By Sara <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: January 2005 (Written November 2004)
Summary: Our heroine is in love with the man of her dreams. So why is she having such trouble sleeping at night…?
This story was written in a state of high panic for Saskia on her birthday, and would never ever have made it into the archive without some very helpful hints, nags and thwaps-round-the-IM- window <g> Sas — appreciate it, as always. ;)
Many thanks to Sara Kraft, who proved just how evil she is [and how sweet I am by comparison] with a little cloak-and-dagger, under-the-cover-of-darkness BRing, and who was utterly *fantastic*. :)
More thanks to a group of FoLCs who helped me out on this when I was stuck, on IRC — especially to Roger, who came up with some very important details. A final word of gratitude to Tricia, my Archive GE, who was extremely helpful and encouraging. :)
Standard disclaimers apply.
And, ahm… I feel I should mention… as to the content of this light little piece — well, so many conversations with Sas have obviously rubbed off on me ;) But only barely!! Very very little. Uh-huh. <g>
*But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame…*
— "I Dreamed A Dream", music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmar, from Les Miserables.
She woke up with a final choking sob that seemed to reverberate through her body, her heart vibrating with the sound. The darkness rushed to assault her eyes and she lay there, stunned, for several minutes, her breath coming hard and fast.
Finally, she registered where she was, and she half-turned in the bed to bury her head in the soft depths of the pillow. Her hands clenched and unclenched rapidly as she tried to calm herself down.
Light. She needed light. Needed it to calm her jangling nerves and the headache that pounded so roughly at her skull — a headache no amount of pills would ease. With leaden limbs she rolled out of bed, a thin blanket still wrapped around her, and stumbled out into the room.
She sank down in a heap on the wicker chair beside the window, gathering the blanket around her, trying to stop her teeth from chattering. It was a balmy summer's night, but she was cold — cold inside, as if an icy hand was wrapped around her heart. Sitting there, she was totally unaware of what an erotic picture she made, her limbs pale and graceful in the thin light, her bright hair a beacon in the dark room. She closed her eyes with a heavy sigh.
Night after night, an endless monotony. She couldn't handle it; it was a choking sickness that engulfed her unexpectedly. She was somehow caught between two worlds — she knew that one was real and one was a trick of her mind, but try as she might, she couldn't distinguish between the two.
A thought suddenly occurred to her and she turned her head, her eyes wide and troubled. She scanned the rumpled sheets, the bare mattress, then conceded with a sigh.
He wasn't there. He wasn't there to comfort her, to take her in his arms and smooth the confusion from her heart… He wasn't there.
Her heart longed for him in a way even she didn't understand at times. It was like a constant pain inside her, a pain he was meant to fill. His face kept the monsters at bay. His eyes held a world she would gladly live in. Nothing existed beyond those eyes — while they sparked and gleamed and smiled at her, it didn't matter whether the earth was turning or not.
She frowned suddenly, images from her dream swimming before her.
Brown eyes. The one constant in her life. She was haunted by them, surrounded by them. They were everywhere. Angry. Sad. Disturbed with a heart-rending melancholy that cried out to her, somehow. And at other times they were joyful and dancing and teasing…
A rich male voice, soft, husky, full of emotion…
Dark hair, falling against his forehead, just like *that*, soft…
All the while, his eyes, beaming, caring, loving, awed, and…
…belonging to somebody *else*!
Somebody who came to her in her dreams with whispered promises and empty vows, somebody who scared her, turned her insides into a quivering mess, somebody she knew she should avoid, somebody she screamed at, ran away from, but he caught her, always.
If… if he could have that effect on her in a *dream*… then… what would have happened if she'd been trapped there? Caged? What would have happened if *he'd* found her, instead of… what then? What would she have done? Would she have gone with *him*… willingly? Where would she be now, if that had happened? What would he have done to her? How would she have escaped? Would she have *wanted* to escape? Would she have believed him? Totally? What if…
She shook her head, swallowing repeatedly, banishing the tears from her throat. She'd — they'd — escaped from him nearly three weeks ago. With a foolproof escape plan. Why, oh *why*, was she still feeling so… lost? So utterly removed from everything around her, as if she didn't belong, somehow? Why did she feel like a shattered piece of glass, scattered everywhere, fragile, dangerous?
She belonged with him. They belonged together. They were soulmates, and she loved him in a way that was beyond her comprehension, beyond anyone's comprehension. And he felt the same way about her — he'd told her that a thousand times, and he'd showed it to her in a way so much more meaningful than words. If she was at all hesitant, if she was a little confounded… well, that would pass in time.
He'd saved her in just about every way possible, sacrificing everything he held dear to do so. And she was still running; she was still skittish, even with the knowledge of what he meant to her cemented in her brain.
She frowned, her eyes darkening. She needed something, needed something to reinforce that belief, needed affirmation…
She sat up a little straighter, then bounded from her chair, all exhaustion suddenly forgotten. She barely felt the chilled floorboards under her feet as she hurried towards the bed, feeling a burst of blood pound in her veins, sustaining her.
She reached under the mattress and unearthed a sheaf of photographs. Smiling fondly, she leant back on the mattress and tucked her knees against her chest. She flipped through the stiff bundle slowly, savouring each image.
God, he was handsome. So darned handsome, with his laughing brown eyes and dark hair. They looked right together, they looked perfect. She stared at the woman she'd been once, immortalised in the photograph, smiling, laughing. Why couldn't she be like that now? Why did she always have to be a shadow, hanging onto her sanity with the tips of her fingers?
They really did look perfect together, though. He was just a tiny bit taller than her — in the photo, he was just a little taller than her, she couldn't imagine ever wearing heels with him, so awkward — but that obviously wasn't a problem now. They were pieces of the same puzzle, and obviously, with all the changes, they didn't fit perfectly into place yet… but they would. They would have to.
A long finger twisted absent-mindedly in her wavy blond locks, and she pulled back for a minute, remembering. *That* was why… she felt so out of place. She was a wholly different person now, reborn, what way had he described it? A phoenix from the ashes, that was it, burning for a time but emerging finally, even more beautiful than before. And even if what she'd done made her shiver… even if the very *idea* of what they'd done made her cringe and wonder… the end justified the means. Of course it did.
But that didn't mean she had to like it.
She frowned, banishing the dark creature that scurried across her brain at that admission. It didn't matter what she thought, what she felt, what she did or didn't remember. He was her hero, her saviour. He had led her from a cold, dangerous world into a place of love and protection.
She'd been so *lost*. Utterly lost, on the streets of Metropolis, wandering around without a thought in her head. The city was screaming something at her, but she couldn't figure out complete sentences, just words. Lost. Help. Strange. Scared.
And then he'd appeared, jumped out of a taxi, his eyes familiar. Straight away, something about him had called out to her, to her very soul, and she'd nearly wept with relief — a link, something familiar, something incredibly important to her, she just knew it! She'd trusted him immediately, his whole personality had told her he could be trusted, and he'd borne her away that very night, to a place of safety, he'd protected her from the nameless shadow that haunted her world, he'd made her unrecognisable so she'd be safe forever.
*"Where is my house? I want to see my home. Where is home?"
"You have no home. Your home is with me. I am your home."*
She smiled wistfully. Yes, he was her home, he was everything that was important and dear to her. She'd been foolish to think otherwise, to doubt him… but she knew better now. He was an anchor in a stormy ocean, something to cling to and never let go of.
A draught made her start and she suddenly stood to attention, her eyes quick and darting. Yes, there he was, standing right in front of her with her world in his eyes. He reached out a tender hand and stroked a tendril of hair from her cheek, and she stood, stepping gladly forward into the circle of his arms. She closed her eyes as her fingers stroked his chest through the light t- shirt lazily, basking in his closeness. A long, peaceful silence.
"You know, that's the fourth time this week I've found you awake this late," he whispered finally. "Is there something you'd like to tell me?"
She stilled suddenly. "I… um…"
"Another bad dream?"
His voice held depths of understanding, and she relaxed again. "Yeah."
"Oh, honey." He pulled her even tighter, and she closed her eyes, willing her mind to leave her alone.
"I keep seeing faces," she whispered. "So many of them. And none of them make any sense. And…"
"And?" His voice was slightly sharper now, and she didn't blame him. These were shadows she thought they'd banished long ago.
"And…" She hesitated. "And… I keep seeing… him."
A long exhale. She could tell he was trying to be patient, she was insanely grateful. "I… I'm always at the altar, in a wedding gown, and… I'm marrying *you*, always you, but… suddenly I turn around and it's *him*…"
She broke off, shuddering at the memory. He clasped her to him, thoughtfully.
"Sweetheart, this… these are just nightmares. You've got nothing to fear — they're a world away from us. You remember, don't you? How we managed to escape?"
She nodded her head, her eyes flooding with tears.
"Oh, honey…" He hugged her still closer, and she relaxed a little more into the circle of his arms. "I know it's been hard to adjust, but you have to remember that this will all come back to you. It's just going to take a little while, but we're together now, and that's all that matters…"
"I know. I know."
"And what about Clark Kent?"
She shivered slightly. "Clark who?"
She felt him smile against the top of her head. "That's my Lois. I knew a bump on the head wouldn't slow you down long."
"Now *that* sounds familiar…"
"It really was a good thing I was there when the car hit you… if Kent had been around, I really dread to think what would have happened."
She nodded against his chest. "I'm so glad you were there… I would have been so scared, and alone, and… lost, if it hadn't been for you… you showed me who I was, all the photographs… you saved me, Lex."
"Alex, my love. Do try and remember… new names for new lives…"
She nodded, sniffing, her eyes misty. She looked up at him and smiled, shyly. "I think I've chosen one."
He leant back, looked at her. "You have?"
"I don't know, something about it just appeals to me… Lucy. I think Lucy would be a good name… it sounds familiar, somehow…"
She felt him swallow, then nod. "I'm glad, my darling." A hand stirred the back of her head restlessly. "Have you gotten used to… everything else?"
She laughed wetly, sniffing again. "Like I said. A lot easier than dyeing your roots."
He chuckled. "That's my Lo… Lucy."
"Oh, Lex, I'm so glad you're here… I feel so lost without you…"
"You're not lost anymore. You never will be."
She leant back and smiled up at him, then met his kiss with equal passion. Even while marooned in another body, she knew she was right where she belonged.
THE END <eg>
(c) Sara, 2004