Word Count: 1,576 words
Betas: sean_montgomery and mark_clark
Summary: Chloe, Jimmy, Lois and Clark are spending an evening helping dye eggs for The Daily Planet’s charity egg hunt when things take an unexpected turn…
Author’s Notes: A birthday fic for adja999. Unadulterated Crack!fic. Why do I find these so easy to write in this fandom? :D Light Season 7 spoilers.
“Hey!” Chloe complained, yanking her hand away from the splash of liquid. “Watch out with that stuff, Lois!”
“Well, excuse me if I’m not some sort of egg-dyeing artiste…” Lois grabbed the paper towel roll from the center of the table and began to mop up the bright green spill. “I mean, I could let all of you do the honors.”
“No way you’re getting out of this, Lane,” Jimmy put in from beside Chloe. He carefully held an egg in the yellow dye in the cup in front of him as he talked. “You volunteered to help out with the Planet-sponsored egg hunt… you’d better follow through.”
“You’d better not be insinuating that I don’t follow through with my promises, Olsen.” She grabbed a fresh cup of water and added vinegar and a new packet of red dye to it. “But I thought I’d be hiding the eggs… not coloring them.”
Jimmy held up a hand in apology as he carefully placed his egg to dry in the holder. Chloe smiled indulgently around the table. Jimmy, working at his eggs with an artist’s finesse… Lois’ face screwed up in concentration… Clark making his way through a dozen eggs with silent competence (he seemed to favor red, yellow and blue)… Sure, she could think of some more exciting ways to spend a Friday night (most of them involving the cute photographer to her right), but this was still an awful lot of fun.
“You’re awfully quiet there, Clark,” Lois commented. “Just another day at the farm, huh?”
“Just remembering when Mom and I used to do this when I was a kid.” Clark set another perfectly bi-colored egg in his holder. “Sometimes I miss it…”
“You know…” He waved a hand across the assortment on the table. “Doing stuff like this. When things were simpler.”
Chloe caught Clark’s eye then, commiserating. Clark’s life was certainly not simple these days. What with hiding his secret from everyone, trying to figure out who he could really trust… It was one of the reasons she had invited him to help them out. He needed to take his mind off of the craziness of his current situation.
“Well, you might have something there, Smallville,” Lois agreed. “But I never did this when I was a kid. We were lucky if we got a pre-made basket…” Lois shrugged. Chloe knew she didn’t really like to talk about her childhood.
“That explains a lot…” Jimmy joked.
Lois reached across the table to whack Jimmy on the hand with her wire egg-holder. “Shut up, Picasso.” In the process, she tipped over another cup of dye, this time to her left, and all over Clark’s hand and sleeve.
Chloe burst out laughing as Clark wiped the dye from his hand with another towel. “Yuck…”
“Like anyone would notice more red on you, Smallville,” Lois snarked guiltily.
“Oh, yeah?” Clark’s eyes twinkled mischievously. “I bet you look good in green.” And with those words, he picked up a cup of neon green dye to pour across her arm.
Lois squawked and jumped backward. “What the hell are you doing, Clark!? It was a freakin’ accident!”
“Suuuuure,” he taunted.
“Oh, grow up! You act like we’re back in fifth grade or something.” She blotted furiously at the stain on her sleeve, and then when she saw it wasn’t doing any good, threw the wadded paper towel at him.
Clark side-stepped quickly, almost super-quickly, and it missed him. Chloe’s eyes widened. What was wrong with him? Was he cracking under the pressure of the last few months?
“Even in fifth grade, that would have been low for him,” Chloe tried to break the tension. “Would you really want to go back to that again?”
“Why not?” Jimmy put in, smile practically splitting his face. “Playing all afternoon at the arcade… biggest worry whether we’d get home from school in time to catch our favorite cartoon…”
“Exactly.” Clark suddenly started walking toward the door of the storage room. “Why not?” Before anyone could say a word, he had slipped out of sight.
Lois stared toward the door with disbelief. “What the…? Has Clark gone a little insane when I wasn’t looking, cuz?”
“Uh…” What the hell was that? He usually only acted this strangely when he was possessed… or some Bizarro version of himself… or when he came into contact with—
Her eyes rapidly scanned the table for the box of dye. Snatching it up, she read the ingredients list with growing horror. “Sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide…” She’d long ago memorized that formula. Kryptonite. Red kryptonite, to be exact.
She grabbed her purse. “Come on, guys. We’ve got to find him.” She bolted out of the door, just hoping that Jimmy and Lois would follow.
“You know this guy?” The assistant manager ran a hand through his gelled hair nervously. “Thank God! He wouldn’t stop hogging the Street Fighter II game, and now he won’t get out of the ball pit!”
Chloe took in the scene at Kasey’s Fun Kastle with a practiced eye. There were a couple of crying children – their mothers were leading them away, all the while shooting daggers at Clark. But he seemed to have the pit all to himself, swimming around and laughing. Lois and Jimmy flanked her, watching with total shock.
“Don’t worry, Mr…” Chloe glanced at the young man’s name tag. “Rosenbaum. He’s just having an extreme reaction to medication. We can get him out of there for you.”
“I sure hope so… my boss will kill me if we get any complaints…” He walked away, muttering worriedly.
“And this is an allergic reaction, you said?” Lois said in disbelief after the assistant manager was out of earshot. “To red dye?”
“Pretty extreme, isn’t it?” Jimmy added.
“Yeah, you know, like the red coloring in that lipstick last year, remember…” Chloe explained, and then stopped. “Oh, wait, you don’t remember.”
“Oh, but I do,” Jimmy nodded, and Chloe elbowed him for his trouble.
Clark climbed out of the pit just then. He took a deep breath, leaped into the air and wrapped his arms around his legs. “Cannonball!” Balls went flying in every direction against the Plexiglas sides of the pit, slamming with incredible force. The three of them winced in surprise. Thank goodness no one else is left in there…
“I’m going in,” Chloe decided, and began to march toward the entrance of the pit.
Jimmy snatched at her arm. “Wait!” He swiveled her around to face him, worry in his eyes. “If he does something like that again, you could get hurt!”
“Don’t worry, Jimmy. I think I can help him.” During the search – luckily Clark had kept his cell phone on, so she’d been able to track him via GPS – she had decided to try something. In the absence of a good chunk of green kryptonite, she could only think of one solution. “I just need to get close enough to touch him.”
“Touch him? What?”
“You know…” She lowered her voice, so that Lois wouldn’t hear. “Heal him.”
Jimmy’s eyes grew wide, the fear only lessening slightly. “Oh…”
Chloe took a deep breath, and walked to the entrance, kicking some stray balls out of the way. “Claaaaaark! Can I play?”
Clark flipped over and laughed. “You tired of all that work, too? Jump in! The water’s fine!”
“Ready or not, here I come!” She jumped straight at him, knowing she wouldn’t hurt him, and grasped him around the wrist…
Clark shook his head groggily and looked around him with a start. What the heck was he doing in the middle of a child’s ball pit? The last thing he remembered was coloring eggs in the storage room of the Planet…
Beside him he heard the sound of giggling… He turned to see Chloe tossing balls up into the air like a kindergartener.
“Clark, you okay, buddy?” Jimmy was standing at the edge of the pit, looking down at him with concern.
Lois stood beside Jimmy, eyeing both Clark and Chloe nervously. “I didn’t think an allergic reaction could be contagious…”
“My head hurts, but other than that… I feel all right. What happened?” Clark wasn’t sure he really wanted to know, to tell the truth.
Chloe started to try to walk through the balls toward Jimmy, screeching with laughter at her inability to stand up straight. “This is awesome!”
Jimmy ignored Chloe’s strange behavior for some reason. “Chloe said you had an allergic reaction to the red egg dye or something…?”
His heart sank. Not red K again… What sort of embarrassing behavior would he have to explain away this time? And to Lois and Jimmy, no less…
But Jimmy seemed to be completely cool with it. He held out a hand to Chloe, trying to get her out of the pit. “Here, Chloe, let me help you…”
Chloe’s hand closed around his, and with an impish glint in her eye, she yanked him downward to land in the pit with an undignified splat. “Hey!” he spluttered, tossing an armful of balls at her with a laugh.
“Good grief.” Lois stood at the edge, hands on hips. “Have you all gone crazy?”
A glance passed between Clark, Jimmy and Chloe, almost quicker than thought.
It was totally worth the chewing out he’d get later to see Lois face down in a mound of multi-colored balls.
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