Harlequin Black Opal

The rarest of all patterns of black opal showing a quilt of small blocks of color in every shade of the rainbow. It is often said to be the rarest gemstone on earth.

NOTES: One, this is not a character death, so please keep reading past the title. Two, YES, I am messing with continuity. Three, this is set in the future & there will be some skipping around in time to get the whole story. Four, I am pulling some premises from the comics about what the characters end up like. Five, this is a What Ever Happened to Chloe in the Comics kinda fic. Six, I shamelessly admit I had to borrow from real funeral addresses to write this. Seven, before I forget, I do not own any of these characters; they belong to the WB & DC comics.

Chapter 1: Funeral

No one looked at the simple casket that held her mortal remains. The bright sunlight made every color seem just a bit more attractive than that dirt brown box. In the background a bright chickadee sang its weird anthem to the departed. Nineteen people desperately tried to listen to the pastor's words. Nineteen people wore black on a late, warm spring day meant for dalliances and picnics.

"Today we gather to say our final farewells to Chloe Sullivan, her brilliant light was taken from us before its time."

Lana knew what funerals were like. She had watched her parents' bodies lowered into the ground not far from this spot. If she turned her back on this gravesite she would see the simple granite stone that marked her family's mortal remains. She had spent so much time in this place at night it almost felt like a second home. But the daylight changed the place. It felt unfamiliar, spooky, like the spirits of the dead were watching her from behind the trees, unwelcoming.

"It is hard to let go of a loved one, especially one whose life had barely begun."

Lana slowly unclenched her fingers, shifting the single red rose to her other hand. The stem was crushed, but soon it would not matter. The earth would do more damage to the once perfect flower than she ever could.

"How do you summarize a life?"

With dignity, thought Lana. With respect for who she was. With regret for not being there when she needed us the most.

"There is nothing I can tell you about Chloe that you don't already know. She was your friend, your loved one, someone who was always there for you when you needed her."

Lana was surprised to feel wetness on her cheeks. Raising a delicate hand she wiped the saltiness away. But the wetness came back as her tears continued to fall. Lana didn't know when the tears had started, but they wouldn't stop now. Somehow it felt like she had been crying her whole life.

"But now she is gone, leaving only her possessions and words behind to give us comfort."

Strong arms wrapped around her, pulling her back into a comforting embrace. Lana leaned into the warmth offered, taking what little they could share in this grief-stricken place.

"Do you remember when the first time something of hers was published? The joy? The excitement?"

Pete pulled Lana tighter to him. For so long he had loved the girl in that simple brown casket. He had never said anything, knowing Chloe had loved Clark. Pete remembered watching Chloe try to tell Clark she loved him. Watched her lose him time and again. Every time Chloe somehow managed to pick herself up and go on loving the boy who loved someone else. It seemed so long ago that he couldn't even remember when his desire turned to friendship.

"Chloe said that instant her life changed forever. Life had given her a destiny, to change the world with her words."

Their high school years had been the stuff of soap operas and science fiction: love triangles, heartbreaks, meteor mutants, and an alien. Pete remembered the first time he found out about Clark. The shock had almost been their undoing. But after, after the secret between them had only strengthened their friendship. Now it seemed unfair that Chloe had never been on the inside of the secrets. Clark had never told her he was an alien. Chloe had spent so much of her life trying to explain the impossible.

"Chloe never let a story remain unwritten. Never left a stone unturned looking for the truth."

But some stones are too heavy to turn over. Boulders never move with just the strength of one girl on her own. It seemed almost indecent that a damn silly pink slab of marble would now be her last testament in life. Pete wondered if Lex thought the thing would make up for their loss. Lex didn't know anything about Chloe. So why pay for the funeral. He wasn't anyone's friend…at least not anymore.

"But now her dreams will never come true. Her bright destiny was cut short by a tragic accident."

An accident we could have prevented if we had been there. A light spring scented breeze distracted Pete from his gloomy thoughts. Looking away from the grave he watched the wind rustle through the emerald green leaves of the graveyard's memorial trees. The day seemed wrong for a funeral. It should bee rainy and dark. If felt inappropriate to morn on such a beautiful day.

"For those of us left behind the road ahead has never seemed so dark and long."

Pete felt Lana bury herself deeper in his arms. Gently he held her hands, giving her what comfort he could, what little he had left to offer.

"It is hard to express the depth of the abyss that opened in our hearts the moment we heard Chloe was gone, in an instant our lives changed."

Clark watched Pete comfort Lana. Once upon a time he would have been eaten up with jealousy to see his best friend hold the fantasy girl of his adolescence. For so long he had loved her. Clark wasn't sure when the attraction ended. He just knew that one day he looked at her and all he saw was a friend, one who would share his secret and his life. He could remember the day Lana and Pete officially told the world they were in love. He remembered the first time he saw them kiss. It was gentle and passionate and perfect. They couldn't tell him how it happened, what brought them together. No one saw it coming, least of all them. Maybe it was the secret they shared, the time they spent helping him, the alien, living a human life. Clark didn't envy the love they'd found. They deserved to be happy.

"But we must all look back on Chloe's life and remember what she was to us. She left us all with memories, memories we must cherish."

Chloe. Clark remembered the first time he met her. Clark hadn't known he had a silly side until he met Chloe. She used to make him laugh at the world, when she wasn't trying to convince him that Yeti existed. And now all that was left of that shinny-eyed blonde girl rested in a plain brown casket.

"How do we remember her? With love and joy."

He should have been there, with her at the university. They wanted to do the same things with their lives, become reporters. But no, he had to take a year off. Go explore the world without his friend. He went around saving lives, but when it mattered the most he wasn't there to save Chloe. He could run faster than a speeding train, leap over tall buildings, see through walls, and even fly. But what good was that when he failed to save the life of someone he loved. Life suddenly seemed too short, too pointless. His parents had tried to comfort him, tell him that he couldn't save everyone. No one could do that and if he tried it would drive him insane. This was Chloe though, his Chloe. He should have been there

"She sparkled when she discovered something new. Every time she found an answer her face would light up with discovery."

Why hadn't he ever told her his secret? Chloe, solver of mysteries and truth seeker, never got to know the biggest secret in Smallville. It wasn't that he didn't trust her. It was a big responsibility, knowing such an important secret. Sometimes it was dangerous to know. Tears misted over Clark's eyes and he shook his head. That was bullshit, plain and simple. Chloe had deserved to know. Clark always thought he'd get a chance to tell her in his own time, like Lana had shared in his discovery of flight. Even after Clark found he no longer loved Lana he trusted her. But Chloe, who had loved him so long, Chloe… Clark's thoughts trailed off, distracted by a late arrival to the funeral.

"What Chloe gave is more than any can forget. What little time she spent on this Earth was more than enough to change lives."

Lex, he looked like a million dollars, with a black suit, black shirt, black tie. Even his eyes were covered with black shades. Time and distance had dulled the pain of their last parting. Clark knew it was his fault, but he could never regret the decision. As much as Lex had been a friend there was some part of him that believed as his father did that Lex couldn't be trusted with "the secret". Lex knew there was something going on, something Clark didn't trust him with, lied to him about. Those last days of summer had been filled with distrust and growing hostility. Even now he could see the chilliness in Lex's expression. Their friendship was over. Like so many things from Smallville, Lex had become part of his past, dead to his future.

"Never forget what Chloe meant to you."

His love for Lana had ended. His constant companionship with Pete, different now, they couldn't see each other as much as they used to. Lex, now part of his past that would never be resurrected. And Chloe was gone forever. He always thought she would be there, waiting for him. But now he would never see her again. She was dead.

"Remember how she laughed and cried. Kept her alive in your hearts."

The chickadee's song ended. Closer, just above his head Clark heard a red robin take up the memorial music. He knew the bird was just being territorial, warning strangers away, but the silly twittering still brought tears to his eyes. The day, so beautiful and bright, that it reminded Clark of Chloe's life. In his heart he hoped she was happy, wherever she was. With all his heart he wished.

"She moved on to a better life than this one. We hope she has found peace in heaven."

Lex almost snorted. Heaven. Ha. As if heaven existed. Spiritually Lex believed in only one thing, Hell, and it existed here on Earth. Lex looked around at Chloe's friends. He could see their pain at loosing a friend. Clark, dressed in an old black suit, stood silently, looking respectably mournful, almost crying. Clark had once been a friend, his only friend. Lex ground his teeth, remembering the arguments. He had trusted Clark with his friendship, with a bit of his heart, yet Clark did not return the trust. Clark lied to him. Lex knew, even now, Clark was still lying to him.

"In heaven I can see Chloe organizing a newspaper. The news might not be as exciting as what she wrote about here on Earth, but if heaven is perfect place, then that's what Chloe's heaven would be like."

The birdsong was distracting. In the trees above his head some damned red bird wouldn't shut up. Lex wanted to find a gun and destroy the bird…and the damn trees that wouldn't stop rustling. The noise was a damn distraction.

"When trying to find the right words for this I read several of Chloe's works and found the obituary she wrote for her father."

Lex remembered the funeral. Mr. Sullivan had been a very good foreman. It was a shame the man had a heart attack. The day had been dark, dreary, and appropriate. A week before the man had died Chloe sent out several of her best articles to be reviewed by major journalists. Things she had put so much passion into, rejected by so-called serious writers. The single page letter had arrived just before the funeral. Lex remembered the bitterness in Chloe's voice when she told him about those people later. They had ruined her life, taken away the last thing left in her life that mattered. Those people destroyed Chloe Sullivan, but they didn't kill her.

"'We loved you, Dad. We will never forget you.'"

Lex closed his eyes and he could see her, so beautiful and alone and naïve.

"Chloe, remember this, we love you and will never forget you."

I killed Chloe Sullivan.