Shades of Gray

Clark sat uncomfortably in the Sullivans' living room, fidgeting on the soft couch as Gabe looked at him from head to toe. Clark sent a litany aimed at the room on top of the living room itself, hoping that Chloe would finally emerge and the two of them can blow out of the house that suddenly turned from familiar to alien territory.

Gabe smirked and sat down opposite Clark. The older man rested his elbows on his knees. "Why so tense, Clark? It's not like it's your first time meeting me."

"Mr. Sullivan, sir," Clark stammered.

"Is it because it's now officially a date?"

"Ummm, well-"

Gabe shook his head. "Don't be so nervous, Clark. Nothing has changed. You're still the young but never been little Clark, who along with Pete, made my daughter very welcome here." Clark swallowed deeply, to clear his throat. Gabe pushed a glass of lemonade towards the boy. "It's difficult to believe that you two are old enough to date. I remember it just like yesterday, when Chloe's mom went into labor. I knew that Chloe was going to be a kid full of surprises, very tough to handle."

"Ummm. why, Mr. Sullivan? Did she scream a lot?"

Clark watched as Gabe's took on the faintness that accompanied nostalgia. The earlier smirk softened into a smile. "No. Contrary to what one would think when he sees Chloe now, Chloe was a very quiet baby. The birth hadn't even been that hard for my wife. But the moment the doctor said that Chloe was cresting, the blinds hanging on the windows fell, and the sun came streaming in." Gabe grinned. "My first sight of Chloe was of her drenched in birthing fluid and blood. But she was also basking in sunlight. I know you've never seen a newborn with a huge smile on her face. From the moment she was born, Chloe's smile has been blinding."

There was a loud clearing of a throat, and both men looked up to see Chloe descending. Clark had been trying to imagine the unbelievable picture that Gabe painted of his daughter. If he had been having trouble before, he was no longer. There Chloe stood, pretty in a light brown dress that closed in a diagonal cut from the neck to the knees. She sported a smile that would blow even the sun away in its brightness.

"Dad, are you telling Clark baby stories? He's not like my other dates. He has known me for a while," Chloe stressed. "He's not going to have some bubbly image of me just because you're sharing memories."

Clark rose from his seat, all nervousness gone. Somehow, Chloe always made things easier to deal with. Looking at her, his immediate response was, "Why paint an image when the masterpiece is tangible?"

Chloe's eyebrow arched at the suavity that was foreign to her friend. She met her father's eyes and rolled her own when Gabe winked. "Come on, Cyrano. Let's get out of here before dad tells us a story of when I danced naked under the sun in the middle of a Metropolis street."

"She did?" Clark asked. Gabe opened his mouth to confirm the story, but Chloe was already dragging her date away.

~~

In the state of California, where sun and breeze were married to give foster a normal afternoon, two men were separately shuttered, willingly, in cold, dark spaces as they pored, with the help of a dwindling light, over ancient texts.

In two different cities, two vastly different men, one mortal and the other invincible, held the keys to a long-kept secret. The last two copies of a prophecy foretold even before the five ancient civilizations rose from the rivers of the world. The characters were abstruse enough to warrant more than twenty translations at a time. By the end of four months, the prophecy finally made sense.

Cole Turner, district attorney and immortal, placed down the scroll that held the answer to his dream. Love may lie with a Charmed One, but the most essential tool that he needed to survive lay dormant until his seed awakens it.

Wesley Wyndham-Pryce looked down at the various scribbling on his notebook. He had finally translated the text that he was certain was authentic. Angel himself found it lying under the rubbles of a demon lair. For too long, he worked to discover what secret it held. Now he had to tell Angel and hope that he could convince the vampire to go in search of the woman. While it may be better for Angel not to know about this, Wesley had sworn never to keep such important revelations from his friend.

"The daughter of the sun," he read, "shall give birth to the child of the shadows, the strongest force this plane has ever known."

He had been the Source. Cole knew there was no one else on earth who could claim to now have grown far more powerful than the Source of All Evil. He was the child of the shadows.

When Wesley walked into his office, concerned about a piece of paper he held in his hands, Angel looked up from the newspaper he had been browsing through. "What is it, Wesley?"

Angel took the slip of paper and read the prophecy. He had been the one who tasked Wesley to translate it. Now, he held the answer in his hands. "Am I the child of the shadows?" he asked. "I've been walking away from the sun for most of my existence."

"Whether or not you are the man that prophecy speaks of," Wesley told him, "I advice you to find the daughter of the sun. There are too many forces too powerful to stop. We have to at least prevent the most powerful of them all from being born."

"Does anyone else know of this prophecy?"

"Even now, I'm afraid creatures who seek power may be coming after her."

tbc