Disclaimer: Don't own any of the characters in this story. This is number 9 in the FFA.
Authors Note: Takes place during Season 1 of Smallville and after Season 7 of Buffy.
He had not been to a holiday party for as long as he could remember.
Holidays were usually spent with his family, with close relatives visiting for a night before taking their leave, allowing the Kent family to enjoy the rest of the night in peace and tranquility. The other residents of Smallville typically had the same routine, holidays spent with family.
This year was different.
The arrival of Lex Luthor into town changed many of the small town practices, from business to celebrating. He had sent out invitations to all residents of the town, inviting them to his grand Holiday Party on December 20. Many had agreed to attend because they were interested in seeing the large mansion that had once stood vacant. Or maybe because they were hoping on rubbing elbows with the other rich and powerful people that had been invited. Whatever it was, everyone had their reasons.
Clark Kent's reason was because that is what friends do. He would never have missed this party, though both of his parents declined to come.
"Enjoying the party Clark?" Lex asked as he walked up to him. "A little too many people?"
Clark smiled, holding his glass nervously as he glanced around the crowded room. "Yeah, I'm just not used to big holiday parties like this. You're house looks great, by the way. The decorations, the…"
Lex interrupted him, brushing the comment away. "Yes, everyone did a great job. Look, there's someone I want you to meet. Since things with you and Lana aren't going well…"
"Lex…" Clark groaned. Lex paid no heed to the interruption and continued.
"There's a lovely girl I want you to meet."
With that, Lex carefully steered him across the room, nodding graciously to those that passed, but not stopping to chat. Instead, he walked over to a small group of people, talking animatedly. Clark was surprised to see Chloe there, chatting enthusiastically to a man, a few years her elder. As he waited for Lex to introduce him, he caught pieces of their conversation. He could swear they were talking about Chloe's Wall of Weird.
"Excuse me," Lex announced to the small group. Their conversation halted and they turned graciously to face Lex and Clark. "I do hate to interrupt, but I'd like you all to meet Clark Kent, our very own local hero. Clark this is Xander Harris, Dawn Summers, Buffy Summers, and Willow Rosenburg."
Clark felt himself blushing at those words, wishing Lex had not said that. He looked at the group, waiting for one of them to roll their eyes or laugh. Instead, the dark-haired female, Dawn, turned her attention to him.
"Local hero?" she asked.
Clark shook his head ruefully, knocking his own dark hair out of place. "Just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
"Well, that's what a hero is, isn't it? Someone who is in the right place at the right time who helps people, regardless of what could happen to them?"
Clark could only stare at Dawn, not sure how to answer that question. Luckily, he was saved from answering by Lex, who chose that moment to take leave of the group.
"I'm afraid I must leave you to chat. I have my duties as host to continue. Have a good evening."
They all smiled and thanked him before he turned and left. Chloe started to once again chat with Xander, explaining her wall of weird. Clark smiled nervously at Dawn.
"So how do you know Lex?" he asked, trying to get attention away from the talk of heroes.
"Oh, my sister works with this guy who does business with this other guy, who does business with another guy, who knows Lex." Dawn explained, counting each person off on her fingers. "This guy introduced us all to Lex during the summer when we were doing a little work and we've kept in touch ever since then."
"Oh," Clark said, nodding. "What kind of work were you doing?"
Dawn shrugged, looking around uncomfortably. "Oh, you know. Stuff. So how do you know Lex? You seem to be pretty good friends with him, since he introduced you to us and all."
Clark groaned inwardly as it came back to that, knowing that he would have to explain the incident of him saving Lex. Yet, she had brushed his comment off too quickly – there was a story being that. "We became friends accidentally, actually. He lost control of his car and went off the bridge. I pulled him out the car."
"That was really brave of you," Dawn said slowly, looking at him as though seeing him in a new light. "Taking a chance to save someone you barely knew."
He shrugged. "I couldn't not help him. I couldn't let someone die when I could do something to prevent it."
"So you really are a hero then. Lex wasn't just making up stories. And you're a good friend – cause how many people would brave this kinda party with really rich and snobby people? I mean, come on. If I wasn't just trying to be polite, I would have been out of here a long time ago." Dawn smiled, a smile he noticed that seemed to light up her whole face.
"Am I that transparent?" he asked, a smile growing on his own face. When Dawn nodded, he chuckled. "Yeah, this isn't what I usually spend my nights doing."
"So let's ditch," Dawn said suddenly, her voice enthusiastic. "We came, we chatted with people. My sister," she pointed, "won't notice that I'm gone. And Lex won't notice you're gone. So let's ditch."
Clark stood there momentarily, indecisive about what to do. One look at her face, though, made up his mind. Who could ever resist the puppy dog eyes, anyway?
"Let's do it."
With those words both teens looked around, making sure no one was paying attention. They slowly inched closer to the door, doing so carefully as not to attract attention. Right as they made it to the door, Lex came into view, staring at both of them. Dawn squealed softly and grabbed Clark's hand, pulling him out of the door and into the cold, crisp night.
Both were running as soon as the door closed behind them, running away from the party, from family, from friends. As they got farther away, both began to laugh at their own antics, finally able to relax after the holiday party.
Dawn slowed down and started walking at a slower pace, enjoying the beauty of the Luthor's garden. She shivered slightly, for her holiday dress was not the warmest. Clark noticed and, ever the gentlemen, took off his sport coat and put it around her shoulders.
"Thanks," Dawn said softly. She turned to face him, the moonlight illuminating her face. "So what do you like to do, Clark? What do you usually do on a night like this? Other than run away from parties."
He laughed and looked up at the sky, reveling in the clear night sky. "I usually hang out with friends, do a little astronomy. Stuff like that."
"You're interested in astronomy?" she asked. "That is so cool! I used to love looking at the stars when I was younger. My mom even got me one of those little kid telescopes that really suck but were really cool when I was younger. But I never got another one – just got too busy with other things."
He could not help but notice the slightly sad undertone in her voice, like she was remembering something painful. Not wanting to pry, but still wanting to make her feel better, he asked, "Well, I have a really nice telescope that was a gift from my parents. I've used it to see all kinds of beautiful systems and tons of stars. Would you like to see it?"
She looked up at him, eyes shining in excitement, the sadness that he had noticed moments earlier gone for the time being. "Are you serious? That's awesome! I would love to see it. Could we go tonight? Do you live far from here?"
He nodded. "I could take you to my house right now, if you want. It'll only take a few minutes to get there."
"That sounds great. Lead the way!"
She took his hand as he led her towards his car, away from the holiday party. Neither of them noticed the face watching them from a window, smiling in satisfaction before turning to greet more of his many guests.