want anything to drink?”
“No, but I might like a hug.”
Clark raised a brow as he left the kitchen and pulled his cousin into a warm embrace. “Sorry. Once upon a time you weren’t into hugs.”
“Well, that changed with your influence, didn’t it, cuz?” Kara teased slightly, breathing in his scent. “Oh, God, Clark, I missed you.”
“Me too. When you disappeared, I though you might’ve been killed or –”
“I was on assignment,” Kara interrupted.
“Don’t ask,” Lola advised. “It’s classified. She won’t tell anyone.”
“On the bright side, I have your laptop. What did you use on that thing? None of us could get in.”
Clark cracked a grin even as he breathed a sigh of relief. “Not telling, but I’m glad it was safe. If it got into the wrong hands…”
“So.” Clark’s eyes now fixed on the auburn-haired woman in his living room. “Who are you and who do you work for?”
“The Metro Club.”
“Nice try but you’re too smart.”
She rolled her eyes, stood up, and held out a hand. “Lois Lane. Officially I’m freelance for The Daily Planet
“She works with me,” Kara said decisively.
Kara was silent, looking as if she wasn’t entirely sure how to answer.
Clark frowned, thinking on something else. “Lois Lane. I know that name. I just…” His eyes widened as the memory clicked. “You’re Chloe’s cousin, aren’t you?”
“How is she? Is she safe? I read she disappeared, but –”
“Hold on, Romeo, she’s safe and sound.”
“What about my parents? Kara, they’re okay?” Clark asked, desperate, hopeful for news, any news.
“They’re okay, Clark,” Kara promised, hugging him once more, stroking his hair soothingly. “I swear. The trial was horrible for them but I’ve been in contact. Everyone knows that – unofficially – your dad’s been using everything at his disposal to find out what really happened. There’s a lot more people who support you than you think – especially after the Evil She-Bitch From Hell married Luthor.”
Clark couldn’t stifle the laugh at his cousin’s nickname for Lana. “Good to know. What about the guys? Oliver, Bart, A.C., Victor?”
“All good. Also work with us,” Kara assured him.
“And ‘us’ is?”
“We’re called Infinity.”
I will try to get back onto a more regular posting schedule for this. Enjoy and please let me know what you think.