December 23, 2008

Quintessence Chapter (2/13)

Chapter 2

Chapter 1
Two Weeks Earlier
(Chloe POV)

"Can any cell hold her?”

She turned around and faced me. The look she gave me was condescending.

“Probably not.”

I frowned as she glanced back at the wall and I moved away from her. She made me nervous.

“Alicia, what are you doing here?”

She glanced over the different articles and then turned around. Her voice was soft, but chastising.

“Chloe Sullivan…Ace Reporter. You write all these articles about the people you call "freaks," and you don't even realize that someone close to you is one of them.”

I gave her a confused look and she frowned as she shook her head.

“ Why are you ignoring what's right in front of your face, Chloe? Don't you want to know the truth about Clark Kent?”

Of course I did…and it killed me that Alicia new and I didn’t…but I didn’t want to betray Clark’s trust…as curious as I was if he wanted me to know he would have told me. When I spoke my voice came out with a slight quiver.

“Everyone knows you're crazy. Why should I believe you?”

She shrugged and started walking over to me. Her voice was hard.”You don't have to. I'm gonna prove it. And then you can write the story of a lifetime.”

She grabbed onto my arm in a hard grip and teleported us. It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had. We ended up in her car driving down a road full of construction work.”Where are we? What are you doing?”

She took out her cell phone and dialed a number.”Giving you your next headline. And making things better for Clark.” I heard someone answer the phone and when Alicia spoke there was panic in her voice.”Clark, I'm on Old Blossom Road, and there's something really wrong with the car! It won't stop! Just hurry!”

She hung up the phone and glassed at me, as she pressed down harder on the gas. She grabbed onto my arm again and teleported me behind some old tires and construction blockades.

“Once you see this, you'll understand. And Clark can be who he really is, and you can use that poison pen of yours to enlighten Smallville for a change.”

I saw Clark appear out of nowhere and stand directly in front of the speeding car. My eyebrows scrunched together in confusion.
“Clark, what are you…”

I didn’t get a chance to finish my sentence because Alicia interrupted me.”Don't worry, Chloe.”

What I saw next shocked me to the core. Clark caught the speeding car in mid air. He placed it one the ground and looked inside. When he didn’t see anyone he sped away. My eyes widened.”Oh, my god.”

A car horn honked bringing me out of my thoughts. I looked up and the light was green. I pushed on the gas and continued down the road to The Talon. I couldn’t help it…my mind kept wondering back to the other night when Alicia came to the Torch. I can’t believe she was murdered. I mean we were nowhere near friends but I never wanted anything like that to happen to her. Now I understand why she and Clark were so attracted to each other.

He must have understood exactly what she was going through and vice versa. She wasn’t as bad of a person as I thought she was. Alicia was just misunderstood. I’ll now…I’ll always be grateful to her for what she’s given me. She might not have realized it at the time, but I’d never write a story about Clark and his abilities. He kept them a secret for a reason and I wouldn’t be the one to bring his secrets to light.

That’s probably why he’s always hesitated in telling me in the first place. I’m glad that Alicia chose to tell me about Clark’s secret though. She could have told Lois or Lana…but she chose me and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve been wondering why she came to me, but I won’t ever be able to know now…I’d like to think it was because she knew that Clark needed someone and she wanted that person to be me.

I parked on the downtown meters and walked into the Talon. I moved around the bustling people and went up the stairs to the Talon apartment. I knocked on the door and then walked in. I saw Lois packing up a bag. I frowned.

“What’s going on Lo’?”

“I'm headed back to school. I have an 8:00 class tomorrow.”

She glanced at me with a reproachful look before quickly looking back at her bag. Her voice was soft when she spoke.

“Looking for clues about Tim's ability? Things we should have seen before, blaming Alicia?”
I sighed. We did jump on Alicia pretty quickly and I’m sorry for that now… I shook my head in a self-deprecating manner.

“I think maybe I've seen too much already. I've spent the last four years ferreting out meteor freaks, trying to expose them. I never should've started that wall.”
Lois stopped what she was doing and walked over to me. She turned me to face her and spoke slowly.
”Chloe, you're a reporter. You investigate and expose. That's who you are.”

Sometimes I wish it wasn’t.”Yeah, well, I guess sometimes it sucks being me.”

I needed advice. I wasn’t sure what to do about Clark…I wanted to tell him I knew…but I didn’t know how’d he take that. My voice was hesitant when I spoke.

“Lois, if -- if you found out something -- something someone didn't want you to know about them -- would you tell them?”
She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms over her chest.
”That depends. Is that person someone you care about?”

I love him…

She looked thoughtful.

“And has keeping the secret hurt anyone?”
I shook my head.


She shrugged and her voice was easy going.

“Then my answer is no. If I really cared about that person, I wouldn't tell them that I knew. But I would go out of my way to be supportive of them so that hopefully, one day, they would be comfortable enough to tell me themselves.”

I nodded my head. I see her point…but at the same time if I don’t tell him then I’m not being honest with him. And if I’m not honest with him how can I expect him to be honest with me. I gave her a small smile.
“No offense, Lois, but that's the last thing I expected to hear from you.”
She went back to her bag and continued packing.
”I've learned the hard way that people keep secrets for a reason, even from the people they're closest to.”

She turned back to me and her voice was serious but comforting.

“Chloe, is there something you want to tell me? Are you the one with the secret?”
I chuckled. Lois always did worry too much.
”No. No, it's not me.”

She studied my face and after a couple of minutes nodded. She zipped up her bag and put everything by the door. She grabbed her jacket moved over to the door. She was getting ready to leave so I followed her.”Okay. I'll see you in a couple of weeks or so.”
I smiled and nodded.

She opened the door and then turned before she walked out. Her voice was assuring.
“I'm sure whoever it is that you're talking about will tell you when they're ready.”

Hopefully but some how I doubted it.
She grinned at me and I followed her down the stairs and out of the Talon.


I gave her a slight wave.
“Bye. Have a safe drive home.”
She waved back at me and got into her car. I watched her pull away from the curb and disappear into the distance. I glanced down at my watch. It was two o clock. I’m pretty sure Alicia’s funeral is at three. I walked down the block and got into my car. I drove over to the Kent’s. When I got there the farm looked disserted.

I walked up the steps, took a deep breath and knocked on the door. A few seconds later Mrs. Kent opened it. She smiled when she saw me.

“Chloe, sweetheart. It’s good to see you. Come in.”

She opened the door wider and I walked into the kitchen.

“Hi Mrs. Kent. Is Clark here?”

I saw her expression falter. She frowned. Her voice came out with a tinge of sadness.

“He’s upstairs. I think he’s getting dressed for Alicia’s funeral.”

I nodded.

“May I go up?”
She nodded and gave me a small smile.

“Of course.”

I grinned.

“Thanks Mrs. K”

I went quietly up the stairs and made my way to Clark’s room. The door was closed so I knocked. When no one answered I knocked again and then slowly opened the door. I saw him standing in front of his closet wearing only his pants. I moved into the room slowly and spoke to him incase he didn’t know I was there.

“Hey Clark.”

He glanced over his shoulder at me, walked over to his dresser and grabbed a white t-shirt out of it. His voice was hard when he spoke to me.

“What do you want Chloe?”

“I thought that…maybe you’d like some company at Alicia’s funeral.”

He turned and faced me. I could hear the anger in his voice when he spoke.

“Why? Weren’t you one of the first people to blame her for everything that has been going on lately? Why would you want to go to her funeral?”

He shook his head and turned away from me. I sighed. Well come on now Chloe…you didn’t think this would be easy did you? Clark cares about her a lot…and I didn’t even bother to trust his judgment when he said she was innocent. I walked over to wear he was sitting on his bed putting on his good shoes. I placed my hand on his shoulder and he shrugged it off. I took a deep breath.

“You’re right Clark.”

My admission must have startled him because he looked up at me with a curious look on his face. I had his attention. I moved so I was kneeling in front of him. My words were soft and came out with regret.

“I misjudged Alicia Clark and I am sorry for that. People make mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance. Even her. I should have trusted you’re judgment. You have a good sense of what’s going on around you and I should have known that.”

I saw his eyes get slightly damp as I continued speaking to him.

“I should have known that you wouldn’t risk the lives of the people you care about. If you thought Alicia was in anyway capable of doing those things…you wouldn’t have kept her around us…so again. I’m sorry. I was wrong. Underneath everything Alicia was a good person…she just got a raw deal.”

He looked into my face for a few seconds before a tiny smile appeared on his lips. His voice wasn’t completely warm but it was better then before.

“Thank you Chloe…it means a lot that you stopped by.”

I shrugged.

“You’re my friend Clark…and I know how much she meant to you.”

He nodded and finished getting himself ready. As he walked over to the door he stopped right before he crossed the threshold.

“You coming?”

I smiled at his back. I moved toward him to catch up. We walked out of the room side by side. I placed a comforting hand on his arm.

“I wouldn’t miss this…”

He clambered down the stairs with me in tow. When we got into the kitchen I saw Mrs. Kent washing dishes. He addressed her in a monotone voice.

“We’re heading out. I’m taking the truck.”

She wiped her hands off and glanced between us.

“Clark honey…”

He cut her off. He glared at her and he spoke in an irate way.

“Just stop mom…I know you didn’t like Alicia, and you definitely didn’t like her with me. I don’t want false sympathies from you…or dad. Just leave me alone.”

He grabbed the keys from the kitchen counter and stormed out of the kitchen. I looked at Mrs. Kent for a minute and I saw the pain on her face. I raised my shoulders and shook my head.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Kent…I’m sure Clark didn’t mean that…this…whole thing seems to be taking a toll on him.”

She nodded morosely. Her gaze was compassionate.

“He has been…and I don’t know what to do about it. He won’t talk to anyone…”

She gave me a hopeful look.

“Maybe he’ll talk to you Chloe…you two have always been so close.”

I nodded.


She looked out the window when we heard the truck start up.

“You better get going. I’d hate for him to leave without you.”

I gave her a small grin.

“You’re right. I’ll see you later Mrs. K”

I walked quickly down the stairs and made my way to the truck where Clark was waiting. I got in and as soon as the door closed he took off toward the cemetery. The car was quiet as we drove. It seemed like the closer we got to the cemetery the gloomier the day became. I glanced at my watch. It was two fifty. We had ten minutes but I know for a fact we’d be there in two.

He pulled in and parked the car. When he didn’t get out I wasn’t sure exactly what to say. Clark looked like he was in a daze. Just going through the motions…I wanted to be there for him but I didn’t know how. Things like this…they just…take time. I slowly moved my hand over and placed it on Clark’s. He jerked his hand out from under mine and was snapped out of his daze.

He glanced at my face and must have seen the hurt look on my face because he rubbed the back of his head and sighed.

“Sorry Chloe…I just…you startled me.”

I nodded.

“It’s fine. We should probably get out there though. It’s almost time.”

He nodded and got out of the truck before I could open my door he had come around and done it for me. I gave him a small smile and we treaded over the dirt and rocks to Alicia’s gravesite. My heart hurt and my chest tightened when we got there. There wasn’t one single person here. A young girl was blamed for attacking people and then when no one believed her she was murdered and still no one showed up.

That has to be one of the most painful things in the world. To think or know that no one cares…Clark must be devastated for Alicia. I watched him kneel down in front of the headstone. He placed a hand on it and spoke softly. After a few minutes I knelt down next to him. When I spoke my voice was completely sincere.

“Clark. I...just wanted to say again that I am so sorry. For everything. It must've been so hard being so different, having everyone judge you before they even know you. Knowing that there's some people that... might never accept you.”

He glanced over at me with a strange look covering his face. I glanced down and shrugged.

“I just -- I want you to know that I'm here for you... if you ever need to talk.”

He gave me a weak smile and inclined his head.
”Thanks, Chloe. I appreciate that.”

I rubbed his shoulder as I looked at the headstone.

“Of course…”

I looked back and forth between Clark and the headstone a few times before I spoke to him awkwardly.

“Hey…umm…do you think you could give me a minute alone with her? I just…I have a few things I wanna say and I’d rather be alone if that’s ok?”

His face showed a myriad of emotion until a smile landed on his face. He stood up and stepped back. His voice was soft but it held something more…something I couldn’t quiet define.

“Sure thing Chlo…I’ll meet you in the car.”

He leaned over and gave me a slight kiss on the forehead before walking off in the direction we parked.
I frowned at his back. That was odd…I’d have to look into that. I sat down on the ground and gathered my thoughts be I spoke.

“Hey Alicia…I know me being here is kinda weird. Sorry about that in advance. I wanted to…I wanted to apologize to you. I shouldn’t have been so harsh to you and I know that you’re probably thinking I’m only saying this because you’re gone but that’s not true. I realize now that I never took the time to get to know you and so I should have never judged you.”

I took a deep breath.

“I care about Clark a great deal and although you obviously thought I’d sell him out for a good head line…I’d never do that. You got to see a part of Clark that he keeps hidden from the rest of us and I envy you for that. I am so…incredibly grateful that you showed me that part of him. I want you to know that he’s going to have someone here…I’ll be there for him Alicia whenever he needs me. I won’t betray him.”

I shrugged as I sat.

“I guess that’s it really. I should probably go he’s waiting in the car. Goodbye Alicia…”

I got up and made my way back to the truck. As I was walking by I had the strangest feeling that someone was watching me. I glanced around in all directions but nothing. There was a cold breeze that blew right through me. I shook my head. Sometimes I swear my imagination got the better of me…

I got in the car and we headed back towards the Kent farm. As we drove I glanced out the window and enjoyed the passing landscape. A few minutes later I felt a large callused hand intertwine itself with mine. I looked over and saw Clark’s hand curled around mine. I smiled. Everything was going to be just fine. I’d help Clark get through this if it was the last thing I did…

(Clark POV)

Ok…so at the moment I am baffled beyond belief. I know for a fact that Chloe didn’t like Alicia…but I also know that she isn’t faking being nice about everything either. So what caused this change? Why does she feel Alicia is all of a sudden a good person? Something must have happened. I glanced over at her and watched her for a few seconds.

She seemed lost in her own thoughts at the moment and I didn’t want to inturrupt her. When all of this started with me and Alicia…I was so upset that Chloe wouldn’t give her a chance. That because of what happened with Lana before Alicia was cured branded her a killer forever. I mean I expected that from a lot of people…but not from Chloe.

She never was one to follow the crowd. She had her own opinion and never let people influence her. That’s why she was such a good writer. But Chloe…unlike everyone else apologized. She took back the things she said about Alicia and she was here for me today.

Not even my parent’s asked if I wanted them to come with me. Granted I didn’t want them to but would it have killed them to ask? I didn’t even have to ask Chloe and she’s here…I sighed as I turned the truck into the farm. When I pulled up and parked we sat there quietly for a few minutes. When it didn’t look like she was going to break the silence I did. I squeezed her hand to get her attention and when she looked over at me I spoke in a low voice.

“Thanks again Chloe. It really means a lot to me that you came. I know that Alicia did some bad stuff in the past and I was mad for a long time about it…but she really did change…”

She nodded.

“I know she did Clark. I know how hard this must be for you. And I know I’ve said it a million times but I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything…I don’t want you to keep this bottled in…ok?”

I nodded. I should have known that I’d be able to talk to Chloe…she’s always there when I need her. I got out of the car and she followed. I walked her over to her car and opened the door for her. she grinned. I could hear the amusement in her voice when she spoke.

“You sure are quite the gentlemen today Kent…”

I gave her a small laugh.

“I’m not always one?”

She snorted.

“You’re dreaming if you think you are….but anyway I should get going.”

I nodded and she gave me a strange look. She opened her mouth and closed it. She looked up at me sheepishly and shrugged. It seemed like she wanted to tell me something…but wasn’t sure about it. She got in her car and I closed the door.

He voice was comforting.

“Call me if you need anything…I’ll see you at school?”

I moved off her car door.

“Yea. I’ll see you on Monday Chloe.”

She started the car and pulled away. As she drove off she lifted her hand out the window and waved. I stood out there and watched the car drive away until I couldn’t see it anymore. Things were so confusing lately. I had so many emotions running through me at once and no one understood them…except for maybe Chloe. I was lucky to have her. I moved into the loft and sped upstairs.

I sat down gently and put my head in my hands. I heard a noise underneath me and I frowned. I got up and walked to the edge of the loft. I called out.

“Hello? Mom…dad? Who’s there?”

No one answered me. I saw a shadow pass by the horses. I took a deep breath and super sped down there only to run into nothing. I moved all around the barn searching for what I saw. I shook my head and chuckled to myself.

Sometimes my imagination really ran ramped. I was seeing things now…I just need a good night’s rest…I haven’t been sleeping well and I’m not sure why. All the stress was getting to me…exactly…I’m sure that’s what it was…

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