Friday, February 06, 2009
Lux Aeterna, Chapter 1
Season 8, after "Requiem"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Still color corrected by electricmonk333.
"I love her."
The voice whispers in the dark, grief-stricken, inconsolable. She strokes his hair, because there's nothing else she can do to help. She wishes she could do more, but there's nothing she can do except offer comfort.
"I love her, and I can't get within ten feet of her."
"I know." She whispers back, softly, just to let him know she's listening. "I'm sorry, Clark."
His face presses into her shoulder, and she feels the heat of tears against her nightshirt. He's huddled against her on the couch, curled up in a posture of despair, and she wonders how much sleep he's gotten in the past two nights, if he's slept at all, or if he's just lain awake, thinking over everything that's gone wrong in his life lately.
She can relate to that. She doesn't feel like she's slept since Brainiac was excised from her soul, leaving a dark void she can feel lurking inside her whenever she's alone.
She thinks maybe right now, Clark feels just as empty.
"Shhh," she says, stroking his hair, which glimmers blue and pink in the ever-changing light from the neon sign outside. "Shhh, Clark."
"I loved her ever since I was a kid." The words are bullets fired into her soul, one by one, but as usual, he's completely oblivious to their effect on her. He's never understood how deeply Chloe loves him. "I love her... I thought this time, we'd be together... always..."
She understands. She does. She understands the darkness of obsession. She knows the pain of losing someone you love, more than he realizes. She's longed for Clark forever, and finally settled for someone else when it became clear he'd never see her that way.
But she knows letting it go so far, actually marrying a man she doesn't really love, was wrong. She can no longer pretend, even to herself, that she really loves Jimmy. If she did, she'd have been in Star City tonight, sitting next to Jimmy's hospital bed, rather than here in the Talon apartment, waiting in the darkness just in case Clark needed her.
When he'd come into the apartment, without even knocking, she hadn't been in the least surprised.
She'd known he'd come to her eventually.
He always does.
"I just wanted... someone... like me." He's whispering again, in broken phrases punctuated with rough gasps, and this time she thinks he's gotten a little closer to the heart of the matter. She doesn't think he cares as much about Lana as he thinks he does. Yes, he's been in love with her most of his life, but Chloe's been watching him slowly get over Lana for the past six months.
It's what Lana's become that he wants.
"Someone... who couldn't... get hurt. Someone... I didn't... have to... worry about all the time."
She could tell him that people who love the superpowered still worry endlessly, but she decides that's better left unsaid for now. She strokes the dark hair, and murmurs wordless comfort.
"I just... she was like me, Chloe. Just like me. For a little while... it was like... it was like I wasn't alone any more."
Just like me. That, she thinks, is the issue at the very heart of his grief. He's an alien, alone in a world of fragile beings very unlike himself, unable to even imagine the incredible things he can do, let alone do them. Of course he longs to be with someone like himself. The fact that it was Lana with these abilities, the girl he's been obsessed with since he was in elementary school, only made his longing more intense.
He feels more alienated than ever, because he can't ever be with the one person like him in the world.
Chloe isn't enough for him. She's never been enough.
And after Lana and her superpowers, no woman can ever be enough, not really.
She hears a rough, broken noise against her shoulder, and knows he's trying to hold back a sob. He's probably been holding back tears for two days. Somewhere in her battered soul, she's grateful that she's the one he comes to when he's desperate for comfort and consolation. At least she means that much to him.
That's something. Not enough. But something.
"Shhh," she whispers again, and runs her fingers through his hair. She doesn't often get a chance to touch his hair, but she loves the way it feels. It's coarse and wavy and dark as sin, and it smells of pine needles and the winter air.
He turns his face into her neck, rubbing his cheek against her throat as if trying to brush the incriminating tears away. His cheeks are rough with bristle, as if he hasn't bothered to shave since Lana left, and she shivers involuntarily at the sensation.
He freezes, like her reaction startled him. There's an instant of stillness between them, an instant charged with something strangely electrical that seems to light the darkness with sparks.
And then he's nuzzling her neck again. But this time... he's kissing her throat.
It's her turn to freeze. All sorts of emotion cascade through her. On some level, she's angry and indignant. Clark just lost Lana two days ago, after all. What does he think she is, a blowup doll? He can't just have sex with her now, just to concole himself. She won't let herself be used like this, damn it...
But his mouth trails down her throat, gentle and seductive, and she knows that she definitely will.
The truth is, she wants to comfort Clark. She hates seeing him like this, broken and hurt and so terribly alone. She knows what it's like to be alone, to have to fight one's way through the darkness without a light. She knows entirely too well.
She doesn't want Clark to have to struggle alone.
Read Chapter 2 here.