By Pouncer

DISCLAIMER: Nothing Smallville related belongs to me, being the property of various corporate entities including the WB, DC Comics, etc. I'm just playing.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I wrote this for Livia's X-Files title challenge. Real life intervened, so this has been sitting around for a while, waiting for my attention. According to the titles list, "teliko" means "the end" in Greek. Feedback would be truly lovely. My thanks to nerodi for the beta.


The once gleaming crystal towers stand cold and cracked under the red sky. Purple storm clouds are building on the horizon. Jor-El watches the signal trace of his son's ship until it fades away into nothingness. The control panels around him lie silent, no longer needed to scream warnings of the coming catastrophe.

Jor-El takes one last look at the readouts and leaves the room to find his wife.

He walks through the reception hall, once the site of glorious galas celebrating the full flowering of Kryptonian culture, where artists and scientists and leaders interacted under his family's hospitality as they had for generations. The great halls, now empty, since so many of his friends and colleagues have fled to the countryside in a vain attempt to find safety. As Jor-El turns into the family quarters, he knows that their efforts are hopeless. Nowhere on Krypton is safe now.

Lara is sitting in the nursery, staring at Kal-El's empty crib with longing. A shaft of pink light falls across the floor from the uncovered window. "Is he . . . ?" She can't bear to finish the question as she stands.

"Yes, he's on his way," Jor-El replies gently.

Her eyes spasm shut with grief for a moment before catching his gaze. "I know this is his only chance, but it hurts so much to let him go." Tears are seeping down her cheeks as Jor-El moves to take her in his arms.

She had been so brave earlier, when they prepared to send their son to the stars. She had held Kal-El in her arms for the last time, crooning down into his small face. She had lifted a finger to smooth down her son's cheek, saying, "You have been my greatest joy, Kal-El." Lara's voice had trembled as she continued, "I will miss you forever and I will love you forever. Know that, if you know nothing else. We would never send you away if it were not your only chance to survive. Safe journey, my son." One last look at his face, and Lara had given their son into Jor-El's hands. Placing his son's small body into the ship had been wrenchingly hard, and he shuddered again as his embrace with Lara recalled him to the present.

"Oh my love. I would give anything to be able for us to go with him, or to stave off the end. You know how hard I've tried to find a solution. We can't survive the trip, but Kal-El has a chance. The only thing we could give him now was our farewell and our love."

Lara's voice shakes as she answers. "I want him to find love in his new life. And happiness and satisfaction . . . We would have given him everything, beloved. All his dreams would have come true." Lara hides her wet eyes in her husband's chest. He holds her silently, thinking of the baby who brought them such bliss. Who had been the vessel for all their hopes and dreams as he looked up at them with bright curiosity. The pink light from the window slants across his wife's hair.

He gently pushes Lara back to see her face. "Dearest, we've done all that is possible to save ourselves, all without any result. To know that our son will live is a cold comfort when he is no longer here to hold close, warm in our arms. But I think we must take that comfort together, until the end comes."

Lara nods silently, and takes one more slow look around the nursery. "Shall we listen to Mar-Ek's Cantata while we dine?"

Jor-El smiles and nods at his brave, doomed wife. The two of them leave the room in silence, soon broken by the oncoming storm.