Thursday, July 02, 2009

She Could Be You

Clark/Chloe futurefic, AU
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
The music is "She Could Be You," by Shawn Hlookoff.

I'm haunted by this photograph
Don't know why
Every time I look, I get shivers down my spine
You're such a beautiful face
I know those eyes
They take me back in time

The photo came in a plain manila envelope in his mailbox, with no return address and no postmark. He pulled it out of the envelope, and stared.

He'd seen that face before. He'd seen those eyes before.

He closed his eyes, remembering the dream. He'd had it years ago, but he still remembered it like it was yesterday.

He didn't remember what her name had been in the dream, if in fact he'd ever known it. But he'd dreamed that she'd been his best friend over many years, and then his lover. She'd been his loyal, steadfast companion, whose unwavering support had helped get him through many rough patches in his life.

He opened his eyes and stared at the picture.

It was just a dream, he told himself. The fact that this woman looks a bit like the girl in my dream is only a coincidence.

She wasn't real. In reality, he'd had to struggle through those rough times all alone. He hadn't had a close friend in years, not since his freshman year of high school, really. There had been no one in his life he could truly trust with his secrets, so he'd built walls, let himself become isolated. He'd let himself accept loneliness as the price he paid for being Superman.

But in his dreams... things had been very different.

He looked in the envelope, searching for more clues to her identity, but there was nothing but the photo. Nothing at all.

He stared at the photo for hours.

She could be you
I wouldn't even know
She could be you
But that was long ago
She could be you

The photo took up residence in a frame on his nightstand, just because he liked looking at it. Looking at her. He knew vaguely that it was peculiar to spend so much time looking at a photo of a stranger, but it didn't seem like the face of a stranger, more like the face of someone he'd once loved and now missed dreadfully.

And that was crazy, because he'd only seen her face once, in a dream. Only once.

He bent his investigative skills to trying to find out who she might be, and came up empty, to his great dismay. He badly wanted to know who she was. Every evening, when he looked at the photo, he missed her more and more.

Every evening, he ached more and more for the sight of a smile he'd never truly seen.

I wish that I could tell you
What you don't know
I dream about that day
But it's impossible
In another world, I'll be yours tonight
But I can't break free from this life

He obsessed over the photo during the day, and at night began to dream of her again, perhaps because he spent so much time looking at her face. He dreamed of moments that had never happened. The two of them sitting in a room in Smallville High School, typing; him rescuing her from a fire; him catching her as she fell; her kissing him in the basement of the Daily Planet.

All of it seemed so real, and yet it wasn't. He couldn't quite remember her name, yet every other detail of his dreams engraved itself onto his consciousness for all time. When he awakened in the morning, he remembered his dreams with an ache, as if he were longing for a real person.

She wasn't real.

But he wanted her to be.

She could be you
I wouldn't even know
She could be you
But that was long ago
She could be you

One day, a month after he'd gotten the photo, he came home from work, dressed in his unremarkable reporter clothing, a dark, rumpled suit and black-framed glasses.

She was waiting for him in his living room.

He stopped at the door and stared, rather stupidly. She was just as beautiful as she'd been in his dreams, her hazel eyes bright, her cornsilk blonde hair drifting over her shoulders. There were faint lines at the corners of her eyes that suggested she was close to his age, about thirty. "Uh..."

"Hello, Clark," she said softly.

He remembered her voice from a hundred dreams, remembered her laughing, crying, snarking at him, comforting him. He knew her voice the way he knew the music he'd heard in his childhood. It was part of his soul.

A memory from his dreams sparked, and suddenly he knew her name.

"Hello, Chloe," he answered.

She smiled, a wavery, almost teary smile, as if she hadn't let herself hope he'd call her by name. "Do you know who I am?"

He finally remembered he was standing at the door, the door wide open, letting the winter air into his warm house. He closed the door and took a step toward her.

"We've never met," he said, very softly. "But you're my best friend, and... and the woman I love."

Her smile wobbled even more, and a tear slid down one of her cheeks.

"That's about right," she answered, her voice steady despite the tear.

"I just... I just don't understand, Chloe. I've been dreaming about you. I dreamed about you before we ever met. I've spent the last month searching for you. How can you mean this much to me... when we've never met?"

I see it all the time
I know it's true
A picture doesn't lie

"This might sound crazy," she said, "but I've been dreaming about you for most of my life."

He blinked at her, then walked across the room and sat down next to her. "It might sound crazy," he answered, "except that I've been dreaming about you, too."

Her mouth curved in a wry smile. "In my dreams, you were my friend. My very best friend."

"And more," he said softly.

"Not until later. Much later. But in my dreams we were always inseparable, Clark. And yes, there was always a spark between us, of sorts. But the spark didn't become a flame until we were grown up."

"And then..."

"And then we realized how much we felt for each other."

He nodded, unsurprised. "My dreams were pretty much the same," he answered.

"See..." She took a breath, as if gathering herself to explain. "The thing is, my dad actually got a job offer to move to Smallville. But in the end he didn't take it. We moved to California instead. And now I wonder if... if..."

"If he'd moved to Smallville, if all our dreams would have actually happened?" He uttered a short laugh. "That sounds crazy, Chloe."

"Does it?" She frowned. "Is it any crazier than the two of us having the very same dreams?"

"Are they the same dreams?"

She shrugged. "It sounds like it. Tell me about your dreams."

He told her, in as great detail as he could, and she chimed in, telling him details before he could utter them, and sometimes describing incidents he remembered before he told her of them. They had shared dreams of going to a spring formal in high school together, of battling Brainiac together, of confronting meteor freaks together. They had shared dreams of watching movies together, of playing checkers, of hanging out together.

"Yes," she said at last, very softly. "We've been having the very same dreams."

He sighed, and closed his eyes. She knew all about his powers, even knew when he'd developed each of them, and he ought to be worried by that. And yet he wasn't. "But those aren't memories, Chloe. They aren't real. They're... I don't know, a shared hallucination, or something."

"Maybe, maybe not," she answered. He felt the warm pressure of her hand on his. It felt absolutely right, as if he'd waited all his life for the touch of her. "What if they're the echo of something that should have been? Our lives are shaped by so many small decisions, Clark. What if the wrong decision was made somewhere along the line, and the dreams we've both had are the memories we're supposed to have?"

He frowned. He didn't understand any of this. And yet he wasn't sure that it mattered all that much. There was an unmistakable bond between himself and this woman.

He'd never been able to find a woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He'd never been able to find his soulmate.

But now he knew with a calm certainty that he'd found her.

He wanted to fling his arms around her and kiss her, but he stopped himself. It was too soon for that.

"Those memories," he said. "Those dreams. As much as they seemed real, they weren't. They're dreams of what might have been, not of what was. We don't really know each other."

She nodded, and smiled faintly. "I understand. I know more about you than you do about me, Clark. I've been reading all about Superman's exploits in the paper. And I've been able to learn quite a bit about Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter, too."

"Yes. And I don't know anything about you at all, not about you in the real world, anyway." He turned his hand over and let his fingers clasp hers. "But I'd like to get to know you, Chloe. I really would."

She smiled tremulously, and her fingers squeezed his.

"I'd like that," she whispered.

She could be you
I wouldn't even know
She could be you
But that was long ago
She could be you

Soulmates always found each other, he thought a year later. Somehow or other, they found each other.

He still didn't understand how he and Chloe had been drawn together, or how they'd shared the same dreams. He still didn't know if their dreams had been of a could-have-been alternate reality, or simply a shared imagining of some sort.

But it didn't matter, not really. What mattered was that at last they'd found each other, and that he'd never let her go.

He smiled down at the face he'd known for a year, and that he'd known in his dreams even longer.

"Ready?" he whispered.

She smiled at him from behind her veil.

"I've been waiting for this for years," she whispered back.

He grinned down at her.

And then the two of them turned to face the minister, to fulfill all their dreams.

She could be you
She could be you

-The End-


MonicaOP said...

Elly... I love you, really, this... is beauty, total and complete beauty and inspiration!!!! You so rock!!!!!!! Hugs

DeeDee said...

Aw, this is so touching, Elly. We get a glimpse of how empty Clark's life would have been if Chloe had never been a part of it, and vice versa.

That song sounds lovely. I'm going to Google it as soon as I'm done here!

Great story, Elly. Thanks for sharing!


Kage said...

wow.. wonderful Elly.
and I really haven't read any fics that incorporated that song that weren't Kyle XY fics. great job.

chloista4ever said...

Beautiful, i love this turn of events you gave this story :-) i loved it!

Anonymous said...

So poignant. I was so sad for Clark at the beginning, so alone with only a dream and a photograph for comfront. How wonderful to believe the dream could somehow reflect a deeper reality. I swear, it's like all the thinking of the Chlarkers in one universe spills over into his reality.

Inked said...

Love multiverses, this AU just warms the heart. Thanks, Elly :)

Anonymous said...

This was so creative! I love the way you wrote it, the lyrics and just the whole idea. Brilliant job!

Anonymous said...

This was great. It a mixture of the comics and Smallville. It just goes to show that Clark and Chloe belong together in any reality. At least for us Chlarkers.

wwg said...

Who sent the photo?

It's a neat idea for a fic. I really enjoyed it! :)

BkWurm1 said...

Moving, heartfelt, and beautiful. Brought a lump to my throat, both for what they found and and for what they missed out on.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Just wonderful. I'm so glad you found the time to write and post. Have a happy 4th!


Kimmy said...

Fantastic. :) Flash forward to Season 9 future. Wouldn't it be nice if we found an alternate reality. I'd have more faith if you were a writer or producer of SV.

Anonymous said...

I really liked this concept, it was like a romantic fluffy X-File, hee! I wonder as well who sent the picture. My first thought was Lois Lane, if she was indeed writing about Supes, but that would mean she knew Clark's identity. Maybe it was another JLA'er.... anyway, this was a great, creative story.

RJChasez said...

OMG... I almost cried. :( Amazing.

And I demand you give us a sequel. Who sent the picture? lol