Not exactly how I wanted it to work, but fics have a mind of their own...
Title: Taking Chances 1/1
Warnings: Spoilers for season 2. Light FemSlash - or whatever. ;)
Setting: Episode 202. "Heat".
Notes: I tried to stay as close to canon as possible, but some liberties were taken to make this work.
Thanks to Stephanie for beta-reading!
Chloe had discovered a few interesting facts while doing research on the new Mrs. Luthor. It hadn't taken too long to figure out that she was hiding something, because people didn't go around changing their name without a reason, and that reason was usually an incriminating one. Perhaps this identity change held the secret to Lex's sudden nuptials. Or maybe she was just making hasty conclusions, and the identity change had nothing to do with the wedding. It was possible that Lex was more vulnerable to his passions than he let on.
She understood that well.
After all, she had nearly made a fool of herself on their first day back to school. She'd thought she would be strong enough to confront Clark without resentments, that she would be able to play it cool in front of him. But she was wrong. Pretending that everything was fine wasn't that easy. Even a simple smile in front of Clark required some effort.
Somehow, she would have to learn how to control her emotions and avoid letting them get the best of her.
Like right now, when Lana was sitting in front of her, asking for help to make a tape for Whitney.
"I just want him to see familiar faces. I want him to know that we're all thinking of him," Lana said.
"No problem!" Chloe managed a half smile. She ran her fingers through her hair, combing it a little, and then looked up at Lana. "Whenever you're ready!"
"You look fine." Lana's lips curved up a bit. She picked up the camera and focused on Chloe as she pressed the record button.
"Hi Whitney! I hope you're having a great time out there, learning lots of new and useful things. We're all here, doing the same old things... so when you come back, you will have to give me an exclusive on your exciting life as a Marine. I think that's it. See you soon!"
"That was good," Lana said. She lowered the camera and handed it to Chloe.
"Sure." Chloe nodded. She placed the camera on her lap and idly fidgeted with the battery.
A few moments of uncomfortable silence followed, and Chloe tried to avoid looking at Lana. She didn't know what to do, or what to say. It was not that she didn't like her, but Lana was the only obstacle between her and Clark. That was unfair, of course, but she couldn't help feeling that way.
"So, that must have been fun, spending an entire summer in Metropolis," Lana spoke first, and Chloe was grateful.
"Yeah, it was really nice to get away. Sometimes a little distance can just give you a new perspective on things you've done, you know, mistakes you've made."
"Going to the spring formal with Clark was not a mistake," Lana said quietly.
Chloe laughed, a little bitterly. "Yeah it was. I let myself indulge in my feelings for him and I ended up getting hurt."
Lana shook her head and stood up. She crossed over to Chloe and looked at her for a moment. "At least you were brave enough to take the risk," she said softly.
"Oh, yeah!" Chloe smirked. "That's me, cupid's cannon fodder!" She looked up and laughed, and Lana laughed with her.
Chloe looked at Lana for a moment, studying the delicate features of her face and the reddish highlights on her dark hair. She wondered if this is what Clark saw when he looked at Lana, the light emanating from her face. She was so pretty, almost fragile, the complete opposite of her.
Chloe knew she could never look like that. She was not Lana.
"Three months," Chloe rolled her eyes and sighed. "I thought I'd be over it by now...but when I saw him in the hall, all those feelings came back," she said confidentially. "I even made up some lame story about meeting a guy in Metropolis to try to get a rise out of him."
Lana placed her hand on Chloe's shoulder, "Clark still really cares about you."
"I know," Chloe nodded. "But he cares more about you."
It was strange, to find herself so close to the one she would consider a rival, feeling her warmth, the soft weight of her hand on her shoulder.
"Chloe, I don't want Clark to come between us," Lana cleared her throat, "between our friendship."
Chloe thought about it for a moment. Lana was right. Friendship, their friendship, was more important than a high school crush, or the jealousy she felt when she thought about Clark, and the bitterness the spring formal had left in her mouth.
Lana made her feel comfortable. Lana was someone she could talk to, someone who could understand her, someone who cared. And Chloe cared too. She cared too much to lose her.
"Me neither," Chloe said, determination in her voice. "What are we going to do about that?"
"We will define ourselves by what we do, not who we date," Lana paused and gave Chloe a warm smile, "...or don't date."
"Cool," Chloe said. They both laughed.
And Lana sat back down, her head pushed back against the couch, and her laughter was low and smooth, and... beautiful. She was so beautiful.
Chloe surprised herself with that last thought. She couldn't understand why, or how, but studying Lana so closely made her understand why Clark felt the way he did. It was so easy to fall for Lana...
She was warm and tender. She was simple. Chloe could be herself around Lana, and not be afraid to open up, to show her true feelings. Lana emanated calm. Not everyone had that luxury.
"Lana," Chloe said, as she sat down, her hand resting lightly on Lana's knee. "I need to be honest... I was angry. Not at you exactly, and not at Clark either, but I did feel that he walked out on me at the formal to be with you--"
"Shhh." Chloe placed a finger over Lana's lips. "Let me finish."
Lana simply nodded, a little concerned frown formed on her face, and her eyes were completely fixed on Chloe.
"I understood that it was an emergency, that it was important for Clark to find you during the storm; I understood that he was concerned, that he didn't want anything to happen to you. God, *I* wouldn't want anything to happen to you," Chloe paused for a moment. "But you know, I was still angry. But now..."
"What now?" Lana asked.
"Now...I'm not," Chloe said quietly. "I can't be. Because I know it isn't fair... and because you've helped me to understand that I shouldn't be afraid to take chances. After what happened with Clark, I wanted to be more in control. I guess I wanted to restrain my emotions. But it's not so easy... and now you're here talking to me, and you're not afraid to open up, to tell me how you feel. You're not afraid to tell me what you really think. You're not afraid to put Clark aside, and to make our friendship work."
Lana let out a soft sigh. "I'm trying, Chloe. I'm trying not to be afraid. I guess I'm trying to follow Lex's example. He was not afraid to act on his impulses, on his emotions, without worrying about making a mistake or any consequences. Without being afraid of getting hurt..." she trailed off.
"I want to do that too," Chloe nearly whispered, as she reached out and traced Lana's face with the tips of her fingers.
And Lana was sitting there, so close to her. Her face felt so warm, a jolt of electricity traveled through her fingers at the contact. She understood now.
"Chloe," Lana said, not backing away, not moving, her lips half-parted and moist, and Chloe wanted to...
No, she couldn't. It wouldn't be right. She didn't know what Lana would think, or how she would react. It was a risk, a risk that Clark would not take. Clark Kent was different, and not even Mrs. Luthor had been able to seduce him, no matter what her charms. Clark Kent was too strong to let his emotions control him.
Was that really being strong, or being weak?
She knew she wasn't Clark. And she didn't want to be like him. It was better to be more like Lex, take some risks. Lana would approve.
Chloe leaned over and brushed her lips over Lana's. It was only a matter of seconds, but she felt her, and she was soft, her lips smooth...and the heat. This terrible heat wave.
She felt Lana flinching, suddenly backing away. "What... what are you doing, Chloe?" Wide-eyed and surprised, Lana was shaking.
Chloe realized what she'd done, but maybe it was too late. She had not been able to help it. She wanted to know what it would be like, what Clark felt when he looked at Lana, what it would feel like to... kiss her.
"I'm so sorry, Lana! I'm sorry!" She apologized repeatedly. "I didn't mean... It's not what you think!"
Lana was already up, gathering her belongings and getting ready to leave. "I have to go," she said.
"Lana, please," Chloe pleaded. "It's really not what you think, I don't--"
But she couldn't finish the phrase, 'I don't like girls', because someone else was in the room.
"Lana," he said. "We need to talk."
It was Lex. Where had he come from? She hadn't even noticed the door was not locked, in fact, it was wide open. Anyone could have walked in.
Lana turned over to Lex, and by the look on her face, Chloe knew she had not yet recovered from her first shock. And now this.
"I have to go." Chloe stood up abruptly. "I have to... get some work done. At the Torch," she said nervously.
"Right," Lana said curtly. "See you."
Chloe glanced over at Lex for a moment and then back to Lana. "I'll talk to you... later."
Lana nodded. And Chloe left the room, her heart beating a mile per second, her breath caught in her throat. She walked briskly down the hall, feeling confused by the zillion emotions she was experiencing. She was still not completely in control of herself. She would have to work harder on that.
But maybe, just maybe, taking chances was not so bad afterall, she thought, and her hand wandered over to her lips, where she could still feel Lana's kiss.