THE DOMINION OF LIGHT
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. They are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros., etc.
Notes: This story takes place post 'Covenant' and could possibly be seen as an AU fic. Please read it and let me know what you think (I haven't written anything in months; I'm apt to be quite rusty at this :))
"Are you still there?"
"Please, just laugh again or something. Anything."
There is no response and he doesn't want to admit that maybe there was no one there, that maybe he is crazy, that this is grieving or dementia or...
They buried him six weeks ago. Four days. Nine hours. Sixteen minutes, four seconds.
He can't think about that now because they have cried too much and screamed at the cave and the ship and himself and every deity one can think of. He's gone and Clark hates himself but damn, Jonathan Kent is dead and isn't coming back.
It's a whisper in the dark and Clark cringes for a moment then remember this is a good thing, this impending conversation, these talks in the night.
"I thought you weren't going to show. I was scared."
I'm here. Everything's fine.
"Where have you been?"
Drifting. Here. Over there. The hospital mostly...she dreams about you, you know.
The voice is a deep, rich baritone, rife with a romantic yet distant inflection. No identifiable regional twist.
"She shouldn't. I'm not worth it."
Suddenly, like before, he feels a slap to the side of his face and it actually burns; not like kryptonite...stronger, wetter, and more passionate. Bolder. A reprimand. Ambivalent. Almost like a bruising kiss.
Don't talk like that. Be grateful for what you have. She's still alive.
"Barely. She will never walk or speak again. Her skin, the burns--"
She dreams, Clark. She dreams of wonderful things. That's still life.
"I miss my Dad."
I know you do. I'm glad you at least had a father worthy of love. Mine...well...let's just say you got lucky. My father--
"Tell me about him...I mean, if it's not too hard."
He's a sadist. He drinks, he bites. He vomits all over the table. Likes to thrash things about, me included. Never wanted me around.
A long silence followed. Clark tried for the umpteenth time to grasp his companion's "hand" only to feel a sort of fine mist about his fingers.
(I wish I could pull myself together for you. For real. Maybe I will remember how.)
"What's your name? I know I asked you before but I really want to know."
There is a pause that makes him think he has broken some unsaid rule and then, even quieter than before-
Todd. In Milwaukee they called me Todd.
"At least now we know each others names'" Clark chuckled sadly.
There was a light whistle, then what seemed to be a rush of air, and Clark felt ice cold for an instant, then raw and tingly, like gentle needles were being applied to the entire surface of his body.
You like when I do that, don't you Clark?
(I wish I could feel you as you do me.)
"Yes. But it scares me. Almost nothing can hurt me. Almost nothing can make me feel anymore except you-you make me squirm and I like it but I don't understand. How can you do all this? I mean, what are you?"
I don't know. I'm the darkness, the shadows. The forgotten promise, the torn page. I'm yesterday, maybe the future. The dusk, never the dawn. I've never been sure if I am even human.
"Well...that's not an issue here. You know I'm not exactly normal."
That's the only reason I stay. We're alike, you and I. I can soak in you light and feel closer to whatever humanity I still possess.
"What do you usually feel close to?"
Silence. Vague patterns in the moonlight. Violent, detached places of hurt and destruction. Of tears sometimes. Torrents of salt falling from my eyes.
"You sound like Lex used to. Negative."
Not negative, honest. And don't judge your friend-
--Don't be so quick to judge. I've seen his nightmares...he suffers intensely and weeps alone. Compassion is the one thing you can still extend him, even as you feel angry.
"Let's talk about something else."
You don't have to play hero for them, you know.
"I'm strong, though. I have these 'gifts.' I have a duty-"
You have no duty to anyone save yourself. Do what you can then let go.
Clark, listen. From what I have seen the line between heroism and martyrdom is a very fine one. I'm not saying not to help those you can. I travel from house to house, sweeping away children's nightmares. Sometimes I lift the fog of angst from the night watchman or the surgeon. The cop caught in the crossfire. The little old lady about to die. I do what I can. But I cannot make this my point of living. If I did, I would be swept into and under all the pain of the world, which in my case, I fear, could turn me into an instigator of said fear. You cannot let the pain consume you.
"But I have to try..."
Yes. Trying is good. Right now you need to try to go to sleep.
"I am tired...do you sleep, Todd?"
I believe I used to. I haven't taken physical form in so long I can't remember. Don't worry about me...I am here for you...you've been taking care of everything and everyone else...now let go...Just lay back. Like that, yes.
"When you're here I can rest...you make me feel saf-"
Shhh...you don't have to say that...I feel it...
Clark's words became softer and jumbled... "...before you came I......would shake all night...those horrible dreams of Krypton...death....bad..."
I know. And I am not leaving. You're the one thing bright in my rather gray world. Just relax. Don't think about the Math test or the SATs or your Dad's passing or anything else. Not in this moment. Just focus on sleeping. I'll be right here. Just drift, Clark.
There's no need for words...just go...
Clark was asleep and Todd Rice lay there, molded within his form, guiding him through a black and stable slumber.
Todd wondered about his life and what would come next. He'd lived so many lives, it seemed. He'd left the apartment full of wrath and followed the moon west. He'd turned south and been lost, eventually coming into a beautifully starlit valley full of cornfields and lush greenery. He'd been in all the houses there, all the souls...yet he had been lonely. By chance, he'd met Clark by the river, under a bridge, shrouded in the dusk.
Clark had been so broken, so needy.
He'd followed his shadow home and made friends with it, eventually communicating with Clark himself. Todd thought about these good things...then other images...a green flame...a green woman...and others still of dank caves and stars and screams for help. Other visions came to him of his own cruel and empty mortality.
For tonight though, he would not worry with such matters. He was helping his only friend in the world to sleep, to survive. Through Clark, he could still remember how warm the sun felt. That feeling was priceless and Todd would do whatever was necessary to maintain it.
(Perhaps this could be what normal people call love.)
He'd consider that and more as night retreated into day.
'The Dominion of Light'
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