Unexpected

[March 2003]

Fandom: Smallville
Title: Unexpected
PenName: EV
Character(s):
Paring(s): Lana/Pete
Rating: PG
Summary: Future Fic. Lana and Pete become closer friends than they have been in the past and discover there could be much more between them.
Notes:
Warning(s):
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters featured in the WB teen drama series Smallville. No copyright infringement intended.



Chapter 1: The funeral


Lana tried not to break into tears as she looked down into the casket. She seemed to be so alive, asleep, but alive. The color was back in her cheeks and it hadn’t been for months. It seemed like she should be able to just sit up. But Lana knew she couldn’t. She walked out the funeral home and tried to compose herself, but the tears finally broke free.

Lana strolled along the sidewalk trying to hide her tears. She had to be strong, she was in charge here. Dean was her husband, he should have been handling the arrangements. But in Nell’s eyes he had been “the one”, so she tolerated him. At least she had tolerated him when she was alive. Before Nell had passed on she had the joys of love and marriage, something she’d wanted even as she raised her little orphaned niece as a single mother.

Her eyes were clouded because of the tears she was fighting and she lost her balance and fell to the ground. Suddenly unknown hands were helping her up and helping her brush off.

“Sorry, I saw you falling but I didn’t get over here fast enough.”

“No apologies nec–” Lana began as she looked up. “Pete?”

“Lana,” he said with a smile.

“How are you Pete?”

“Okay. How about you?”

“I don’t know,” Lana replied. “You know about Nell?”

“Yeah, I meant to come by, but I wasn’t sure… You need a ride?” Pete asked. “I was just putting my niece in the car when I saw you falling.”

“Sure,” Lana replied.

“Here,” Pete said handing Lana a tissue.

“Thank you.”

He opened the door and Lana climbed in. As she buckled her seatbelt she noticed a little one sleeping in the back seat in a car seat.

“That’s your niece?” Lana asked as he pulled off.

“Yeah, that’s Asha.”

“How did you end up with her?”

“What do you mean?”

“You don’t seem like the babysitting type.”

“I’m great with kids. Okay not so great with babies.”

Lana smiled, the first smile she had cracked in hours. Pete smiled back. Pete always had a cute smile, always reminded her of some mischievous little boy, no matter how old he was.

“Asha makes it easy,” Pete continued. “Anyway Sam and his wife are out of town and his kids are staying with my parents. Dad took Adrian, Asha’s brother out for the day and then my mom got called into the office. So I got babysitting duty.” Pete paused. “So where’s Dean?”

“Metropolis. I’m staying at Nell’s old house. She wanted to buy it back before… It was so weird going back there. I mean across the way the Kent farm was just the same, except no Clark. And there was no Chloe in Pleasantville Meadows to go to. Gabe’s also in Metropolis you know? After Chloe moved out there to work, he wanted to be there with his daughter.”

“Yeah, everyone’s in Metropolis but me,” Pete said.

“I’m here,” Lana replied. “So anyway, I go home to what I think is my house and it wasn’t the same. The previous owners had repainted my room, remodeled the kitchen. Coming home just wasn’t coming home.”

“I’m surprised Nell didn’t stay in Metropolis. She lived there with her husband.”

“Dean said she would wanted to come home and be buried near her sister. She wanted to end her life where she began it,” Lana had tears forming in her eyes again.

Pete reached for more tissue. “You don’t have to…”

“No, it’s okay. I haven’t been able to really talk to anyone.” Lana paused.

“Is Dean helping at all.”

“No, he said I should probably handle the arrangements because I know Smallville so well. Except I don’t want to handle it. I’m not going to say I always agreed with Nell, but I love her like a mother and thinking of putting her there with my mother and my fa–Mr. Lang. It just makes her death so real. See my mom and dad were always a fairy tale, but Nell was reality.”

Pete put a hand on Lana’s. “I know it’s hard. It’s going to be okay.”

Pete pulled his hand away and Lana’s missed it’s comfort. She didn’t really have anyone to lean on right now and it was good to hear someone say it would be okay.

“How is it with your father, Mr. Small?” Pete asked

“Okay, but you know he’s not a really a father like your dad. I just met him too late for him to really be someone I can go to when I need the fatherly affection. I mean he’s great in a pinch but–not really dad the way I use to think of my father.”

“I understand, I mean I think I do,” Pete said. “Actually, I always felt like I was the weird one among you for have the all American family, mom, dad, brothers and sisters.”

Lana smiled.

“You were lucky Pete,” Lana told him. “Chloe’s father was great. He felt like dad, not my dad, but a dad. He actually wanted to help out, but I wouldn’t let him. I still feel like I’m taking advantage of him if I ask too much.”

“Lana, the people who love you. They don’t mind, it’s not a burden to them if makes it just a little easier for you. In fact, if it does, it’s kind of a gift to them.”

Lana smiled again. They sat in silence for a moment.

“Hey, you know what will make you feel just a little better, Ice Cream.”

“Pete, I’m not a little kid.”

“Who says Ice Cream is just for kids? It has very cheery effects on adults too.”

Lana heard a little yawn and turned toward the car seat in the back.

“Looks like nap time ended just in time,” Pete said.



Lana didn’t know where the hours went, but she spent the rest of the day with Pete. After spending the morning fighting tears, she was glad to have Pete around. He turned her horrible day into a good evening. At five o’clock his mother called him on his cell phone telling him ‘bring that baby home and stop using her to pick up girls.’ She was joking, but it was funny anyway. The fact was, they had lost track of the time.

An hour after the phone call they arrived at the Ross house with Pete’s niece. Mrs. Ross met them at the door. She greeted Lana with a hug and kind words of sympathy about Nell. Then she took the little girl from Pete.

“Shame on you driving this baby around all this time,” Pete’s mother said to him.

“Asha enjoyed herself,” Pete said. He turned to Lana. “And she cheered Lana up a bit.”

Mrs. Ross took the baby and left the room. An eight year old boy ran into the room soon after.

“Hey Uncle Pete,” the boy said.

“Hey Adrian.”

“You wanna play my new game?”

“Nah, I got to take my friend home.”

Adrian looked over at the unknown woman. “Hi, I’m Adrian.”

“Hi Adrian,” Lana said. “I’m Lana Lang.”

“She’s pretty uncle Pete. Is she your girlfriend?”

“Get out of here boy,” Pete said.

He laughed and ran up the stairs.

“He’s cute,” Lana said.

“Yeah, that’s because you’ve known him five minutes. Give him a couple days.”

“He can’t be that bad.”

Pete smiled. “Okay, he’s not, but don’t tell him I said that.”

They laughed together and then silence hung between them for a moment. “So I guess we better get you home?”

Pete walked into the next room. “Mom, I’ll be back soon, I’m taking Lana home.”

“Be a gentleman.”

“Always,” Pete replied.

Pete and Lana left the house together and got back in the car.

“I love your family,” Lana said as they got in the car. “You are so luck to have your mom, your dad, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews, family traditions, all that stuff. That’s all I ever wanted.”

“You’ll have it,” Pete replied as he pulled onto the road.

“I’m just use to losing family. First it was my parents, then Nell, then my father… who’s sort of in and out. Family isn’t a permanent thing in my life.”

They sat in silence for the rest of the drive home. It wasn’t an uncomfortable silence, in fact Lana cherished the silence. The music on the radio kept them comfortable.

“Thank you for today,” Lana said as he parked in front of her house. “I wasn’t feeling too great when I ran into you.”

“Hey, I spent the day with a beautiful woman, no thanks required.”

Lana grinned at the compliment. In all the years they’d known each other she didn’t really remember him saying those kinds of things. Pete got out and opened her car door. Then he walked her to the porch.

“I hate coming back here. I’m outside of the house and it’s like coming home and then I walk through that door and I’m in a strange place.” Lana sighed. “You want to sit for a second?”

“Sure,” he said sitting down on the porch with her.

For a moment they sat in silence looking up at the night sky.

“The house feels weird, but the porch still feels right, so many memories, like my first kiss. My first real date was with Whitney and he kissed me good-bye on this porch.”

“That wasn’t your first kiss.”

“What?” she said shocked at this response. “How would you know?”

“Because I kissed you before that, in a basement. Jacob’s 12th birthday party, we played spin the bottle.”

“Oh my god, now I forgot all about that, but that doesn’t count.”

“Why not?”

“I was 12 we had a five second kiss the lips, people were around us counting. Our lips didn’t even move, we just puckered up and put them together.”

“Yeah, well I bet if I kissed you now you wouldn’t confidently forget it.”

Lana laughed. “Are you coming on to me?”

“I’m just saying my kiss now, it’s unforgettable.”

“If you say so,” Lana replied with a laugh.

“I never did tell Clark about that,” Pete said. “He was suppose to be at that party, but he had a family thing.”

“Why do you remember it so well?”

“It’s just one of those things a guy remembers. Especially since it was with my best friend’s girl.”

“I wasn’t Clark’s girl when I was 12.”

“Yes you were, at least in his head. In Clark’s head you were engaged to be married the day he laid eyes on you.”

Lana laughed.

“Thanks for making me smile today. Goodnight Pete,” Lana said getting up and moving toward the house. “I have some more stuff to do tomorrow and I should probably get some sleep.”

“Well, I’m free tomorrow. You need some help?”

“Pete I don’t want…”

“Lana,” he interrupted. “Just accept the help.”

She considered it.

“Okay, sure, I could use some help.”

“Alright.”

Pete gave her a hug and then she went inside.




When Pete arrived home his mother was putting dinner on the table. His sister was there with her husband and daughter. They were calling the children away from there video games when Pete arrived.

“Uncle Pete,” the kids said running to give him a hug as he came in the door.

He hugged his niece and nephew and entered the dinning room with them.

“I heard somebody was out with Lana Lang tonight,” his sister teased.

“I was just helping her feel better.”

“That’s not what Adrian said,” she replied. His niece and nephew giggled.

“She’s a friend.”

“A ‘special’ friend,” Adrian said.

Pete laughed at them. He didn’t really think of Lana that way and not because she wasn’t beautiful, but she was Clark’s girl. At least, in his head she was always Clark’s girl. It was almost impossible to think of her as anything else. In fact, he was only doing what he was doing because he knew it’s what Clark would do if he could be there for her.

******

Lana and Pete spent most of the next day together. Pete drove her around, to the florist, to the funeral home, and wherever else she needed to go. Having someone there did make it easier. They went back to the house that evening and Pete helped her some last minute calls. Then they ordered some pizza and ate in the living room as they watched TV.

“If Nell were here she’d kill me for eating greasy pizza in the living room,” Lana said with a half grin. The grin faded into a frown.

“You okay?” Pete asked.

“I keep trying to think of this as business to avoid breaking down.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t avoid it…” Pete said. “I remember when my grandfather died, my mom tried and tried not to turn into a sobbing mess. And the day of the funeral she saw her father dead in front of her and everything became so real she just fell apart.”

“If you hadn’t shown up yesterday that probably would have been me. I had just come from looking at Nell’s body. She looked like she was asleep and I was just waiting for her to stand up. Why couldn’t I have been kinder to Dean when she met him? I knew as much as she loved me, as much as she would always love me, I knew she wanted a husband and maybe children that were hers. The thing is, I didn’t want to share her. After my parents died, she was all I had to hold onto.” Pete placed a hand on her back as tears began falling down her cheeks. “Dean could have been the most wonderful man in the world and I would have hated him because I wanted Nell to myself. Sometimes, I don’t know why she loved me at all. I was so selfish.”

“You weren’t selfish. You, Nell, Dean, you all ended up back in this house caring for her when she got sick. You stayed in Smallville back then because you just needed to find your own way and it turned out that meant the two of you separating sooner then you expected. Nell raised you for most of your life, she’s responsible for most of who you are, and she’ll always be with you.”

“But she’s not here. Why did I let her come home to die?” Lana said with tears now streaming down her face. “Why didn’t I force her to go to those specialist.”

“The same reason she let you stay in Smallville when she had to go, in the end you knew it was her decision to make.”

“I should have done something to change her mind Pete, I should have done something,” Lana replied. “But I just let her slowly fade away. And now she’s gone.”

Pete pulled her into his arms as she finally really broke down completely and cried like a little baby. She had been holding it in longer than she realized. So she cried and like a little baby and wrapped her arms around Pete. She cried until she was too tired to cry and fell asleep in his arms.

Pete smiled at her as she slept. He’d always heard people talk about how angelic this person or that person was when they were asleep, but he’d never seen it himself. His brothers snored, his niece drooled, his cousin tossed and turned all night. So up to this point he hadn’t witnessed anyone who looked like an angel in there sleep. But Lana was an angel in her sleep, even with cheeks puffy from crying. Is this what Clark saw when he looked at her? But she wasn’t an Angel, was she? She was just a person. A person he’d never really seen outside the imaginary little world in Clark’s mind. He’d known of her, they had the same friends, they’d shared a conversation or two, but he hadn’t really known her at all. And today, the imaginary Lana was stripped away and he was left with a woman in pain and he just hoped what he’d done had made things a little easier for her.

Pete decided it was time to go, but first he carried her up to the bedroom. He laid her in bed and pulled the blanket over her. Then he kissed her on the head. He turned to walk away, but her arm reached for him and grabbed his arm.

“Don’t go yet,” she said sleepily.

Pete didn’t know what to do, he didn’t want to take advantage of the situation. He decided to stay a little longer and crawled in bed beside her. He planned to leave when he was sure she was peacefully asleep, but that didn’t happen.




Sun broke through the windows and Lana snuggled next to the hard body beside her. She smiled in her half-awake state, glad for the warmth. Then her eyes opened and she remembered the day before. Suddenly she shot up in bed.

“Oh my god,” she said to herself.

“Lana,” Pete said coming awake.

“Did we?” Lana questioned.

“No, we slept,” Pete said sitting up. She could see they were both still dressed.

“Are you okay?” Pete asked

“Yeah, it’s just, I’m sorry.”

“For what? I’m not sorry.”

“I don’t know, I’m…”

Pete cut her off with a kiss.

“There’s nothing to apologize for, Okay?” Pete said.

“Okay,” Lana replied.

Pete got up and headed for the bathroom. She heard water running fifteen minutes later. Lana got up when she heard the shower running. She took off the dirty clothes from the day before and searched for her flannel nightgown. It was something comfortable to walk around the house in until she could get in the shower. As soon as Pete was out, she would be in. However, just then the doorbell rang. Lana ran downstairs to answer the door. She was surprised to see Chloe, even though she knew she was arriving today.

“Ch– Chloe, I’m surprised to see you,” she said nervously as she heard the shower still running upstairs.

“Lana, you knew we were coming right?”

“We?”

“Yeah,” Chloe said. “I came up with Clark. He’s with his parents right now but he’ll be over–”

“Lana,” a familiar voice began cutting Chloe short. Pete appeared wearing a pair of boxer shorts and carrying his shirt in his hands. “Where’s your iron?” He asked. And then he saw Chloe coming in the door.

“Hey,” he said nervously. Chloe looked from Lana to Pete, both of them looked guilty of all the things Chloe was thinking.

“I’ll show you,” Lana said grabbing his arm and rushing him out the room.

Fifteen minutes later she was back in the kitchen with Chloe. She had fixed and pot of coffee and Lana avoided there stares as she served herself some of the beverage.

“So you and Pete are an item?” Chloe asked in shock.

“Nothing happened,” Lana said. “And we’re not a couple or anything.”

“As hard as it is to process, do you expect me to believe nothing happened after what I just saw?”

“He was just… comforting me last night. See the other day we ran into each other and I was upset and he helped me out… and he just didn’t leave.”

“Did you want him to leave?”

“I asked him stay,” Lana said. “But it wasn’t… like that. I mean he kissed me but…”

“He kissed you?!!” Chloe asked.

“Yeah, that’s it, but it wasn’t…”

“Okay, he just kissed you. The question is did you like it?” Chloe questioned.

Lana looked away and then she smiled to herself. Pete walked into the kitchen fully dressed and there was a sudden awkward silence.

“Coffee?” Lana questioned. He knodded and she poured him a cup.

He knew he was the object of the sudden uncomfortable silence.

“Glad you’re here Chloe,” Pete said breaking the silence. “But I think I have to be going. I’ll see you later ladies.”

Lana walked him to the door.

“Hey, I’m sorry if I stepped over the line this morning, with the kiss and all,” Pete said as he turned to look at her.

“There’s no need to apologize Pete. We didn’t do anything wrong, right?”

“Right. Listen Lana, I’m not going to lie, I was… I am attracted to you, but I know right now I know it’s easy to have confused feelings about things and I would never take advantage of that.”

“I know that Pete.”

She gave him a hug and he returned her embrace. As they broke the hug, they saw Clark coming up the porch steps.


“Hey Clark,” Pete said approaching him.

“Hey Pete,” he said looking a little perplexed by Lana and Pete’s familiarity with each other.

Pete and Clark shared uncomfortable looks for a few seconds and Lana dropped her eyes so she wouldn’t make contact with neither. Then Pete stepped off the porch. Clark walked up to Lana, gave her a friendly hug.

“Sorry about Nell,” Clark said. “I would have–” Clark began as he turned to watch Pete pull off.

“It’s okay, Pete was–” she stopped.

“Are you and Pete–”

“No,” she said quickly. “Pete was– he was just… here.”

Clark nodded. Chloe walked onto the porch.

“Hey Clark,” Chloe said. “Did you here there’s romance blossoming between our two good friends here.”

Lana looked away. “Chloe don’t–”

“Why?”

Just then Chloe caught the look in Clark’s face.

“Oh,” Chloe said. “Well we’ll talk later, this probably isn’t the time anyway.”

Chloe gave Lana a hug and a friendly kiss. Then she walked away.

“Chloe’s just kidding around,” Lana said.

“well, we aren’t– I mean if–”

“Clark, nothing’s going on. He’s not my boyfriend or my lover. We’re not dating. Chloe’s just– being Chloe.”

“If you say so.”

“Do you want to come in?”

“Sure.”

Clark came in and they sat together talking for a few minutes. What began as something else, a friends shoulder to cry on, became the Pete/Lana scandal. Lana could see that in Clark’s eyes.


The next day brought reality crashing back down as friends and family arrived for the wake. It was a long day and Lana was glad to see the last of friends and family part from her home after the funeral. Well, except for Chloe, Pete, and Clark who stuck around to help her clean up. Chloe left first she HAD to be back in Metropolis, but Pete and Clark seemed to keep finding something to do and Lana finally figured out each was trying to wait out the other. She couldn’t deal with that right now, so finally she bid them both good night.


*****


After Lana threw them out, Pete and Clark went to the Kent farm. They spent some time with his parents and then went and sat together on the porch. Neither had intentionally participated in the Lana stand-off and so far neither had brought it up.

“Pete,” Clark began. “If you and Lana–”

“Clark,” Pete said cutting him off. “I was just helping out a friend. I mean she was kind of trying to handle it on her own and she just needed somebody to be there. We’re not dating or anything. I wouldn’t do that to you man.”

“She doesn’t belong to me Pete, I know that.”

“Really?” Pete questioned. “You know growing up she always kind of did. You woke up with Lana on the brain and went to sleep the same way. Lana would walk into a room and everything else just stopped for you. She couldn’t have been more off limits to me if she was your wife. Hell, in my head she kind of was. When you actually had her, man I might as well have been dead to you.”

Clark laughed at himself. “Was I really that bad?”

“Worse,” Pete replied.

“Well, I don’t go to sleep or wake up with Lana on the brain anymore. There’s too many other things to think about.”

“I suppose so Mr. Superman,” he teased. “And I guess there isn’t much room for your hometown girl now that you’ve met Lois.”

“Lois, Lois, Lois,” he said to himself. “I don’t think I’ve ever met a more hard headed woman in my life.”

“Have you met our own Chloe Sullivan, same gene pool, but with blond hair.”

Clark laughed. “You know, I still care about Lana, I’ll always care about Lana and I’m glad you were here for her.”

“I’m no Superman, but I do what I can.” That sat in silence for a moment. “I’m still not use to seeing you with glasses.”

“I forget I’m wearing now that I’ve adjusted to them,” Clark said as he took off the glasses.

“I can’t believe a pair of glasses is all you needed to fool people.”

“I guess it’s that whole hiding in plain sight thing. People are looking for something bigger than a farm boy from Kansas when they think of Superman.”

“It’s funny how people let things blind them. Like me, because of your feelings for Lana I created this Lana blind spot that I didn’t even know I had. And then I was forced to deal with her one on one and she was this… person all of sudden. The blind spot was gone.”

Clark stared at his old friend for a second.

“You sure you’re not interested in her Pete?”

“No, it’s just I just realized I didn’t know her. We had the same friends and hung out in the same places and… I never really knew her at all.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re getting a chance to get to know her.”

The two friends smiled at each other. They relaxed on the steps and continued to catch up with each other’s lives.




March 15, 2003


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