Season 6, following my story "Ever the Same"
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Dedicated to Ralphie, in appreciation for her help and support.
The Trust Me series begins with Saving Me.
Trust Me, Book 6
And maybe I'll find out
The way to make it back someday
To watch you, to guide you
Through the darkest of your days
If a great wave should fall
It would fall upon us all
Well I hope there's someone out there
Who can bring me back to you
If I could, then I would
I'll go wherever you will go
Way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go
-The Calling, "Wherever You Will Go"
Chloe Sullivan was lost.
She had no idea what had just happened. She'd been lying on a slab of ice in the Fortress of Solitude, a huge structure in the frozen North. She'd been drowning in memories, barely conscious, barely aware of anything, but she did remember she'd taken her lifemate, Clark Kent, to the Fortress to try to repair the space-time continuum and save reality.
She vaguely recalled hearing the deep, resonant voice of Jor-El, the Fortress' AI, who might be the only entity who could save the universe, and that had given her hope that they'd succeeded in their mission. But she'd also heard another voice she knew all too well, the voice of a psychotic robot named Milton Fine, whose sole purpose for existence was to set a dictator named Zod loose on Earth.
She'd been fading out under the weight of memories, unable to help Clark in the slightest. But then she'd suddenly found herself here, all her extraneous memories gone. She was profoundly grateful that the memories were no longer smothering her, and hopeful that their absence meant Clark and Jor-El had fixed reality somehow.
But she was still utterly confused, because this definitely wasn't the Fortress of Solitude. And she had absolutely no idea how she'd gotten here.
She'd been in the Arctic, and now she was in the desert. The landscape resembled the Sahara Desert, or maybe Tatooine. Sand and boulders and jagged rocks stretched out in all directions, rising in dunes and cliffs around her, and the air was dry and motionless. The sky was painfully bright, and the sun seemed too big and too brilliant. And the quality of the light was strange. Everything looked peculiar, in a way she couldn't quite identify. It just looked... weird. Weird and scary.
And the scariest thing was that Clark wasn't anywhere to be seen.
Panic filled her. She'd been separated from Clark quite enough recently. They were lifemates, tied together by an unbreakable alien bond. He needed her, and she needed him. She'd watched him die yesterday, had believed he was dead for an entire horrible day, and she'd been enormously relieved to get him back.
She'd just managed to retrieve him from a pocket universe, where he'd been trapped for what he perceived as forty years. He hadn't had any time to reorient himself to reality, and it was all too likely that Fine could manage to trick him into releasing Zod somehow. She needed to get back to him, to help him.
Not, she admitted, that she'd been a lot of help lying there on a slab of ice, drowning in memories. But now the memories were gone, and she could think clearly. Even so, she couldn't hope to help Clark unless she could find him.
She reached out for him through their bond, but couldn't feel his presence. Baffled, she stared at the suddenly changed world, utterly lost and confused.
At last she spoke into the vast emptiness, rather hopelessly. "Clark?"
At least that was what she tried to say. What came out of her was a strange, shrill noise that sounded rather like the cry of a bird of prey. It certainly wasn't the sound of a human voice.
She tried to call his name again, and the same inhuman sound emerged from her throat.
Bewildered, she decided she needed to find help. And she certainly needed to get out of the sunlight and find some shade. Assuming there was any shade at all to be found in this place.
She took a step, or tried to, and abruptly found herself airborne.
Startled, she looked down at herself, for the first time, and suddenly realized she wasn't herself at all. She was nothing more than a dark, shadowy wraith. Insubstantial, ghostly wings stretched out from her indistinct form as she sailed up into the silvery sky.
Her body was gone.
Suddenly it dawned on her what had happened. Zod, the Kryptonian general whom Fine had been fighting to free from the alien prison called the Phantom Zone, had obviously been released, just as she'd feared. He'd been trapped in the Zone as a disembodied spirit, a "phantom," and he couldn't be released until he found a human host to inhabit.
In order to get Clark back and to save the universe, she'd made a devil's bargain with Fine, offering him her body instead of Clark's if Zod was somehow released. She'd assumed being inhabited by Zod would result in her death, but better her death than Clark's.
But she wasn't dead. Not quite, anyway.
Her mind spun rapidly, putting the pieces together. She wasn't in the Arctic anymore. She wasn't even on Earth any more, because that wasn't Earth's sun in the sky overhead. This, then, must be the Phantom Zone.
And if that was the case... then she was a phantom.
Read Chapter 2 here.