Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ever the Same, Chapter 8

Clark/Chloe
Season 5, following my story "Never Let Me Go"
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.

The future

"Clark..." He'd kissed her for long moments, but now her hands were on his cheeks, and she was very gently pushing him away. He didn't want to be pushed away. After all these years without her, his Kryptonian biology was asserting itself. She was his, and he needed to claim her as his, or he was going to lose his mind.

"Chloe." He pressed his face into her shoulder, gasping for breath. "Please."

"Clark..." She turned her head and kissed his ear. "I just think you should understand what's going on here first."

"I understand enough. You found me." His voice was hoarse. "Somehow you found me."

She stroked her hand through his hair. "And that's more true than you realize," she answered softly. "Because you were lost, Clark. Not dead, the way I believed... but lost."

He frowned and lifted his head, looking at her curiously. "You're right," he said. "I don't understand. I've been right here all along. You're the one who wasn't here. You died, Chlo."

"I didn't die."

His voice rose a bit. "I saw you die."

"Okay." She lifted a shoulder in a shrug. "I died in one timeline, I guess. But obviously I don't remember that one. A person can't remember being dead."

He frowned. "One timeline? What are you talking about?"

She sighed. "I know it sounds crazy, Clark. But there are all these timelines..."

"No," he said firmly, cutting her off. He understood a lot more about time than humans did, having traveled through it more than once. "Jor-El once told me time doesn't work that way. There's only one timeline, Chloe."

"That was true when Jor-El told you that, Clark. But since then... the nature of space-time has changed."

He gaped at her. "Excuse me?"

"This isn't reality," she said softly.

He frowned at her as a sudden fear took hold of him. "Are you trying to tell me you're not real?"

"No, I'm real. But this..." She waved her hand to encompass his apartment, and presumably his life as well.

"This what? What exactly are you trying to say, Chlo?"

She looked into his eyes and spoke gently.

"None of this is real, Clark."

*****

The present

"Where am I?"

"Nowhere." Fine's thin, angular face seemed to float above her. "Nowhere at all, Miss Lane."

"Quit calling me that. And I'm sorry, but I don't accept that this is nowhere. If we're here, it's somewhere, by definition."

Fine's mouth curved in one of those unpleasant smiles. "What happened to your memories?"

She frowned at the apparent non sequitur. "My memories? What do you mean? They're fine."

"But there is only one set of them, whereas before you were suffocating under the weight of them. When I found you, you were in a catatonic state, and going insane quite rapidly, from all those memories. Do you have the slightest inkling why?"

"Because you managed to break space-time?"

His eyebrows shot up, and she realized with grim satisfaction that she'd managed to surprise him. "A rather primitive way of envisioning the problem, but after all, primitive thought is all you are capable of." He smiled rather nastily. "I attempted to send Kal-El back in time again. Unfortunately, there was an unforeseen explosion, and because space-time is rather delicate in the vicinity of those crystals, it caused a rupture of sorts."

"A rupture. Okay, so I was right. You broke time the way a toddler breaks a toy. Whatever you did... it shattered space-time, forward and backward."

Fine lifted an eyebrow even higher. "You have managed to impress me, Miss Lane."

"Stop calling me that, damn it. It's Miss Sullivan to you."

"Whatever," Fine said with a long-suffering sigh. "For a primate with very little brain, you have managed to figure out the problem quite well. Yes, the space-time continuum is rupturing-- shattering, if you prefer the term-- both into the past, and into the future. And the effect is ongoing."

"And I was there when the... the rupture occurred, so I'm at the center of it all somehow."

"Correct."

"So that's why I could remember everything."

"Yes. But as the problem worsens, everyone else on your world-- and for that matter, everyone else in the universe-- will become aware of the effect, too. They will all go mad beneath the impossible weight of so many contradictory memories, just as you were going mad before I rescued you."

She frowned, imagining the entire universe breaking apart into countless shards of space-time. The scope of the disaster was far beyond her capacity to grasp, but she could vaguely guess at the magnitude of the problem. She thought of six billion people on Earth going insane, and wondered how many other inhabited worlds were out there, and how many other trillions or quadrillions might go mad.

She wondered what would happen to the universe itself when space-time shattered fully. Would it just disappear into a rift somehow, the way she'd imagined the shattered sheet of ice collapsing into the water? Would everything just... vanish? Or would something even worse happen?

She really couldn't guess. But either way, it sounded as if reality was in really big trouble. She hated to admit it, but if Fine had saved her, he might be the only person who could save the universe. She simply had to convince him to do it.

"So how did you take all my memories away?" she asked.

"I didn't take them away. They disappeared on their own. As to how-- it was simple, really. I simply brought you outside of space-time."

She blinked. "Huh?"

Fine rolled his eyes upward in a gesture that said clearly, Zod save me from these stupid primates. He looked back down at her and uttered his next words with exaggerated care, as if speaking to a very small child.

"I removed you from the space-time continuum, Miss Lane."

Read Chapter 9 here.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

awww on the first part!!! as for the second part... wait what happened??? you are an amazing writer elly!!!
-Amber-

RichardAK said...

Yay! New chapter! Elly, I know I've said it before, but you're an amazing writer, and this story is very clearly your masterpiece. I can't wait to see where you're going next with it.

SelfAppointedCritic said...

I concur wholeheartedly with RichardAK, and I believe the entire Trust Me series is a masterwork. Excellent update Elly, you have me on the edge of my seat. PLEASE come back to this soon, it's so exciting I almost can't bear it! The heck with saving the cheerleader, "Save the Reporters, Save the World!"

Brooke said...

Elly, this story has me baffled. I am so completely confused right now, lol.