Bright As Yellow: Quiet
by Käthe

Smallville Medical Center has the oddest colour palette in the known world. I've spent enough time there to know this and formulate a theory. Personally, I think that it's a palette that was thrown together with Lana in mind, like the hospital board knew she would be spending a lot of time there in the future.

I don't think acerbically about Lana anymore. We're friends. Mostly. We've agreed that Clark is a non-issue, and considering his behavior lately, I'm more than happy with that agreement. Let Lana deal with Mr. Hot and Cold for a while.

I'm all about work and my friends now. My friends being Pete and Lana. Clark, well. It's an uneasy peace. I'm not smacking him upside the head but I can't help but make a dig every time I see him. Maybe he's lost his shine, or maybe I'm looking at things as they are. Mom would be so proud, her little girl's turned into a realist.

This little trip to the SMC will kill two birds with one stone. I'll hopefully get an interview with Byron, aka Mr. Romeo, yet another in the never-ending string of Lana-admirers and possibly get to know him a little bit. Increase my sphere of friends a little bit. At least his "peculiarities" aren't related to the meteor rocks. It's a good old-fashioned medical horror story where Byron is concerned. Plus, I can find out about the guy that wigged Clark enough to make him take up sonnets for light reading.

I find Byron's room easily enough; the nurse smiled broadly and pointed me right to his room when I asked. He seems to have the nurses wrapped around his little finger. I'll bet. If what Lana said was true, he sounds like that perfect Romantic hero. Just before he dies of consumption in a gutter. His name is on the little plaque by his door. It's written in magic marker on masking tape for easy removal. Apparently, they don't think that Byron is going to be a long term resident.

Clark told me that his mother convinced Lionel Luthor to provide for Byron's treatment; Bryon is probably going to Metropolis or somewhere else soon. It's a stroke of luck that I had this afternoon free for the interview. It's not every day I can interview a kid that's been untouched by popular culture. Think of it, a life without the WB. Byron's unique in the western hemisphere.

I knock on the door softly, for some reason that escapes me other than a hospital is like a library for sick people. You're supposed to keep quiet. Like loud noises would wake the dead. Dammit, I've got to quit thinking like that.

I hear some rustling inside the room, like someone turning over on those itchy sheets. I hate those sheets. The first thing I did after I got released the last time was wrap myself in my warm flannel sheets, fresh from the dryer. It was heaven.

"Byron?" I ask as I open the door. I don't know what I was expecting. Lana had told me that he was easy on the eyes, but nothing like this. Long dirty blond hair cascading around his shoulders, a pouty mouth and, god help me, a little mole above his lip. This kid was straight out of a teen romance novel. Not like I know anything about them.

He's sitting up in bed; the weird UV lamp hanging over his bed is casting an unearthly glow over the whole room. It works though. This kid looks like he should be right at home in "unearthly".

"Hi. I'm Chloe Sullivan. A friend of Lana and Clark's?"

"Lana. Clark." He says the names with no small amount of hesitation. I'm positive that if he could rabbit out of this room, he surely would. Poor kid. They said that all of this happened because he was in a drug trial for kids with anti-social behavior. What would they call this?

"I was wondering if I could interview you for the school paper?" Now he's kind of twitching and his eyes are as big as saucers. "Nothing big, just a little interview. Call it a human interest story."

"I don't think my parents would want me talking to anyone like that."

Okay, this isn't going well. Right Chloe. He's going to give an interview after being shut in his basement for years on end just because you ask nicely. I shut the door behind me and move into the room, grabbing a chair to pull beside his bed along the way.

"Then how about just someone to talk to period? Totally off the record." I hold up my hand in what I can only assume is the Boy Scout salute. "Swear."

Byron seems to calm a little at that. Maybe he's so starved for human interaction that he'll take just about anyone.

"That might be nice. Thank you."

I flash my biggest smile. The one normally reserved for Clark or when I'm trying to get out of chores at home. "You're welcome." There, that did the trick. "I read the poem you sent Lana. It's nice to see someone of our generation that's literary."

"My mother brought me books to read."

"What kind of books?"

"Poetry. The last thing she brought me was Poe."

I set my bag on the floor, trying to get myself comfortable. Byron watches every move I make like a hawk.

"I like Poe. He's kind of creepy, but great with the imagery."

"He had a romantic soul, but he was trapped."

"Guess you identified with him a lot, huh?" That shade of red is not a good color on him. Nice going there. Embarrass the boy. I have absolutely no social skills when it comes to the opposite sex. I've got to keep this going, got to keep him talking. "What was it like seeing the world only at night?"

"It's beautiful. I would read about these places all day but at night I could sneak out and actually walk and experience things. It was worth it every time."

He's really a chatty little thing once you get him going and I can't help smiling back at him when he lights up like that.

"I'll bet. I like the nighttime too. There's something magical about it, like anything could happen if you stay up past your bedtime." I don't know why, but I'm the one blushing now. For all my talk of believing in the unbelievable, I consider myself firmly rooted in reality. Talk of fairies and witching hours, and that's where this was going, is something I try not to get into. Too romantic, too wishy-washy.

"But now I don't think I'll get out in the open for a long time. They're moving me to Metropolis soon."

"I heard. Maybe you'll get a room with a view though. That would be nice."

"It's a good book."


"A Room With a View. I would love to go to Florence."

He's wringing his hands now and I can see the scars from where the shackles broke the skin on his wrists. Such ugly marks on such beautiful skin.

"That's Forster, right? I saw the Merchant/Ivory, but I haven't read the book yet. That scene where she's kissed in the field of flowers was beautiful though."

Byron nods emphatically at this. "I'd love to see what a field of sunflowers looks like again." In the sunlight, he means. He must've been just a little kid the last time he had sun shine down on him.

"You will. I'm sure of it."

Wow. That smile of his should be classified as a deadly weapon.

And of course, just as I'm starting to talk nice with the pretty boy, a nurse pokes her head into the room.

"Oh, excuse me. I didn't know you had any visitors." She smiles politely at Byron and then turns her attention to me. "I'm sorry miss, but Byron needs his rest. You'll have to go now."

"Okay." I grab for my bag and scoot the chair back into place. "Would you mind if I stopped by again before you leave?" It couldn't hurt, could it? He's a nice guy and he needs some company. Plus he's just really nice too look at, which is always a bonus.

"I'd like that. Thank you, Chloe."

"No problem. Bye." I give a little wave on my way out the door, closing it softly behind me like he was already asleep or something. For some reason I just feel this need to be quiet around him, and quiet's nice. It's tiring keeping the Sarcasm Machine all the time.

And I will stop by tomorrow. With books. Lana shouldn't be the only one to have the benefit of that smile.


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