Saturday, March 5, 2011

The final chapter to: Come Back to Where You Belong

Come Back to Where You Belong - Part Five / Final Chapter

Can't believe a month slipped by since I posted the last update, but this ending needed a lot of reworking before I was happy with it... .

Come Back to Where You Belong Part Five
(Disclaimer:  I do not own these characters or Smallville...)

“I’m only a ‘poor man’ when your tears leave me helpless. You’ve never bugged me and I could never, EVER hate you, Chloe,” he confessed quietly after a long moment of silence, “And yes, that’s how I always knew he was hurting you. You refused my help, you’d stopped calling out to me. You kept your heartbeat calm all the time. I think this new ability of hearing your tears came about because I believe I’m destined to always protect you whenever you’re in danger.”

“I didn’t love him, you know?” she started suddenly, not taking her eyes from his. “At least not the way I should have or as much as he wanted me to.”

She paused for a very long time and lay back down on the pillows before continuing.
“I was lonely and he paid a lot of attention to me. And we did get along in the beginning. Jimmy was easy to be around. He had a job he liked, working the hobby he loved. Nothing too complicated. And without thinking, I let it go too far, when my heart and soul weren’t really committed. I fooled him and myself too, into believing it was enough. But I soon felt guilty that I couldn’t love him completely.”

“It didn’t take him long to realize that there were too many things wrong in our relationship. Instead of breaking it off, I ignored the problems and constantly lied to him by saying everything was fine. I just… I just wanted so much for it to be fine! But he wanted and needed a lot more than ‘just fine.’ I knew from the start that he was jealous of any time we spent apart, especially when I was with you. I didn’t know how to handle the jealously. I don’t think he did either; he just got angry all the time whenever he couldn’t control the jealousy. It’s such an ugly thing and it just made me more insecure and the guilt got worse. I knew I’d driven him to it.”

Clark moved closer to sit beside her on the edge of the bed, taking her left hand in both of his, “Chloe, this was not your fault! How can I convince you of that? No matter how jealous Jimmy got, he had no right to mistreat you…”

She tried to smile, grateful for his encouragement, but failed and settled for returning the slight squeeze he’d given her hand as he refused to release his hold. She lifted her eyes from their hands and met the serious concern in his eyes as she tried to explain why she had stayed. “I thought if I stayed with him, he’d soon figure out there was nothing going on between you and me. I really hoped he could stop being jealous. Pretty soon I was in way too deep and didn’t know how to break it off anymore.”

She took a deep breath. “I felt ungrateful, too. For years all I wanted was for someone to see me; to think I was beautiful, to love me! I never felt good enough for anyone! I measured zero on the self-confidence meter. Finally someone comes into my life who thinks I’m special enough to love… and it’s not enough! I really thought something was wrong with me. Especially after he found out about my meteor power and still wanted to stay with me. How could I not love a guy who wanted me so much?”

“Do you know why you couldn’t love him?” Clark asked quietly.

“Yeah! That’s the first thing the shrink made me admit.”

Before she continued with the reason, she admitted to another problem, “Do you know how hard counseling is if you can’t tell them everything?”

“I’m sorr-“

“Don’t be…” She sat up again and reached out with her right hand to touch his cheek, “You were right in suggesting it. I did need the help. I’ve learned a lot about myself. And… it… in the end it didn’t seem to matter that I couldn’t talk about alien friendships and meteor powers. He figured out the more important secret I kept from Jimmy and from myself…and everyone.”

She looked at Clark for a long time before finally admitting, “I didn’t have a heart to give to Jimmy because it had always belonged to someone else. For years I’ve loved a guy who didn’t love me back.” The sudden smile that followed the admission showed him her courage and how she no longer feared what his possible rejection of her feelings could do to her self-image.

And he knew it was time to show he could be brave enough also to offer his heart to her, and let her decide what, if anything, she wished to do with it. His voice was strong and gave away nothing of the wild beating of that suddenly very nervous heart.

“I was a stupid high school jock when I told you that; and it was a temporary stupidity. Although I was never smart enough to let you know when I finally realized that I did love you as much as you loved me. When I finally wised up, you suggested we remain friends and I was too afraid to lose you if I suggested otherwise. Years later after your good-bye kiss on Dark Thursday when I realized you still loved me, I was ready to give you my heart, too. But when I came back, Jimmy was in your life.”

Her eyes widened in shock. She had wanted to hear that for so long. And it felt wonderful, but she needed to tell him so much more. “You know I always thought I was so smart. Smart enough to never get into a situation like this. Smart enough to know no man had the right to treat me like that. Smart women know better. I should have known better; that as soon as I realized he didn’t trust me I should have gotten out.”

A tiny self deprecating smirk escaped her lips before she continued. “You know what the biggest truth I learned was? Smart women actually do very stupid things all the time, especially when they don’t… when they don’t want to be alone anymore.”

She didn’t resist when he pulled her onto his lap and held her close to his heart.

It was the one thing he understood immediately and completely. And she knew it; that’s why she knew she didn’t have to say more. It was the one thing he also feared above all others; to be alone.

The one thing that had made it easy for him to fall for Alicia, and to keep letting Lana back into his life, when he’d known there was no hope for a true future with either of them. He hadn’t really trusted either one completely. Alicia had wanted him to run away from his life; and Lana in a different way had made him want the same thing.

Both had no future.

His future he held in his arms, the one soul who was also his past. The one he’d always run to with everything good and bad in his life. The one who had always accepted him. And loved him. The one he trusted completely. The one he loved…

His fingers touched her under her chin until she raised her eyes to his, “You don’t ever have to be alone again, Chloe.” She didn’t move away when his lips came down gently unto hers.

His eyes were serious when his lips finally released hers, “Go on, I didn’t mean to interrupt…”

“Those kinds of interruptions are welcome anytime,” she reassured him happily, “As long as you meant it…”

“Yes, I meant it! I told you I’m not leaving. I want you to believe that. And I want you to know how sorry I am for never letting you know how wonderful you are; for always making you feel that you weren’t beautiful enough.”

She leaned back against her pillows, pulling away from him, searching his face trying to understand what he meant. “Beautiful enough? You can’t be serious. As much as I’ve always wanted to be seen as beautiful, I know that I have never been beautiful. Are you trying to flatter me, Clark, to make me feel better? It’s not necessary, you know.”

“You’re so wrong, Chloe! You’ve always been beautiful. And it is so very necessary. When I saw the guilt in your eyes that night… when I realized that you were trying not to cry, to be brave because you thought you somehow deserved what Jimmy was dishing out, I didn’t know who I was more mad at, Chloe. I obviously hated Jimmy for treating you like that; I don’t doubt that I could easily have killed him. I was angry at you for taking it and not fighting back or walking out on him. I had no clue how to convince you that his cruelty wasn’t your fault, that you should not feel all that guilt. But I was maddest at myself for having failed you. For letting you believe you weren’t good enough to expect to always be treated with kindness, respect and love.”

He looked at her stunned expression and tried to explain further. “I wanted to yell at you, to ask you how you couldn’t know who you are, what you are, how wonderful and special and beautiful you are. How could you let someone even dare to mistreat you? How could you think you didn’t deserve my help or protection?”

She sat up again and with a fresh flood of tears slowly linked her arms around his neck and pulled herself close for a quick but very warm hug.

“I didn’t know you loved me… like that!” she smiled through her tears when she saw his eyes squint in pain. “I’m sorry… I guess your brain can’t understand the difference in my tears, huh? These are happy tears!”

His lips lowered to slowly kiss the tears from her eyes and her cheeks and then smiled at her questioning glance, “Self-preservation…”

“While we’re on the subject of guilt, you know, Clark, you can’t take all the blame for my hang-ups,” she pulled back a little without leaving his embrace. “I started out with insecurities long before I met you because of my Mom’s unexplained departure when I was too young to understand. I learned how to play tough to hide the pain. I eventually believed I was as tough as I pretended. It took a lot of rejection for a lot of years before the tough act disintegrated and left me so vulnerable, somehow taking all the fight out of me. And there were a few other guys that made me feel there was something wrong with me, that wanted to hurt me for not loving them the way they expected. Some were meteor-infected, that’s true. But it did little to stop me from building mountains out of my insecure little hills. And when my meteor infection surfaced I had so much more to fear and be insecure about. It was so much easier to think it was my lack of charm, beauty and ‘normalness’ that was at fault, and not that the guys weren’t smart enough to hold onto a wonderful Chloe.”

She didn’t resist when he pulled her close again.

It was a beginning.

A beginning strong enough to give Clark hope. He was still somewhat unsure if he was anywhere close to convincing her how much he loved her and how afraid he was that she might still not want him.

“You know, Chloe, you weren’t alone in your insecurities. I have felt truly unlovable myself at times. I’ve wanted to be the one you loved from the moment I dug you out of that grave, when I first realized that you had been buried alive and you were not dead as I had feared, madly insane from the thought I would never see you again,” he started to explain.

“I’ve ached for you ever since that time when we exchanged some very hot kisses you don’t remember when we were both infected with mood altering Kryptonite gems and parasites and we played strip poker at the Talon. My dreams have been haunted from our almost kiss on the dance floor at the spring formal. You can’t begin to imagine how much I’ve regretted that a tornado warning stopped us. You can’t know how often I’ve asked myself if we would have been together from that night on had we just shared that much anticipated kiss. Would I have wasted years pursuing an illusion of Lana if you had become my girlfriend at that time? And I’ve already mentioned the hopes I had after your farewell kiss on Dark Thursday.”

He stopped for a moment to kiss away another tear that had escaped her right eye. “But you never chose me, Chloe, not as the lover I’ve wanted to be. You’ve kept me close as your friend, but always at arms length as a lover. I didn’t want you to ever leave me so I’ve stupidly accepted that distance you wanted, never being brave enough to risk my heart. I told myself being completely intimate with an alien was a place you didn’t want to go to… even as I knew and couldn’t deny that every kiss we’ve ever shared said exactly the opposite. I did a good job of convincing myself I wasn’t good enough for you, that you could be so much happier with someone else.”

She lifted her suddenly tear-filled eyes and laughed softly, “Stupid alien…”

“Stupid Earth woman…” and he kissed her lips gently, ignoring the pounding headache her tears were causing him.

“We deserve each other, don’t we?” she dared to whisper between kisses with a new found courage and confidence that lifted so many weights from her troubled heart.

“God, Chloe, I sure hope so…”

She was lost in the bliss of his suddenly very hungry kisses and laughed happily as he carefully kissed away the last of her tears from her cheeks. She hoped her crying days were done; she’d shed enough tears in the last few months to last her a lifetime.

And now she had an extra special reason to never cry again, she had no wish to cause Clark such pain even though it baffled her why she had such a connection to him. Something he had said earlier caused her to pull back a little to ask him, “What did you mean when you said you were destined to always protect me whenever I’m in danger?”

It took him a moment to concentrate on her question, he was mesmerized by her bright eyes and flushed cheeks and how much he wanted to continue kissing her adorable mouth.

“It’s a certifiable ‘Wall of Weird’ strange theory, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Promise you won’t laugh?”

He was so serious he really left her no other option as she laughingly swore, “I promise not to cry.”

“Do you believe in destiny, Chloe?” he asked in a quiet husky voice as she leaned closer.

“You mean the one you’ve denied your whole life?”

“Denied it, fought it, ignored it; mostly misunderstood what it meant…” he admitted.

“Wait—I thought you believed we make our own destiny?”

“Yes, I still do and that’s actually what I’m… that’s the destiny I mean. Ours. The one we created and set into motion a long time ago. I’ve tried to deny it… but it’s always been there.”

“Our destiny? As in, we are each others’ chosen ones and were meant to be together?”

“Yes. Well, more that we wanted to be together. I believe we connected that very first day. Maybe we are true soul mates who had found each other. We set it in motion the very day we met and you kissed me and I wished I’d had the nerve to tell you how much I wanted you to kiss me again! How very much I wished you’d added ‘for now’ to that ‘Let’s be friends’ suggestion.”

He kissed her quickly before adding, “I never left that kiss behind us, Chloe. It’s with me all the time.”


“No, in spite of all that we’ve been through together, I’ve never lost that connection. I know that we’ve both had other loves in our lives. But none have ever broken, only detoured, the destiny we both wanted from the very first day we met. I think maybe that’s why you were the first voice to calm me when I developed super hearing. Why your heartbeat calls out to me when you’re in trouble.”

He searched her eyes to reassure himself she wasn’t thinking he was crazy. “When you didn’t call out to me when Jimmy started hurting you… this connection had to find another way to reach me. I didn’t understand it… and the first time, I didn’t even realize they were your tears until I was speeding towards your place trying to find the source. I tried to fight it, to shut you out, especially when you refused to let me help you. But nothing worked and I finally stopped denying it, hoping that eventually you’d let me help you or walk away from him.”

He paused for a moment, not sure if he should continue with what his heart truly believed, afraid that she really would laugh at him. But seeing the longing in her eyes gave him the courage to trust her with what he felt. He admitted to himself that he really had no choice but to trust her, just as he always had. She was worth risking everything and it was time he let her know it. “I think that for as long as we love each other, for as long as we both want each other, we are always going to have this bond between us. I don’t want to deny it anymore, Chloe.”

His eyebrows raised in questioning hope when she remained quiet and didn’t reveal whether or not she believed him. He prayed she didn’t think he was delusional or insane. There was really no other way he could explain what was happening between them. What had always been between them. And he didn’t think he had any greater proof of how much he loved her, with not only his whole heart but with every part of the soul that had always belonged to her.

She was staring into his eyes so intently he almost feared what she was trying to discover in them and he finally couldn’t stand the lack of response, “Too weird? Am I scaring you away?” he asked, not hiding the fear he suddenly felt.

“Clark, that is so not ‘Wall of Weird’ strange. That... it’s ‘Wall of Weird’ wonderful! It explains so much. My head is dizzy with all the things over the years that now make sense. It’s also the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard. I should have known that my favorite alien would know a better way to explain his love than those three simple earthly words ‘I love you.’ I guess I don’t even have to tell you how much I love you when you already have so much proof of it.”

He pulled her back into his arms and kissed her fiercely, “You have to tell me every day, Chloe. I need it more than I need air. I won’t tire of hearing it ever, I swear. And I’m not above adopting the nicest three words on Earth as part of my daily ritual either. I love you, Chloe, with all my heart and soul. And I won’t ever stop.”

“I know. I won’t let you,” she whispered back as she slid off his lap and drew him down into the bed with her.

—the end—

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