Been a nightmare computerless week, but I managed to tidy this up over the weekend.
Written for marikology in part as a (very late!) birthday fic and also in fulfilment of her kind donation to the help_superrobyn appeal. Thanks for your patience, Mariko! Been a long time coming, but here it is. ;-)
Timeline: Season 3-ish; companion piece/prequel to The Perfect Gift
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the CW & DC comics.
Summary: When Chloe loses to Clark in a debate she has to wear a two-piece swimsuit to Crater Lake – much to his delight.
Feedback: …makes me squee. :-)
“…and that’s everything you need to know about the application of iambic pentameter in creative writing. Any questions?”
There were some non-verbal headshakes by way of reply, but other than that the class was pretty much unresponsive to their Literature teacher’s query.
“Good!” he exclaimed. “I assume then that you’re all fully knowledgeable on the subject, so I’d be delighted to have an original poem from each and every one of you on my desk first thing Monday morning.”
“Ugh!” groaned the class as their teacher grinned at their frustration of yet more homework.
He simply smiled. “Alright folks, let’s put those books away and get to the fun stuff. It’s time to pick this week’s big contenders.”
There was a flurry of activity as 9th Grade literature texts were placed inside desks. Everyone waited with anticipation as Mr Mathison produced two fishbowls which contained folded pieces of paper, and set them down on his desk.
“Right. First name outta the hat is…” Some of the kids commenced a drumroll on the desks as the first name was drawn from the bowl.
Every single person in class except Chloe and Clark united in a mass groan. Chloe was the 9th Grade’s undefeated debate champion, and there was no reason to suspect that this time was going to be any different.
Clark glanced across at her and grinned. She loved debating and no doubt relished the chance to add another scalp to her well-populated debating skills belt. And it showed; her face was positively glowing with excitement.
“Who shall I be pulverising next week, Mr Mathison?” she asked sweetly.
“Your contender is…” this time there was mass humming of the Jaws theme tune as the teacher swirled his hand around the bowl. Clark smiled, crossing his fingers that the name on the paper would be one of the class jocks or cheerleaders who constantly made life difficult for his best friend. Maybe Jake Wilson, or his girlfriend Carly McCutler, or…
Silence descended over the room. Clark’s smile disappeared and he stared over at Chloe, who was wearing an identical expression of shock on her face.
“All RIGHT!” cheered someone from the back of the class, and everyone else erupted into applause. Clark swallowed and got to his feet, as did Chloe, and walked to the front of the class and they stood facing each other – on opposite sides for the first time since they’d met.
“Now this will be interesting,” smiled Mr Mathison. “Two best friends facing off against each other.”
“You’re gonna get your ass whupped, Clark!” yelled Pete.
“Yeah, by a girl!” scoffed Jake.
“I don’t intend to lose this debate, guys,” he said quietly.
“Give it up already, Clark,” said Lana. “It’s Chloe. You might as well surrender peacefully now.”
“I can’t stand the girl, but she is undefeated,” murmured Carly McCutler from the back of the class.
“I never thought I’d see the day when I agreed with Carly, but she’s right,” Chloe said confidently. “I’ve never lost a verbal battle, and I don’t plan to start now.”
Clark shrugged. “First time for everything, Chlo.”
“Ooh!” everyone murmured.
“We have the birth of an epic battle on our hands, everyone!” Mr Mathison said, rubbing his hands together gleefully. “Clark versus Chloe, Boys v Girls; should be fun.”
He stood between them and held out the second fishbowl. “Pick your category.”
Clark gestured to his best friend. “Ladies first.”
“Aren’t we always?” she quipped, earning herself a smattering of applause from her fellow female pupils. She fixed him with a challenging stare as she dipped her hand into the bowl and emerged with a folded piece of paper, which she handed over to Mr Mathison.
“Capital Punishment in America: The Death Penalty,” he said triumphantly. “This just gets better and better. Who’s arguing for, who’s going against?”
“Clark can pick first this time,” she said offered.
“Yeah, ladies first!” chuckled Jake, causing the class to erupt in twitters of laughter.
Clark sighed. “Let’s just flip for it, Mr Mathison.”
“Alright-y, then. Chloe, you’re heads, Clark’s tails.” He tossed a coin in the air, caught it and clapped against the back of his hand before lifting his palm.
“Heads. Chloe, it’s your call: For, or Against?”
“For,” she answered without hesitation. “Clark can’t kill a cockroach, let alone support the elimination of another human being, even if that human being is pondscum.”
“Hey, even pondscum deserves the right to a second chance!” he shot back.
“And it begins,” Mr Mathison sighed. “Save it for next Friday, alright? Clark, I suggest you get yourself down the local library and start prepping yourself for the debate of your life. You’re gonna need all the help you can get.”
The bell rang to signal the end of the last period, and everyone filed out into the hallways.
“Alas, I never thought I’d see the day when I cleaned the floor with you, Clark,” Chloe said with a sigh as she opened her locker. “But I’ll go easy on you, okay?”
Clark stared at her with narrowed eyes. “You honestly don’t think I can beat you at this, do you?”
She gave a snorty giggle. “Seriously? Clark, you couldn’t beat me in a debate any more than you can convincingly spout Gangsta Rap.”
He shook his head reproachfully. “You have me hung, drawn and quartered, and you haven’t even drawn up an outline,” he retorted. “Pride goeth before a fall, Chloe.”
She stopped what she was doing and turned to face him. “Are you challenging me?” she said incredulously.
“Clark, are you challenging her?” Pete asked.
“Dude, are you challenging her?” asked Jake, and Clark was surprised to see that their entire class had followed them into the hallway. It seemed there was far more at stake than just his rep.
“Yeah. Yeah, I am,” he said softly. “Come Friday, I’m going to debate against you, Chloe Sullivan – and I’m going to win.”
There was a hum from their assembled classmates as the gauntlet was thrown down.
“And if you don’t?” Chloe asked.
“Yeah, what happens if you lose, Clark?” asked Lana.
“When he loses,” chirped Carly, and all the girls nodded in agreement.
“Then I’ll get up on stage that same evening, and sing Gangsta Rap at Variety Night,” he said. “Pete, Lana, everyone - you’re our witnesses.”
Everyone nodded, and the girls giggled hysterically.
Chloe folded her arms and tilted her head. “Okay, you’re on,” she said, intrigued. “You lose to me in the debate, and you sing a gangsta rap song of my choosing.” She extended her little finger towards his, but his hands remained by his side.
“And if you lose?” he said quietly.
She shrugged confidently. “I’m not gonna.”
“But if you lose?” he repeated.
She rolled her eyes and sighed. “Fine, if I lose I’ll…do something I’ve never done before.”
“Have sex?” quipped a voice from the back, and everyone chuckled.
Her face reddened, and she shrugged impatiently. “I dunno, you choose!”
A cheeky grin crept up his lips. “You lose this debate,” he said slowly and carefully, “…you have to come swimming with me at Crater Lake-”
“Ha ha, I do that all the time!” she chortled. “Sucker!”
“…in a two-piece swimsuit,” he went on.
Chloe’s smile vanished. “What?” she whispered.
He raised his fingers to make quote marks. “…of my choosing,” he finished smugly.
“Whoa, dude!” exclaimed one of his male classmates. “Nice one!”
Chloe shook her head in disbelief. “You have got to be kidding me.”
Clark shrugged. “You told me to choose, and that’s my choice.”
“But I’ve never worn a two-piece!” she protested.
“Something you’ve never done before,” he smirked. “Those were the terms you expressed, right?”
She shook her head again. “You must be crazy, Clark. No way are you getting me into a bikini.”
He folded his arms and grinned down at her. “Then you’d better not lose to me on Friday, should you?”
The entire class hummed in agreement, and there were excited chants of ‘Fight! Fight!! Fight!!!’ from some of them at the raised stakes.
Chloe took a step towards him and stared into his eyes.
“Snoop Dogg,” she finally said. “Ain’t Nothin’ But a G-Thang.”
Clark blinked. “Huh?”
“That’s your rap song,” she said with a lazy smile and extended her little finger. Clark locked fingers with her, and Pete drew his hand down the middle of them, sealing the bet.
“Start practicing; Clark,” she said threateningly. “You’re gonna need it.”
With those words, she slammed her locker door shut and strode off down the hall, flanked by the entire female population of her class.
“And you’d better get down the gym!” he shouted gleefully at her retreating back.
She froze and spun around, staring at him in shock. “Why, you little-!”
He didn’t wait to hear the rest, and neither did his male classmates. They took off towards the exit, fleeing into the sunshine as a classful of righteously indignant girls gave chase.