5161FIC: The Warmth (X-Men/Smallville) 1/1
- Jul 10, 2003Disclaimers: I still don�t own anyone. Chloe belongs
to Millar, Gough, and the WB. John and Mystique
belong to Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, and 20th Century
Fox. Jaime is mine.
Rated: PG for John's potty mouth.
Author�s Note: This is the sequel to �Sparks�. You
don�t have to read that one first, but if you�re
curious about how John and Chloe met, you can check it
Chloe Sullivan wrinkled her nose as she surveyed her
reflection in the full-length hallway mirror. Staring
back at her was a pretty blonde with an oval-shaped
face, pink lips, and warm green eyes. However, it
wasn�t her natural features that were causing her
�I look like I�m desperate,� she said dismally,
staring at the clothes she was wearing.
�You do not,� Jaime Slate, her older cousin, laughed
from behind her.
Chloe lifted her eyes from the clothes to look at
Jaime in the mirror. �This skirt is way too short.
It screams date, and we both agreed that this wasn�t a
�Sure.� The tall strawberry-blonde sauntered into the
room and smoothed out her younger cousin�s top. �You
meet some random guy in a movie theater, give him your
cell phone number, he calls, and you don�t call this a
date?� Her wide blue eyes met Chloe�s in the mirror.
�No, I don�t. We�re just hanging out, that�s all.
Just two people doing something together.�
Jaime turned Chloe around to face her, her look of
amusement quickly changing to seriousness. �I want
you to be careful, Chlo�. You don�t know anything
about this John guy, and there are a lot of weird
people out there. Dangerous people.�
Chloe gave her a reassuring smile. �Don�t worry about
me. I�ve dated my share of weirdoes in Smallville; I
know how to take care of myself.�
�I know, but still, you�re my baby cousin, and you�re
my responsibility while you�re here. I�m gonna
Pulling Jaime into a hug, Chloe comforted her again.
�I�ll be fine, I promise.� She then let go and turned
back to her reflection. �Besides, I�m going into a
dangerous profession; I need the experience.�
Just then, the TV in the living room flashed up a
picture of a passionate protestor waving a �Mutants
are Dangerous� sign. �They�re a menace to society,�
he was spitting into the reporter�s microphone. �Just
look at what they did to the Statue of Liberty a while
Chloe rolled her eyes as she shifted her attention to
the screen. �Some people don�t have anything better
to do, do they?� she groaned.
�Yeah. One terrorist act happens and half the world
turns against one race of people. It�s just wrong,�
Jaime agreed, crossing to the TV.
Chloe followed her, still fussing with her skirt.
�You know, it�s one thing when you�re dealing with a
Smallville meteor rock mutant, but when you�re talking
about a group of people who were naturally born that
way, it�s just two different categories.�
She looked up at her cousin. �Anyway, there are some
humans who are just as evil as that mutant terrorist,�
she added, remembering Lionel Luthor�s offer of her
dreams for information regarding her best friend Clark
Kent. Can I really call him a friend? She asked
herself, reflecting on how neither he nor Lana Lang
could trust her enough to tell her about their changed
Jaime turned off the TV, and then ambled back towards
Chloe. �I agree. Everybody deserves a chance
regardless of their genes.� Her face broke into a
grin. �But getting off the soap box, are you still
going to wear that skirt?�
Chloe glanced down at the skirt, then back at her
cousin. �Do you have a longer one? I swear this one
shows off parts of me that nobody wants to see.�
�Yeah, follow me,� Jaime answered with a chuckle as
she led Chloe back into her bedroom.
* * * * *
John Allerdyce gathered up his car keys and quickly
surveyed the bottom floor of the cold, dark, mostly
metal mansion. Ever since Magneto had rented the
mainland house for the summer, John hadn�t felt very
comfortable in it. Satisfied that no one was around,
he quietly crept to the door. It wasn�t that he cared
if he woke anyone up; he just didn�t want to talk to
them. He knew no one in that house would approve of
Chloe, and he really didn�t care.
Unfortunately, he wasn�t that lucky. His hand had
just touched the doorknob when a silky voice stopped
�And where are you going tonight?� she asked.
Inwardly, John groaned, but outwardly, he kept his
cool. �Somewhere,� he replied, turning around to face
Mystique�s yellow eyes. She was seated in a plush
chair, her gaze fixed on him.
Mystique crossed her arms. �Care to elaborate?�
John narrowed his hazel eyes. �No.�
Standing up, she closed the distance between them in a
few strides. �If I didn�t know any better, I�d say
you were going to meet someone.� Her blue lips parted
into a knowing smile.
�If I did, it wouldn�t be any of your business.�
�Oh, really, Pyro. You don�t have to get the attitude
with me. What�s her name? What�s her power? She
might be useful to Magneto.�
John just rolled his eyes and opened the door. �I�m
not meeting anyone, much less a girl.�
Mystique just laughed. �Of course. Does she know
John stopped cold at the question. There had been
moments when he had thought about telling Chloe he was
mutant, but he had never entertained the thought for
long. In fact, he had never even considered what her
reaction might be. Slowly, a ball of fear crept up
into his stomach. Swallowing hard, he let his usual
anger shove it aside.
He whirled around and gave the blue woman behind him a
defiant glare. �I told you, there�s no girl. I�m
just sick of being stuck in this damn house!� he
Mystique held up her hands in defeat. �All right,
it�s not my place to push. Just make sure you�re back
before morning.� She waved him off with one hand as
she turned and left the room.
Letting out a sigh of relief, John left the house.
Mystique, Magneto, and the rest of the Brotherhood
weren�t too keen on humans at all. If they ever found
out about Chloe, there would be no way she�d be safe.
It was better to keep her a secret. At that moment,
he was thankful that none of them had the power to
* * *
Gripping the steering wheel, Chloe pulled the car into
the parking lot of their chosen meeting spot, a local
restaurant. When she parked, she saw him waiting by
the door, flicking his ever-present lighter.
Immediately feeling her nerves flutter, she quickly
tried to suppress them. Why was she so nervous? She
hadn�t been nervous the last time she saw him. Of
course, the last time she had been telling him where
to stick that irritating lighter of his. Turning off
the engine and taking a deep breath, she got out of
the car and walked up to him.
�Hey!� she called with a smile. She was very
impressed with how steady her voice was.
John glanced up and returned the grin when he saw her
coming towards him. �Hey!�
Chloe�s stomach did another flip-flop, but her face
showed no signs of it. �How long have you been here?�
John shrugged and dropped the lighter into the pocket
of his jeans. �Not long.� He looked up. �You
He gestured towards the restaurant behind them. �Is
this okay or did you want something else?�
Chloe shook her head. �This is fine.�
John grinned again and led the way inside the
The place wasn�t very crowded; just a few people here
and there. It was a seat yourself type of place, and
they worked their way towards a back table. Chloe
could hear snippets of different conversations,
listening out of habit, as they passed a few tables,
but she didn�t really pay attention to what was being
said. Instead, she focused on the handsome, older boy
in front of her. There was something different,
almost dangerous, about him. She liked it.
Reaching the table, they sat down facing each other.
Picking up a menu, Chloe immediately pretended like
she was interested in it. Now that they had gotten
their greetings out of the way, she wasn�t quite sure
what to say. They�re previous conversations had been
small and shallow at best, and she didn�t want this
one to be a retread of that. Before she could
completely worry about it, though, a waitress
She was a teenager about Chloe�s age with brown hair
and brown eyes. She looked extremely bored with her
job and smacked loudly on her gum. �Can I get you
anything to drink?�
�Sure, I�ll take a Dr. Pepper,� Chloe smiled. She
then looked over at John to see what he would get.
A mischievous gleam danced in his eyes as he placed
his elbows on the table and grinned up at their
waitress. �What are the specials?�
The waitress looked at him as if he had grown a second
head. �We don�t have specials here.�
John looked shocked. �What? No specials? Come on,
every restaurant has specials.� He leaned back in his
seat. �You forgot them, didn�t you?�
�I did not! We don�t have any.� Clearly, the young
girl appeared to be insulted.
�You telling me I�m wrong? What happened to the
customer is always right?� The broad grin never left
Chloe just rolled her eyes. �Come on, just give her
your drink order.�
�All right, all right.� He picked up the menu. �How
about a beer?�
The waitress narrowed her eyes. �Got some ID?�
John patted his pockets. �Damn! I left it in my
�Sorry. No ID, no beer.�
�Fine. I�ll have a Dr. Pepper, too.�
When the waitress left, Chloe narrowed her eyes at him
as he laughed over his performance. �You know, if
you�re going to act like this all night, then I can
just leave right now.�
This statement caught John�s attention, and his
laughter quickly ceased. He shrugged. �Hey, it
couldn�t be helped.�
Not liking the answer, the small blonde made a move to
leave her seat. Feeling a warm hand touch her arm,
she glanced over at those hazel eyes. There wasn�t an
ounce of humor left in them. �Stay.� He didn�t offer
an apology, but his tone was enough to make her push
her chair back up to the table and pick up her menu.
As they looked over the choices, neither one of them
said anything. Finally, John�s voice broke the
silence that had settled between them.
�Why do they always keep it so cold in these places?
A little heat never hurt anybody,� he complained. His
voice had a good-natured quality to it, and it was
obvious to Chloe that he was trying to make sure she
wasn�t mad at him.
She chuckled. �Cold-natured?�
�I guess you could say that. I like the heat better
than the cold,� he answered. �What about you? Aren�t
�It is kind of cold in here, but I�m okay. You know,
my best friend�.� Chloe stopped herself before she
said Clark�s name. No, not her best friend anymore.
What was he to her now anyway? Not only did he not
tell her about Lana, but he had also left Smallville
at the end of the school year without saying good-bye.
No, she felt she couldn�t really call him her best
�Chloe?� John�s lazy voice pulled her back to the
present. �Your best friend what?�
Waving it off, she laughed. �Oh, nothing. Never
mind. Just rambling.�
At that moment, their waitress reappeared with their
drinks. They placed their food order (without John
harassing the help this time) and discussed music,
books (�Yes, John can read,� he had joked), and
movies, but kept the conversation away from their
backgrounds. Chloe didn�t much want to talk about
Smallville and Clark, and it was clear that John
wasn�t offering up much information about himself
either. The conversation continued as their food
came, and all the way through dinner, it seemed to
flow with ease.
A little while later, Chloe was in the middle of
explaining why The Matrix was a better movie than its
sequel when a heated debate two tables behind them
caught her attention. Apparently, it had caught
John�s attention as well because she noticed he didn�t
ask her why she had stopped. Turning around to see
what was going on, they listened as intently as
everybody else in the restaurant did.
�I can�t believe you would keep something like that
from me!� A man yelled at the top of his lungs. He
was a rotund businessman in his forties with puffy
cheeks and pig-like eyes. He was gripping the edge of
the table, and his face was as red as an apple.
The young woman sitting across from him was staring
down at her feet. �Dad, will you please calm down?�
Her slender face turned a bright red as she glanced up
and nervously surveyed the restaurant.
�No, I will not calm down! I can�t believe you want
to marry one of them!� The man emitted the last world
like it was filthy as he jumped up from his seat,
knocking his chair to the ground.
�Dad, there�s nothing wrong with him; he�s a wonderful
guy.� Standing up, she reached for his arm. �Can we
please talk about this outside?�
The businessman shrugged off her touch. �A wonderful
guy? A WONDERFUL GUY! He�s a damn mutant!� His eyes
narrowed as he regarded his daughter.
Chloe heard a loud thump from John�s side of the
table, and she turned to look at him. Clutching his
right fist, a grimace on his face, it was obvious he
had slammed his fist onto the table. Catching his
eye, she looked at him quizzically, but he offered no
details. The humor and mischief that had once been in
his eyes were gone, a hardened look replacing them.
�You done?� John asked, his tone dropping in
�Yeah.� She wasn�t quite sure what had caused this
change, but she wasn�t going to argue with him.
�Good, let�s go.�
* * * *
John was so mad he could hardly breathe; it felt like
his insides were boiling. He wanted to find the guy�s
car and light it up like the fourth of July. Liking
that idea, he reached for his lighter when Chloe�s
voice stopped him.
�Can you believe that?� she questioned casually.
He eyed her and snorted, his fingers closing around
the comforting metal resting in his pocket. �So,
what? You gonna defend that guy now?�
�No, I�m not. That was the rudest, nastiest thing
I�ve ever seen. How can he talk to his daughter that
way? How can he stand there and judge someone based
on their genetic makeup. It was stupid.� Her words
came out in an irate rush.
Surprised, John felt like the wind had been knocked
out of him. She wasn�t judging the girl. She wasn�t
making derogatory comments or throwing out racial
slurs. She was mad at the injustice, and she was
agreeing with him. He had never met a human who was
sympathetic, and in that moment, she looked absolutely
Letting go of the lighter, he reached out and took her
hand. �Come on, I want to show you the park.�
�Huh?� Chloe hadn�t been expecting that statement,
but she didn�t pull her hand away. �Wait a minute.
You were calling me prejudiced a second ago.�
�It was a shitty assumption. I�m pretty used to
being on the defensive.�
She contemplated him suspiciously. �The park? At
night? What are you going to do to me? Because I�ve
got a can of mace, and I�m not afraid to use it.�
John couldn�t help himself; he laughed. �Where? In
John�s laughter died down. �Trust me. I�m not gonna
to hurt you, and no one�s gonna bother you with me
After a few minutes of thinking it over, Chloe finally
returned the grin and curled her fingers around his.
The ride to the park didn�t take long. In fact, it
was rather enjoyable. John parked the car, and the
two of them climbed out. Almost immediately, a rush
of fresh air hit him, and he breathed in deeply. It
was warm, just the way he liked it.
�Oh, wow! You can see the stars from here!� Chloe
proclaimed as she shut the passenger door. �You can�t
see them in the city.�
John walked around the car and took her hand again.
�Come on, they�re even brighter from over here.�
He led her to a curved wooden bridge that crossed over
a small stream. Surrounding it were streetlamps that
gave off enough light for them to see each other and
the park itself. Peering over the edge of the bridge,
John could see the moonlight reflected in the water�s
�You�re right. You can see them better over here.�
He turned to see Chloe staring up at the stars again,
a smile spread across her face.
In that moment, as he stood there watching her, he
wanted to tell her everything about him. He wanted
her to know about his past, his mutation, him. He
wasn�t quite sure how to approach the subject, though.
Did she feel that safe with him? Was she even
interested? Would her reaction be different? Should
he even take the chance? Only one other girl had ever
made him feel that secure, and she had chosen his best
friend over him.
�You know, there aren�t many people who would stand up
for mutants. Why did you agree with me back there?�
he asked carefully.
She turned her gaze from the stars and considered him
thoughtfully. �People shouldn�t be judged because
they�re different. Basing an opinion on something
that superficial only makes a person dangerous.�
John chuckled. �You sound like you�re talking from
Her smile faded a little. �I am.� He regarded her
questioningly, and her features softened. It seemed
that he wasn�t the only one deciding to trust a bit.
�Smallville isn�t like your normal town. Oh, sure,
lots of people want to believe it is, but it�s not.
After the big meteor shower of 1989, a lot of weird
things have happened there.�
�Yeah.� Chloe stared into the dark water below them.
�The meteor rocks had a strange effect on some of the
people there. One of my friends made diet shakes out
of the rocks, and she turned into a fat-sucking
vampire. Another guy started sucking the heat from
people to keep warm. Even our football coach could
start fires with his mind.�
John raised his eyebrows at this, but tried to look
cool. �Really? And you never thought they were
�Oh, yeah, two of them tried to kill me, but then I
met this hermit who lived in the woods. He had the
ability to make people do whatever he told them, but
he never used it to hurt people.� Her eyes met his.
�That�s when I started realizing that it�s the
individual person, not the mutation.� She smiled
then. �Of course, I�ve never met a natural mutant so
I don�t actually know if it would be the same.�
�It is.� John�s voice was soft, controlled.
Curiosity crossed her pretty face. �How do you know?
Have you met a natural mutant?�
There it was, an opening. All he had to do was tell
her. �Let�s just say I know a few.� I�ve got to test
the waters a little more, he told himself.
She glanced down at her reflection. �Ah, another man
who likes to keep secrets,� she sighed.
�What does that mean?� he questioned, a defensive edge
in his voice.
Looking into his eyes again, he could see her weighing
whether or not she should tell him the answer.
Finally, she said, �Let�s just say I know another guy
who could hide things rather well.�
An uncomfortable silence descended between them, and
John leaned with his back on the rail of the bridge.
Desperately, he tried to think of a way to break it,
but nothing was coming to him. After a couple of more
minutes, he made a choice and turned to her. �How
about we trade a secret for a secret?�
Chloe glanced up suspiciously. �What do you mean?�
�I�ll tell you my secret it you tell me yours,� he
clarified. What on Earth are you doing? A voice in
the back of his mind queried. You�ve let down your
guard before, remember? You trusted once, and they
turned on you. John ignored it and looked intently at
the blond in front of him. He didn�t know why, but he
knew there was something trustworthy about her.
A grin crossed Chloe�s face; she seemed to like the
challenge. �All right.�
However, neither one of them appeared to want to make
the first move. They just stood there, staring at
each other, almost daring the other to talk first.
Finally, Chloe sighed.
�What do you want to know?� she asked.
John was quick to answer. �Who�s this guy you keep
Hesitating for a moment, then finally taking a deep
breath, Chloe explained who Clark was. As the whole
story of her and Clark�s complicated relationship fell
from her lips, she seemed to relax with every word.
She told him how she and Clark met, how they were best
friends, how they dated briefly in their freshman
year, how they agreed to be just friends again, and
then how he had betrayed her by not telling her the
truth about Lana. John listened to every word and
found himself becoming very defensive. He wasn�t sure
he liked this Clark Kent guy at all. When she
finished, she looked at him expectantly, a ghost of a
smile on her lips.
�So, is yours nearly as dramatic as mine?� she
He shared her smile. �You could say that.�
When he didn�t elaborate, she pushed a little. �Well?
Come on, you just sat through the most boring sob
story in the world. Yours can�t be that bad.�
This was it. Mustering up his courage, he pulled the
lighter out of his pocket. �Okay, you remember when
you asked me if I knew any natural mutants?�
�Yeah?� Chloe replied, her voice sounding cautious.
�Well, I happen to know one rather well.� He clicked
open the lighter and lit it. �I�m one.�
She stood quietly, waiting for him to elaborate. When
he didn�t immediately, she gently asked, �What can you
do?� No running, no screaming, just the simple
In answer, he held his free hand out in front of him,
palm up. In a split second, the tiny flame jumped
from the lighter obediently into his hand. Once
there, it grew into the size of a softball. He heard
Chloe gasp, but he didn�t look away from the flame.
Instead, he moved his other hand around it, and its
shape began to change. Right there, before Chloe�s
eyes, it changed itself into a flaming rose. It was
then that he looked up, expecting to see fear.
Instead, he saw a look of intrigue cross her face.
�That is so cool,� she breathed, gingerly reaching out
to touch it.
�I wouldn�t do that; it still might burn you,� he
She heeded it and just kept her hand about an inch
away from the flame. Eventually, he twisted back into
its former softball form then closed his fingers over
it, putting it out. He put the lighter back into his
pocket. His hazel eyes met Chloe�s once more.
�You can do that with any fire?� she asked finally.
�Oh, yeah. The only thing I can�t do is start the
�How long have you known?�
�Since I was about thirteen. I set my house on fire.�
Chloe raised her eyebrows. �Wow.�
* * * *
She wanted to ask him why he set his house on fire,
but the look in his eyes warned her against it. One
secret at a time. Instead, she moved a little closer
to him. �That was one of the most amazing things I�ve
ever seen,� she said, a genuine smile gracing her
John leaned casually on the bridge�s railing again.
�You really think so?�
�Oh, yeah.� She could feel excitement bubbling up
inside of her; it was the same feeling she had gotten
when she found out one of her exes, Justin, could move
things with his mind. �That coach I was telling you
about could have never done that. That was just
John just stood there, beaming at her. Apparently,
very few people had ever told him just how amazing his
gift was, and now he seemed to be enjoying her
reaction. Not quite knowing what else to say, she
just looked at him, noticing just how handsome he was.
Then, without saying a word, he stepped even closer to
her and took her face gingerly in his hands. She
could feel the heat from the fire in his touch as she
slowly closed her eyes. Timidly, their lips met, and
before she knew it, the kiss deepened. Her lips
parted and allowed his tongue to slip in and touch her
own. A thrill ran down her back, and not even Clark
had ever made her feel this lightheaded. It was slow
and warm, neither one of them fumbling. It was like
her lips knew what to do, and she didn�t even have to
think about it.
Just as suddenly, though, they parted, and Chloe
opened her eyes. All of her sudden, she felt cold
where his hands had once touched her.
�Wow,� was all she could manage.
John didn�t offer an apology; he just took her hand in
his and grinned knowingly. �It feels good to trust
�Yeah, it does,� she meekly agreed. She was still
trying to get her breath back.
Standing there, Chloe wasn�t quite sure what else to
say. John, apparently, did.
�You gonna be here the whole summer?� he asked.
�Then I definitely want to see you again.�
Chloe could feel herself blush a little and was
thankful there wasn�t enough light for it to be seen.
�I wouldn�t mind seeing you again,� she said, her
tongue tripping over her words.
John laughed. �Anything else you want to do tonight?�
Feeling a bit more confident, she tilted her head.
�Why don�t we light a few fires?� And with that, she
kissed him again.
"(Faith) is not about making sense. It's about believing in something and letting that belief be real enough to change your life." ~Book, "Firefly"
A Small Drop of Ink: http://www.geocities.com/dragonsinger77