Thursday, June 25, 2009

Leaves That Are Green

Clark/Chloe angst
Season 9
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.

I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song.
I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long
Time hurries on.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand.

Once my heart was filled with the love of a girl.
I held her close, but she faded in the night
Like a poem I meant to write.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they wither with the wind,
And they crumble in your hand.

-Simon and Garfunkel, "Leaves That Are Green"

"I miss you."

"Clark..." Her voice held an unmistakable note of impatience. "We've been through this before. I'm not coming back."

"I understand that," he said into the phone. "I do. I mean, we both agreed we should go our separate ways. But I was just wondering..."

"If you could come to see me? No, Clark. I told you before, I think it's better if we just make a clean break."

"But Chlo..."

"Goodbye, Clark."

The phone went dead. He put it down and settled heavily onto the couch in his empty apartment.

He'd known Chloe Sullivan for a decade now. The two of them had been best friends, and then lovers. And then...

He sighed, remembering their last conversation.

"I got a job writing for the Gotham Gazette."

He'd frowned. The two of them were lying in bed together, having just made love, and he rolled over and looked at her. Her blonde hair was gilded by the light from the bedside lamp, and her bare skin glowed golden. She looked like a goddess. A sexy one.

"You're not taking it, are you?"

"I have to, Clark. You know that I've always wanted to be a journalist. Ever since I was a little kid. I've tried other things, but... I keep coming back to journalism."

"But you're Watchtower now."

She was silent a moment. At last she said, "I like helping Justice, Clark. I do. It's a worthwhile job. It's important. And I wouldn't mind doing it on the side. I mean, mild-mannered reporter by day, superhero by night... it works for you, after all."

"You don't have the time," he said. "You're not superpowered."

"Oh, I see. So because I'm just an ordinary human, I'm not allowed to do two jobs? News flash, Clark. Ordinary humans hold down two jobs all the time."

"Yeah, but Watchtower's pretty much a full-time thing. You have to be on call almost 24/7. And besides, the headquarters are here. Ollie won't want you relocating to Gotham."

"And neither will you, I suppose." She patted his chest in sympathy. "I'm sorry, Clark, but there's nothing for me here. I can't write for the Daily Planet as long as Tess runs it, and the only other option is the Inquisitor... which is no option at all, if we're going to be honest about it."

"There's the Smallville Ledger."

She snorted. "Sure, I should take a massive career step downward and write for a small-town paper. Come on, Clark, be serious."

In his heart, he knew she was right, but he persisted anyway. "You can't leave, Chlo. We're practically living together."

"And as great as this is," she said bluntly, "I'm not throwing away my career for a guy. Not even you. That's not who I am, Clark. At least, it's not who I want to be. I've been..." She sighed. "I've been putting my career aside to help you and Ollie for a while now. But the honest truth of the matter is, it's not what I really want. I want to get back to serious journalism."

He was silent, and she patted him again. "We can do the long-distance thing," she said gently. "It's not like long distances matter that much to you."

He thought of not having her here at night, her warm body curled up against his. Something inside him rebelled at the thought. He knew he was being selfish, but he wanted her smile to be the first sunshine of his day, every morning for the rest of his life.

"They do matter," he answered. "People can't see me popping up in Gotham every day if I'm supposed to live here. Eventually, someone'll notice me visiting you all the time. I can't call that kind of attention to myself, Chlo."

"So come to Gotham and live with me," she suggested.

"I can't," he said tiredly. "I can't live in Gotham and work here, for the same reason. And I'm not giving up my job at the Planet, either."

She was silent for a long moment. "I understand that," she said at last. "I respect that. I wouldn't expect you to give up your job for me. But you can't expect me to give up my career for you, either."

"No," he answered softly. "I guess I can't."

"We could always..." Her voice was hesitant. "We could try for a regular, human-type long-distance relationship. You know, phone calls and texts and visits."

"I can't," he said, hearing the note of grief and despair in his own voice. "I'm used to seeing you every day. I don't think I can stand anything less."

She sighed, and turned, wrapping her arms around him.

"I can't offer anything more," she whispered into his chest.

The two of them had tried the long-distance thing, but in a matter of months it had petered out. Their relationship was simply too intense to survive long separations. They'd found themselves arguing every time they saw each other, squabbling instead of making love, and every weekend had ended up in cold anger and harsh words instead of affectionate kisses and hugs.

Eventually they'd admitted it just wasn't working out, and said goodbye for the last time.

He missed her. She'd been an important part of his life since middle school, and he missed her an awful lot. But he wasn't willing to give up his career for her. With his lack of credentials, he'd been ridiculously lucky to snag a job at the Daily Planet, and he knew it.

And besides, it was the Daily Planet. He couldn't give that up, even for her.

And she was doing great at the Gazette. He surfed the website regularly, and saw her articles featured on the front page on an almost daily basis. She was right-- here in Metropolis there was nothing for her. He couldn't ask her to work for a tabloid like the Inquisitor, not when she had a job working for a very reputable, well-regarded paper.

The two of them couldn't live in the same city. And they couldn't seem to make a go of a long-distance relationship, no matter how hard they tried.

Their relationship had once seemed so promising, like leaves budding in the spring. But it had withered and died, and now there was nothing left. Nothing except his longing for her, a longing that wouldn't quite die.

But he needed to kill it somehow, because he was beginning to admit to himself that things between the two of them would never go back to what they had been. His life with her was over and gone, never to be recaptured.

He looked around his empty apartment, and sighed again. He'd made his decision, and so had she. They'd both put their careers over their love life. And he couldn't even think that was the wrong decision for either of them. It had been the right thing to do, for both of them.

But he missed her. He missed her terribly.

And he was afraid he always would.

-The End-


marikology said...

now I'm completely bummed out. I hate the idea that something as mundane as their jobs is keeping them apart. But it was a beautiful story.

Elly said...

The thing is, to Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan, are their jobs mundane? Or should they both put their careers first? It's a question that a lot of us have trouble with, really, and I think for them it's an even bigger question-- especially for Chloe, who's been "destined" for reporting since eight, at least.

MonicaOP said...

Hmm this is amazing, great writing, totally logical... and it killed me inside a little bit.. :(

I have to say... can't you just get rid of Tess?? that way Chloe could come back!!!!!!!! Lest start a campain... Mercer out... Sullivan in.. or something ;).

Great story Elly as always, be well.

DeeDee said...


Kinda sad, this one, but I can see where you're coming from, Elly. Much as I'd like to see romantic Chlark onscreen, I'd much prefer to see Chloe return to her journalism roots with a passion. If it comes down to one or the other, I'd rather see the girl with a decent job, thank you very much. But some onscreen Chlark sex before then wouldn't go amiss. ;-)

Nice work, Elly!


Elly said...

Monica- I actually thought getting rid of Tess would make sense, but, well, I know the show isn't going to:-). So I was going with what I guess to be future show canon here. Of course Tess may eventually turn the DP over to Ollie, in which case Chloe can come back. If you want a more cheerful sequel, then feel free to imagine one along those lines

Dee- Yep, if it comes down to a choice between seeing Chloe back in journalism or with Clark, I'll take journalism. She's loved it longer than she's loved Clark.

Inked said...

Elly - if it comes down to a choice between seeing Chloe back in journalism or with Clark, I'll take journalism. She's loved it longer than she's loved Clark.

Exactly. Clark's position on staying in Metropolis and working for Tess was a stupid one - it didn't show him wanting to be a hero in the city.

Bummer than it didn't work out.

Great writing as always, thoughtful alternative if not a perfect one :)

Kimmy said...

As sad as I am that they're not together, I don't see either of them giving up their dream jobs (which in the end becomes a dream life) for love. It's a reality of life that we need to work, and if you love your job, who could give that up? A fitting yet somber end to a wonderful relationship. I wonder how SV will exit Chloe after Season 9. I hope a little like this. I certainly don't want her killed off like James Olsen. ;) Well done. I really liked it.

Anonymous said...

Nice bit of angst I guess.

But I really didn't buy it.
Too many of the supositions you make in the story don't hold up.
Kent can't superspeed into her apartment every night without anyone seeing him, and occasionally go out in public with her as a visiting boyfriend?
And you make a reply to another comment that their jobs are not mundane. Ya they are and I can show you how. With bloging, twitter, and 24 hour news channels newspapers are totally mundane. One of the things the Superman mythology has not caught up on is the fact that newspapers are obsolete and dying a painful death. Look at the number of them including large chains that are going out of business. So you chose career over love. Guess what, in 10 years the Daily Planet will be gone or so changed it's not recognizable.
So you got a pink slip and an empty apartment for your effort. Yay You!
And 'destined' to be a reporter? What doo-doo. Does that mean someone can be destined to be a dog-catcher too? Hell If she was born to be a reporter there are lots of ways she could do it. Become a TV reporter; start her own news blog; become a freelancer.
You've just made the pair of them look like idiots to me.


(sorry can never remember my passwords for google and livejournal and I'm not at home)