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It's been a while, hasn't it?

Title: Shards of Night
Fandom: DC AU. Well, hopefully AU.
Rating: PG13 (because I didn't try harder?)
Author Notes: Dedicated to razorsmile, who came up with the idea, and outlawpoet, who both fleshed out and betaed it.

They knew he was going to be different from the moment they opened the small spaceship. How could it be otherwise? But as the crystal capsule seemed to melt into the dull angular metal, they saw...

Their eyes refused to see what was in front of them. Their brains, panicking, tried again. They saw...

A baby.

A beautiful, perfect baby.

* * *

Clark was a sweet boy, and he loved animals. Yet they acted strangely around him. Subdued, nervous. They seldom stood on his way, but seemed unable to run away when he approached them.

For his seventh "birthday," his parents gave him a puppy. It shook in his arms as he rocked it against himself, laughing, and ran toward the woods beyond the farm.

Fifteen minutes later, the boy came back alone.

"He- he attacked me," he sobbed, falling into his mother's arms. "He was barking and growling and..."

Without saying a word, his father took his rifle and a shovel and went into the woods.

No gunshot was heard.

He came back half an hour later, dirt in his shovel and a haunted look in his eyes.

* * *

There's surprise and pride in his eyes as he raises the tractor over his young shoulders. It seems impossible that two small hands could hold the large machine in the air without any strain, and that two small feet could support him while barely denting the soil.

His handsome face is open to the sun, feeding from it.

* * *

The night after the ship first spoke to him, Clark --- Kal-El, of the ancient House of El --- stood alone on an empty field, looking at the starry skies with eyes that weren't human, peering at the darkness between the stars and the things beyond, and then looking at his hands and beyond, too.

He closed his hands and his eyes.

He was Clark Kent, from Earth.

The skies sang to him about the far away past and the promises of the future.

He repeated his name to himself, loud enough to drown the voices in his blood. For now.

* * *

He's a red and blue blur flying over Metropolis, protecting his people. They look up to him with love. They wear his glyph in their t-shirts and caps. They cheer.

He's happy.

When he sleeps, he has nightmares about terrible monsters from beyond the skies destroying everything and everybody on the blue ball he calls home. He always wakes up shaking, with a strange taste in his mouth.

Clark would die before letting humankind go away.

Their belief in him doesn't make him human, but it makes him a person, and he needs that more than breathing.

He doesn't, actually, need to breathe, and he has never seen the color of his blood.

* * *

It wasn't the first time that a scream was heard from Lex's most private lab, but it had never been in Lex's own voice. Mercy rushed to him.

"Are you okay?"

Lex turned off the monitor he was using before she could see what had made him scream. "He's... alien, Mercy. He's alien."

Mercy tried to tell him that they already knew that, but the haunted expression in his face stopped her.

"Don't bother. I'm the only person in the planet who could look at him, know him for what he is, and not lose my mind in the process. Their little minds couldn't cope with it."

There was something new in Lex's eyes, something desperate, certain and triumphant.

"But I can. And I'll do more than that. I will kill the abomination! This is my city. Mine!"

Mercy nodded, but Lex's eyes were looking past her. She couldn't tell where, and part of her was glad for it.

* * *

A kiss.

A touch.

His shadow, outlined against the wall by the light coming from the street, took a step back.

"I'm not really human, Lois."

A smile. "You've told me that before."

"But I only gave you glimpses of my voice, of my skin, of the history of my people. The whole of it could be too much for you."

The smile widened. "I want to see it all, Clark. I want to have all of you."

The shadow shifted, changed shape, became indescribable.

The woman gasped.

It was the truth of every nightmare, and the revealing of every secret. It would never leave her.

She walked toward it, a hand extended softly.

* * *

He left marks on her skin wherever he touched her, and whispered in her ear old secrets during the night. She shuddered, saying nothing, falling into the weird geometry of his many arms.


Post-story Author Notes: The overall idea for this was, of course, DC Comics meets Lovecraft. I think this particular approach to it would be scarier in a longer, perhaps less explicit format.



( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
It certainly gives another urgency to Superman giving Batman that ring... *g*
Oct. 7th, 2008 11:27 pm (UTC)
I. Okay, part of me really wants this Clark to meet Mildred's Cthulu!Slade, and the rest of me is going 'how did he make this make SENSE?'

Two small foot should be two small feet, and whispered on her ear should be whispered in.
Oct. 8th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)
damn, you're right. My beta reader badge is sullied. should have caught those.

The real genius of this is running the horror and hero tracks side by side. It's madness, but it's still Superman.
(no subject) - katarik - Oct. 8th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 8th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - katarik - Oct. 8th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 8th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - katarik - Oct. 8th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 8th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - katarik - Oct. 8th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 8th, 2008 04:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - katarik - Oct. 8th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 8th, 2008 05:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - razorsmile - Nov. 6th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - katarik - Nov. 7th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 7th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
This was so good that the two small grammatical mistakes didn't jar me out. :)
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC)
Thanks! (and sorry :) )
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
*and flails*

*and flails some more*

Oh, this is... I lack that word that combine "perfect", "beautiful", and "terrifying" to sufficient intensity.
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
*beams* You made my day, thanks!
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
Yikes. *hides*
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
Oct. 8th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
Man, I love this story, I want more, but the bar is already high on that NaNoWriMo I have to show you in a month and change. If I bargain any more I'll be writing poetry paens to your greatness for the rest of the year.
Oct. 8th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
I'm not good at writing long pieces, and I can't always write sequels, but if something comes up... I suppose there's a reason this is the first idea that made me write in months.
(no subject) - outlawpoet - Oct. 8th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 8th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - outlawpoet - Oct. 8th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Oct. 8th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 8th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
It's brilliant, of course. Or you are. Both, probably. :-D
Oct. 8th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thanks!
Oct. 8th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
Meep. And yet I still felt sorry for poor Clark.
Oct. 8th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
As outlawpoet made me realize even before writing this fic, he's still a hero. It's just... harder, I guess. More lonely.

Thank Rao (whoever that means in Kryptonian) for Lois.
Oct. 8th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC)
The thing that I find really, really good about this is that, unlike all other Lovecraft crossovers I've read, the comic-book hero is still the same guy.

He's a weird alien monstrosity, but he's still recognisably Clark Kent.

This leaves all the inherent tragedy of being Clark Kent still in the background of the story.
Oct. 8th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I tried to keep as much as possible of Clark's personality and mythos, changing only what would make sense from a different biology/home culture. In a way, this Clark has things harder, I think.
Oct. 8th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Terrifying and heartbreaking all at once, especially the parts with Jonathan and Lois.
Oct. 8th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! In a way, the scene with Lois was what drew me to writing the story; there's something so much more disquieting in her approaching him than it would be if, say, he killed her.
Oct. 8th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)

She walked toward it, a hand extended softly.


Dude. Dude! *loves, SO MUCH*

Their eyes refused to see what was in front of them. Their brains, panicking, tried again. They saw...

A baby.

A beautiful, perfect baby.

No, seriously, this is my new canon. ♥
Oct. 8th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
*hearts* So glad you liked it!
Oct. 12th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
Brrrrr. Those last two lines are eerily beautiful and the whole thing makes a sort of terrifying and logical sense.

I feel badly for Lex, actually...
Oct. 12th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I think that if I rewrote the story I'd ditch most of the story as it stands, but I like the last lines :).

I feel badly for Lex, actually... Me too. He's still not a hero, but it makes it easier to believe that he believes himself to be (if nothing else, for shallow reasons of aspect and basic biology).
Oct. 12th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC)
Lois! Lois being disturbingly awesome, and Lex being.. more right than he usually is. I have always loved your Lex -I think you made me truly fall in love with Lex and his logic, and to some degree, understand him- but this whole premise is fantastic. I too second the wish to see more of a Lovecraftian DCU! Metropolis having an alien protector never touched my terror-receptors quite like this... I have to confess, I read this in a rush the day you posted it, and went to bed... only to have nightmares about it. That was kind of disturbingly awesome. Your skill, it affects my brain in peculiar ways <3
Oct. 14th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
Is it wrong that I think of this as a sort of personal milestone? I don't think I've ever given anybody a nightmare before.

Glad you liked it!

Nov. 6th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
Well. That explains X-Ray vision anyway.
Nov. 6th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
I wonder if he has powers he doesn't realize he has, because he's locked into a relatively human self-image (at least psychologically). For all we know, his 10+ charisma is a some sort of telepathic cultist thing.
(no subject) - razorsmile - Nov. 6th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - __marcelo - Nov. 6th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 8th, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)
I found this thanks to crack_van, and I wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed/was creeped out by this. I love how you portray his heroism in this, and the sense I get that it could all shatter at any second.
Jan. 8th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! This Clark was very much a hero in my head, I'm very glad that came through.
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cass, can you not

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