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fic: playing with fire

Title: Playing With Fire
Fandom: Smallville
Pairing/Characters: Chloe/Tess
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 3014
Spoilers/Warnings: season 8; AU/femslash
Disclaimer: all characters belong to the CW/DC Comics
Summary: AU after 8.17 'Hex'; Chloe is tired of playing it safe.
A/N: for the ragments of Sappho 2010 Challenge-a-thon, prompt: 'you burn me'; thanks to my beta, boltgirl426 for all her help and support!

Chloe Sullivan was tired of being good. All her life, she had played it safe. Sure, when she hacked as much as she did, it was a little dangerous, but in other areas of her life, especially in the romance department, she didn’t take may risks. And to be quite frank, she was sick of it.

When she was a teen, she had fallen for Clark Kent, the kind and sweet farm boy who was the first to befriend her. Yet, time and time again, he unintentionally broke her heart, unaware of her feelings and regarding her only as a best friend.

Even when she kissed him, thinking the world was going to end, it only resulted in her pretending nothing happened after he returned. Instead, she picked an even safer choice, Jimmy Olsen, the boy she met years prior during a summer internship at the Planet. Sure, she had lost her virginity to him, and he never called her back, but since there weren’t strong feelings, as in the case with Clark, she wouldn’t get hurt again, right?

Wrong. Somehow, she ended up falling in love instead. They broke up and got back together twice (she finally understood why Clark continued to go back to Lana) and even ended up married. Yet, it ended in divorce, leaving her heartbroken.

So what was the point in playing in safe when she ended up getting hurt anyway? She might as well take a risk, take a chance, and see how it worked out.

That thought process was what led her to having a steamy affair with none other than Tess Mercer.

It had started on a night like any other. Exhausted after a long day of dealing with computers and not wanting to go back to her apartment, as it would only remind her of how alone she really was, Chloe made her way to the Ace of Clubs. Maybe a drink would make her feel better.

Alcohol may be a depressant but it certainly was helping Chloe take her mind off things. At the very least, when she was drinking at the Ace of Clubs, she wasn’t home, in her apartment, all alone. Taking another sip of her mojito, she glanced around the room, from her position at the bar. Some people were there in groups, while others looked like they were on a date, which did nothing to ease her loneliness.

Her gaze shifted to her left hand, and the empty spot where there was once a ring. The divorce had been finalized a couple of days ago, and a part of her still couldn’t believe how short-lived her marriage had been.

She tried to focus on something else, but her mind kept drifting back to what she didn’t want to think about. Maybe she shouldn’t have come here alone; she knew that if she had called Lois, her cousin would’ve been by her side in an instant.

But being with Lois just made her feel worse. Lois would constantly tell her how it wasn’t her fault, when Chloe knew she was mostly to blame, and how things would get better, which she just couldn’t see. Chloe knew Lois was trying her best, but right now, she felt like failure and now even her beloved cousin couldn’t fix it. Not this time.

“Ms Sullivan,” an all too familiar voice said, snapping her out of her depressing thoughts. “You’re the last person I expected to see here.”

Turning, she faced none other than Tess Mercer, who was staring, with one eyebrow raised, a look of what she assumed to be amusement on her face. Not that she was positive; to say Tess was difficult to read was an understatement.

“Ms Mercer,” she greeted the other woman, tone polite, “I didn’t realize that a woman can’t have a drink to relax without being interrogated.”

“Not at all,” Tess remarked smoothly. Gesturing to the empty seat next to Chloe, she added, “Mind if I join you?”

Chloe shrugged. “It’s a free country.”

Tess smirked, and took the aforementioned seat, gesturing for the bartender. Little did Chloe know that the night was about to change her life completely.

It had started out innocently enough, and then Tess, unimpressed with the drinks, decided that she was in the mood for a fine wine. She invited Chloe over the mansion, and though she knew she should say ‘no’, she ended up agreeing. To be quite frank, she was happy to ignore the little voice that was always telling her to ‘be careful’ and ‘play it safe’. It’s not like she had any better offers anyway.

Besides, what was the worst that could happen? She should’ve remembered that those were famous last words.

The wine was good, that was for sure. Now Chloe knew why Tess had such high standards.

“Much better,” Tess stated, taking a sip. For some reason, Chloe’s eyes drifted to Tess’s lips. It seemed that Tess managed to make the simplest tasks seductive. Catching Chloe’s stare, Tess asked, “Is there something on your mind?”

“Why did you invite me here?” Chloe wondered aloud. “It’s not like we’re exactly close.”

“You looked like someone who needed to take your mind off things,” Tess replied. “Drinking alone is never pleasant anyway.” How she managed to answer the question, yet not answer it at all left Chloe in shock. There was no one who was more evasive than Tess. “I see that your left hand is empty, which makes me think that a finalized divorce was what led you to a bar?” Tess finished.

“That’s none of your business, and I don’t want to talk about it,” Chloe said stiffly, clutching her glass tighter.

“I don’t blame you,” Tess told her. “Anyway, I wouldn’t dwell on it … I’ve found that men are generally useless.”

“They’re not all bad,” Chloe protested, feeling insulted on Jimmy’s behalf, despite the way he yelled at her in the hospital.

“The majority of them are,” Tess responded. “They run at the first sign of trouble, and if they’re not leaving, they’re cheating. If we didn’t need them to reproduce, I’d say they’re worthless.”

Chloe wanted to argue, but she remembered how Jimmy had broken up with her, just because she had some secrets, running into the open arms of Clark’s cousin, Kara. And then, when Kara had gotten amnesia, they had broken up, and Jimmy had come back to her.

‘Why did we get married anyway?’ she found herself wondering. No, she loved him … but maybe they weren’t as ready for marriage as they thought.

Her head was spinning. She wasn’t drunk, not even close, but still somehow Tess’s presence left her feeling intoxicated.

“But I mean, what about …” Chloe trailed off, a little shy all of a sudden.

“Sex?” Tess suggested, seeming to read her mind. “You don’t need a man to have sex, Chloe.”

“Yeah, but going solo only gets you so far,” Chloe retorted, regaining her composure.

“Who said anything about going solo?” Tess countered.

“But if not with a man, then with who?” Chloe began, and then seeing Tess’s smirk, her eyes widened, finally getting it. “Other women?”

“Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it,” Tess said, standing up and refilling her glass.

“No, of course not,” Chloe declared, even though that was a blatant lie.

The truth was, one night, when Chloe and Lois had been a little drunk, Lois had admitted to her that she had experimented with women in college. Ever since, Chloe had been slightly curious as to what it was like, but never found the courage to ask Lois about it.

She had forgotten about it … until now.

Not knowing what to say, Chloe stared at her glass, which was now empty. Getting up, she made her way to the bottle. Slowly, she poured the dark liquid into her glass, not meeting Tess’s eyes.

Since she wasn’t watching her, she didn’t see Tess move, closing the distance between them. The warm breath on her neck caught her off guard, almost causing her to lose her grip on the wine bottle. Setting it down, she tried not to show any reaction to Tess being so close, despite the fact that her heart was racing, and her thought was suddenly dry.

“You’re a very attractive woman, Ms Sullivan,” Tess murmured. “I doubt that Jimmy Olsen was able to please you sexually.”

“You don’t know that,” Chloe replied, “He could’ve been a fantastic lover.” Though even to her, those words sounded wrong.

She could almost feel Tess’s smirk. “Men … they’re usually so caught up in their own pleasure. They don’t even know us, and what they do get right is usually by accident. However, women … we know ourselves … we know what we would like.”

Tess wasn’t even touching her, but her voice, her closeness … it was driving Chloe insane with desire. Other than the occasional admiring glance, she had never wanted another woman before. But right now, oh God, she wanted. She wanted badly. Tess Mercer set off a fire inside her that she alone could put out.

Maybe the wine had gone to her head after all.

Spinning around, she found that they were separated only by inches.

“Are you suggesting that I have sex with some woman?” Chloe questioned.

“I’m just saying that you should explore your options before making a final conclusion,” Tess said, causing Chloe to privately wonder if anything fazed the other woman.

“Are you offering to help me explore those options?” Chloe asked boldly. Oh, man, this really wasn’t like her, but damn it: for once in her life, she was going to take a risk, take a chance. If it blew up, at least she could say she tried.

“I’m always happy to offer my … assistance, in any way I can,” Tess responded, green eyes boring into her.

“All right then,” Chloe said, and surprising them both, she leaped up and kissed her. Tess responded to kiss almost immediately, wrapping her arms around the smaller woman’s body.

Pulling away when they needed air, Tess asked, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Chloe admitted. A smile curved on her lips as she continued, “But I’m sure you’ll teach me, won’t you?”

Tess smiled back, a real smile, not a smirk. “Yes, I think I can handle that.” Without letting her reply, Tess kissed her again.

No more words were spoken for the rest of the night.

Tess made her feel things she had never experienced before. She didn’t put out the flames; no, they only burned stronger after that encounter. When she woke up, she wanted to be angry, but instead, they just ended up having sex again.

From there on, they met several times, sometimes by accident and others on purpose. It was like Tess was a drug, and Chloe was addicted. Some of those meetings didn’t even result in sex, which was the crazy thing.

It was Tess who actually ended up comforting her when she was forced to kill Davis through kryptonite. At the same time, she knew Tess was hiding stuff from her, even then, but she had to be there with her. Tess hurt and healed her at the same time, and when Chloe was around her, she felt alive.

It was like she was a helpless moth and Tess was the flame. The logical part of her said to stay away and that she’ll only get burned. But the rest of her said, ‘screw logic'. Because she was too taken in, and didn’t care about getting burned.

Then Davis turned out to be alive, and everything passed like a blur. She ran away with him, partly to protect Clark and partly to save him, because the truth was she had been attracted to him once.

When it was all over, everything was a mess. Davis & Doomsday were separated through black kryptonite, but that ended in disaster. Doomsday was stopped, but Davis ended up killing Jimmy. What possessed her to kiss Jimmy, she didn’t know, but she just had just been caught up in the moment. Tess was confusing her and she thought maybe normalcy was better after all.

She should’ve been aware of her surroundings. Davis, in a jealous rage, stabbed Jimmy and would’ve killed her, if Jimmy hadn’t somehow managed to muster up enough energy to kill Davis.

Jimmy died in her arms right after, his last words being, ‘I love you.’

It only got worse for her. Right after the funeral, Clark left humanity, and Lois was missing. While she was heartbroken and felt betrayed by Clark abandoning her, a part of her could understand too. After all, everyone had been worried about Doomsday, but it was Davis with his human emotions that killed Jimmy, and almost her. But it still hurt.

So she focused on finding Lois, and the biggest betrayal of all came in the form of finding that the last person Lois had most likely been with before her disappearance … was Tess.

She hadn’t spoken to the redhead since she took off without a word, but now she knew they had to talk.

Getting into the mansion was tough … security was tighter for reasons that Chloe couldn’t imagine, but Tess allowed her access once she saw who was making all the racket.

“Well, isn’t this a surprise,” Tess said dryly, once they were alone.

“Where’s Lois, Tess?” Chloe said, cutting to the chase.

“Oh, this is nice,” Tess continued, as if she didn’t say anything. “You disappear without so much as a goodbye, you storm into my home uninvited, and now you’re making accusations?”

“I don’t feel the necessity to make polite talk when my cousin is missing,” Chloe hissed.

“Why would I know where Lois is?” Tess asked, leaning against her desk.

“Well, considering you were the last person to been seen with her before she disappeared,” Chloe argued, “I have a right to be suspicious.”

“I don’t know where your cousin is,” Tess said, rolling her eyes. A part of her thought that Tess was being honest, but she knew that the other woman was just a good liar. After all, she had done it so many times before.

“Yeah, right,” Chloe snorted. “And I’m supposed to believe that?

“I don’t care what you believe,” Tess remarked. “That’s the truth.” Her face was devoid of all emotions; only her eyes expressed the anger that she was feeling.

“Because you’re so familiar with the truth,” Chloe shot back. In a few strides, she was face to face with Tess. “Look, you can lie about whatever you want, but if you did anything to hurt Lois …”

“I didn’t do anything to your cousin,” Tess said, her eyes narrowing. “I think you need to relax and take a few steps back.”

“And if I don’t,” Chloe challenged, getting even closer, trying to increasing heart rate.

“I may have to make you,” Tess warned, giving her a little shove.

“I don’t scare that easily,” Chloe snapped, shoving her back.

“Maybe you should,” came the cold response. This time, the shove was a little harder, as Tess made her way by Chloe. “You can leave now, Ms Sullivan. I have more important things to deal with, and your silly little accusations is just wasting my time.”

Instead of replying, Chloe found herself attacking Tess, which ended up with them rolling around on the floor.

There were punches, and hair pulling, but Chloe had never been more turned on afterwards. God, I’m more twisted than I thought.

“What is with your family and violence?” Tess demanded, while she was ducking Chloe. Since she was taller, it was a bit easier.

“So you did see Lois,” Chloe managed to gasp out.

“Only briefly,” Tess finally confessed. “But she knocked me out, and was gone when I woke up. Whatever happened to her was not my fault.”

“Why didn’t you just say that in the first place?” Chloe said, stopping for a moment.

“Like you would’ve believed anything I said,” Tess retorted, standing still as well. “You were quite happy to pin the blame on me. Besides, why should I give answers to someone who leaves with a monster, without so much as a ‘goodbye’?”

“I was trying to do what was best,” Chloe said, surprised that her disappearance bugged Tess that much.

“A note would’ve been appreciated,” Tess commented. “Or you were just concentrated on your own version of Beauty and the Beast?”
“First of all, I didn’t see Davis like that … not anymore,” Chloe said. “And secondly, I couldn’t contact anyone. We just had to flee!”

“You certainly risked calling Clark Kent,” was Tess’s response. Chloe gaped at her. If she didn’t know better, she would’ve thought Tess was jealous. Wow, had she really gotten to Tess Mercer?

“I …,” Chloe realized for one of the few times in her life, she didn’t know what to say. So she went on impulse. Making her way to Tess, she cupped the other woman’s face in her hands, and kissed her.

Tess was stiff for a moment, but gradually responded. After a moment, Chloe pulled away. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Tess wanted to know.

“For leaving without a word,” Chloe answered.

“I guess you can make it up to me then,” Tess suggested, visibly calmer.

“I can do that,” Chloe whispered, before meeting her lips once more. From there, things just progressed, with them ending in Tess’s bedroom.

A part of her knew that Tess was up to something, even though it had nothing to with Lois. There was security for a reason, and the mansion was different, but she couldn’t bring herself to focus on that, or even care. She’d deal with that later, and probably accept whatever lie Tess told her.

Chloe had been worried that Tess would burn her, and she had, without her knowledge. Tess had burned her mark into Chloe’s soul, her body, and now she was forever claimed.
Tags: category: femmeslash, fandom: smallville, fanfic, ship: chloe/tess, story: playing with fire
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