Clark/Chloe futurefic angst
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone
-"For a Dancer," Jackson Browne
Their dance had begun a long time ago.
They'd met in middle school, when they were barely fourteen. After a single awkward kiss, they'd smiled into each other's eyes, recognizing something familiar and comfortable in each other. Almost instantly, they'd fallen into a close, warm friendship.
Throughout high school and much of college, they'd remained friends, but slowly, by gradual, barely perceptible degrees, they'd grown closer and closer. One night they'd simply looked at each other, and each had known, beyond any doubt, who their one true dance partner was.
They'd spent that night together, and every night after that. Because once they'd recognized the truth, nothing in the world could separate them.
It hadn't been just the nights, though. They'd worked together, side by side, in the newsroom of the Daily Planet, writing stories that exposed the truth, struggling together to bring justice to the world. The work had been part of their shared dance, and it had brought them even closer together-- so close that he couldn't imagine dancing on without her.
When he'd clearly understood that she was the only dance partner he'd ever want, he'd asked her to marry him, and she'd accepted. The two of them had exchanged vows in front of friends and family, and then they'd danced together at their wedding reception.
The dance hadn't stopped for twenty years.
But at last she'd been stricken by an incurable disease, probably due to the meteor rock infection she'd suffered as a child. She'd wasted away before his horrified eyes, and he'd had to come to grips with the fact that there was nothing at all he could do to save her. In the end, he'd found himself sitting next to her frail, emaciated form in the hospital, holding her hand in one last dance.
He hadn't wanted her to die alone. But when she died, her small hand clasped in his, the bitter thought occurred to him that no matter how much someone was loved, no matter how closely their life had grown intertwined with somene else's... dying was the one thing that couldn't be shared.
Losing her was a pure, sharp-edged agony, more painful than anything he'd ever known. He knew she wouldn't blame him for grieving. But he also knew that she wouldn't want him to let his grief stop him from what he needed to do.
So he put his cape back on, not too long after she died, and went back to work, both in the skies over the city and in the newsroom.
At first it hurt a great deal. It was an agonizing struggle to go on without her. He hated the necessity of living when she was dead. He hated the emptiness of a life that had hithertofore been filled with joy and laughter.
The rest of his life stretched before him, empty, dark, and utterly devoid of music.
But as he flew over the city, day after day, helping people, saving people, he slowly grew to recognize that life continued to unfurl around him in a neverending ribbon. Just because his heart was dead in his chest didn't mean that everything else had stopped. He had work to do, and people to care for, and possibly even, one day, other people to love.
And he knew she wouldn't mind. She'd have wanted him to go on and do what needed doing. She'd have wanted him to keep trying to hear the music. She'd have wanted him to keep dancing, whether his steps remained solitary, or whether they eventually fell into time with someone else's.
Because even though she was gone... the dance still went on.