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FIC: The Warmth (X-Men/Smallville) 1/1

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  • Amy
    Disclaimers: 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 10 2:29 PM
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      Disclaimers: 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.

      Pairing: Chloe/John

      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
      out.


      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
      reaction.

      �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
      date.�

      �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
      worry.�

      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
      back.�

      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
      relationship.

      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
      him.

      �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
      about you?�

      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
      spat.

      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
      read minds.

      * * *

      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
      hungry?�

      �Yeah.�

      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
      restaurant.

      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
      appeared.

      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
      his face.

      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
      other pants.�

      �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
      you freezing?�

      �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
      friend anymore.

      �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
      temperature.

      �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
      beautiful.

      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
      your pocket?�

      �Maybe.�

      John�s laughter died down. �Trust me. I�m not gonna
      to hurt you, and no one�s gonna bother you with me
      around.�

      After a few minutes of thinking it over, Chloe finally
      returned the grin and curled her fingers around his.
      �Okay.�

      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
      ripples.

      �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
      experience.�

      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.�

      �Weird things?�

      �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
      dangerous?�

      �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
      talking about?�

      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
      deadpanned.

      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
      question.

      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
      warned.

      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
      fire.�

      �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
      lips.

      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
      so�cool.�

      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
      someone.�

      �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.

      �Yeah.�

      �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.

      THE END

      Amy

      =====
      "(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"
      Livejournal: http://www.livejournal.com/users/dragonsinger
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