By Dave <email@example.com>
Submitted: December 2007
Author's Note: I'd like to send a quick thank you to Sorcha, Julie and Nicole who volunteered to be my guinea pigs for this, and a huge thank you to LabRat and our dedicated Fundraising committee who've been very patient and have put a great deal of effort into this project. You've done a great job, guys. :)
Archive EIC's Note: This story was one of a number written as part of a fundraising project for the various FoLC websites.
She could feel his presence. In that place between night and day, the dark comfort of almost sleep, she could feel him smiling at her. She could feel his eyes on her. She could feel him with her, and she never wanted to wake up. Not if she had to find out it was all a dream. If she had to find out that he'd gone... and he wasn't coming back.
He'd been gone for hours by the time she'd fallen into a fitful sleep on his couch. Too long. Much longer than he needed. Much longer than he could survive without air. Much longer than he could survive...
It was sheer will alone that had kept her in that room, pacing for endless hours until she'd fallen onto the couch in exhaustion. She'd promised him that she'd be there. She'd promised him she wouldn't leave until he returned. And she couldn't break a promise to him. The man who dreamt of marrying her. Who dreamt of her babies.
She'd never... she'd never expected that. The surprise had slowly faded as she'd realized... she'd known about his feelings all along. Or at least, she'd suspected how he'd felt about her. That he'd been attracted to her. That he'd wanted her. That he'd dreamt about her... And then... how she'd felt about him. She loved him. The man who wanted to marry her. The man who wanted to love her. The man who'd dreamt about a life with her... The man who wasn't coming back...
The man she'd sent to his death.
She'd been so sure. So positive. He had to come back, because he was Clark. Because she needed Clark. Because *Clark* always came through. Because she'd really believed it. She'd believed in him, and he'd believed her. And if she kept her eyes closed she could still feel his hand brushing through her hair.
The quiet whisper cut through her and she cried out. She reached for him blindly, too afraid to open her eyes, too afraid... And then she was pulled into his arms.
Warm, solid... dirty.
She coughed and the arms were gone. Her eyes snapped open and he was still there. Hovering above her, his brow crinkled and his eyes worried. "Are you okay?"
He was covered in dirt, his clothes torn, seared. There was stubble on his cheeks and his eyes were red. Bloodshot. He looked like he'd been to hell... And he wanted to know if she was okay.
He looked like he'd been to hell, but he was in front of her, alive. Watching her with those eyes... that she'd never thought she'd see again.
But he'd come back.
The man who dreamt of marrying her. The man who'd asked. The one she loved. The one she would marry... one day.
"I love you," she whispered, her voice hoarse from sleep and her eyes misted in relief.
He smiled at her gently. "I know."
"You know, huh?" Her lips turned up. He was back. He'd come back.
"Yeah. Chair... table... mirror... Lois." His grin widened. "I know the important stuff. We've got plenty of time for the rest to come back to me."
He leaned forward slowly and she met him halfway. They'd have plenty of time for the details later.