Clark/Chloe futurefic, angst
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics, not to me.
"I'm taking the rest of the day off," Chloe said as she found her blouse hanging over a lamp and pulled it back on. "But you're on a deadline, so I guess you need to get back to work."
Clark shook his head. "No," he said softly. "I've been trying for two days, Chlo. I can't write about that boy. I can't do it. Every time I try, I just keep seeing the car hit the wall, over and over again."
"You took the assignment, didn't you?"
He swallowed, looking miserable. "Colin asked me to write a story on the kid, and I thought maybe..." His voice trailed off, then he continued. "Maybe since it was my fault, the least I could do was write something to sort of commemorate his life."
"That makes sense to me. It might help you find, you know, closure."
"But I can't," he said unhappily. "I've been sitting here for two days, and I can't think of a damn thing to say."
"You've got notes on the boy, right?"
"Well, you're a writer, Clark, and a damn fast typist when you use superspeed. Just go through your notes and write the article. Get it done before Colin comes after you with a baseball bat."
He shook his head. "I can't do it, Chloe. I just can't."
At the rising note of panic in his voice, she backed off, deciding it would be best to drop the subject for now. "Okay," she said gently. "I understand. I guess you're a little too close to the story."
"Thanks," he said, looking pathetically grateful that she understood.
She grabbed her jacket, which was crumpled on the floor, and smiled up at him. "Look, I'm going to go get changed, okay? I'm not going back to the office, and I don't intend to walk around in work clothes all day."
"You could just walk around in your bra all day."
"In your dreams, buddy." She laughed softly and headed for their bedroom.
In the bedroom, she dropped her work clothes to the floor. She pulled out shorts and a Met U t-shirt and yanked them on, then sprawled out on the dark blue comforter that covered their bed. She closed her eyes and relaxed for a minute, and her thoughts drifted to her husband.
She was glad she'd managed to erase some of the sorrow in his eyes, although she understood he wasn't totally healed. It would take him a long time to recover from something this traumatic. But at least she'd been able to help him get past the almost catatonic state he'd been in. It was a start, a step in the right direction.
She thought of the way he'd looked for the past two days, the way he'd all but checked out mentally, and she shivered. She'd have to make sure that nothing like this ever happened again.
Grabbing a pad of paper and a pencil off the distressed pine nightstand, she started sketching various ideas for costumes for Clark. Most of her ideas looked pretty dumb, since she wasn't a fashion designer, but maybe if she kept at it she'd come up with something Clark could stand to wear, something that would allow him to continue his work and remain safely anonymous at the same time.
She'd gone through several pages when the phone rang. Startled, she jumped, then reached over and pulled the cordless phone off its base. "Hello?"
"Hi there, Chloe," said the English voice of Clark's editor. "Is Clark back yet?"
"Oh, hi, Colin," she said. "Yeah, I think he's here. Let me check. Hang on."
She headed down the hall, and Colin spoke in her ear. "So how's he coming on that article?"
"Uh," she answered. "Not so great, I'm afraid. I think maybe..."
She trailed off as she approached Clark's office, hearing the sound of keys clicking frantically. Curious, she peered around the doorjamb.
Clark was seated in front of the laptop again, but this time he was sitting bolt upright, his hands moving over the keys so fast his fingers were a blur. There was a look of intense concentration on his face-- the look he always got when he was working on a story, but magnified.
He looked like he thought this was the most important story of his life. And maybe in a way it was.
She watched him a moment, seeing his expression of fierce determination, and love swelled inside her, so strong it almost hurt. She'd never been more proud of him than she was at this moment. She knew how much it hurt him to be reminded of what he'd done, of the role he'd played in James Young's death... and yet he was writing his article anyway.
Clark glanced in her direction for a second, and she smiled at him, hoping he could see the love and pride she felt reflected in her eyes. His lips curved slightly in response, and then he turned back to his work.
"Actually, Colin," she said into the phone, "I think that article's coming along pretty well."
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