Season 5, following my story "Never Let Me Go"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
She was every bit as beautiful as she'd ever been, her skin unlined, her hair as golden as he remembered. She was perfectly unchanged from his memories, as if she'd been kept in a glass coffin for forty years. The fanciful notion gave him a slight chill. He wasn't sure what was going on here, but it was simply not possible that Chloe could be kneeling next to him, looking exactly the way she had when she was twenty.
But despite his doubts, forty years of repressed dreams and needs and longings bubbled to the surface. He longed to kiss her, so desperately he could barely restrain himself from reaching down, catching her by the arms, and hauling her into his lap.
He thought of all the intervening years since he'd seen her, the years spent without a woman, without affection or intimacy, without anyone at all. He'd been unable to start up a romantic relationship with anyone, because he'd been bonded to her, and his Kryptonian biology didn't permit him to look elsewhere for intimacy. And he'd kept everyone else at a distance because after the pain and shock of losing her, he hadn't wanted to ever be close to anyone again. But after four decades of keeping everyone at a distance, he ached with stark emptiness and desperate loneliness.
Chloe could assuage his loneliness, he thought. If only this were really Chloe.
"Who are you, really?" he whispered at last.
"Clark. It's me." Her hand reached out and closed over his, and at the touch of her skin against his, he felt a sensation he hadn't experienced in so long he'd almost forgotten it except in his dreams. A warm, reassuring buzz rushed through his nerves... the intersection of their EM fields.
His mouth fell open. "Chloe," he muttered roughly. "Oh, my God. It is you."
Her lips parted in the beautiful wide smile that he remembered so clearly, and her hand tightened on his.
"Yes," she answered, her tone soft and gentle. "It's me."
Warmth and gratitude such as he'd never known swept through him. He wanted to catch her up in his arms and make love to her, fiercely, passionately. He wanted to recite the Kryptonian bonding ritual to her:
I trust you
To come to me
To find me when I am lost...
His trust in her hadn't been misplaced. He'd been lost for forty years. But somehow, after all those long, empty years, she'd come to him. She'd found him.
He didn't understand how or why, but she'd somehow managed to find him when he was lost.
He discovered his eyes were stinging with tears. He blinked them away impatiently, then reached out and put a hand against her cheek, bent, and very lightly kissed her. A reassuring current of warmth flowed through him, leaving him with absolutely no doubt. This was Chloe.
After all these years, this was his Chloe.
Forty years of loneliness fell away in an instant. He reached for her, pulled her into his lap, and kissed the hell out of her.
Chloe walked slowly away from her dorm room, not sure where she was going or what she should do. She struggled to think, to make some sense out of the memories that assaulted her, but every moment the dense fog in her brain grew thicker.
Dimly, she realized that the human brain wasn't meant to cope with memories of vast quantities of parallel realities. It was just too much for her. She was rapidly losing her grip on reality, losing her moorings. Losing her sanity.
It was a struggle just to put one foot in front of the other. She staggered onward, barely aware of where she was. Memories swirled through her mind, clouding it, and she knew she wasn't going to make it much further. She struggled to find a single memory and hold onto it.
A face she knew better than her own drifted through her brain. She saw a big, solid guy with dark, wavy hair, high cheekbones, big green eyes, and full lips curved in a wry smile.
Clark, she thought, and passed out.
When she awakened, the terrible flood of memories was gone.
She lay there for a moment, her eyes shut, just enjoying the peace and quiet of a brain that wasn't being drowned in memories of endless realities. She focused, and found that she could remember one single timeline, the one in which she and Clark had recently bonded for life. Just as it ought to be, she thought. Thank God.
She opened her eyes... and winced. She was in a painfully bright nothingness, with nothing but brilliant white light around her.
I'm in heaven, she thought, but immediately pushed the thought away as stupid. She wasn't dead, because she could feel her stomach rumbling. Besides, surely there was more to look at in heaven than a lot of white light. Heaven was eternal, and she'd get bored here after five minutes. An eternity of glowing white light would make her crazier than the memories had.
She tried to get up, to investigate her surroundings, but discovered she was restrained somehow. She wasn't quite sure how, because she really couldn't see what she was lying on, or any restraints. But she couldn't seem to stand up.
Yet another reason she almost certainly wasn't in heaven. She was pretty sure they didn't put you into restraints in heaven.
"Hello?" There was no answer, so she raised her voice and tried again. "Hello?"
Something stepped out of the light. She squinted, focusing her eyes, and saw that it was Fine, dressed in a pure white jumpsuit that seemed to fade into the light.
Damn it, she thought. No matter how many times we blow this guy up, he just won't stay dead.
He offered her his usual unpleasant smirk.
"Hello, Miss Lane," he said.
Read Chapter 8 here.