Author's Notes: Okay, this story needs a little bit of explanation. I don't
watch Smallville on that regular of a basis. When I originally heard about
it, I was rather excited to see what they'd do with the concept. I watched
the first few episodes, but fell away from it. I got into the fic through a
series of accidents and became rather attracted to the idea of the
Chloe/Clark relationship, especially because her base character design is so
similar to Lois Lane. (This is not to say that I don't indulge in some
severe L/C/C joy on occasion.)

As it stands, I started this because of my fascination with the differences
between Smallville and the regular Superman universes. Given the way the
writers and producers have set up Smallville, there's NO way that continuity
can mesh into the current (or past) canon. This was my subtle (and pretty
vague) explanation on how it happened.

9/11/02: Blah. I'm really sorry. On a second reading of this, I decided that
some plot points needed to be cleaned up, revamped and rewritten. As a result,
the following is a revised version of "Remembrance of One" that is more focused
and, I hope, a better read.


Remembrance of One
by A.j.


Some days, you wonder just why you get up in the morning.

They aren't frequent - those bad, scary days - and for that you are grateful.
Because getting up every day with a pain in your soul is the shortest route
to death. You know this. Well, except for a green bullet, but that doesn't
count. Not really.

Because that's just physical pain, and you can deal with that. You welcome
it, sometimes, just because in that instant when receptors are snapping and
those deliciously horrible sensations are raging, you can almost believe
you're normal.

Everyone feels pain. Sometimes.

But on those random, terrible days, it isn't the physical that twists your
heart and makes you want to crawl back under the comforters. No, it's
something else, isn't it? Something that comes and goes at the worst
possible times, leaving you sweating in the dead of winter, a breath trapped
in your throat.

Because sometimes, just sometimes, Lois turns hear head just like THAT or
smiles at you in just THAT way. Or she laughs, her head thrown back and her
smile as wide and bright as the Kansas sky. And in those moments, the past -
that evil vicious bitch - reaches up and grabs you, and just won't let go.

In those moments you can't help but think that maybe this is what should have
been with someone else. Maybe that laugh or smile should be different,
higher and brighter. Or that the swish of hair is too dark for the person

Because sometimes, just sometimes, you remember a different woman, in a
different time and place and your breath stops at what might have been. What
should have been.

And in those moments, you can feel your chest (the one that always has just
enough capacity to see you through) tighten as soft images of days that were,
but weren't, play behind your eyes. Warm light tinged with innocence makes
the memories hazy and surreal. And in those first few moments of
remembrance, you panic because you don't want these memories to be hazy or
surreal. You want them clear and sharp, even if they cut.

Because you're the only one that remembers. Just you. Because, though your
burdens are heavy, the universe decided that no, it isn't enough. It never
really is. And as much as you don't want to hear the screaming or to relive
those last wrenching moments, you never wish it away. Wishing it away would
make it not real.

And making it not real would be the ultimate betrayal, wouldn't it?

Because it did happen. To you, to Lana, to Pete, to your parents. Even to

It's never Luthor in your head, is it? No, it's always Lex. And that's why,
when you face him across the battlefield, the chess board, or whatever, you
can't help but remember a time and a place that wasn't. A different man, but so
similar in so many ways. A friend. A brother. A betrayer.

It's all so clear after those first, few, hazy moments. Because your mind (so
quick and smart) drags you back. In these instants, you understand how a
soldier can go mad for the reliving. Because you do. Every time, you see it
happen, live it again. Terror clogs your throat, bitter on your tongue in the
cloying sweetness of a hay barn. You can feel the close, sticky air, baked by
an August sun until it tastes of nothing but ashes and dirt.

And the screaming. Always the screaming just before your vision focuses on two
very specific things. They grow, filling your head until all you see is a knife
and blood falling from a woman who never really existed. And eyes, so clear and
blue - a brother's eyes - growing wide in horror as the realization of
everything he's ever feared has come to pass.

It is fitting that this one, unreal act, is the only time you've ever caught him
in the act.

You remember, even if he doesn't, the shimmer of something that might have
been tears deep within those blue, blue eyes. But you also know that his
sorrow, his tears, weren't enough. Never ever enough. Not for this. So when
you see him across the battlefield, the chess board, or whatever, you hate him
just that much more.

Blood doesn't wash away, even if it isn't real.

You've never told anyone, even Lois, about these moments. Not your parents,
or Pete, or Lana. And not Lex. Never Lex. You can't tell them. What would
you say? That this place, this world isn't real? That your poison, your
destruction, shapes their past and history because someone - even you don't
know who - had enough will, enough desire, to change it?

How can you tell a world that kryptonite meteors destroyed a reality that was
and recreated it, but with differences?

Or should you tell your father that he used to be in debt, or about how many
times he almost lost the farm? Can you open your mouth and demand from your
mother if she knows just why she doesn't use cinnamon in her coffee, even if
she never ever did to begin with? Or, worst of all, could you tell your wife
that the reason you fell in love with her is because she reminded you of
someone you knew, someone you loved, in a life that never happened?

Because that's what happened that first day in The Planet's newsroom. You saw
her and her fire and ambition and it was all you could do not to cry out. In
that instant, your heart and mind contracted and all you could see was her, the
other one. The one who was taken from you.

But you know you can't say anything. There are limits on what your friends and
family will believe, even if it is you. And deep down, you know there's nothing
to be done which can make this easier, or better.

That world, the one in your head that you can only remember sometimes, is gone.
Smallville and the meteors and Lana and Pete and Jonathan Kent and Martha Kent
and the Wall of Weird and Lex and... her. They're only in your head now.
Because the morning after everything ended, after Lex had run from your barn and
you had cried and screamed and begged, you woke up in the same bed you'd had
since you were three, and everything was different. The only thing left to
remind you of what was, is memory.

So when the moments come and the panic sets in, you hold on the best you can
and just ride it out. Because even through the terror and the blood and the
pain, there are other things. Smiles and laughs, blonde hair and hazel eyes.
Long afternoons in a dusty barn with conversations so trivial and earth-
shatteringly important you can never quite remember what they were about.
And finally, a tiny body too frail to hold a spirit burning for the truth and a
smile wider than the Kansas sky.

A woman so familiar, but lost.

And even though you've come to love this world, and the people in it, in
those moments, those bad, scary moments, you remember Chloe, and the thing in
you that'll never quite heal screams.