Been quite an age since I updated this!
I'm having a few computer problems, but hoping I can get it sorted in the next few weeks. Please continue to be patient with me, and many thanks for understanding! :)
Title: All The Way
Rating: PG13 (for now)
Timeline: All Seasons. Works as a sequel to Daisychain.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the CW & DC comics.
Summary: Chlark: as they were, are and ever should be.
Feedback: …makes me squee. :)
Author’s note: written for ellyfanfiction, the greatest Chlark author in fandom :)
Read previous chapter here.
Read story from the beginning here.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny. Clark completed his chores at breakneck speed and zoomed off down the road towards Chloe’s house, where he’d promised to pick her up for their day out.
He got to a white door with a brass knocker and gave it a gentle rap. After a few seconds, the door swung open to reveal a nondescript man of medium height, medium build, and…well, medium everything on the other side of it.
“You must be Chloe’s dad,” he blurted out, managing to rein in his next thought that his daughter looked nothing like him.
“And you must be Chloe’s friend,” he said with a smile as he held out his hand. “Clark, is it? She told me all about you.”
“It’s nice to meet you, sir,” Clark said politely, shaking his hand.
“Nice to meet you too, son. Come on in; she swears she’s almost ready, but you know how women are.”
He stepped into the foyer Clark followed him into to the living room, which was modestly yet tastefully furnished. Immediately his attention was drawn to the row of framed photos on the mantelpiece above the fire, most of which were of Chloe.
“So who are your folks?” Mr Sullivan asked. “Because I think I know ‘most everyone around here on a first name basis now.”
“Um…the Kents, sir; Jonathan and--”
“Martha?” he finished. “Third generation organic farmers, live on Hickory Lane?”
Clark blinked. “Uh – yes, sir, those are my parents,” he said, smiling as he realised Chloe had indeed inherited a significant amount of her father’s genes. Like his daughter, Gabe Sullivan never stopped talking, and seemed to retain a staggering amount of data in his brain.
“I met your father in the market yesterday; nice fella,” he went on. “Saw your mother, too, but we didn’t get a chance to speak. I’m sure I’ll run into them again sooner or later, though.” He paused and tilted his head with a slight frown. “You look nothing like them.”
“Oh – no, I’m adopted,” he replied, smiling inwardly at the irony that Gabe’s thoughts had mirrored his own.
The man nodded. “Ah, that would explain it. Chloe?” he suddenly bellowed making Clark jump. “You’ve got a guest waiting!”
“In a minute, Dad!” she yelled back, which was equally startling. His mother would have threatened to clip him around the ear if he’d ever raised his voice so loud. It was probably different for Chloe, since she’d pretty much grown up without a Mom.
Mr Sullivan rolled his eyes in what Clark already identified as Chloe’s trademark move. “I’ll go hurry her up,” her dad said helpfully, heading for the staircase.
As soon as he ascended, Clark inched closer to the photographs on the mantle. The first one he saw made a huge grin spread across his face. It was Chloe as a smiling baby with all of eight teeth, cute pigtails, and huge hazel eyes that were already full of questions.
He moved along the mantle, seeing several pictures of her at different stages in her life until he got to what appeared to be the last school photo she had taken in her old school in Metropolis. He studied the school picture for a while before noticing that there was a half-hidden picture behind it. Curious, he shifted the school photo slightly to the left to reveal a picture of Chloe – probably aged 5, her Dad, and a strikingly beautiful woman with lustrous dark locks, familiar-looking hazel eyes and an instantly identifiable smile.
Clark stared intently at the photo, amazed at how strong the resemblance was between Chloe and her mother. But for the difference in hair colour, it was like looking at a picture of Chloe about twenty years into the future.
He stared at the picture some more and frowned, thinking of Mr Sullivan’s modest brown hair as opposed to Chloe’s bright blonde. It wasn’t impossible that her fair hair was inherited via a recessive gene from a grandparent; indeed, her infant pictures showed her to be a blonde. However, the more likely story was that her hair, like most, had darkened with time, and its current sunshiny-golden hue was sourced from a bottle.
Which made him wonder why anyone with hair as lovely as the woman’s in the picture would want to be blonde, as well as why a father would allow his thirteen year old daughter to bleach her hair.
He slid the family picture frame back into place behind the other one, figuring again that things were just different for girls being raised by their Dad’s.
At the sound of Chloe’s voice he spun round, his smile returning as he saw her standing at the bottom of the steps. She was dressed in a pale green hooded jacket under which she wore a purple t-shirt, combat trousers and army boots.
“What’s up?” she greeted as she walked towards him.
“Hi, Chloe. You look…” unlike any other girl I’ve ever met, he thought with a bemused smile. Army boots? “You look--”
“…like a girl whose going to spend the better part of the afternoon climbing a tree, that’s what,” she drawled, grabbing his hand and leading him towards the kitchen. “What did you expect, a frilly pink dress and a tiara?”
Clark chuckled as she opened the fridge and dutifully began raiding it.
“Good point,” he admitted after a while, watching avidly as she grabbed two small bottles of water, a bag of trail mix and a few chocolate bars and stashed the lot in the multitude of pockets on her combats. “You wouldn’t get very far up a tree in a frilly pink dress.”
“Especially if you offered to let me climb first,” she winked with a cheeky grin.
“Which of course I would; I mean, it’s only polite to-- Chloe!” he exclaimed as her implication suddenly became clear.
“Gotcha!” she giggled as she grabbed his hand again and led him back out into the den. “Okay Dad, I’m out!” she yelled up the stairs.
“See ya later, Peanut. Be safe!” he shouted back.
They stepped outside and Chloe shut the door behind them, and then turned to him with a wide grin. “Okay, let’s go!”
“You guys sure shout a lot,” Clark observed as they walked along in the sunshine.
She frowned. “Do we?”
“Oh, yeah,” he said as they headed off down the road. “My Mom always tells me I shouldn’t be heard if I can’t be seen.”
She raised her eyebrows in disdain. “Isn’t that the standard of decorum for girls?”
“It’s just being polite!” he insisted.
She gave a diffident shrug. “Whatever. I have a voice; I use it. Speaking of which, did you get my paper?”
He stared at her. “On a Saturday?”
She shot him a derisive look. “The world doesn’t stop turning just because it’s a weekend, Clark.”
He sighed. “Fine, I’ll give it to you when we get back.”
She grinned. “I’ll have your money ready.”
They walked along the road for about ten minutes before Clark asked: “So where are we going, anyway?”
“You tell me, you’re the one that’s lived here for years!” she remarked. “Where can we find the biggest, tallest tree around here?”
“Walsh Forest, just behind Crater Lake,” he said without hesitation. “There’s a nice Cottonwood grove close to the water’s edge.”
“How far away is it?”
“Not too far from here; probably about a mile on foot if we cut across Hubbard Land.”
“Let’s go to Walsh Forest, then,” she chirped.
They trotted on for another ten minutes before turning off the road onto a dirt path which led through farmland and beyond to the lush greenery of vegetation fed by the banks of the waterside.
“It’s beautiful here!” Chloe exclaimed as they circled the jewel-blue water. “We have to come swimming next weekend. We have to.”
He swallowed. “Um…”
Her face fell. “Unless…I mean, I’m sure you have other stuff you need to do--”
“Oh no, I’m sure it’ll be fine,” he said hurriedly, not wanting to disappoint her. “I just...need to let my parents know first, and make sure all my chores are done.”
“Oh, did they let you off today?” she asked.
“I…I woke up really early and did them,” he lied.
Man, she was persistent. “Like…five-ish?” he replied lamely.
“Five?!?” she screamed. “On a Saturday? That’s…inhuman!”
She had no idea. “Well, it is a Farm!” he said defensively. “Cows to be milked, chickens to be fed…”
“Even so, it’s horrendously early,” she said, a scandalised look on her face. “Especially for a kid. Do you want me to have a word with your Mom and Dad, because it doesn’t seem fair that--”
“No! No,” he said more softly. “There’s no need, Chloe, it’s what I’m used to. And besides, I was extra early this morning because we were going out. I don’t get up that early every weekend, I promise.”
She shrugged. “Okay, but if you ever need someone to fight your corner…”
“…you’ll be the first person I call,” he said with a smile.
Another twenty minutes on the path saw them deep into a wooded area. They got to a small clearing and stopped, and Chloe took in her surroundings with a watchful eye.
“So…this is Walsh Forest, huh?” she asked, staring up at canopy of branches above them.
“It’s not a spooky forest, is it?” she asked hesitantly, taking the bottles of water out of her pockets and offering him one.
He chuckled. “Well, nothing weird has happened here that I know of,” he said, shaking his head at the proffered water. “Thank you, I’m fine.”
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You don’t get out much, do you?” she asked, suddenly switching gears.
He flashed her a guarded look. “Why do you ask?”
“Well, you’re going on a mini-hike, and you leave home with nothing but your cellphone; no trail mix, no water…nothing,” she pointed out. “How can you not be thirsty after all that walking?”
He gulped. “Guess I was saving it for later, but come to think of it, I could do with a sip,” he mumbled, holding out his hand.
“Here, have some of mine,” she said, handing him her own bottle. “Yours is a good plan, actually. We’ll keep the other one for the walk home.”
He nodded and took a small sip, determined to be more careful around her. This was the second time she’d caught him lying, and if he wasn’t careful she’d soon start to pick up on his eccentricities. She was already on alert as to how he got her papers every day, but he had her solemn promise that she wasn’t going to push for information on that.
He led her to a fallen log where they could sit, and as they chatted and shared one of her chocolate bars he wondered idly if this was what it was like for all guys who had girls as friends, or if it was just like this because it was Chloe. Something told him it was the latter.
Chloe dusted her hands off on her trousers and prepared to rise, and he quickly got to his feet and gave her a hand.
“Ever the gentleman,” she said warmly as she stood. “So where is this awesome tree then? Because I am dying to see the view from up there!”
Blast, he’d forgotten all about the tree-climbing bit…
“Right here,” he said pointing to a very large Cottonwood just in front of them.
She turned her gaze up at the massive tree he’d indicated, and her eyes lit up with excitement. “That has to be at least seventy feet tall!” she exclaimed.
“Seventy-five, so you were close, and the trunk is five feet wide,” he smiled. “It’s Smallville’s tallest Cottonwood.”
“Well, what are you waiting for?” she said exasperatedly as she rubbed her eager hands together. Give me a hand up!”
Clark sighed and cupped his hands and held them out, and Chloe dutifully stepped into it, grabbed hold of the lower branches and hosted herself into the tree.
“Race you to the top!” she said cheerily, and before he could blink she was up onto the next branch, then the next, until she disappeared into the dense foliage.
Clark stared up at the imposing Cottonwood trunk and gulped. Other than climbing the stairs to his loft, he had never really had any cause to confront his irrational fear of heights…until today. Chloe had no idea just how much she had just asked of him.
“Clark?” she called. “You coming?”
His heart beat hollowly in his chest, and he thought wistfully of a simpler time when he only had one male friend who stopped by occasionally for the odd game of basketball. Now everything had changed. He’d met Chloe, and in one week, she’d had him taking the school bus, painting offices and climbing trees.
“Dude, sometime today!” she said, a hint of impatience creeping into her voice.
Clark wiped his clammy hands on his jeans and hoisted himself onto the lower branches, wishing again for simpler times. Pete wasn’t nearly so much trouble.
But then, he thought with a wry smile, he wasn’t nearly so much fun, either.