Spoilers: Definitely post-"Doomsday", at least.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Smallville.
Summary: Bart helps Chloe with some errands while he’s in town for a mission. (It gets better, I promise.)
Notes: Please comment if you like it, don’t like it, hate it, or think it’s okay but not great! I would really appreciate some feedback as this is my first stab at fanfiction.
“Feelin’ alright, there, gorgeous? You look… troubled.”
Chloe abruptly returned from her reverie. Sitting at her desk in the Watchtower, she knew she should be looking through the data she’d been given to scope out the Justice League's next mission. Lately the load on her shoulders seemed especially heavy. She had wholeheartedly embraced her job on Oliver's team, knowing that she was making a huge difference in the world – but the responsibilities of a position like that were crushing. Her personal life, as always, was an incomprehensible mess. And each day, with all the time she spent worrying about others, there never seemed to be time left over for her.
Chloe sighed quietly. “I’m fine, Bart. A little stressed, sure, but you know me. I’ll hold up.”
Bart just looked at her for a second, deeply, wordlessly, before speeding up to grab a bit of paper sticking out of her purse. He reappeared next to her, poring over it.
“This your grocery list?”
She raised an eyebrow, not sure what he was up to. “Yeah? You know, if you were thinking of adding several packages of Twinkies and a case of soda to that list, there’s no point. I’d figure it out. I never eat that stuff.”
He beamed at her. “Not my plan, Chloe – though as always, I urge you to be more open-minded with your food choices. I was actually thinking I could help you out. Grab some stuff, you know, while I’m speeding through town.” He wiggled his eyebrows like he always did when he was trying to be persuasive.
Would it really hurt to let him do this for her? No, she decided. “All right. But don’t try and lord it over me that you did me a favor.” Chloe found herself smiling even as she said it.
“Hey, if I thought coercion could get me a kiss from you, I’d have tried it already, Chloelicious. I just want to help.” Again with the eyebrows. He was known for being persistent.
“All right,” she nodded, fishing in her purse for the money. She held it out to Bart, and instantly he was gone, her hand empty. She’d barely had time to register his absence when he was back again, with a couple of bags of groceries, the change already resting in her palm.
“Piece-a-cake. That all you got, beautiful?” He teased. “Really though, let me do some more of your errands for you.” Suddenly he had her planner, too, and had flipped it to today’s page. “Uh-huh… huh… Oh yeah, this won’t take long.” The cocky tone in his voice was comfortably familiar.
“Well, I mean, if you think you can handle it…” she said hesitantly, unsure of whether she liked where this was going. She’d rejected him countless times, made it clear she just wanted to be colleagues and friends. He’d seen that, right? He must know that for all her appreciation, this helpful act wasn’t going to get him anywhere.
“I’m me, remember? I can handle anything.” He winked deviously and disappeared with her planner, whisking away the groceries as well – to her apartment, she presumed. The room emptied, Chloe was left with her thoughts.
She realized abruptly that all of her chores and small tasks for the day were suddenly taken care of, all that she’d been so worried about just moments ago, speedily erased. The rest of the day was open and free and all her own. It was as if Bart, ever easygoing and confident, had straightened out her convoluted life just with the sheer force of his personality. Sure, he had super-speed, but his ability to simplify her life, in a matter of seconds, was almost magical.
Still, Chloe felt a bit guilty about how she was treating him. She’d never been the girl who took advantage of boys’ infatuation to get them to do favors for her. Then again, no one had ever been so up to the task. She tried to keep herself from enjoying it too much. It wasn’t right to lead someone on like this – she didn’t want to get used to it.
“All done!” The speedster was standing in front of her once again, his signature grin in place. “Now, before you mention how much longer that took than you expected, I gotta say, I ended up getting sidetracked when my fifth pair of shoes this month gave out and I had to pick up some new ones. And, I thought while I was doing all the stuff you wrote down for today, I might as well take care of tomorrow, too. Never let it be said that I don’t think ahead.” He puffed out a bit, triumphant – wanting to be congratulated and not even bothering to hide it.
Chloe was aware that her mouth was wide open in awe, but she couldn’t seem to do anything about it. “Bart, wow, I… thank you. So much.”
She bit her lip, uneasy. She owed him an apology. “I feel bad, actually. I know you have your own things to take care of, and it’s not fair to you if I take advantage of your abilities like this. It’s a waste of your time.”
In an instant Bart’s face went completely serious, something she had rarely seen before. “You gotta promise me something, Chloe… don’t ever think you’re wasting anybody’s time.”
A millisecond later, the ever-present smile was back, as if what he had just said was perfectly ordinary, obvious, expected – a statement of truth and nothing more. But Chloe could feel it still echoing in her head, making her a little dizzy. She knew Bart hadn’t always been on the straight and narrow, and maybe he was more skilled at lying than she could guess. Yet something told her he had meant that. And she was just as surprised by her own reaction as she was by his earnestness.
“I promise,” she breathed softly, almost without thinking. She smiled quickly to cover up her confusion, knowing even as she did so that if, even for a second, the doubt that she was feeling had flickered across her face, he had seen it.
“Great”, he said, shooting her a sly half-smile that made her feel dizzier and even more uncertain. Chloe marveled at the sudden excitement that was coming over her. How could Bart, of all people, be making her feel this way? Wasn’t he the same guy who tried to impress her with “magic” tricks and cheesy pickup lines?
“Well, fair Chloe, it looks like I gotta run. Glad I could be of service.” Bart mock-saluted her in a way that was somehow utterly sincere.
Chloe was at a loss. Half of her wanted to ask him to stay, and the other half wasn’t sure. Of course, before she could get any words out, he was gone. She felt a rush of air, and the lightest possible touch on her cheek – a surprisingly gentle kiss.
Looking down, she saw that there was a red and yellow tulip in her hand.
She smiled inwardly. Maybe Bart hadn’t changed that much. But maybe there was something she hadn’t seen in him before, that had always been there.
And the next time he came to Metropolis… maybe she would be the one to surprise him.