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 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.
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.
* * *
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.