There Is No If




The bedroom was quiet and peaceful. Clean, comfortable sheets covered the bed. Soft pillows propped Lex’s head and even softer blankets cocooned him. He opened his eyes when he felt Clark move from the chair beside him and walk to the window, sadness written in his posture.

Lex wanted to go to him, to hold and reassure him, but old age prevented it. He was also so tired, and felt safe and warm in their bed. So many years had passed and so much had been done that all he wanted now was rest, but leaving Clark was hard to do. He had made a promise long ago, before the day came and he saw how it was.

*~*

Without warning, the gray storm clouds opened and heavy rain poured from the sky, eliciting screams and laughter as people ran for shelter. Lex and Clark ducked under the bleachers by the rodeo ring at the fairgrounds, joining others who had taken refuge from the storm. The rain beat a rapid tattoo on the wooden plank seats and dripped steadily between the slats. Lex felt like a drowned hairless rat, with his clothing plastered to him, clammy and cold against his skin.

Beside him, Clark laughed, eyes crinkling in the corners. Raindrops clung to his lashes and the tip of his nose. Wet curls of dark hair stuck to his cheeks and forehead, drips of water sliding along his jaw to fall from his chin.

Clark wiped his face with his arm and grinned boyishly. Reaching over, he took Lex’s hand, entwined their fingers, and looked out into the rain.

Lex glanced at their clasped hands. It was such a simple gesture of affection, casual but telling. It showed others that they were together. It gave them an excuse to touch. And at that moment, it meant much more to Lex.

Lex tugged lightly, getting Clark’s attention, and spoke, but his words were drowned out by a tremendous sneeze.

“Sorry, my nose tickled,” Clark said. “What did you say?”

“I said ‘I love you,’” Lex told him for the second first time, and watched a smile spread across Clark’s lips before being kissed.

Clark slid behind Lex, wrapping his arms around Lex’s waist. He entwined all their fingers, their dual-clasped hands laying low on Lex’s belly, and rested his chin on Lex’s shoulder.

“If you die,” he said solemnly, “so do I.” The rain fell heavily from the clouds.

“Tell me I’m forever yours and you’re forever mine,” he whispered in Lex’s ear. “Swear I will always be yours and you’ll always be mine.”

“Always forever,” Lex promised, and he believed it was the truth, that it would never end.

*~*

The sun streamed through the window, catching the silver in Clark’s hair. His broad shoulders were hunched as he stared outside at the bright day. Lex watched him from the bed, and spoke, but Clark yawned loudly as he turned around and didn’t hear.

“Sorry,” Clark said, returning to his chair beside the bed, a pleasant smile on his face. “I’m tired.”

“So am I,” Lex admitted quietly.

Clark’s smile wobbled and his eyes took on a watery shine. He clasped Lex’s frail hand with his own. “You said something before?”

“I said ‘I love you,’” Lex told him for the second last time, and watched the smile fade from Clark’s lips before being kissed.

Clark slid an arm around Lex, their clasped hands lying between them, and rested his head on Lex’s shoulder.

“If you die,” he said, “so do I.” The tears spilled like rain down his cheeks.

Lex entwined their fingers, closed his eyes, and took his last breath. It ended because he understood. “There is no always forever, Clark… just this… just this…”


End


There Is No If


Remember the first time I told you I love you
It was raining hard and you never heard
You sneezed! And I had to say it over
“I said ‘I love you’” I said…you didn’t say a word
Just held your hands to my shining eyes
And I watched as the rain ran through your fingers
Held your hands to my shining eyes and smiled as you kissed me

“If you die,” you said, “so do I,” you said…
And it starts the day you make the sign
“Tell me I’m forever yours and you’re forever mine
Forever mine…”
“If you die,” you said, “so do I,” you said…
And it starts the day you cross that line
“Swear I will always be yours and you’ll always be mine
You’ll always be mine
Always be mine…”

Remember the last time I told you I love you
It was warm and safe in a perfect world
You yawned and I had to say it over
“I said ‘I love you,’” I said…you didn’t say a word
Just held your hands to your shining eyes
And I watched as tears ran through your fingers
Held your hands to your shining eyes and cried

“If you die,” you said, “so do I,” you said…
But it ends the day you see how it is
There is no always forever… just this…
Just this…
“If you die,” you said, “so do I,” you said
But it ends the day you understand
There is no if… just and
There is no if… just and
There is no if…



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