Season 8 (SPOILERS)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Screencap by SVfan.
Sequel to Twilight Blue.
The Damage Done, Part 3
His cell is pitch black. It's the middle of the night, and he's not quite sure what awakened him. He lies there in the darkness, and slowly becomes aware that someone's there with him.
The soft voice is familiar, and yet he can't quite place it. He stares into the darkness.
"Who are you?"
"It's me." She sounds gentle, but beneath the gentleness there's a thread of hurt, as if his failure to recognize her voice stung. "Chloe. I've come to take you home."
Chloe. He has a sudden mental flash of blonde hair and gold-green eyes and a sweet smile, and a strange longing coils inside his chest. But hard on the heels of the longing comes a sudden fear.
"Go away," he growls. "I don't want to go anywhere."
There's a moment of shocked silence, and then she tries again. "Clark," she whispers. "I've come to save you."
He doesn't want to be saved. He thinks about her, the red liquid she injects him with, the pleasure she brings him at night when they fuck. Everything that came before is fuzzy, out of focus, so distant it might as well not exist. All that really matters to him is the drug.
He's hers, and he's not going anywhere, damn it.
"I don't need to be saved." He sits up in the darkness, hissing the words defiantly. "I don't want to go anywhere."
"Clark." A light appears, a small, dim light that casts a wavering light. She studies him for a long moment, and her eyes go wide. "My God. What has she done to you?"
He's suddenly conscious of his gaunt body, his rumpled, too-long hair, the track marks on his forearms. He crosses his arms over his chest, trying to look intimidating, and glares at her. Her face is familiar, and yet at the same time she's a stranger.
"I'm not leaving," he says stubbornly. "Now get out."
She stares at him a long moment, and he can see the horror in her eyes. But at last she shrugs, and stands up.
"All right," she says. "If that's what you really want."
He thinks of the syringe of red liquid that will be injected into his arm in the morning, and nods.
"It's what I want."
She turns away, and he settles back down on his narrow cot, turning his back on her.
And then something hits him in the back of the skull, none too gently, and that's the last thing he knows.
He awakens to brilliant, blinding sunlight. It's so bright he can only bear to open his eyes for a second before he clenches them shut again.
He doesn't feel good. It's time for his next injection. Maybe past time. He feels nervous and twitchy, and he thinks hungrily about the drug, about how good it feels. It's morning, so she's bound to come soon and give him relief from the need.
But it slowly dawns on his foggy brain that he isn't in his cell, because his cell was windowless. It was never flooded with sunlight. And even the rest of the house where she lived was usually shrouded in darkness.
He has the sudden, terrible realization that he's not where he belongs. He opens his eyes, just a crack, and finds himself in an unfamiliar bed.
The cheerful voice makes his teeth grind together. He turns his head and finds himself being watched by the blonde.
Chloe. Her name is Chloe. He remembers her, in a vague sort of way. She mattered to him once. And he recalls that last night she'd said she'd come to save him.
But he also remembers that he told her he didn't want to be saved. He's beyond redemption. He's damned... and he likes it that way.
He bares his teeth at her. "What did you do?"
"I rescued you."
He realizes she must have hit him with a chunk of kryptonite, because nothing else would have knocked him unconscious. "I didn't want to be rescued, damn it! Take me back!"
She shakes her head at him. "It took me a hell of a long time to figure out where you were, Clark. I figured you were in the Luthor mansion at first, but I snooped as best I could and couldn't find you. So I looked everywhere. I even went up to the Fortress, but I couldn't find you." She smiles ruefully. "But then, last week, there was this string of robberies in Metropolis and Chicago and New York. Kawatche artifacts with Kryptonian symbols being stolen from museums. I figured it had to be Lex, trying to figure out another way to control you after the last one was destroyed."
He glares at her, barely able to focus on her words. He needs an injection, and he needs it now. His need is the only thing he can think about right now.
She's oblivious to his distraction. "Anyway, I read about the robberies in the Planet, and I started investigating. Once I started talking to the witnesses, it was obvious the thief was you."
He ignores her voice and struggles to get up, but he can't. Something is holding his arms immobile, over his head. He arches his neck back and sees the green glow of kryptonite.
She has him in kryptonite handcuffs, shackled to the bed. No wonder he feels like crap.
"So I snuck in and finally figured out you were being kept in the cellar," she says. "I was able to use one of Ollie's gas arrows to take out the security staff, but taking out Tess was more of a challenge, because she's got some pretty impressive powers. But a Taser Ollie rewired to have a little more ooomph did the trick. Afterward I called the cops to come pick her up. I doubt she'll stay in jail long, though. Lex will probably bail her out."
He closes his eyes to close out her relentless, perky voice. God. He's been taken away from her. He's been taken away from his drug. And he wants it. He wants it really badly. The discomfort from the kryptonite is bad enough, but a bone-deep need is beginning to rack him. He feels terrible.
"I need it," he whispers.
She walks across the room and settles into a chair next to the bed, studying him alertly.
"Need what, Clark?"
"The..." With her big eyes watching him, he can't quite bring himself to say drug. "The red liquid."
She nods, very slowly, never taking her gaze off him. "That's what she was drugging you with, right?"
He closes his eyes. He wants to scream at her to stop talking and just find him the fucking drug, right now. But he figures he has a better chance of getting her to help if he doesn't yell at her.
"I need it." His voice cracks with desperation. "I have to have it."
"Not a chance," she responds. "I sent a sample of it to be analyzed, but I don't think there's much doubt that one of the major components is red kryptonite. I'm not giving you any more of it."
"But I can't live without it." Despite himself, his voice rises. "I can't! You have to get me some!"
She looks at him. In her eyes he thinks he sees a glint of sympathy, but there's a hard set to her jaw that says she's not messing around.
"No," she answers flatly.
The craving hits him first. Before long he wants a hit so badly he'd do anything for it. He can't get up, thanks to the kryptonite shackles, but despite the pain and the weakness he struggles to get loose, and when that fails he begs and pleads with her for relief.
Eventually she gets tired of saying no, and she gets up and leaves the room for a little while. He screams obscenities at her through the closed door, but she ignores him.
The withdrawal is worse. At first it's just an extension of the craving. Every cell in his body feels empty, a terrible vacancy that can only be filled by the drug. After an hour or so he begins to shake violently, and black despair slams into him. He can't stop himself from crying.
He's vaguely aware that she's come back into the room and is stroking his hair, despite all the horrible things he screamed at her. She's trying to comfort him, but the only comfort he wants is the drug. He sobs uncontrollably, in an anguish of body and spirit.
"I wish I could heal you," she whispers, caressing his forehead. "I tried, but it didn't work. I'm sorry, Clark. I tried."
He has no idea what she's saying. Lost in his misery, he hardly hears the sound of her voice. He feels like he's trapped in a black pit, all alone, unable to climb out. He thinks he'll never be able to climb out again, and the thought makes him cry harder.
As the afternoon wears on, the despair turns to physical sickness. He begins to sweat copiously. She wipes his forehead with cool cloths, but it doesn't help. His head hurts so badly he thinks it might split open, and before long, his stomach is roiling and cramping. He begins to throw up, and she cleans up the vomit without complaining.
Between bouts of retching, he curses her, calling her a bitch and a whore and every bad word he can think of. She ignores him and continues to clean up after him, mopping his forehead, and speaking soothingly to him.
"I hate you," he snarls after a particularly violent episode of puking. And it's true. He hates her. This is all her fault, and he loathes her like he's never loathed another person in his lifetime. "I hate you."
"I know," she says, very gently. "I know you do."
Darkness falls, but he's so miserable he's hardly aware of it. At long last the worst of his symptoms begin to fade, and he's able to relax, just a little. His stomach hurts, his head is throbbing, and he aches all over. But he's beginning to think he may not die after all.
The problem is that he's not sure he wants to live.
Sometime around midnight he falls into a restless, uncomfortable sleep.
He awakens to bright sunlight again. There's a horrible taste in his mouth, his body is one giant throbbing ache, and there's still a touch of nausea twisting in his stomach. But all that might be due to the kryptonite shackles. The terrible need that racked him is gone, and he thinks he might be over the addiction.
Then again, he might not be. He's not sure people ever get over something like that, even people with supercharged metabolisms and invulnerable alien bodies. He doesn't feel like he craves the drug right now-- but what if the craving comes back?
The truth is that he isn't sure he has the strength to resist it. If Chloe releases him, he has a horrible fear he might just superspeed back to the mansion and find a vial of the stuff.
He turns his head, wincing a little, and sees her sleeping in the chair beside his bed. He closes his eyes, thinking remorsefully of all the things he said to her, the way he cursed at her while she was cleaning up after him, the way he screamed at her for helping him. The way he'd told her he hated her. The thought of everything he said to her makes his head hurt worse than before.
And even worse are the memories of all the things he did while he was on the drug.
God. He cheated on her. He slept with another woman-- and God help him, he enjoyed it. He'd wanted her-- Tess, was that her name?-- as much as he'd wanted the drug. He'd done all sorts of horrible, perverted things... and enjoyed them.
He doesn't deserve Chloe.
He wishes he could get loose somehow, so he could run away before he has to face her. But her eyelashes flutter, and it's too late to run, because she's staring at him.
"Hey," she says, cautiously. "How are you doing?"
"Better," he answers. His voice sounds hoarse and cracked, but it lacks that note of frantic desperation it held yesterday. "I-- God, Chlo, I'm sorry."
"You must be better if you're starting in on the guilt," she quips.
He's not amused. He closes his eyes, feeling very much like he might cry again. "I have a lot to feel guilty for," he whispered.
"Hey. Don't do that to yourself." She leans forward, stroking his hair. "I know she used you to commit crimes, Clark, but you were on drugs. It wasn't your fault."
She gets up and brings him a glass of water. He drinks thirstily, then drops his head back against the pillow, exhausted just by the simple action of lifting his head and drinking.
"It's not the robberies. It was..." He clenches his eyelids against the sting of tears. "Look, can you let me go? I promise I won't run away."
She studies him for a long moment, and he opens his eyes and gazes back at her. Whatever she sees in his eyes must reassure her, because she reaches up and does something to his shackles, and suddenly his wrists are free. She tosses the shackles away.
Slowly, painfully, he sits up. With the kryptonite gone, he feels almost human. Well, Kryptonian. Maybe he's all right, after all. Maybe he's really gotten past the addiction. He hopes so.
He looks over at the dresser mirror, and shock slams into him.
He looks awful. Gaunt doesn't begin to cover it. His cheekbones stand out like blades, his hair is long and tangled, and his arms-- God. There are still track marks all over his arms. He looks like a junkie.
He was a junkie. Jesus. Maybe he still is.
He shudders, and looks away. Chloe's watching him, her eyes full of a love he doesn't deserve, not after everything that's happened.
"I'm sorry," he says shakily, trying not to look at the horrifying apparition in the mirror. "Everything I've done..."
"I told you, Clark. It wasn't your fault."
"Maybe not. But you don't know what happened. You don't know what I did."
"I have a pretty good idea, actually. The charming Miss Tessmacher held you captive, addicted you to red kryptonite, and used you to commit crimes."
"No." He doesn't know how to tell her the rest of it. He's been fucking another woman for-- days? Weeks? It has to have been weeks, he thinks, glancing uncomfortably at the mirror again. "I just... she and I...we..."
He grinds to a halt, miserable and uncertain, and she reaches out and pats his shoulder lightly. "Tell me, Clark. Whatever it is, I can handle it."
He looks at her, so beautiful, so reliable, so loyal, and he feels like he might burst into tears again. He doesn't want to hurt her. Now that he's back to normal-- well, more or less to normal-- he remembers that he loves her, that she means everything to him, and the last thing he'd ever want to do is hurt her. But she deserves to know what had happened. He takes a deep breath and spits it out.
"I slept with her," he says flatly. "Not just once, Chloe. But every night."
Her eyes go wide, and he sees a flash of pain in the hazel depths. But she tries to cover it.
"She forced you," she tells him.
"No. The drug... it made me..."
"I know," she says gently. "Red K has that effect on you. Always has. It wasn't your fault, Clark."
"But I..." His voice breaks. "I enjoyed it, Chlo. A hell of a lot."
"You were on drugs, Clark. You couldn't say no. That's rape. It wasn't your fault."
Intellectually, he knows she's right. He'd been manipulated and drugged into compliance. But emotionally-- emotionally, he feels like he's betrayed Chloe, in the most horrible way possible, by sharing intimacies with another woman, and enjoying them. And even though Chloe's trying to be adult about it, he wonders if she can get past this. He wonders if he can get past his addiction.
He wonders if they can get past any of this, or if it's changed his life forever.
He looks into her eyes. Sweet, gentle eyes, so different from the seductive, cool eyes he's gazed into during the past weeks. Deep in Chloe's eyes he sees pain, and he knows his confession must hurt her an awful lot. No matter how logical and rational she's trying to be, it has to hurt.
He's never wanted to hurt her.
"I'm sorry," he says, or tries to. But he catches a glimpse of his haggard face in the mirror, and the words break and shatter in the middle of the sentence. Blinking hard, he drops to his knees in front of her and buries his face in her lap.
He remembers her words: I've come to take you home. I've come to save you.
He wonders if she can save him at this point, or if it's too late.
"It's okay," she tells him, caressing his long, tangled hair. "It'll be okay, Clark."
"No." He's struggling to hold back his tears, because he feels like he cried enough yesterday, but his shoulders jerk with the effort of suppressing them. "It won't be okay, Chloe. It'll never be okay again."
"Yes, it will." She touches him, and her touch is warm and sweet and loving, everything Tess' wasn't. "Everything will be okay, Clark. You'll see."
"But everything I did--"
"I'm not mad at you. I swear."
He buries his face in her lap and lets her stroke his hair, because he needs comforting so damn badly. She caresses him, her soft voice and gentle hands offering an absolution he wants desperately, but doesn't deserve.
But she thinks he deserves it, and maybe that's enough. She doesn't blame him for everything he's done. She's sorrowful, and pained by it, but she genuinely doesn't blame him.
And if Chloe's able to forgive him, then maybe, just maybe, one day he'll be able to forgive himself.
But he suspects that day won't come for a long, long time.