Title: Just ChloePairing: Chloe/PriestlyFandoms: Smallville/Ten Inch HeroRating: TDisclaimer: Don't ownSummary: When she realizes that Lex can't keep her safe, Chloe fakes her own death and goes on the run from Lionel's assassins. This lands her penniless and dying for a good night's sleep three months later at Beach City Grill. She's scarred, always looking over her shoulder, and is pretending to be someone she's not, but somehow Priestly makes her feel like it'll be okay.
Priestly knew something had happened the second he entered the store and saw the way everyone was looking at him. He dropped his bag. "What is it? Is it Chloe? Did something happen to her?"
"What matters, son, is that she's fine now." Trucker tried to calm him.
"Now?" Priestly moved closer, eyes narrowed. "What happened?"
Jen merely turned up the volume of the television they'd kept in the sub shop since that fated thursday.
The news anchor was speaking, face grim: "There was another attempt on the life of Chloe Sullivan, key witness in the Lionel Luthor case." Behind her, the screen showed a crater. "A bomb was detonated in the girl's safe house, and it was only thanks to a last minute discovery of the device and evacuation that..."
Priestly didn't hear what she was saying. He stepped closer as the screen played footage of Chloe, who was covered in soot and bruises. She stumbled and coughed as she stared around her, her greens glassy like they'd been when she'd first arrived at Beach City Grill. A young guy, farm cut and every bit the poster boy of normalcy, jogged towards her and wrapped her in his arms. In the clip you could see her crying as she clung to the dark-haired mountain as if to dear life.
The punk shifted his gaze away from the images on the screen. A part of him was relieved that Chloe was fine, and the other was hurt at seeing her with this guy... this guy who definitely suited the real her. It was also obvious from the expression on her face that she cared for this guy, greatly.
Priestly looked down at his kilt and baggy shirt, at the rings on his painted fingers, and he clenched his fists.
He looked up in time to see the image of a couple of men in black, obviously body guards, escorting Chloe away from the crime scene. She turned and reached her hand out for the dark hair guy, who reached for her hand as well. The guards nodded before they let the other guy join them as they hurriedly pushed the kids into an unmarked car. The last thing Priestly saw was Chloe leaning against the guy in the backseat as the door closed.
"...hearing." The anchorwoman was apparently still talking. "The sentence is being read tomorrow morning at the Metropolis Grand Court, and when questioned whether they would be in attendance to hear the verdict after what happened today, Alexander Luthor had this to say."
The footage then swithced to Lex Luthor at a conference. "My father is a monster and we will not hide from him. We will be there to watch the good people of Metropolis finally bring him to justice. Thank you."
Trucker ran his hands over his face. "That poor girl."
All Priestly could see was the Banana Republic guy who matched Chloe so well.
A muscle jumped in his cheek as he stormed to the back room to get ready for his shift.
Chloe missed Priestly like hell and wished that he was here with her, but that was her just being selfish. The guy had dodged a bullet with her-the bomb had showed her just as much. If it hadn't been for Clark somehow finding her and then somehow discovering the bomb in time to get them all out, she would've died. They all would've. Clark had, once again, been her superhero and she loved her best friend for it.
"A punk..." Clark blinked in surprise as he lay on the bed of her newest safe house. He'd insisted that he stay with her until this was all over and she was safe, and considering that Clark had this 'luck' when it came to saving people inexplicably, Chloe had begged Lex to let him stay.
"He's sweet." Chloe took in a deep breath. "He's amazing, Clark. I was so lucky to have known him for the time I did. I'm just-I just wished that it had been under other circumstances." She then gave an ugly smile. "Then again, under any other circumstance I might've just judged him on appearances and wouldn't have gotten to know him the way I did."
Clark let out a sigh. "I just can't see you with a punk." He tilted his head to the side. "You've always liked the frat boy look."
She made a face and thought about the guys she'd hadn't tazed only out of fear of drawing more attention to herself. "I hate frat boys."
Clark turned to look up at the ceiling. "I think that when this is over you should go and talk to him."
"He doesn't want to see me, Clark."
"He never told you that." Her best friend frowned.
"I told him I loved him and he walked away." Chloe's voice thickened at the memory.
"He was mad. I'd be mad in that circumstance." Clark turned to face her. "He means a lot to you, Chlo, and if you've found someone who loves you then you shouldn't just let them go without fighting for them."
"He doesn't love me."
"It didn't sound that way from what you've told me," Clark sighed. "I kinda get what Mr Sullivan was saying while we waited on you to get ready."
She frowned as she eyed him, confused at to what her father could've told him.
"He said that you've been a much more muted version of yourself since you'd come back, like you'd left a part of you behind." Clark sat up in bed. "I think this Priestly guy could be the part of you that is missing. If that's so, then you owe it to the both of you to go back and talk to him. Even if he turns out to be a total jerk, you will know that you didn't just run away at the first sign of rejection and didn't fight for someone who meant the world to you."
Chloe slowly sat up as well and stared at him in silence before she gave a small smile. "You can be incredibly wise at times."
He grinned. "I know. I surprise even myself."
Laughing, Chloe hugged her best friend and enjoyed his comfort.
Lionel Luthor had been found guilty of the crimes of killing his own parents, and attempting to kill Chloe and his own son (multiple times). While the time he'd been ordered to serve wasn't a life sentence, it was more than enough years that it would be impossible for him to ever leave prison alive. The press had been all over the court case and all sorts of news rags had run different versions of the more "personal" aspect of the story. STAR swore that Chloe and Lionel had been having an affaire and he grew angry when he realized that she and his son were together. OK went the route that Chloe and Lex had always been together and she'd gone to work for Lionel under Lex's dictates when the boy began to suspect that his father was an evil monster. PEOPLE, on the other hand, focused on Clark Kent and his relationship with Chloe Sullivan. Apparently they were incredibly close, with a couple of "sources" being quoted to say that the whole school had been wondering when they would become an official couple. The two had even gone to a school dance together and there was a picture of them about to kiss as they slow danced.
Priestly was very much in hell right now. PEOPLE spoke of the football player best friend who lived on a farm and also worked alongside Chloe at the Torch. There were tons of pictures of the two together, and in each and every one of them Priestly had to admit that they looked like they belonged with each other. The pictures of Chloe showed a girl Priestly didn't know, and he felt less and less like this was his girlfriend and more and more like he was merely staring at a girl who looked freakily similar to her.
He didn't know this girl. He loved her, but he didn't know a thing about her. It'd been ok before, but now he felt it inexcusable.
He'd found the online version of The Torch and read her write about Clark Kent helping save people's lives, and there were more than one picture of the two of them in the editions. It was obvious that Chloe felt strongly for this guy, maybe even loved him.
Priestly sat by the computer Jen usually sat in front of, and stared at the picture of the Torch Team (as it was called). Chloe grinned brightly, happily, as she stared at the camera, and Clark Kent, like always, was next to her, his elbow resting on her shoulder.
They looked like the perfect Girl and Boy Next Door love story.
Priestly caught a glimpse of his reflection in the computer screen and flinched as he looked away.
Jen came to lean next to him and stared at what he was looking. "I still can't get over that that is what she really looks like."
Priestly exited the website and nodded as he stood from the computer. "I guess we didn't know her."
Jen sent him a sideways glance.
"She'll be back, Priestly." Lucille called to him.
Priestly gave the woman a weak smile and grabbed a sub. "I've gotta make my run to Zo's shop." He got out of there before he could look even more pathetic. The guy hurried across the street and stopped once again as he saw his reflection in the mirror. He looked himself up and down and then looked away pointedly. He wouldn't look at the plate glass in the front of the store as he pushed in and opened his mouth to call out, but his voice froze in his throat when he heard a voice that made him freeze.
"I still only see my reflection."
Priestly eyes widened and he crept forwards and peered around the corner to see Chloe standing next to Zo and looking into a crystal ball. The girl was completely different from the last time he'd seen her in person, but he'd recognize her anywhere now.
She wore jeans pants and a pink, off-the shoulder shirt. Her hair was blond and chin-length, and the only hint of makeup on her face was a sheer-lipgloss.
"You need to learn to see with more than your eyes, my child." Zo gave her a little smile. "Look closer and you'll see."
Chloe let out a sigh and bent a little more as she stared into the crystal ball. "I still only see myself. Wait, I think I see..." She then suddenly froze and shot up as she turned around to face Priestly, eyes wide. "Hey."
Priestly gulped as he stared at her, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable. "Hey."
Chloe sent a look to Zo and when the woman motioned her away, the blonde nodded and took in a deep breath as she moved towards Priestly. "I, uh, see that you're the one bringing Zo her subs now."
"It was always me before you came." He stared up and down her body, taking in the clothes, how gorgeous she looked. Even with the cut across her cheek, which she'd obviously gotten from the close shave with the explosion, she looked amazing. What the hell had a girl like her been doing with a guy like him? Had it been to help her cover? Had he been a fling? Because, damn it, she was yet another girl horribly out of his league.
"How have you been doing?"
Priestly bit back his initial reaction to that and shifted his weight on his feet. "Worried, I suppose." He cleared his throat. "I'm happy you made it out of that explosion."
She smiled at that and came a little closer. "Me too."
Priestly wanted to kiss her, but it seemed wrong now, and he hated it. "So, uh, you're back." He cleared his throat and tried to fight his conflicting emotions. "How back are you?"
Chloe tilted her head to the side. "I, uh, I came back to, you know, see everyone." She licked her lips. "I didn't get a chance to say goodbye last time and..."
He looked away and fought the disappointment that seared through him. He wasn't surprised though. Girls like her and guys like him...
"Do you want to, uh, have coffee or something?" Chloe shifted her weight nervously. "I know that we didn't really get to talk, and you deserve some explanations about what happened-."
"You don't have to." He took in a deep breath. "I understand. You were on the run and we offered you a safe place." He cleared his throat and forced himself to look at her. "I'm not mad at you."
"Really?" She looked so young and vulnerable as she asked.
He nodded. "Really."
Her smile was blinding. "I've been so worried."
He really wanted to kiss her.
But then he caught sight of their reflection and just stared at it, at an adorable girl standing next to a weird punk.
"I'll come back tonight and help you clean up." She grinned brightly up at him. "Then we'll have that coffee." She looked like she was about to press up on her toes to kiss him but thought better of it, gave him a sheepish smile, and then hurried out after a wave in Zo's direction.
Priestly turned to watch her cross the street and enter the sub shop.
"You should remember what you told Jen once upon a time ago." Zo appeared at his side, gaze on the sub shop. "You should not judge her merely because of how she looks. You should give her a chance to prove to you that, despite how different she is, she is still just Chloe."
Priestly let out a ragged sigh. "You don't get it, Zo. I like this look on her. A lot. It's just that..." he hung his head.
Zo placed her hand on his shoulder. "Just because her outside has changed doesn't mean her inside has."
"It's not just that... What father would want his gorgeous little daughter to date a guy like me?" Priestly ran his hand over his face. "I'm every father's worst nightmare!" He tried to keep himself from hyperventilating. "At least when she was-at least I figured that her parents would be used to her being like that so they wouldn't be too surprised about me."
"Are appearances that important to you, Priestly?"
"Of course not!" He turned to face the woman. "I just-I-." He groaned and looked up at the ceiling. "I'm in love with her, Zo."
"I know." The woman rubbed his back. "We all do."
"How can a girl like that like a guy like me?" He turned to her in near desperation.
"She knows you, Priestly. How could she not?"
He wanted to hug her but felt he might cry if he did so. "You saw how badly it worked out between me and Tish. We almost were unable to stay friends. We were too different, we didn't suit each other. I don't want-."
Zo eyed him curiously. "Would you prefer to stay friends and watch as she falls in love with someone else?"
He really didn't.
"What do I do, Zo?"
She smiled softly at him. "I can't tell you that, Priestly my love. But I know that deep inside you already know the answer."
He let out a sigh.
Deep inside he did.
"What if he's not attracted to me now?" Chloe nibbled on her thumbnail as she stared at her reflection in the plate glass window of a shop close to the sub shop. She was wearing clothes that Chloe Sullivan would wear, she looked like Chloe Sullivan. And that worried her. What if he didn't like Chloe Sullivan? What if he'd only liked Just Chloe?
"Just calm down and talk to him, Chlo." Clark Kent was coaching her on her love-life, how ironic was that? "You owe it to the both of you to figure out if you have a future together."
She took in a deep breath and then froze. "Clark? The shop's closed."
She eyed the sign. "There's a note that says it closed early. Why would they close the shop early? I said I'd come and help clean up!" She began to pace up and down in front of the shop. "What if he really didn't want to see me but didn't want to tell me to my face? What if he closed up early to get away from me without there being a scene? What if-?"
"He doesn't like me, Clark!" She was very close to hyperventilating and she knew it. "Correction: he doesn't like Chloe Sullivan. I-."
"You are Chloe Sullivan."
"I am now!"
"Not always." She ran her hand down her face. "I've messed everything up, Clark. Now he hates me and-."
"Chloe, you need to take deep breaths. Now."
She stopped pacing and took in a series of deep breaths. While she was doing this she noticed a frat looking guy walking towards her. She figured it was one of the customers who didn't know that the shop was closed early. She ignored him and continued her breathing exercises on the phone and finally she worked through her panic attack with Clark's help.
The guy came to stand next to her, almost expectant.
She looked up at him and noticed in an almost clinical way that he was very handsome. There was something oddly familiar about him but she was almost sure she'd never seen him with the other frat boys. "The shop's closed early."
He nodded awkwardly.
She ended the phone call with Clark and turned to this guy when she realized he wasn't leaving. "Has it closed early before?"
He shook his head.
Okay. Why wasn't he speaking and why was he just looking at her like that? This guy was creepy.
She looked around wondering where Priestly was. She really hoped to god that he wasn't going to stand her up with a creepy frat boy.
"So..." the guy finally spoke, and his voice was so familiar it shocked her stiff. "Are we still going for that coffee?"
Chloe turned to look at him and her eyes widened in shock. "Priestly?"
Understanding passed his hazels and he gave a sardonic smile. "You didn't recognize me."
"Of course I didn't recognize you!" She turned to him fully and looked him up and down, confused. "Why are you dressed like that?"
"Like what?" He asked, defensive.
"All Banana Republic!" She threw her hands in the air. "It's not you at all!"
"Are you saying it doesn't suit me?" He defensiveness grew.
"That's exactly what I'm saying!" She couldn't understand what was going on as she stared him up and down. Sure, he was hot, but there was no way that this guy was her Priestly. "Is this payback?"
He blinked. "Payback?"
"For my change in look, for my lies, for everything." She gazed up at him. "Are you trying to make a point?"
"What point could I possibly-?"
"I don't know!" She was starting to have a panic attack once more as all her insecurities rose to a head. "That you're pissed that I pretended to be someone that I'm not so you're going to dress like this just to-."
His eyes flashed in anger. "You're saying that I look wrong in these-."
"You don't have your piercings, or your mohawk, or your colors, or, or..." She felt like crying and knew it should. "You're not my Priestly."
He opened and closed his mouth, clearly at a loss for words.
"Are you trying to tell me that I'm not your Chloe anymore?" She turned to look at him. "That you're not attracted to the real me like I'm not to the fake you?"
Priestly stared at her with wide eyes before he gulped. "You don't prefer this?"
She suddenly blinked in confusion. "Prefer what?"
He gave an awkward little half shrug. "For me to dress like this?"
She looked at him, at his clothes, and then back at his face. "Why would I prefer that?"
He stumbled back slightly, as if her words had hit him. "Because this is the kind of guy that you can introduce to your father! Because this is the kind of guy that a girl like you can go out with and not have people make faces and comment about! Because-."
"Wait, what do you mean when you say 'a girl like me'?" Chloe narrowed her eyes. "What's wrong with me?"
"Nothing!" Priestly threw his hands in the air in exasperation. "You're grogeous and adorable and... You're like a Barbie doll! And I don't mean that in a mocking way at all!"
She gulped, shocked by that praise.
"I've always thought that, although I thought you were Gothic Barbie before..." he ran his hand down his face. "I'm so lame." He sighed deeply. "I-I don't know the real you, Chloe, but I still, I still wanted you to... You're all Banana Republic now, Chlo! All the guys in your life are Banana Republic too: Lex Luthor-that Clark Kent guy! I just figured..."
Chloe eyed him curiously. "Priestly... did you change like this because you thought Chloe Sullivan would like it?"
His hand slipped from his face and glared at her. "Why else would I put on this damned Polo shirt and this stupid kha-?"
The blonde raced forwards and flung herself at him. The unexpected movement caught him unawares and caused him to stumble. Yet somehow they ended up against the door, with Chloe pressing Priestly against the plate glass and her arms around his neck as she kissed him. He hesitated a second before he kissed back, his hands going to her hair and grabbing fistfuls of the gold.
A whimper of pleasure escaped her lips as she kissed him harder.
Catcalls from passerby separated them.
Chloe stared up at Priestly, a small smile on her face. "Can we still have that coffee?"
"Hell yeah." He grinned down at her.
"First things first though." She placed her hand in his. "We're stopping by your place and you're changing out of this frat look you've got going on. I'm only going with my Priestly."
He gave her a little smile and reached down to cup her face and kiss her deeply again. She could feel the emotion behind that kiss and it made her body tingle all over in happiness.
The punk in frat clothing finally pulled away, kissed her forehead, and then pushed away from the door. He grabbed her hand and held in in his much larger one before he turned to her and smiled. "Come on, I'll take you home."
She stared up at him, heart overflowing. "I'm already there."