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.
Read the previous chapter here.
Read the story from the beginning here.
He stood alone in darkness.
Despite the awful shame that chewed at him, he'd succumbed to exhaustion. And now he dreamed of dark empty spaces and bleak loneliness that hurt almost as much as torture did.
"Chloe." He spoke softly, because he knew she wasn't there. She was dead, torn from him once again. He'd lost her for forty years-- or what seemed to him to be forty years-- and just when he'd found her again, Zod had killed her.
But despite his despair, he couldn't stop himself from whispering her name into the darkness, a small, defiant moment of hope.
He stood a long moment, listening, but there was no answer. At last his shoulders slumped, and he turned and began to walk even further into the night.
And then he heard a faint whisper, like the sound of the leaves on the trees rippling in a soft summer breeze. It was too slight a sound for him to identify, but hope filled him anyway. His head jerked up, and he spun around.
The whisper brushed over him again, and this time he felt certain that it was her voice.
No, it wasn't merely her voice. Her voice belonged to Zod now.
It was her.
What he was hearing was more than just a voice. It was her essence touching his, her spirit brushing against his mind and soul.
His heart pounded wildly in his chest, and he strained his eyes, trying to see her in the darkness. "Chloe," he said softly. "I'm here."
There was no answer that he could discern, and he raised his voice and shouted into the darkness, letting the pain and anger and desperation spill out.
"Chloe! Where are you? I need you, goddamnit!"
In her dreams, she called his name, as loudly as she could. She thought she heard an answering murmur, but try as she might, she couldn't quite see him through the darkness.
He was there, though. Of that she was certain. They were bonded, with a slowly developing sort of rudimentary telepathy between them, and she knew he was there. She could feel his pain and loneliness, could feel the same despair she'd felt in him when she'd found him alone in the pocket universe.
"I'm still alive!" she shouted into the darkness. "You're not alone, Clark. I'm coming back to you. I promise!"
There was no answer, but she felt a slight lessening of the terrible dark despair, and she was fairly certain he'd heard her.
Somehow, even through the barriers of space-time, she'd made contact with him.
"It is time for you to serve me, son of Jor-El."
Clark stood before Zod, his eyes downcast. They'd awakened him from sleep much too soon, and he was still exhausted. Moreover, he was troubled by the disturbing impression of vague dreams he couldn't quite remember.
"You promised to serve me willingly, Kal-El. Will you do so?"
Clark lifted his gaze, looking at the person who wore Chloe's body. She was clad as before in a black leather jumpsuit that clung like a second skin, making her look simultaneously sexy and dangerous.
Now that he was bonded, he was immune to the charms of other women, and even though Chloe was his bondmate, his body recognized that this was not truly Chloe. So her sexiness was lost on him. But not, apparently, on her attendants, who stared at her with hot eyes.
He wondered with a sick feeling if Zod had used Chloe's body for sexual purposes yet. He realized that most people who'd been deprived of their bodies, confined to a spirit world, for a long period of time would probably want to experience physical pleasures the moment they found themselves in a body again.
By now, Chloe's body might have been used in all sorts of ways. Her body might even have been impregnated by another man. The idea lit a small flame of angry resentment deep within him, but he tried to ignore it. He wasn't in a position to get angry right now.
He didn't know if he was more angry with Zod, or with himself. Because he'd failed in his purpose, to protect Chloe's body, and the knowledge made bitter shame roil within him, more strongly than before.
"I gave you my word," he answered, very softly. "I will serve you."
He wondered what Zod would demand of him. If Zod asked him to kill someone, would he have the nerve to say no? He was such a coward, so afraid of pain, he hadn't even been able to bring himself to approach the door of his cell.
Could he possibly stand here and face Zod down?
"Very well, son of Jor-El. My soldiers have subjugated much of this world, but there are small pockets of resistance. I need you to approach the leaders of the resistance and convince them of the need for surrender."
Clark wondered vaguely how anyone could resist Zod, when he-- she-- apparently possessed Kryptonian technology, as well as the ability to create superpowered humans. If Zod's people couldn't convince the resistance to surrender, he doubted he could. But he lowered his head and spoke meekly to the floor.
"I will do my best."
"You do that, Kal-El. Or you will suffer the consequences."
He understood what she meant, and a cold sensation of terror swept over him, clenching in his chest like a vise, wrapping around his heart until he felt his blood begin to freeze in his veins. She smiled her icy, cruel smile, and it made him colder than before.
You're not alone, Clark.
A whisper ran through his mind. He blinked, trying to capture the elusive memory that went with those words. He wasn't sure why, but suddenly his terror lessened, just a bit, and he felt the choking tightness in his chest ease a fraction.
"Let me show you the leader of the human resistance," Zod said, and brushed a finger over a button on the arm of her chair. A hologram leapt to life in front of Clark, clear and vivid and lifelike.
Kryptonian technology, he thought. It had to be. It was too perfect an image to be generated by any Earth technology he knew of.
He looked at the column of light, and through his misery and shame, a shock of recognition hit him.
The leader of the resistance was Lex Luthor.
Read Chapter 8 here.