Season 7, MHE for "Fracture"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read Chapter 2 here.
She was dead.
Despair, dark and cold and bitter, finally hit him. Mingled with his physical exhaustion, it was almost enough to knock him to the floor.
She'd been dead for seventeen hours, and he knew with a terrible, bleak certainty that she wasn't coming back. Her skin had cooled to room temperature, her blood had long since congealed in her veins, and her muscles were stiff in rigor mortis.
He was so exhausted he could barely hold his head up, and yet he kept sitting here, stupidly listening for the sound of her heartbeat. A sound that intellectually, he knew he'd never hear again.
But like a child who couldn't quite give up his faith in Santa Claus, he couldn't quite give up his last shreds of hope. He couldn't bring himself to get up out of his chair, make the necessary phone call, and let them take her away.
He sat there for a long moment, shaking with weariness and misery, then finally lifted his bowed head and looked blearily around him. Bright sunlight streamed through the cracks in the Venetian blinds, and he knew that out on the main street of Smallville, people were beginning to stir.
He could smell the scent of coffee wafting up from the coffee shop downstairs, could hear the sound of shoes clacking against the marble flooring, the sound of voices talking and laughing. The sound of people living. The sound of people who weren't keeping a patient, hopeless vigil beside a corpse.
For everyone else, the day was just beginning. But for him, life was in stasis.
He turned his head, looking sleepily around at the bedroom. Chloe had been sharing this apartment with Lois, but Lois had recently found an apartment in Metropolis, so it was entirely Chloe's domain now. Chloe had been in the process of redecorating to make it more "her," adding her own stuff, like funky furniture, new curtains, and photos of herself with her friends.
He looked at a picture on her dresser, a photograph of her standing with him in the Torch, the high school newspaper where they'd both worked. In the photo, they were standing shoulder to shoulder, grinning identical silly grins.
In the picture, they looked like they were goofing off and having fun, but the truth was that Chloe had worked hard at the Torch, often working well into the night, violating all school rules in the process. She'd worked even harder at the Daily Planet, the big newspaper where she'd gotten a job the same fall she started college.
Working for the Planet had always been her dream, and her pride in the accomplishment was evident from the articles she'd framed and put up on the apartment walls. He looked them over, seeing her very first article for the Planet, which had been buried at the bottom of page seventy-three. Her first front-page headline. A series of articles she'd written on corruption in the City Council-- articles that had made quite a splash, and forced several politicians to resign.
She'd been headed for a great career at the Planet. Of that he had no doubt.
But now she'd never get the opportunity to write another article. The ones on the walls were all she'd ever write.
Against his will, he imagined what he'd say at her funeral.
All Chloe Sullivan ever wanted was to write for the Daily Planet. Unlike so many of us, she attained her dream. But she was capable of so much more... there was a very bright future awaiting her... so many stories yet to be written...
Even in his imagination, he couldn't keep the words flowing coherently. He heard a rough, strangled sound in his throat, and blinked hard, pushing back tears.
No, damn it, he thought defiantly. I am not writing a speech for her funeral. She's not dead. No matter how much it looks like it... she's not dead.
Reach Chapter 4 here.