Beyond Recognition

"Order up! Coffee black with a sausage and egg croissant," a harassed sounding voice barked out of the moving deli's tiny window. It couldn't have been more obvious that the barker hated his job. It laced his voice and was firmly etched into the many wrinkles that lined his face.

As he reached up to grab his breakfast, Davis Bloom stuck a dollar in the white Styrofoam cup labeled "TIPS," understanding what it was like to wish you could do something or be something else. He'd always loved being a paramedic but not anymore; now it seemed like a waste of time when the thing inside of him wreaked so much havoc and destruction of its own.

He'd thought about quitting and taking himself away from people altogether, but he hadn't been able to. Davis knew it would be safer for everyone, but he just couldn't do it. He felt as if the more people he saved or helped, the more he was atoning for his sins. Deep down, he knew that there was nothing he could do to feel fully forgiven, but he strived for absolution anyway. He had to. Because if he didn't, if he freed himself of all guilt and blame, there was no telling what would happen.

So he'd worked to keep the beast under submission, placating it with the murders of petty criminals and then confessing to a priest as he begged for forgiveness. It had become a weekly routine, one he'd performed the night before.

After he'd dropped the dollar in the cup, the man in the van didn't say thank you. Instead, he grunted as he set the steaming cup of coffee and sandwich on the little counter in front of Davis.

No, the grumpy server didn't thank him, but his low huff was enough. Davis recognized the sound as gratitude for the buck. It wasn't much, but Davis knew that it helped to make his job slightly less unbearable.

And that too was something he understood all too well.

He had his bright spots, his own equivalent of a dollar tip. There was the satisfaction of knowing he'd made a difference, that he'd helped to save someone's life. And that was a feeling like no other.

And then… there was Chloe.

The brightest spot of all.

She didn't really make Davis's job better; she made his entire existence better.

There was just this indefinable quality about her that he couldn't even begin to explain. She was good and kind, not to mention beautiful. But more than that, she'd always been there for him and believed in him even when Davis didn't believe in himself. He would always be grateful to her for that. And while these were adequate descriptions, they couldn't truly compare to how he felt about her. The only way he could possibly sum it up was to say that he loved her. And even then, that wasn't nearly enough.

He knew that she was happily married to Jimmy and that there was no way they could be together. The last time he'd seen her, which incidentally was the first time since the wedding, he'd told her he was fine, that he was moving on. Both, of course, were lies, and he couldn't help but feel like she knew that. Chloe had smiled and tried to show him how happy she was to hear it, but it was in her eyes. They both knew he was lying.

And he could live with that.

Would have to live with that.

Was living with that.

When the man behind the counter let out a gruff, "Next!" Davis grabbed his coffee and sandwich and moved out of the way of the slew of construction workers who were lining up behind him.

Once he was finally away from all of the men in their hardhats and flannel, Davis began to strip the waxy paper off of his croissant. Sandwich in one hand, steaming hot coffee in the other, it should have been an impossible task. But after years of practice and an impatient stomach, Davis had gotten it down to an art.

Gripping the bottom of the pastry in one hand, Davis used his teeth to pull back the top corner of the paper. The crinkling of the wrapper filled his ears, mingling with the sounds of early morning in Metropolis, traffic and people rushing past him on the sidewalk stating out their workday on their cell phones. It was a symphony of sound he'd come to know and love.

Davis was halfway to his rig and an inch away from taking his first bits of egg, sausage, and bread when he came to a sudden, unexpected halt, causing a woman to walk right into him.

A few people stopped and stared, and one man even barked at him for stopping in the middle of the sidewalk. But Davis couldn't help it. He just couldn't bring himself to move.

As if someone had called his name, Davis looked across the street.

The croissant long forgotten, Davis' deep brown eyes found Lois instantly. But even though it was her body, it wasn't Lois he was watching walk towards the entrance of The Daily Planet.

No, it was Chloe.

Davis couldn't think of any way to explain it, but it was her. He was sure of it.

There was a drive behind her hurried steps that he'd come to associate with the blonde. And her hair was styled in a way that he'd seen many times, but never once on Lois. And that was to say nothing of the outfit she was wearing which looked as if it were meant for someone with a much smaller bust and much shorter legs.

But even though he noticed those things, they weren't what made Davis recognize the woman across the street as Chloe Sullivan.

Somehow, in his heart, he just knew. It was as if he were unconsciously drawn to the very essence of her being no matter what form she was in.

Davis wanted to drop his food and charge across the street to her. He wanted to grab her by the shoulders so that he could find Chloe in the depths of Lois' eyes. But his feet wouldn't let him. He was glued to his spot on the sidewalk, frozen. By what, he didn't know.

Abandoning all hope of moving, Davis wanted to call out, to yell out the blonde's name as loudly as he possibly could to see if 'Lois" would turn to him. But when he was finally able to make his mouth work, all that came out was a softly whispered 'Chloe.'

She didn't stop and turn toward him because of some connection they shared. Chloe didn't even seem to know that he was standing across the street seeing her even though her body wasn't there. Instead she'd pushed her way into the mass of people trying to get into the Planet building. And Davis couldn't blame her. As much as he believed she had feelings for him, he also understood that she was married.

But he still wished that she would turn and look at him.

His breakfast long forgotten, Davis stood and watched the revolving doors of The Daily Planet long after Chloe had disappeared into them.

Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- This was originally written for "vagrantdream" who wanted a conversation between Chloe and Davis during the episode "Hex." Now… I know this isn't a conversation, but it's all I could come up with. I hope you like it anyway.
- Quack: My beta! Thank you so, so much. I really appreciate all of your help. So very much. :duck:
- Reviews are love.