Saturday, August 18, 2007

Haunted

Clark/Chloe futurefic angst
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
The music is "Haunted," by Kelly Clarkson.

Haunted 2. Follows Through the Glass.


Faster the days go by and I'm still
Stuck in this moment of wanting you here


The first time she caught a glimpse of him, she was standing in a LexCorp laboratory, watching an experiment that involved mixing antimatter with matter without creating a massive explosion. As she watched the scientist making his presentation to the media, she thought she saw a flash of movement out of the corner of her eye.

She turned her head to the side, catching the barest glimpse of sad green eyes, so terribly, achingly familiar that her throat went tight.

"Clark," she whispered. Forgetting all about the experiment she was supposed to be covering for the Daily Planet, she stared long and hard at the place where she thought she'd seen those emerald eyes.

But there was no one there.

Wishful thinking, she decided at last with a pang of sorrow. It wasn't that she was unhappy with Jimmy Olsen, exactly. They'd been married three months, and their marriage was... okay. Not exciting, not thrilling, not hot... but definitely okay.

Not that okay was the same as great. As much as she hated to admit it, she probably shouldn't be surprised that her mind had conjured up Clark. She and Clark had been close friends for a long time, but when they'd finally moved into romance, their relationship had been exciting and thrilling and very hot.

It hadn't been okay in the least. It had been incredible.

But Clark was gone, and he would never come back to her again. She'd seen him vaporized by an alien machine, and she knew full well he was dead. He'd been dead for a long time now.

She needed to work out her problems with Jimmy, not indulge in daydreams about a man she'd once loved more than anything. That man was gone forever.

So she went home and did her best to forget the heartrending glimpse of sorrowful green eyes.

But that night, as she was getting ready for bed, she looked into the bathroom mirror, and just for an instant, she saw him again. And there was so much pain and loneliness and longing in his gaze that tears welled up in her own eyes.

She knew that look, knew it all too well.

It was the same mixture of emotions she saw in her own eyes when she looked in the mirror.

You held my hand, you held me tight
Now you're gone
And I'm still crying
Shocked, broken
I'm dying inside


She knew it was just wishful thinking, the memories of a lost love coming back to haunt her. She'd never gotten a proper closure to her time with Clark, because Clark's body had just disappeared, right in front of her.

But he was quite dead. She knew that. She'd watched him be vaporized, for God's sake.

Yet she couldn't stop herself from watching for him. And she saw him, over and over again. During the day she'd glance up from her work at the Daily Planet and see him sitting there, watching her with the quiet intensity that had always characterized him.

The instant she looked at him directly, he invariably disappeared, a terrible reminder that the glimpses she saw of him were nothing more than a delusion. She wanted him back so badly she was conjuring up memories of him. That was all her glimpses of him could possibly be.

But she couldn't stop herself from longing for him. The flashes she saw of him tormented her.

Slowly, he began to occupy all her thoughts, just as he had when he was alive.

Why did you go?
All these questions run through my mind
I wish I couldn't feel at all
Let me be numb
I'm starting to fall


It didn't really come as a surprise to Chloe when Jimmy filed for divorce, barely a year after their wedding. The awful truth was that she'd scarcely paid any attention to him in months. Her attention was fixed on the quick glimpses she caught of a beloved face. She saw Clark almost every day now, in quick, millisecond-long flashes that frustrated her at the same time they filled her with joy.

Sometimes Clark looked sad, and other times he was grinning as if something she'd done had amused him. But no matter what his expression, catching a quick glimpse of him out of the corner of her eye always lifted her spirits.

Even though her mind was fixed on Clark, she began to realize how lonely she was when Jimmy moved out of the apartment. Brief glimpses of Clark's face weren't enough to stave off loneliness. She didn't want to be alone for the rest of her life because she couldn't forget the first man she'd loved.

The night Jimmy moved out, she lay alone in her too-big bed, letting tears roll silently down her face.

And then she felt arms encircle her, arms she hadn't felt hold her in a long, long time. They felt ghostly, not substantial, not warm or solid, but she was so grateful for his presence that she didn't care. Her tears dried in an instant, and she whispered his name.

There was no answer, but she didn't care. It was enough that he was there, holding her.

She didn't dare look back over her shoulder, for fear that he'd disappear again. She simply closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. And with his arms around her, she slept more peacefully than she had in a long, long time.

Every night after that, he held her in the darkness.

Where are you?
I need you
Don't leave me here on my own
Speak to me
Be near me
I can't survive unless I know you're with me


She began talking to him, even on those rare days when she didn't catch a glimpse of him. Talking to him made her feel closer to him. She talked while she wrote at home, telling him about the stories she was working on, or about the people at the office, or about the traffic she'd encountered on the way to the store. She talked to him about the simple, mundane details of her existence, and she told him the deep, philosophical thoughts that passed through her mind from time to time.

She talked to him exactly as she'd talked to him in life.

One afternoon her cousin Lois Lane walked into her apartment without bothering to knock and stood behind her as she typed, listening to her steady stream of chatter.

"Cuz," she said at last, and Chloe's head whipped around guiltily. "Who exactly are you talking to?"

Chloe felt her cheeks turn red. She rolled back in her chair, away from the keyboard, and stared at the monitor. "I, uh, just..."

"You know, I heard about this from Jimmy, but I didn't want to believe it," Lois said. She walked across the living room and rested a hip on Chloe's desk, looking down at her cousin. Her eyes were serious, filled with concern. "He thinks you need psychiatric help. I told him you were okay, but now I'm seriously beginning to wonder."

Chloe turned redder. She didn't know how to explain her growing belief that someone who'd died years ago was still here, just barely out of reach. She couldn't explain the faint glimpses she got of him, the sensation of his arms wrapped securely around her as she slept.

She couldn't even describe what she saw and felt, let alone convince someone else that Clark was real, and not just a figment of her imagination. But she tried her best to explain.

"I'm not crazy, Lois," she said, her voice soft but full of conviction. "Clark's here. He's... he's haunting me."

Shadows linger
Only to my eye
I see you, I feel you
Don't leave my side


Lois, who was a natural-born cynic, didn't look convinced. "Look," she said. "If Smallville's really following you around, how come he didn't start till after you and Jimmy got married?"

Chloe frowned at the computer's wallpaper. It was set to display a pretty scene of cornfields that reminded her of the rural area in which she'd met Clark. "I'm not sure," she admitted at last.

"I'll tell you why. It's because you were still in love with Clark when you married Jimmy, and after you got married, you started feeling guilty. You did your best to pretend you were over Clark, but once you married Jimmy you couldn't avoid the truth any more. So you started 'seeing' Clark."

"No." Chloe spun around in her office chair and glared up at her cousin. "I'm not imagining him, Lois. He's not a delusion created by a guilty conscience. He's really there. I don't know why he's come back from the dead... but he's there."

Lois looked at her sorrowfully. "Chloe," she said. "What if you're wrong? What if you're just going crazy?"

Chloe saw a glimpse of movement out of the corner of her eye. She didn't have to turn her head to know that she'd see a brief glimpse of green eyes and a tangle of dark hair.

He was with her, just as he always was. And that was enough for her.

"Honestly?" she answered. "I don't care all that much."

Lois frowned. "I don't understand."

Chloe looked up at her cousin and spoke very softly.

"If it means I can see Clark every day... I don't mind being crazy."

Where are you?
I need you
Don't leave me here on my own
Speak to me
Be near me
I can't survive unless I know you're with me


-The End-

Read Haunted 3: Your Arms Feel Like Home here.

9 comments:

Stephanie said...

Owww thats great!
I loved the last line ..!
amazing as always!

meemalee said...

Sequel where he comes back to life please, Elly :-)

SelfAppointedCritic said...

Yup, I'm with Stephanie, Chloe's last statement was beautiful (and heartbreaking)--I just loved it. She's so devoted! I even have to give Jimmy a little credit for getting out; though I question his "love" since he abandoned a woman he thought was having psychological issues.

Also in agreement with Meemalee, we definitely need an installment that brings Clark back to life. I suspect his increased visibility/presence has to do with that LuthorCorp presentation Chloe was attending (more brilliant Elly-style plotting), so now its just a matte of waiting to see her put the pieces together I guess.

Thanks for sharing your creative writing with us Elly; its always such a pleasure to read.

Anonymous said...

wow. I didn't think you were going to write a sequel to Through The Glass..but once again...I am more than pleasantly surprised! :)

And yes, I echo other thoughts...please don't leave us hanging....I absolutely need a sequel when the experiment brings him back or something...anything that brings him back....maybe we can have an update from Clark's perspective...telling us what he's thinking/feeling when he realizes Chloe can see him and is talking to him...that would be sweet :)

Of course, whenever you can and if you can :)

thanks for his though!

meg

sanaazzy said...

wow poor chloe. Amazing Elly

Anonymous said...

So beautifully sad I LOVED IT!

Anonymous said...

oh, so sad! I love that song, and now whenever I hear it, I start crying. Beautiful story, Elly.

Anonymous said...

Sequel... must have sequel... I am shaking with the need for a sequel.

Fb

Khyla said...

so sorrowful, yet so haunting and reminiscent of how far a soul will go in search of its soulmate....