Disclaimer: Smallville and all related elements, characters and indicia © Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television, 2002. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situations—save those created by the authors for use solely on this website—are copyright Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.

Author's note: This is the sequel to "Sparks". You don't have to read that one first, but if you're curious about how John and Chloe met, you can check it out. John and Mystique belong to Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, and 20th Century Fox. Jaime is mine.

The Warmth
by Amy

Disclaimer: I own nobody. Chloe belongs to Gough, Millar, and the rest of the Smallville producers. John belongs to Stan Lee and Marvel Comics. I just thought I'd play cupid and have a little fun. I promise I will return them unharmed... well, if I can keep John away from his lighter.

Click, snap. Click, snap. Chloe Sullivan narrowed her green eyes as an annoying, rhythmic clicking sound continued behind her. It had been going ever since she had sat down, and now it was really starting to get on her nerves. Taking a deep breath, she whirled around and relegated the guy behind her with a glare.

He looked like a year, maybe two years, older than she was with slicked back brown hair and a smug air about him. His eyes were focused on his Zippo lighter, which he was opening and closing methodically, and he didn't even notice that she was looking at him.

"Do you mind?" she asked. She reached up and pushed back strands of her blonde hair that had fallen into her eyes.

The guy looked up at her with the richest hazel eyes she had ever seen. "Am I bothering you?" he asked sarcastically, emphasizing his question by opening his Zippo and snapping it shut again.

"Yes, could you please not do that? The movie's about to start."

Hazel Eyes raised his hands in a cocky surrender. Satisfied, Chloe turned back to the movie screen as the lights went down. Man, why do all the cute ones have to be such assholes? She wondered.

It wasn't just the guy behind her that had ticked her off. It had been a lot of people, and it had been building since before she had left Smallville, Kansas. From the moment she had caught Clark Kent kissing Lana Lang, Chloe had wanted to leave. She knew she had to get away and fast before she would do something she would regret.

Having convinced her father that she needed a summer away, she had chosen to go to New York and stay with her older cousin, Jaime. When she stepped off the plane, she had already started to feel the pressure lift, but none of her pain had completely vanished.

Now, since Jaime had had to work that night, Chloe was all alone in a Mt. Vernon, New York, movie theater and was more than a little bitter. She really hoped Hazel Eyes had taken the hint and gone away.

As the lights dimmed and the previews began, she quickly forgot the guy behind her. In fact, she hadn't remembered he was there until he leaned forward, grabbing her seat and causing her to jump.

"So, you got a name?" he whispered in her ear. Oh, no. This guy wasn't trying to pick her up, was he? That was all she needed.

Huffing, she kept her eyes on the screen. "Yeah."

"You gonna tell me?"


"Why not?"

Chloe turned around and found herself staring into those multicolored pools. Man, this guy had nice eyes. "Because I don't want to. Can I watch the movie now?"

Without so much as asking, Hazel Eyes jumped over the back of the empty seat beside her and made himself comfortable. Chloe just rolled her eyes and turned back to the previews.

"So, what's a pretty girl like you doing all alone in a movie theater? Don't you know there are dangerous people around?"

God, didn't this guy ever catch a clue? "None of your business. Are you gonna leave me alone?"

"Not until you tell me your name." With an arrogant grin, Hazel Eyes leaned on the arm of the chair.

Chloe sighed and kept her eyes on the screen. "Chloe. Chloe Sullivan."

"Nice to meet you, Chloe. I'm John. John Allardyce."

Chloe looked away from the screen and took another look at the dark-haired guy sitting beside her. "Hi, can I watch the movie now?"

He shrugged. "Sure."

She was interested. Sure, she wasn't acting like it, but John was almost positive that this cute blonde had a thing for him. As the theater darkened and the movie started, he studied the girl sitting next to him. She wasn't stupid by any means; that he figured out from the moment she opened her mouth. She was tough, too. Not many people would have turned around and demanded he stop flicking his lighter. Of course, she didn't know what he could do to her.

Looking up at the movie screen, John grimaced. The movie had just barely started and already it was starting to blow. Well, he knew that it was probably going to suck anyway; he had just wanted to get out of the house. Sure, Magneto and Mystique seemed to treat his abilities with a bit more respect than Professor Xavier had, but they were so boring. All they did was plan and talk, talk and plan. They never DID anything. Returning to the present and rolling his eyes at the screen, he couldn't keep his mouth shut.

"So, where's your boyfriend?" he whispered to Chloe.

She apparently hadn't expected him to speak and jumped when he did. She turned her attention to him, annoyance clear in those green eyes. "I thought you were gonna let me watch the movie."

"That was before I knew it would suck." He gestured toward the screen. "Come on, you can't seriously be interested in this?"

Annoyance turned to downright disbelief. "And what if I am?"

John didn't buy it. "Come on, a smart girl like you?" He jutted his thumb in the direction of the exit. "What do you say we get out of here?"

"What makes you think I'd go anywhere with you, and besides, why are you so fascinated with me?"

John just smiled. "Does a guy need a reason?"

Chloe narrowed her eyes. "I've been burned by way too many guys in the last two years. Forgive me if I don't trust you."

His smile never wavered. "I promise that I won't hurt you." He glanced down at the shark lighter in his right hand. It was his most prized possession. "I swear on my lighter."

The cute blonde didn't say anything, and for a moment he thought she'd tell him off again. But wait? Was that a ghost of a smile spreading across her heart-shaped lips? His own grin grew wider as he watched the corners of her mouth upturn.

Did he just swear on his lighter? Chloe couldn't help but smile at John's attempt at humor. In fact, he actually didn't seem as bad as she first thought. Of course, neither did Clark, Sean, or Justin, but there was something up front about this guy. Something told her that if he had wanted to hurt her, he would have done so already.

Looking away, she spared another glance at the movie screen. John was right; the movie wasn't as good as she thought it was going to be. In fact, it was a sequel, and the first one had been ten times better. Biting her lower lip, she peeked over at John again. He hadn't taken his eyes off her.

The sensible side of her was telling her not to go with him. She was in a strange city talking to a strange guy. This was also the same sensible side, though, that had told her to trust Lana and Clark. Look at where that had gotten her. Her adventurous side, however, was starting to win the internal conflict. Besides, how would she ever be able to report anything if she didn't live it?

Just like that, her mind was made up. She stood up and looked down at John. "Lead the way."

John beamed as he, too, stood up. "All right. Let's get out of here."

Allowing him to take her hand, Chloe let him lead her out of the darkened theater and into the bright lobby. They ambled past the concessions and out through the glass doors into the warm summer night. Stopping at the edge of the sidewalk, John turned to look at her.

"Wanna get something to eat?" he asked.

"Sure," Chloe replied. "Do you want to take your car or mine?"

"We can take mine."

As John led the way to a green classic car sitting across the parking lot, Chloe let her worries and all of her anger melt away. This was going to be a good summer. Maybe this was what she needed to forget about Clark, Lana, and Smallville altogether. She spared another glance at John. Maybe it would feel good to tell someone else about what had happened in Smallville. No, this guy didn't need to know everything about her. Not yet, anyway.

John unlocked the passenger side door and opened it for Chloe. As he watched her slide in, he couldn't help but smile. He couldn't pinpoint what it was about her that he liked so much. Normally, he'd be looking for an easy girl, but Chloe was anything but easy. Maybe it was her attitude? Maybe it was her smile? Maybe it was the fact that she wasn't afraid of him or didn't look at him like he was different? Whatever it was, it made John want to talk to her.

For at least one moment in time, he didn't have to worry about what others would think. He didn't even have to worry about what had happened in the past. Maybe later he would mention his mutant abilities, but for that night, he was just going to hang out with her. She didn't have to know everything about him. Not yet, anyway.

Once she was inside, he closed the door and walked over to the driver's side. Unlocking his own door, he dropped his beloved lighter into his pocket and climbed in. Perusing her out of the corner of his eye, he knew that this was the right move. In fact, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. He then cranked up the car, and they took off without another word.

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