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 4 here.
"Here you go."
Clark handed Chloe a glass of water, and she took it, drinking appreciatively. She was perched on the edge of the bed, looking surprisingly healthy for someone who'd been dead. After the horrible, endless hours of stress, it was all he could do not to drop to his knees, bury his face in her lap, and bawl his eyes out with relief.
Instead, he stood and just looked at her, listening to the steady drumbeat of her heart, drinking in the sight of her.
She seemed oblivious to his hungry stare. "Thanks," she said, putting the empty glass onto the bedside table. "Lois didn't, uh... see me, you know, dead, did she?"
Still unable to look away from her, Clark shook his head. "No. She had to shoot back to the Planet to write a story about what happened in Detroit."
Chloe rolled her eyes. "Ha. Lex will kill that story in a heartbeat."
"Speaking of heartbeats..." Clark hesitated, then blurted it out. "You didn't have one for over eighteen hours."
"Look, Clark..." She got to her feet, shrugging off his jacket, and headed across the room. He trailed after her, a little closer to her than he usually walked. He didn't want to let her out of arm's reach. "I was hoping we could skip the lecture and go straight to the welcome back dinner. I'm starving."
The fact that she was hungry was good news, he thought. She'd obviously recovered totally. But that didn't change the fact that she'd been really and truly dead, and he couldn't just forget about it, even though she clearly wanted to. He needed to talk about it, to give her some small hint of what he'd been through.
He caught her upper arms, turned her around, and stared down into her eyes intently.
"It was fifteen hours longer than the last time, Chloe. I thought you weren't coming back. I've been sitting here, literally trying to figure out what to say at your funeral."
She flashed her trademark snarky smile. "Well, let's both be glad that I'm alive, then, because I know how much you hate giving speeches."
Annoyance lit inside him. After everything he'd gone through, all the pain he'd endured during his vigil, he didn't feel like this was the time for snark or humor. He was tired and emotionally exhausted and outright cranky. But he forced back his irritation, because after all, Chloe had gone through more than he had. She'd been dead. And he knew her well enough to know that snark was her normal coping mechanism.
"Chloe," he said, very seriously, "I appreciate what you did for me. It goes beyond friendship. But you can never do it again."
She lifted her eyebrows at him. "So, what? I'm just supposed to let people die?"
He shrugged, uncomfortable. Put that way, he had to admit she had a point. But the idea of sitting next to her, in vigil after vigil, never knowing if she'd come back to life or not, scared the hell out of him.
She must have seen the pain in his eyes, because her tone gentled a bit. "Look, Clark, I have the power to save people's lives. Now obviously, I'm the last person who thought she would drag Lex back from the clutches of death." She narrowed her eyes at him. "But it was my decision to make."
No! he wanted to yell at her. You won't do it ever again! I'm not going through this again, damn it!
But reason trickled through the exhaustion fogging his brain, and he knew she was right. If she could save someone's life, she had an obligation to try, just as he had an obligation to save people if he could. And even though he was her best friend, it wasn't his decision to make anyway.
"Of course it was," he agreed, very meekly.
"But you know..." She sighed heavily. "You're not wrong. I mean, as great as this power is, it does come with a lot of... consequences. And I think that one of the responsibilities for both of us is staying alive."
"Yeah," he agreed, very softly. The image of her still, pale form lying in the bed rose up to haunt him. "We can't help people if we're dead."
She nodded solemnly. "Maybe I'm pushing my luck with this whole death thing. I mean, it is death, after all."
"Does that mean you're never going to use your abilities again?"
"It means I'm more confused now than ever," she answered glumly. "Out of the entire catalog of meteor abilities, why was I the one chosen to be in charge of such an amazing gift?"
He looked into the beautiful golden eyes he'd thought he'd never see filled with life again, and suddenly he couldn't stop himself from touching her. He'd spent eighteen hours missing her, grieving for her, and he needed to touch her to reassure himself that this was real, and not a dream. He wanted to touch her, very badly. He lifted a hand and stroked her hair, very gently.
"Maybe because you're amazing enough to handle it," he whispered.
She closed her eyes and turned her face into the palm of his hand for a moment, and at the affectionate gesture, the emotional stress of the past eighteen hours suddenly caught up with him. He bowed his head and kissed her, very gently, on top of her head.
She looked up, eyes wide with surprise, and suddenly all his resolutions flooded back into his brain. If she wakes up, I'm going to kiss her again. And again, and again, and again...
He bent and kissed her... and this time it wasn't on top of her head.
Read Chapter 6 here.