Three Kisses

by ingrid

Their first kiss was what Chloe would consider more of an anti-kiss than anything else.

A "get it over with" moment, instigated by herself while in the background the Kents' cows lowed plaintively in the fields.

Clark fumbled over her mouth with a tongue and lips that knew no better. She placed her hands firmly against his chest, holding him at least six inches away, just enough to keep complete control.

"Okay?" she asked, when he was forced to draw a breath after what felt like an eternity. "Now, about this town ..."

Their second kiss was in front of a trailer owned by someone neither of them trusted.

Kyle Tippet, the man who'd supposedly attacked Lana the day before, held Chloe's hand and soothed his way into her mind by telling her things she already knew.

*You need Clark. You want Clark. And he's right here in front of you, waiting. You want to kiss him, don't you?*

Of course she did. It was too tempting to resist.

When Chloe awoke from her fog there was nothing left but a taste of mint in her mouth and the memory of Clark's hand upon her arm, this time holding her at bay. He hadn't forgotten their time in the barn years before and on the way back home, she pinched herself repeatedly, more out of punishment then a reality check.

What goes around comes around, doesn't it?

After that there were years of pecks, lies left on each other's lips, while in the background Lana Lang hovered above them like an avenging angel, with her sweet smile, perfect hair and inescapable presence.

Chloe refused to meet the threat. Clark refused to dismiss his fantasy and they kissed no more after that. Not really.

Until ten years later when Chloe stopped by the offices of the Daily Planet, a lifetime of experience and a dozen bylines under her belt. She was hot; the freelance reporter who'd gone around the world twice by the age of twenty-two. The one who'd stood up to politicians, drug lords and kings without so much as a blink -- sometimes armed with nothing but her smile.

Clark was exactly the opposite and when he stood in front of her with his stooped shoulders and glasses that were five times too big for his face, she motioned him toward a private corner, her heart pounding.

"Let me tell you my secret," she whispered. "Come closer."

He had to bend to hear her. She pulled him down even further still before taking his mouth with her own.

His tongue and lips finally knew their place. The mint was replaced with the bitter tang of coffee and too many hours without sleep.

Neither held the other back, and yet ...

Clark was missing. He was, simply put, no longer there. His pure essence, the thing she'd remembered every waking moment since the day they'd decided to go their separate ways was gone, replaced by something else. Something alien.

Something Chloe no longer understood.

She pulled away, horrified. This was no joining of passions, no consummation of something they'd waited for too long and it was certainly not a promise of anything to come.

It was ... nothing.

And Lana Lang was no longer to blame.

Chloe stumbled back into the harsh light of the newsroom. Felt mortal embarrassment as Clark slowly took off his glasses and carefully cleaned them on the edge of his suit jacket, wiping away their heated breath without so much as a blush.

The lights in the office were far too bright. Chloe had to shield her eyes against their glare as the stinging tears fell.

"What are you?" she whispered. "What the hell are you?"

"Your friend," he replied as he placed their third, and final, kiss upon her forehead. "Forever."

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