Clark rushed into the dimly lit room at something just slightly below superspeed, ready for whatever trouble required the attention of the full team. As he came to a whooshing stop, he looked around at his surroundings in surprise. He was in a dive bar. A quiet, nearly empty, dive bar. As he looked around in puzzlement at the utter lack of murderous alien killing machines, meteor-rock-powered-psychopaths, or killer gerbils, he heard his named called from a booth in the back of the dim bar.
"Clark! We're over here. Grab a drink and come on back!" Arthur Curry aka Aquaman called.
"Get me a drink too! Red Bull and vodka!" Bart Allen aka Impulse added.
"Whiskey for me," came Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow's voice.
"Water, please!" Arthur again.
"Nothing for me, thank you," from Victor Stone aka Cyborg.
It would appear the gang was all here...to drink.
With a sigh, Clark turned to the bored woman behind the bar and placed the order.
Clark settled the drinks onto the table with a clinking of glasses on the cheap Formica top. All the others were in street clothes, which made him feel slightly silly in his Matrix-inspired "Blur" costume, but he wasn't willing to admit that and go change.
He slid the appropriate beverages to their respective owners and settled into the single open spot remaining at the table. It took him a moment to realize that their group was down by two members. Neither Dinah nor Chloe were present.
"Where are the girls?" Clark asked.
Bart made a cut it out gesture behind Oliver's back and Clark watched the strange antics with puzzlement.
"Wha--?" Clark started to ask before really looking at the normally cocky archer.
Oliver looked completely crestfallen, staring into three amber liquid of the whiskey in his glass before taking a large drink. Then looking across the tabletop, Clark noted the large number of matching empty whiskey glasses.
Oliver was obviously down about something and trying to drink away his sorrows.
The sudden call to the other (male) team members by Bart finally made sense. They were here to offer their obviously miserable friend some companionship.
As he finally saw Clark work through the implications, Victor turned to Oliver and said, "OK man, talk. What happened that sent you drinking here at 6am and Bart calling us in?"
"I told him not to, " Oliver grumbled. "It wasn't really a big thing... just kind of sucked."
"Dude, don't be like that," Bart complained. "Tell them what you told me."
Sighing, Oliver threw back the rest of the whiskey in his glass. "I made a move on Chloe and she shut me down. Hard."
"You what???!!!" Clark said much too loud.
Oliver winced at the loud reply but continued, "Well after she seemed open to Stephen Swift, aka the twelve-year-old-comic-thief, I figured she would be open to dating again and made my move."
"Wait - what?!" Bart exclaimed. "You didn't say anything about her being into some other guy!"
"Oh yeah, maybe I didn't. Wasn't important. The important part was that she shot me down."
"No man. That part is very important," Bart countered incensed.
"I agree," Arthur agreed passionately. "If Chloe is out of mourning, that is big news."
"Yeah," echoed Victor calmly.
Oliver didn't seem to be paying them any attention as he continued mourning the loss of his chance with Chloe. "... and I had the target all set up and everything. It was supposed to be magical. Teach her to shoot the bow, snuggle in close to 'correct her grip'. It was absolutely perfect, but instead of us ending up making the beast-with-two-backs on the floor of Watchtower -- she slapped me!"
Though Oliver didn't notice the speculative lights kindle in the eyes of the other team members, Clark did.
And he really didn't like it.
Bart Allen aka Impulse
As the elevator doors opened into the Clocktower loft that Chloe had dubbed Watchtower, the scent of pepperoni pizza assaulted Clark's nostrils.
The scent of A LOT of pepperoni pizza.
It nearly caused him to gag.
"Chloe!" he shouted her name through his coughing fit.
"Sorry, Clark!" Chloe called out in apology. "I'm still working on the windows in here. They don't quite open yet and I know it smells rather... potent in here. "
"Potent?" he responded irritably. "Chloe, I've been in pizzerias that don't smell this strongly."
Chloe grimaced. "Yeah, I know. It's just Bart..."
Clark was instantly alert. "What about Bart?"
"Well he knows how often I work late here and a few days ago he asked if I wanted to have some dinner. I was hungry, so I said yes. He asked what my favorite pizza topping was and I said pepperoni. He ran out and brought back a pepperoni pizza." She paused with a rueful, fond smile. "Or at least, he brought back half a pepperoni pizza. Seems he got hungry on the way and ate the other half."
Clark just shook his head. "I'm sure he meant well..."
With a sigh, Chloe continued, now sounding less fond and more exasperated, "Yes, I'm sure he did too, but every day since he keeps bringing me pepperoni pizzas! I can't get him to stop! He says he wants to take care of me and make sure I'm fed and cared for, but this is ridiculous!"
She threw up her arms in aggravation. "Not even the homeless people around the building want pizza anymore! I can't get rid of it! If I never see another half-eaten pepperoni pizza, it will be too soon!"
Victor Stone aka Cyborg
I took a walk around the world to ease my troubled mind
I left my body lying somewhere in the sands of time
The song was coming from everywhere. Clark burst into Watchtower holding his hands over his ears. He couldn't stand to hear the song one more time.
I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon
I feel there is nothing I can do, yeah
It was even worse inside Watchtower, with the song blaring out from over a dozen computers.
I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon
After all I knew it had to be something to do with you
"Chloe! What the hell is going on! That song is playing over and over everywhere!," he cried out.
"I know!," Chloe hollered back, her voice heard even through his hands-covered-ears and the music piping in from all the computers. "I think it is Victor's idea of a joke." Looking up, Clark quickly spotted her up on the balcony, franticly typing away on one of the computers. Then moving to another. And another.
With each computer she moved to, the song ceased from that machine and the room became a little less insane.
"What? Why would he do that?" Clark asked, annoyed.
Another computer went silent as Chloe typed away. "I'm not sure. Yesterday he asked me what my favorite band was and I said 'Three Doors Down'. Then today, my alarm went off and it was that song...and it hasn't stopped since. I don't know why or how, but he seems to have triggered every single streaming-capable device in Metropolis to play that song on repeat."
"Really?" Clark asked incredulous. He feared he knew what Victor was trying for, but this...?
I really don't mind what happens now and then
As long as you'll be my friend at the end...
Chloe went to the last computer and typed. Just before the song went into the refrain for the thousandth time that day, the music cut off.
"There! It finally stopped," Chloe said, slumping down onto the balcony floor below the last computer.
Finally pulling his hands away from his poor ears, Clark listened carefully. The music really had stopped. All of Metropolis was finally free of the strains of Three Doors Down. Everything was back to normal.
Her head rolling bonelessly on her neck where she sat against the computer, Chloe looked down at Clark, obviously exhausted. "I have no idea what he was thinking when he did that. I finally had to write a virus program to disable the music stream. Whatever got into him, I am NOT amused."
Clark winced. Poor Victor had tried so hard. "I'm sorry, Chloe. I'm sure he thought it would make you happy." It was all he could think to say.
"Yeah, I guess," she replied in an tired voice.
Then as Clark turned to leave, he heard her starting to hum the song's refrain unconsciously.
Clark turned back around to look at her in horror.
Catching herself, Chloe's went huge and clapped both hands over her mouth. After a second, she pulled her hands away slowly, and squeaked, "Sorry, Clark."
Arthur Curry aka Aquaman
"And as you can see from this satellite footage, the bizarre aquatic performance persists. Scientists are at a total loss as to what caused this strange behavior or what the message means," the newscaster's voice echoed through Watchtower.
Clark found himself rushing into Watchtower once again, her name a cry on his lips. "Chloe!"
"Yes, Clark, I know! Ok? I'm on it," she cried back from the balcony, sounding as annoyed as him.
"What the hell is going on? These insane sea-life antics are causing major devastation. Fishermen and villages all over the world that depend on the seas for food are starving!" he cried.
Looking away from her computer to shoot him a glare, Chloe responded, "Yes, Clark. What part of 'I know, I'm on it' was not clear?" With a huff, she turned back to the computer.
Clark suddenly felt like an ass. "I'm sorry, Chloe. You're right, that wasn't helpful. So what can I do to help?"
Looking slightly mollified, Chloe responded in an aggrieved tone, "I don't know what Arthur was thinking, but whatever he did to set this into motion is proving much harder to undo than to kick off. I have no idea how, but he somehow convinced all those creatures that this is their new migration pattern. The problem is, that with so many of them swimming in the same way, it has actually distorted the ocean currents. At this point, even though the creatures want to break away, they can't. So now I have Arthur and his people along with Bart running on the surface trying to fix the currents. Maybe you could go and help? Use some of that wind breath to help break up the pattern?"
"Ok, Chloe, I'm on it," Clark turned back to the elevator, but turned around again to address her. "Chloe, don't be too mad at Arthur. I'm sure his heart was in the right place."
Fire flashed in her eyes, "No, I will NOT go easy on him! Look what he did!" She waved at the multitude of monitors through the tower that played the looping satellite footage. All over the world, the seas and oceans could be seen churning with aquatic life swimming in an unmistakable pattern.
They were writing the word CHLOE.
Clark Kent aka The Blur
Clark sped into Watchtower with his usual call -- "Chloe!"
A blonde head lifted from the depths of the couch off to the side of the room. Green eyes blinked at him sleepily. "Wha--? What time is it? What's wrong?"
Sorry to see had had interrupted her much needed sleep, Clark walked over to her on quiet feet. "I'm sorry, Chloe. I didn't mean to wake you." With gentle fingers, he brushed her lock of soft blonde hair from her eyes. Seeing her blink with an unsure expression, he continued, "Nothing's wrong. I just wanted to come check on you. It's been a rough week for you. I had to be sure you were holding up ok."
Her words slightly slurred with sleep and her green eyes only barely open, she responded, "S'ok. I should get up. I'm sure there is trouble somewhere..."
Chloe yawned, and started to sit up, but Clark stilled her. Gently supporting her, Clark moved so he was sitting at the end of the couch. Picking up one of the pillows that had been discarded to the floor, he put it on his lap and patted it invitingly. Chloe smiled back dreamily and laid back down on Clark's pillow-covered lap.
Snuggling to get comfortable, Chloe said around another yawn, "You don't have to do this Clark. I'll be fine. I just need a few Z's. Then I'll be ready to get back to work."
Clark brushed her baby-soft hair back from her face in a rhythmic motion, soothing her. "Or we could just have a quiet night. Watch a movie. Hang out."
Chloe's eyes had already drifted shut again, but a soft smile warmed her sleepy face. "As long as there is no pizza. Or music. Or fish. Then it's a date."
Clark leaned forward slightly and dropped a soft kiss on her forehead. "It's a date," he agreed.
But Chloe was already fast asleep again.
--- THE END --
Author's Note: There is a fun little Easter Egg in this fic if you know/google the song lyrics. If you do catch it, don't tell! ;)