by Celli Lane
"...one girl in all the world..."
Chloe rolled her eyes and went back to her laptop. Apocalypses might come and go, but someone had to get the paper out.
It was kind of like her calling. She grinned. Chloe the Deadline Slayer. It had a nice ring to it.
"...strength to slay the vampires..."
Type type oops typo type. Her headline mocked her. Debate Team Second In State Tourney. Whoo. But her original choice, Local Girl Kicks Ass, had been shot down. Again.
"...for generations, when each girl is called..."
"Lex," Chloe said without taking her eyes from the laptop screen, "nobody is listening to you."
"I am," Lana said.
"No, you're not."
"Pete is, too."
Chloe looked over. Pete was stretched out on the floor, an icepack over what was going to be an outstanding black eye, snoring. "No, Pete's unconscious."
"Well, I don't care." Lana dismounted from her handstand the hard way, with a backbend. Chloe watched in envy as Lana's hair settled perfectly into place. Lana didn't even care; she kept threatening to buzz-cut it so it couldn't be grabbed in a fight. She only kept it chin-length to hide the scars. Chloe's own long blonde hair always looked scraggly in comparison. "You were just getting to my favorite part! Where the vampires came here from space and spread out, infecting humanity, until the line of Slayers was created to oppose them and Ka--and the green rocks were sent to help us."
Not again. Not that Kal-El wasn't important, but..."Write a fan letter, Lana," Chloe said. Lex looked repressive as only he could. Even Pete rolled over and groaned.
"What?" Lana tried to look unaware. "The rocks--"
"And what else came with the vampire rocks? Could it be...the love of Lana the Vampire Slayer's life? Hmmmm?"
"He's not--I wouldn't--Chloe!"
"What?" Chloe mocked. Forbidden Looove was all well and good, but being the best friend of one of the Forbidden Looovers was only fun when you could torment them.
"Chloe." Lex looked over his glasses at her. "Did you finish that search on the Grandville deaths yet?"
"No. I'm busy working on a story. Remember, the one I left hanging to help you guys save the world?"
"Fine." She switched to Safari.
"Where was our defanged friend tonight, anyway?" Pete's voice was muffled by the hand holding the icepack. "He could have kept a couple of those guys from stepping on me."
Lana looked like she could step on him a few more times. "He doesn't check in with me, okay? Maybe he was off fighting somewhere else."
"Right because you blew up the Beanery, and he had better things to do?"
"I did not blow up the Beanery!"
Everyone stared at Lana.
She put her hands on her hips. "I just set a fairly substantial fire."
"That made the kitchen explode!"
Chloe stood. "Kitchen. Good idea. Lex, I'm going to raid your kitchen for coffee, since Lana blew up my main supply."
"The Grandville search--"
"Will go faster with coffee."
Lex sent her a long-suffering look, but he and Lana were deep in a dissection of the evening's strategy before she was even out the door. Chloe breathed a sigh of relief as she escaped. She adored him, but Lex at his most sarcastic was more deadly than any of Lana's stakes.
Chloe helped herself to the always-brewing, always-gourmet coffee in the Luthor Manor kitchen (having a rich Watcher was the best) and decided to drink it on the upstairs balcony before diving back into her websearching duties.
It was a still night, and the moon seemed eerily close. Time to start thinking about going home. Chloe's dad could sleep through anything. Pete was a master at climbing in and out of his window. And Lana? "Jonathan and Martha don't care about curfews as long as my homework and chores are done before Slaying." Chloe suspected the Kents' concerns were more about sexy alien vampires and less about feeding cows.
But still, all three sets of parents liked to see their children at the breakfast table, and Lex had a business to run while they were in school. So after her search was done, they should--
"Chloe," a deep voice said behind her.
She took another sip of coffee. "Hey, Kal. Lana's in the library."
"I know." And there he was, next to her, both hands braced against the railing. Chloe could just see the glitter of silver on his far hand. If he turned, she'd be able to see the green rock that enabled Kal-El to control his vampire impulses.
"So where were you tonight? Lana missed you."
"I ran into something unexpected." A half-smile tugged at his lips, surprising Chloe. Humor? From Kal? She made a "hmm" noise and fiddled with her coffee.
"Nice outfit," he said next, unnerving her even more.
"What? Oh." She smoothed the blue, flowing dress selfconsciously. "I was vampire bait tonight. It is so Pete's turn next time. I may even make him wear the dress."
"I bet it worked. You look very beautiful in it." Then his hand slid into her hair, and she started so hard she dropped her cup.
She lunged for it, but it clattered over the railing. "Damn! You made me--"
He dragged her back against him. Chloe got one squeak out, and then she felt his breath on her neck and her voice froze in her throat. The one remaining not-quite-panicking part of her brain noticed Kal-El's ring. It glowed red, not green.
This is not good, she thought just as his fangs sank into her neck.
The world began to blur. Then something slammed into KalEl, who stumbled forward. Clarity returned, along with searing pain in her neck. Chloe screamed.
Kal's presence behind her vanished. Chloe caught herself on the railing and tried to turn her neck far enough to look behind her.
"Chloe!" Strong arms went around her. She let herself fall. Pete would catch her. They tumbled to the ground together.
"He bit me," she said. She could feel the blood trickling down her neck, soaking into her hair. "It was red, and--he bit me!"
Lana was struggling with Kal-El. Her necklace was pulsing green, but it wasn't working. Kal-El seemed even stronger than usual. A sharp kick to the stomach knocked her backwards. "Why are you doing this?" she gasped out.
"Come on, Lana." The next kick caught her squarely under the chin. She crashed to the ground not far from Chloe's feet. Kal stalked towards her. "You didn't expect me to be your tame lapdog forever, did you? Not when I could do more interesting things. Like kill your friends." He tried to kick her, but she rolled and came up in a crouch. "Like kill you."
"I thought you loved me, you son of a bitch!" She landed two good punches before he sent her flying again. Pete pulled Chloe out of the way.
"I'm a vampire. I don't love anything but blood."
Footsteps rang on stone. Chloe tilted her head to see Lex run into view. "Lana!" he shouted, and hurled something in her direction.
Lana grabbed and aimed the crossbow in one smooth move. Everyone seemed to freeze. Kal-El's eyes flickered, and the tip of the crossbow quivered slightly.
Then, boom! Everything started up again. Lex moved forward, tossing his favorite sword from his right hand to his left. Pete moved in front of Chloe; whether it was to shield her or jump Kal, she wasn't sure. Lana said, "Kal?" in a choked voice.
And Kal-El? He looked at them all and laughed--laughed! Then he vaulted off the balcony and disappeared into the dark.
"Do I chase him?" Lana asked, staring over the edge.
Lex looked tempted but then his eyes met Chloe's. He knelt next to her. "No. We'll--we'll deal with him later." He murmured something else, but Chloe couldn't hear it. Lana hesitated. "No," Lex repeated sharply, and Lana came over to Chloe's other side.
Having everyone stare at her was uncomfortable. Lex dug out a handkerchief and started dabbing at her neck. "Ow!"
"What happened?" Lex asked.
"His ring was red. I didn't see it at first. I was just talking to him, and he got weird, and then chomp."
Lana couldn't quite look at her. "You didn't drink any of his blood, did you?"
"Ew. No. You got here in time." She peered at the balcony. "He made me drop my coffee cup, too. Bastard."
Lana let out one high-pitched giggle, then buried her face in Chloe's stomach and wept.
Chloe patted Lana's head. "My life has officially gotten as painfully weird as it could possibly get," she said to no one in particular.
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