Friday, December 22, 2006
Through the Glass
Haunted 2: Haunted
Haunted 3: Your Arms Feel Like Home
Clark/Chloe futurefic angst
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
I'm looking at you through the glass
Don't know how much time has passed
Oh God it feels like forever
But no one ever tells you that forever feels like home
Sitting all alone inside your head
-Stone Sour, "Through Glass"
She had absolutely no idea he was there.
He'd tried to tell her, tried desperately to find some way to contact her. They'd been investigating a piece of alien technology together, when a sudden blast of power from the strange machine had knocked him into this parallel dimension. He'd struggled frantically to get her attention, but he hadn't been able to get through to her. He could see her, could hear her voice, could even follow her around. But she didn't hear him, didn't see him. As far as she knew, he was gone.
He'd discovered he could see everything and everyone that mattered to him, but none of them could see him. And he couldn't touch anything or anyone. He was as insubstantial as a ghost, and just as invisible. It was as if he was trapped behind an endless, unbreakable pane of glass, and no matter how loudly he yelled, no matter how much he pounded on the glass, no one could hear his cries for help.
He was helpless to make himself part of normal reality again. He could see the world, yet he himself remained detached, invisible and unheard. He could walk through the middle of a crowd, and yet still be entirely alone. And he hated it. It was half a life... no, less than half a life. It was the very definition of the phrase a living hell.
She'd grieved for him, thinking he was dead. He'd stood next to her bed and watched her cry, sat by her while she spent long, lonely nights sobbing into her pillow. He'd ached to take her into his arms and comfort her. But he couldn't, because she couldn't feel the touch of his hand.
He'd watched while she came to grips with her loss, watched while she slowly learned to go on without him. He'd seen her move up the ranks of the Daily Planet, the newspaper where she worked, observed with pride as she had more and more articles printed on the front page. He'd wanted to tell her how proud he was of her, but he couldn't, because she couldn't hear the sound of his voice.
He'd observed with dismay as she finally put her love for him behind her and moved on emotionally, cautiously beginning to date another man. A good and decent man, a man she'd dated twice before-- Jimmy Olsen, a nerdy but kind photographer for the Daily Planet.
Jimmy was a good guy, but the first time he'd seen them kiss, he'd wanted to reach out and roughly yank them apart, and then to kiss her himself.
But he couldn't, because she couldn't feel the touch of his lips against hers.
Today, trapped in his half-existence, he'd stared through the glass, watching in impotent pain and futile anger while she stood in front of a churchful of people and exchanged vows with Jimmy. Once upon a time, many years ago, he'd planned on marrying her himself.
But now she was married to Jimmy.
And he really, really ought not to be here tonight, standing in this hotel room, watching Chloe Sullivan Olsen as she brushed her long blonde hair nervously in front of the mirror, waiting for Jimmy to come back from a quick errand downstairs.
"Chloe," he said softly, knowing she couldn't hear him. "Don't do this. Please."
She put the brush down on the dresser and shot a quick, guilty glance at the door, then reached into her purse and pulled out her wallet. Clark slid up behind her silently, like the ghost he was, and watched over her shoulder as she opened the wallet and pulled out a photo of a smiling, dark-haired young man with green eyes.
A photo of him.
"I'm sorry," she whispered to the photo, and in the mirror he could see her hazel eyes brimming with tears. "I'm so sorry, Clark."
He wanted to put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her, to drive away the pain that filled her voice. He put a hand out, but it passed right through her shoulder as if he were only a spirit.
In a way, he was only a spirit. A spirit filled with pain and loneliness and helpless sorrow.
"It's all right, Chlo," he said softly. "I understand."
And the hell of it was, he did understand. As far as Chloe knew, he was dead. He'd been dead for a long time now. He wasn't quite sure how many years had passed, but he knew she'd mourned him a long, long time.
He couldn't expect her life to stand still forever, even though his life would never move forward. She wasn't relegated to a lonely existence of watching and yearning, the way he was.
Her life had gone on without him.
"I love you," she whispered to the photo. "I've never stopped loving you."
The doorknob turned, and she jumped guiltily, shoving the photo hastily back into her wallet and dropping the purse to the floor. Jimmy came in, grinning behind a huge bouquet of red roses.
"Hey, Bright Eyes," he said.
She smiled back at him, and Clark saw happiness in her wide smile, and only a touch of sorrow in her eyes. He stared down at the purse, dropped carelessly on the floor, his picture shut away in her wallet the same way she'd shut his memory away in her heart.
He saw Jimmy put the roses on the dresser and wrap his arms around Chloe, and he knew he didn't want to see what happened next.
He turned and silently passed through the wall, leaving the woman he loved in the arms of another man.
Read Haunted 2: Haunted here.
Posted by Meg at 10:36 PM