GOTHAM : For One Kiss

The blonde woman was unused to the freezing temperature. She huddled lower under her thick coat, shivering against the biting air of the dark city. She hurried down the street, desperately seeking for a warm stopover before continuing on her pointless wandering.

Chloe Sullivan lit up at the sight of a blinking sign that was so old that it flickered sporadically, hung dangerously at one end, and now only read C FF EHOU E. Despite the dubious appearance of the shop, Chloe needed her fix too badly to care. She hurried over to the establishment and looked down at the door handle. Grimy. She cringed. She would not have been the reporter that she had become if she would let possibly fatal germs bring her down though. She closed her gloved hand over it, mentally swearing to throw out the gloves before even stepping back into her newly leased very ancient apartment.

When she entered the shop, all eyes turned to her. She felt each of the customers look her over, weigh her really, without even turning their heads. It made her feel so uncomfortable, the way they measured her from the corners of their eyes, as though she were not even worthy enough of a full on appraisal. The coldness that made her shiver now had nothing to do with the weather, although it was even colder in here than it was out there if it were possible.

She briskly made her way to the counter, both to get out of their sight as soon as possible and to get the blood circulating in her legs. She was about to rest her arms on the counter when she remembered to inspect it first. Upon inspection, she decided to let her heavy arms rest by her sides.

"A cup of coffee to go," she told the sleepy-eyed attendant. "Could you hurry?"

'Martha,' her name tag stated (ironic to find someone across the country as far from Mrs Kent as one could get) looked at her with no trace that she had registered Chloe's order until a minute of two later, she pointed to a list on the unsanitary counter. "Pick your poison," she said monotonously.

Chloe grimaced at the words. She probably would be buying poison if she continued here. "Never mind," she muttered, and hurried out the door.

"Stupid bitch prolly just wanted to get out of the cold," 'Martha' said from the counter.

Chloe rolled her eyes but did not bother to correct the woman on her assumption. One thing she had learned after two years living with a man she adored beyond anyone else in the world-you had to choose only those worthy enough to fight your battles with. It was no use expending your strength on someone you would never encounter again. She mentally thanked his memory.

Once outside the shop, Chloe leaned against the wall, not caring that it had probably been pissed on by dozens of men over the course of the day. As always whenever his face fleeted through her mind, her knees weakened and it was all she could do to stay on her feet. She blinked away the tears that threatened to fall.

She did not want to do this. Really. She tried to keep herself from doing this whenever the urge hit her. But now, in this dark, strange city that was so ugly and smelly that her head ached just being there, freezing under the falling snow, Chloe needed to do it. She looked around her to make sure that nobody was around. The bag under her coat contained her entire life. To lose it would push her over the edge. It was not so much as the money it contained. The bag held treasures that were beyond price, and departing Kansas to leave the past behind, she could never leave them-four cards: two for birthdays and another two for Christmas, all containing messages in his beautiful script; the half-inch thick sheaf of photographs taken of them over the months by their friends; one of his hundred white handkerchiefs, special because it was the one stained dark brown from the last time she held him; and a ring, the only one of those treasures that would probably be worth something to thieves.

Chloe took the blue and white envelope and pulled out the picture on top of the others. A tear rolled down her eye. She was laughing there, under the sun. She could still remember how warmth felt like if she closed her eyes and thought hard enough. She hadn't been warm for so long. From the moment she left, she had sought places that would be as far from the flowers and meadows of Smallville where they met, and the steel and high glass windows of Metropolis where they had fallen in love. Gotham City, with its cold grey slabs of stone and perpetual nighttime was as perfect as anywhere else she had been.

She shook her head to clear her thoughts and hastily wiped her eyes, vaguely remembering how dirty her gloves probably were now. It served its purpose though, and she was able to see the photo again through drier eyes. He was grinning at her, even though she was looking the other way. She saw all the love in his eyes reflected there.

A movement from the alley caught her attention. She slipped the picture and the envelope back in her bag. Chloe hurried away from the shop and found herself at the beginning of what appeared to be the main street of the city. It was still dreary, but it seemed less dangerous than the part that she had previously been in.

She breathed in deep and felt her nostrils run numb. She liked the feeling of the almost pain that she was in, with her shoes too Kansas to use in the snow, and her coat too thin to keep away the frostbite. Chloe felt for her bag and then proceeded to walk through the empty streets of Gotham.