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.
Read Chapter 2 here.
It's a long time before Chloe can think again. She doesn't mind. She doesn't really want to think about all the ramifications of what they've just done. Just lying here, feeling the delicious warm lassitude of afterglow, the heat of his body against hers, is enough for now.
But eventually, he stirs. "Chlo," he says, his voice soft and slightly blurred, as if he's still a little high on hormones. Or possibly he's just worn out. "I guess... I guess I should be going."
He sounds hesitant, uncertain, and she realizes he doesn't really want to go back to his empty life at the farm. She doesn't blame him. Emptiness is a difficult thing to face, because it's not truly empty, but filled with memories and dreams and what-might-have-beens.
"Don't go," she answers, squeezing him slightly. "You shouldn't be alone right now. You can sleep here."
He relaxes slightly, and nuzzles her throat with sleepy affection. "Thanks."
"But not on the couch," she adds hastily, before he can slide off into unconsciousness, leaving her squashed beneath a two hundred and twenty pound Kryptonian for the remainder of the night. "Come on. Get up and climb into the bed."
He grumbles a little, but struggles to his feet, staggers over to the bed, and collapses into it. She follows him and lies down carefully on the other side, trying to keep some distance between them, but he doesn't let her reestablish any space between them. He wraps a muscular arm around her, yanking her up against him, and presses his face into her hair.
She lets herself relax into his embrace. "Good night, Clark," she whispers.
"Mmmm," he answers, more blurrily than before. "G'night."
A moment later, she hears the soft, steady buzz of snoring. She closes her own eyes, and lets herself relax. With his arm around her, it's surprisingly easy to relax. For the first time in weeks, the dark emptiness seems a little less frightening, a little less Stygian.
She doesn't have her dreams back yet.
But it's a start.
She awakens to light.
She rolls over, blinking against the morning sunshine that streams into the apartment. Clark is sprawled next to her, his big body taking up substantially more than half the bed. His dark hair is rumpled, and his jawline is dark with the stubble she felt last night.
She stares at him for a long time, because he's beautiful, and she can't look away. She knows she ought to feel bad about what happened last night. She's a married woman, and she just made love to another man. That's wrong.
But it doesn't feel wrong, and she understands why. She couldn't bring herself to leave Smallville when Clark was in pain. She couldn't leave him to face his grief alone. She just couldn't.
Because even though she's married to Jimmy, it's Clark she's truly tied to.
She's loved Clark for a long, long time. The fact that he doesn't feel the same way about her doesn't change her feelings. Her feelings can't be changed. Clark is the one for her. He's her best friend and partner. He's her rescuer and her savior. And when she's been lost and alone and grieving, he's always been there for her.
In the darkness, he's her eternal light.
And no matter what, that is never going to change.
The new understanding loosens a knot inside her, and she resolves to stop struggling against her feelings so much. She can't alter the way she feels.
True, Clark may never love her the way he loves Lana. She may always be his second choice. But she will never stop loving him.
Clark will always be one of her dreams.
She reaches out and strokes her hand through the coarse waves of his hair. His eyes flicker open, and he blinks sleepily.
"Hi," he says.
"Hi," she answers.
They gaze at each other for a while in silence. Not the awkward, uncomfortable silence of two people who've stepped too far over a boundary, but the companionable, peaceful silence of two close friends who are never uncomfortable with one another.
The emerald depths of his eyes are still shadowed with grief, of course. She knows there are shadows in her own eyes, too. Last night didn't solve anything. In many ways, it just made everything more complex.
But it comforted them both, and brought them closer together. And maybe, just maybe, she thinks, it was the first step toward healing their mutual wounds. She hopes so.
She smiles, hesitantly, and he smiles back.
And then he reaches out and takes her hand, while the sunlight of a new day pours over them both.