Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Not Quite Enough, Chapter 1
Chapter 6, after "Labyrinth"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
"I'm still having trouble sleeping."
Chloe Sullivan looked at the big, dark-haired guy standing at the door of her apartment. His posture was more slumped than usual, his eyelids heavier. She could even see faint circles beneath his eyes. He looked exhausted.
"Still thinking about everything that happened in your mind?" she asked sympathetically, opening the door and letting him in.
Clark Kent headed for the couch and nearly collapsed onto it. "Yeah," he said softly. "It's been two days, Chlo, but I can't seem to forget about it."
She dropped down onto the couch next to him, a little more gently than he had. Clark had told her about his experience with a "phantom," one of the disembodied spirits that had escaped from the prison for alien criminals called the Phantom Zone. This particular spirit had tried to take over Clark's body, but since Kryptonians were a little more resistant than humans, it had been forced to attempt to break down his mental resistance by trying to convince him he was crazy, and only a human. Along the way it had convinced him that Chloe, his best friend was dead.
That seemed to have disturbed him more than anything else. And that didn't surprise her, because if she thought Clark was dead, she knew that would crush her spirit, too. She wasn't sure she could live without him.
She pushed that thought away, because she didn't quite like the way it sounded. Yes, she and Clark were extraordinarily close friends, but nevertheless only friends. She had a boyfriend, and he had a thing for Lana Lang. She and Clark spent a lot of time together. They even loved each other, in a manner of speaking. But they weren't in love, and their interactions weren't sexually charged.
Well, not much, anyway.
Despite that assurance to herself, she was suddenly very aware of his big, warm body, only inches from her own. She sighed. "Look, Clark, I know you want to talk, but I have an early class in the morning. I was just on my way to bed."
At the words, something lit in his eyes, something that really didn't belong there. He blinked, as if trying to conceal it, and looked away from her.
"Okay," he said, sounding pathetic and woeful. "I'll just head home."
She bit her lip. She'd never been able to resist Clark in a mope. "Look," she said at last, "Lois isn't here. She's still wandering around the wilds of Florida, looking for Nessie or Bigfoot or something. So if you want, you could camp out on my couch. If you think it might help you sleep, I mean."
He turned his head back toward her, and she saw that spark in his eyes again. Almost instantly he lowered his long lashes, veiling whatever was burning in his gaze.
"Thanks, Chlo," he said, his voice very soft. "I'd like that."
Forty-five minutes later, she should have been sleeping peacefully, dreaming of front page bylines. Instead she found herself staring at the ceiling, listening to the sound of his body shifting on the couch. The covers she'd provided him with rustled softly with every movement. She sighed with mingled annoyance and concern.
"Clark," she said into the darkness. "What's wrong? Why can't you sleep?"
"I told you." His voice sounded as deep and dark as the night itself. "I can't get that whole incident with the phantom out of my mind."
Even in the darkness, she could imagine the sorrowful look in his eyes. "All of it?" she said.
"The part where you died." He spoke barely above a whisper, yet his words ached with lonely heartbreak. "I don't ever want to go through that again, Chlo. I don't think I can live without you."
The softly spoken words echoed her earlier thoughts, and the unmistakable grief in his voice struck straight to her heart. She knew exactly how he felt, because she felt the same way. She couldn't live without him. She stared into the darkness for a few moments longer.
"Clark," she said at last, very softly. "Come here."
Read Chapter 2 here.
Posted by Meg at 7:10 AM