Monday, November 05, 2007

The Web Torn Apart

Clark/Chloe, Jimmy
Season 6, season 7 after "Bizarro"
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
The music is "Waiting in the Weeds," by the Eagles.

It's coming on the end of August
Another summer's promise almost gone
And thought I heard some wise man say that every dog will have his day
He never mentioned that these dog days get so long

Now
Clark Kent hadn't realized just how wrapped up his life was with Chloe Sullivan's. Not until she started dating Jimmy Olsen.

It was a bright August afternoon. It was almost September, really, and Chloe had been dating Jimmy just about a year now. Clark ought to be used to the slow, steady drift of their relationship by now, the way she hardly called Clark any more, and relied more and more on Jimmy.

But somehow he just couldn't get it through his thick skull that he wasn't the most important thing in her life any more. Maybe he was stupid. Or maybe he was just terminally hopeful.

Or maybe he just couldn't face a life without Chloe in it.

"Chloe?" He held the cell phone to his ear, awkwardly, as he tossed hay bales in the back of the truck. "I was wondering if you wanted to come over and see a movie tonight. I got that new Fabulous Five movie..."

"Oh, thanks, Clark." She sounded busy and breathless, the way she always did. Between her job at the Daily Planet and the beginning of the fall semester at Met U, she was a very busy girl. "But Jimmy and I already have plans tonight."

He winced, even though that was pretty much what he'd expected her to say. "Oh, okay," he said. "Well, maybe later in the week."

"Sure, that'd be great," she said. "I'll give you a call, okay?"

"Great," he said, forcing enthusiasm.

But he knew it wouldn't happen.

She almost never called him any more. And they almost never hung out together.

God, he missed her.

I don't know when I realized the dream was over
Well, there was no particular hour, no given day
You know it didn't go down in flames
There was no final scene, no frozen frame
I just watched it slowly fade away


Then
He didn't want to stop hugging her. He'd been in a strange place, fighting for his life, and all he'd thought about was her, and the way she'd kissed him before he left. He wanted to kiss her again, right now, but they were in the middle of the Daily Planet basement.

Well, they'd been in the basement last time, too, but there hadn't been anyone in the building but them. Now there were lots of people around.

Even so, he couldn't stop himself from bringing up what had happened. "Um," he said, pulling back and looking down at her, his arms still around her. "Chloe... before I left... there was this moment that we, um..."

She flashed a too-bright smile that said clearly, Awkward factor eight!

"You mean when I laid one on you? Don't worry, Clark. It was the end of the world. It's not like I'm expecting us to hook up or anything."

An unhappy feeling curled inside him. He'd thought maybe that kiss had meant something. God knew it had meant something to him. In fact, it had meant a hell of a lot. But apparently it hadn't been a big deal to her. It had just been a kiss born of stress and fear and general freaking out.

Even so, he thought about trying to kiss her again, to see exactly what she might do, how she might react.

But then Jimmy Olsen arrived, and that was the end of that.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for my time to come around again
And hope is floating on the breeze
Carrying my soul high up above the ground

Now
So she couldn't do a movie tonight. Well, that was okay. He had stuff to do, anyway. Horses and cattle to feed, fences to mend, vegetables to gather. It wasn't like the work on a farm was ever done, even if you had superspeed. He was a busy guy too. Too busy to waste his time hanging out with her, really.

He threw the last bale of hay in the bed of the truck and sighed, tilting his head back and staring at the clear blue sky overhead. He was lying to himself, and he knew it. He wanted some company. He wanted Chloe to tell him everything was going work out okay.

Everything was so damn depressing lately. The girl he'd thought he'd loved had died, and he'd realized he didn't love her that much after all.

Chloe had died, and he'd realized he did love her that much.

Through some miracle he didn't clearly understand, Chloe had come back to life... and he hadn't had the guts to tell her how he felt. Because she was dating Jimmy Olsen, not him.

He wished he had told her. He thought about what he should have done when he found her alive in that morgue drawer. He imagined hugging her, holding her against his chest, maybe pressing his face into her hair, and a light, warm sensation flowed through him.

Damn it, he was a moron. He should have kissed her, held her, told her that he loved her and that he was never going to let her go...

He opened his eyes and realized he was floating, about twenty feet up in the air.

As usual, the moment he opened his eyes, he plummeted, hitting the ground hard.

It didn't hurt nearly as much as the knowledge that he was losing Chloe.

No, he thought grimly, lying in the dust and sighing. He'd already lost her.

And I've been keeping to myself
Knowing that the seasons are slowly changing
Even though you're with somebody else
He'll never love you like I do


Then
Clark tried not to get in the way of Jimmy and Chloe's budding romance. Honest to God, he did. But it wasn't easy. He was used to going to see Chloe every minute of the day, and he just couldn't stay away.

They'd been working together to hunt down a Zoner, one of the escapees from the Phantom Zone, and he'd finally found the alien and confronted her. The Zoner was a sort of ambulatory plant, and she hadn't been at all happy to be located. And as it turned out, she didn't have a lot of affection for Kryptonians.

Clark had found himself hanging from the trunk of a tree, impaled right through the chest with a huge tendril that the Zoner had hit him with.

It hurt like hell, especially since his body couldn't heal properly due to the foreign substance that had invaded it. He couldn't breathe because of the damage to his lungs, and he was pretty sure his heart wasn't pumping, either. Being impaled this way would have instantly killed anyone else, but he could only hang there, struggling weakly, desperate for oxygen and in terrible agony, and yet unable to die.

He had no idea how long he was there. The sun began to set, leaving him in growing darkness. An eternity passed, an eternity of excruciating pain that gave him new appreciation for the old stories his mother had told him of Jesus suffering on the cross. But even Jesus hadn't had to endure being impaled through the chest.

At last he heard Chloe's voice, calling his name. She sounded frantic, and he could hear her coming closer, as if she were running through the darkening woods.

She ran into the clearing, and at the sight of her blonde hair, bright in the darkness, a feeling of hope washed over him. Chloe would get him out of this somehow. She always did.

"Chloe," he whispered, very weakly.

Miraculously, she heard him. She stared up at him, her eyes wide with shocked horror.

"Oh, my God. Clark."

She only hesitated a second, and then she pulled out a Taser and zapped the tendrils that held him suspended. The plant made a shrieking sound of agony and withdrew, shrinking back into itself, and Clark fell to the ground heavily.

He could actually feel his chest begin to knit back together, could feel himself beginning to breathe again, could feel the blood running warm through his veins. He drew in oxygen in huge, frantic gasps.

She cradled his head in her lap and stroked his hair. "Come on, Clark," she whispered. "This girl can't lose you twice in one month."

He shut his eyes, letting himself bask in the reassuring feel of her hand in his hair, but only briefly. He wanted to cling to her, to let her comfort him. But he couldn't, because there was someone else in the woods who needed help.

Naturally, it was Jimmy Olsen.

I've been biding time with the crows and sparrows
While peacocks prance and strut up on the stage
If finding love is just a dance, proximity and chance
You will excuse me if I skip the masquerade

Now
He'd been finding himself floating more and more often, usually while he thought about Chloe. It didn't take Dear Abby to figure out that thoughts of Chloe made him happy, and thus made him float. Which was kind of ironic, considering how little he saw her any more.

He got up and dusted himself off. He had a farm to run, and work to do. He didn't have time to daydream about Chloe, especially when thoughts of her made it difficult for him to keep his feet on the ground.

He really needed to keep his workboots planted solidly on the ground. Yeah, he loved Chloe, and it sucked that he hadn't realized it quite soon enough.

But he really had no one to blame but himself, and he knew it. Chloe had obviously been vulnerable, ready to fall into love with someone, and Jimmy had happened to walk into her life at exactly the right time, while Clark was still dithering.

Maybe, he thought, love was just a matter of chance and luck and timing.

And Clark's sense of timing had always been really, really bad.

Sighing, he got into the truck and drove it toward the cow pasture.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for the dust to settle down
Along the back roads running through the fields
Lying on the outskirts of this lonesome town

Then
"Wow." Chloe pressed her face into his chest. "That feels amazing, Clark."

He tried really, really hard to ignore the sexual connotations of her words, but he couldn't. He'd slowed to a normal human speed, and now he let her down, holding her lightly around the waist. They stood together in front of the Kent farmhouse. Dust rose behind them, a silent testament to his speed.

"Well," he said, trying to ignore the gruffness in his own voice. "You said you wanted to know what it's like to superspeed."

"It's just... wow." She grinned up at him, her characteristic happy smile that never failed to make his heart do flips in his chest. "But how does it make you feel? Do you get, you know, an adrenaline rush or anything?"

He was slightly amused that she'd gone into investigative reporter mode. Sometimes talking with Chloe could be a lot like being interviewed.

"Uh, yeah, I guess," he said. He wouldn't have described it exactly that way, but he could still feel the blood pounding through his body, his skin tingling. He could feel the sensation of being alive, of doing what he was born to do. "Adrenaline rush" was as good a description as any, he supposed. "I mean, it sort of makes me..."

Horny.

Not that he would ever admit it to her in a million years, but running with her in his arms had been really... stimulating. So to speak. He stood there, looking down at her, his chest heaving, and realized her mouth was only a few inches away. And all he had to do was bend down just a bit, and he could kiss her...

No, no. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the sudden spell that had gripped him. He had no business kissing Chloe, or even thinking about kissing Chloe.

She was dating Jimmy Olsen. Not him. Jimmy.

But she looked back at him with big eyes, her lips parted, and he wondered if she was having an adrenaline rush, too. He wondered what she'd do if he bent down and kissed her. Would she push him away? Or would she stick her tongue in his mouth?

His body started to throb with the heavy ache of arousal, and he continued to stare at her mouth.

At last she spoke, her voice very soft.

"I, uh... I need to get back to the Talon, Clark."

He tried to slow his breathing, which was really fast and raspy for some reason, and looked up, into her eyes.

"The Talon?" he repeated stupidly.

"Yeah. Um, I'm supposed to be meeting Jimmy for lunch."

Jimmy again. An abrupt, angry jealousy flooded him, and he felt the sudden desire to grab her, kiss her, and show her just who the hell she should be meeting for lunch.

But that was stupid. Of course she should be meeting Jimmy for lunch. Jimmy was her boyfriend, and he was just her friend. Her best friend, sure. A friend who wanted to kiss her until she wrapped her body around his and put her hands all over him. But nevertheless just a friend.

"Oh, okay," he said, letting go of her, moving back a little, and smiling like it didn't matter to him, like need and desire and longing weren't pumping through his veins like drugs. A sudden hopeful thought occurred to him. "Want me to take you over there?"

At least that way he could hold her for a moment longer, run with her in his arms again.

But she shook her head, smiling. "I might need my car later."

He tried really hard not to sigh with disappointment.

"Okay," he said. "Have fun with Jimmy."

And I imagine sunlight in your hair
You're at the county fair
You're holding hands and laughing
And now the ferris wheel has stopped
You're swinging on the top, suspended there with him

Now
As Clark tossed out the bales of hay for the cattle, he thought about asking Chloe to the Smallville Corn Festival, which was coming up in a couple of weeks.

Stupid, he thought. Because of course she'd be going with Jimmy. Of course she was. Jimmy had been out of town for a month or so, but he'd be back by then, and she wouldn't want to go with Clark.

She didn't have time for Clark these days, not with JimmymotherfuckingOlsen in the picture.

He tried to tone down the bitterness of that thought, but couldn't. Damn it. Damn Jimmy Olsen.

Over the years, Clark's life had somehow gotten woven together with Chloe's, in an intricate, delicate pattern, like a spider's web, the strands that tied them together so fragile he hardly noticed them, but a whole lot stronger than they appeared. She'd slowly become the most important person in his life, and they'd done everything together, relied on each other for everything.

But once Jimmy Olsen had blundered into the web, it had all been torn to pieces. And he wasn't sure how to rebuild it.

He wasn't sure he could rebuild it. And that was what was making him crazy, the fact that there was a huge, gaping hole in his life he didn't know how to fill.

He was pretty sure the only thing that could fill it was Chloe.

I've been stumbling though some dark places
And I'm following the cloud
I know I've fallen out of your good graces
It's all right now

Then
She was dead.

He staggered down the hall, confused and disoriented, with only one thought whirling in his mind. Dead dead dead. Chloe was dead, and he'd never gotten the chance to tell her how he felt.

He'd felt exactly as shocked and confused when she'd "died" in his Zoner-induced dream earlier in the year. He'd really thought she was dead then, too, and he'd been intensely relieved when he'd awakened and discovered she was all right.

But this wasn't a dream, and he wasn't going to wake up from it and find that she was alive.

She was dead.

He stood in the hallway of the medical center, gasping for breath, noises assaulting him from all sides. And then he straightened up, because through the terrible wall of noise... he heard her voice calling his name.

And suddenly the clouds lifted, and everything was all right again.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for the summer rain to fall
Upon the wild birds, scattering the seeds
Answering the calling of the
Tide's eternal tune, the phases of the moon...

Now
The cattle were fed. All his chores were done, and there was nothing for him to look forward to now but the quiet of an evening alone, sitting in front of the television with his old dog Shelby's head in his lap. Which wasn't such a bad life, really.

If he were ninety, anyway.

He sighed and flung himself down on the couch in the living room. Damn it. He might as well admit it. His life sucked.

Every day, it seemed like Chloe drifted further away from him. More and more of the gossamer strands that held them together were ripped apart. She didn't have coffee with him in the morning much any more. She usually worked through lunch. She was always too busy for dinner. And she never called him any more. Where they'd once talked five or six times a day, sometimes he went two or three days without talking to her now.

He ached with loneliness, but he didn't know what to do about it. Sighing again, he stretched out on the couch, flinging an arm over his face. Shelby clattered over to him, and he reached out his other arm and scratched the old dog's ears absently.

Even with Shelby here, the house was empty. His life was empty. He didn't know if he could keep doing this, if he could keep away from Chloe when she was all he thought about. She was all he wanted. He thought about her bright smile, her golden hair, the soft sound of her laughter...

Shelby suddenly jerked back and gave a sharp, angry bark, and Clark realized that even his vague thoughts of Chloe were enough to make him float. He'd risen about a foot off the couch, and Shelby was backing away, looking anxious and scared, his tail tucked between his legs.

As usual, the instant Clark became aware that he was floating, he dropped back down, landing on the couch with a thud. He held out his hand to Shelby.

"It's okay, boy. Take it easy."

The dog whined, then turned tail and ran.

Clark groaned, covering his eyes with his arm again. Great. Even his dog didn't accept him for what he was.

The only person who'd ever totally accepted him... was Chloe.

Chloe knew his secret, but she'd never made him feel weird or strange or alien. She knew everything about him. Their lives were bound together inextricably, and he wasn't sure how to go on without her.

He couldn't go on without her.

Sitting up, he looked out the window and saw that the sun was setting. It was the end of another empty day.

And the beginning of another empty night.

He thought bitterly that he'd had an awful lot of empty nights since Jimmy had come into Chloe's life.

The chambers of the heart, the egg and dart
A small gray spider spinning in the dark
In spite of all the times the web is torn apart

Then
The night was dark and empty, and it was painfully quiet in the loft. Clark bounced a small rubber ball against the wall, in a endless, repetitive motion.

He was waiting for Chloe. He knew she was at the hospital with Jimmy, but he figured she'd stop by and see how he was doing eventually.

Yes, he healed on his own, so it wasn't like he was in any danger. Still, he'd been pretty badly injured, and in a hell of a lot of pain, and he'd figured Chloe would stop by to check up on him, because she always did.

He still remembered what she'd said: This girl can't lose you twice in one month, Clark. He remembered the fear in her voice, and it gave him hope that he mattered to her as much as she mattered to him.

But he didn't hear her familiar step on the stairs. The night dragged on, long and quiet, while he sat alone in his loft and solitude settled over him, thick and suffocating and dark.

Pain filled his chest, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he'd been impaled through the heart earlier. It was his first really empty night.

But it wouldn't be his last.

And I've been waiting in the weeds
Waiting for my time to come around again
And hope is floating on the breeze
Carrying my soul high up above the ground

Now
"Chloe."

Clark was surprised to find her sitting in a darkened apartment. He'd found himself unable to face another quiet, lonely night, and he'd come to see her. But he hadn't expected to find her looking so lost and alone. It was so dark he could hardly see her, but in the light that filtered through the window from Main Street, he could tell that she was sitting with her head in her hands.

She looked as lonely and depressed as he did, and that made a little spike of hope go through him. For the first time, he wondered how many dark, empty nights she'd spent alone. For the first time, he wondered if maybe she missed him as much as he missed her.

Don't be stupid, he told himself. She's missing Jimmy, that's all.

Regardless, he'd sat slouched exactly that way in his loft so many times himself that he couldn't help but feel sympathy. He closed the door behind him and looked at her through the darkness.

"You okay, Chlo?"

"Yes," she said softly. "I just... I was just missing someone."

His throat closed up. "Yeah," he answered. "Me too."

She gave a long, tremulous sigh. "I know you must miss Lana a lot."

"No," he said, his voice very quiet. "It isn't Lana I'm missing."

She was silent, as if she was thinking about that statement. He saw her lift her head and stare at him through the darkness.

Clark knew he should keep his mouth shut, but he couldn't. "Do you miss Jimmy, Chlo?"

Another long sigh. "Not as much as I should," she said.

Hope floated through him, and he closed his eyes and blurted out what he should have told her a long time ago, the first night he'd found himself sitting alone in the dark.

"I miss you an awful lot, Chlo."

"I've been right here," she answered.

"Not really. We're, I don't know, drifting apart. We never see each other any more, and I hate it." He paused for a moment, remembering the way thoughts of her made him float. No one else made him feel that way. Only Chloe. The rest of the truth welled out of him.

"I want you back in my life, Chlo. All the time."

She looked at him through the gloom, and then she was on her feet and almost running toward him.

He couldn't help remembering another night, a year ago, when she'd stared at him through the dark, and then run toward him.

And I've been keeping to myself
Knowing that the seasons are slowly changing
Even though you're with somebody else
He'll never love you like I do

Then and now
She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he suddenly realized this was the moment he'd been waiting for, for years and years.

He wrapped his arms around her waist and bent to kiss her. Her lips were sweet and soft against his, and a soft moan of longing rose from his throat. He didn't know if this was forever, or just a single lovely moment in time.

But in this instant, it didn't matter. Because kissing Chloe filled him with hope. Kissing Chloe made him realize how tightly their lives were bound together. No matter how many times they were ripped apart... sooner or later they always came back to each other.

And in this moment, with her lips against his, he was certain they always would.

And I've been waiting in the weeds,
Waiting for my time to come around again


-The End-

5 comments:

Justine said...

Awww poor alone Clark :( Yay for Chloe induced floating :D!!

Can't wait for the next update, and I hope Clark gets the courage to tell her his feelings :D

Love the flashbacks

Anonymous said...

awww

lol yeah - YAY for Chloe induced floating!!!!!

GadgetGirl said...

Beautiful fic. You captured Clark's emotions very well and identified exactly why those two should be together.

It's not clear in the fic but I guess Chloe had just broken up with Jimmy.

blackheart_me said...

BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL! I love how u used the song and the transitions from then and now. [b]I enjoyed Clark's moping honestly.[/b]It's something I've been waiting to read. His waiting on Chloe. I love how she makes him float but mostly how althou she didn't say it in the end, you can tell it's him she's missed. the ending was BRILLIANT and I loved it Elly.
This was angsty, sad but with a beautiful, happy ending :)

DeeDee said...

Well, it's about time Clark did some moping over Chloe, after all those times she was subjected to Clana over the years!

I really felt his pain, though. Beutifully written. Thanks for reminding me why I ship Chlark!

"She didn't have time for Clark these days, not with JimmymotherfuckingOlsen in the picture.

He tried to tone down the bitterness of that thought, but couldn't. Damn it. Damn Jimmy Olsen."

Hee! My sentiments exactly!

"Over the years, Clark's life had somehow gotten woven together with Chloe's, in an intricate, delicate pattern, like a spider's web, the strands that tied them together so fragile he hardly noticed them, but a whole lot stronger than they appeared. She'd slowly become the most important person in his life, and they'd done everything together, relied on each other for everything."

So true. Nuff said.

Thanks again, Elly!