BY:Ann of Midnight
DISCLAIMER: You know these aren’t mine in any way, right?
SPOILERS: This is a post season 1 Smallville and season 6 Buffy fic.
RATING: PG right now. May change later.
PARINGS: All conventional pairings are fair game, but you will probably notice some CLex.
FEEDBACK: Love it of course. Who wouldn't?
Clark still wasn't what you'd call talkative; he tended to do his job. Still, you could see he was getting more and more comfortable with the three girls he had met less than two weeks ago.
Xander? Well, he was just glad to have another man around. Made him feel a little less outnumbered.
“Girls, I know it’s hard, but can you please stop ogling?”
“But Xander, this is the very best part of our day,” teased the blond slayer.
She and her sister Dawn had their feet up on the table that sat in the center of the Magic Box. They were happily watching Clark and Xander pick up heavy objects, move them… and then set them down. Taking a break from training every night before patrol to banter with the boys and eat snack food was becoming a habit, and both girls enjoyed it immensely.
Dawn got in on the action as well. “Xander, can you just step to the right, you’re blocking my view.”
“Thanks a lot!”
“That’s mean Dawn, Xander has a nice ass too, don’t you Xander?”
“I sure do,” said the dark-haired man, shaking his bon-bon to prove his point. The girls were eating popcorn, and Dawn nearly choked to death when she saw that little performance.
Buffy and Xander laughed out loud. Clark wore an embarrassed smile and a perma-blush.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Oh, he speaks! Shoot?” Answered Buffy.
“This isn’t a dig, okay? I’m just wondering if you guys are like this all the time.”
“You mean shameless?” Questioned Xander. “It’s simple really. We haven’t had the best time this past year and we’re trying to get back to a place where we can smile again.”
Xander stopped talking when he saw Willow had stepped out of the back room and heard the comment.
Willow smiled shyly at Clark. “Also, we’d have to be blind not to see what’s in front of us. You’re one hot enchilada,” she deadpanned.
Everyone had a laugh but Clark could see Willow’s eyes well up with tears. He didn’t know what to do. She just smiled bravely. “If I can see it, everyone can, so get used to it.”
The redhead suddenly looked unsteady on her feet. As she fell, Clark ran up to catch her from behind. What he didn’t catch a glimpse of, however, were what looked like lightning bolts shooting out of her hands and into the floor, cracking it.
Clark set her down on the counter as Xander and Buffy went for supplies. When she came to Buffy had bandaged her hands and Xander had a cold water cloth pressed on her forehead. He whispered to her lovingly.
“Take me home,” she whimpered.
“Clark, is it all right if I take off early on you? Buffy can walk you home.”
“That’s not necessary.”
“Come on, we tease but we’re not really crazy.”
“I’ll take a cab.”
“That works,” Xander acquiesced, carrying Willow out the door. “Oh, and if you see Anya, tell her we’ll be done next week, but she can probably open in a couple of days, provided we know what to with those books. See you in the morning Clark!”
Buffy and Clark waved to Xander. The door closed and Clark started sweeping up the mess he and Xander had made cutting wood for a new cabinet.
Dawn ran in, having taped up a banged-up finger and sore wrist.
“I’m ready for patrol, oh great one," she said, showing off her bandages.
“Okay, let me get my purse.”
“Clark, promise me you will take a taxi.”
“Okay, the number’s by the phone. Don’t stay too late, see you tomorrow.”
“By Clark.” Dawn said, heading out the door. She doubled back, got on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “See you.”
Clark was going to have to have a talk with that girl, he thought morosely. She was so nice, but he had enough complications in his personal life. He just couldn’t get together with a girl this summer, not when he was already emotionally involved with three people back home.
Clark finished up in record time and locked up, leaving the key where he had been previously told.
He was finally going to be able to visit this town without being reprimanded by one of his friends or his guardians.
He set out aimlessly into the night air.
After walking for several miles, he started wondering why the heck his friends were so uptight about people being out at night. All he knew was that gangs abounded, and Buffy and her friends were part of some sort of Neighborhood Watch group. He had seen the sisters could protect themselves, but he was starting to think they were a little over-zealous. As far as he could tell, the streets were completely deserted with the exception of a few cars whizzing by every now and then.
He tried a new tactic, listening with his powers. He had never really done this in Smallville, because it was something new, and he didn’t want to intrude, but there had to be more going on than what he could tell as a human.
There were so many cries of pain at once he almost fell to the ground. He took a deep breath and concentrated on the one closest to him. He closed his eyes and followed the cry. It was a woman, she was screaming for help in an ally. When he got there, the woman had fallen and was dragging herself into a corner. The men were laughing.
“Excuse me, but I think you should leave her alone,” Clark said, stepping up behind them.
“Or you’ll be sorry.”
“This won’t take long, kid, then you’re next.”
“Next for what exactly?”
The man nearest Clark’s face changed and he declared, licking his lips. “I’m hungry.”
Clark was fearlessly staring at the other man, however, who was advancing on the woman.
The game-faced vamp hit him in the stomach, and doubled over in pain. He hit him again from the back with both his hands as a club, and doubled over in pain. Clark didn’t budge. He just coolly walked towards the distressed woman.
The hurting vampire held his buddy back. “He’s a robot or something. We should get out of here.”
“Fine, we’ll eat at the Bronze you sissy.”
“Wherever man, I broke my hands!” he showed his vampire friend as they walked away, very fast.
After they were gone, Clark extended his hand to the woman and waited for her to get up.
“My name is Clark Kent, what’s yours?”
“Now that we’re acquainted, where can I take you?”
“I live down the block. Oh God, I was almost home,” she sobbed.
He walked her to her building and watched her walk in, then he used his ex-ray vision to makes sure she got to her apartment in one piece.
He couldn’t help but feel some happiness at the fact that he was learning to control his powers. He was definitely appreciating them more as time went on. Perhaps he was maturing, he thought.
It was only ten o’clock, so he kept on walking. When he was sure no one could see him, he closed his eyes again and opened the flood. He stood there a long time, trying to only listen to the people closest to him.
He had saved four other people by the time he realized he was completely lost. One girl was running from an abusive boyfriend. A younger man he saved from a group of unsavory looking characters and he saved a couple running away from the same alley men by simply hailing a cab and opening the door for them as they rounded a corner. The men were not pleased, but Clark was long gone before they could get to him.
After aimlessely walking around for an hour, he decided to try and pick out Buffy and Dawn talking, so he could either: get to a part of town where there was a phone, find a street he knew by himself, or beg them to tell him where he was and how to get home. He wasn’t too thrilled about the last option, because they had been so adamant about not walking anywhere at night, but he would bear the criticism if he had too.
He listened hard, and then listened harder. He went through the voices in his head like radio stations. Many times he thought he had them, but the rhythms of the conversations were off. He almost yelled Bingo when he heard them after a very long 15 minutes, but he wasn’t a complete dolt. He drowned out the other noise and tried following their voices with his eyes open this time.
“Buffy, behind you!”
“Got it! *Pause* Wasn’t too stealthy that one.”
“Why won’t you let me bring the crossbow? I could have had him easy.”
“Because weapons like the crossbow can make you cocky, when you bring nothing, you have to think on your toes.”
“Oh, you dropped your purse.”
“Eww, and now I’ve got Dust-in-the-Wind’s remains are all over it. Damn, and inside too.”
“Why do you carry a purse anyway?”
“Because most of my new clothes are pocket-free, and when all else fails you can belt someone with it.”
“True... so do you think we can stop by Spi- I mean Clem’s? I feel the need for a caffeinated beverage.”
“I guess that couldn’t hurt. We’ll do one more sweep after and head home. I don’t like you disrupting your sleep patterns too much. It’ll be hell when you go back to school.”
“I go to High School Buffy, it’ll be hell weather or not I’m tired.”
“So true. Hey, what about going to rent ourselves a couple of girl movies after we're done with the crypts? Could be fun.”
“Maybe, but that's all we've been watching.”
“Right, so we visit the land of nod.”
"We sleep, Dawn."
“I knew that. So how do you manage to fight demons in platforms? I nearly broke my ankle and I’m wearing high tops.”
Clark though they’re conversation was a bit curious, but was mostly trying not to run into a tree. He was crossing a small forest when a scream broke through and shook his insides. He was filled with grief and sadness and terror and rage and all he could hear was that gut-wrenching scream.
On total overload, all he could think of was getting to this person. He ran with super speed through the forest, a cemetery, several streets, a backyard or two and got to a fairly good looking house. The light turned on but there was no movement through the grand windows. He used his ex-ray vision to get an idea of what was going on inside, and listened carefully.
Two adults, a man and a woman, were sitting up in bed. The man had his arms around a shrieking female. As Clark was running, all he heard was ‘NO’. Now, it was different.
“Tara! Tara! No! Please don’t leave me baby! Tara!!! No! NO! NO! Not Tara, please not Tara. Please don't take her!” The cries gradually turned to sobs, and Clark couldn’t help but let a few tears out himself.
“Ssshh. It’s just a dream. I’m here Will, come on. Let it go. It’s okay. I’m here.”
“No. My Tara. TARA!” She screamed, and Clark saw something explode in front of them. They didn’t move.
“Let it out. It’s okay. I’m here and everything’s okay.”
“No it’s not. It will never be alright ever again.”
“Isn’t that what I thought every time my uncle Rory got through with me? Isn’t that what I thought every time my mother went in the hospital?”
“Xander, it was Tara. She’s gone… She’s gone…”
“I know sweetie. I know.”
And the woman sobbed, and sobbed and sobbed, and Clark’s recent suspicions were confirmed when the cries turned into whimpers and he saw Xander step out of the room. He watched as the man got himself something to eat and sat down, massaging his temples.
Clark couldn’t just walk away, so he took a chance.