Guardian of the Future
Characters: Chloe Sullivan, Lex Luthor, Maria de Luca, Isabel Evans, Whitney, Chris Wyatt-Halliwell, Illyria, Spike
This takes place after Chloe comes back to SV, two years after the end of Roswell, after Chris' death and after Angel finale.
This was how death felt like. It was a slow burning working its way up from his wound, spreading throughout his body, consuming him like liquid fire and he suffered.
He suffered so much.
He was a grown man who braved demons and the world and even heaven to save his brother from the evil tentacles that reached out from the dark belly of earth. Poor little Wyatt, to be so young and prey to corruption. Chris had failed.
Suddenly he was no longer a man and was now the little boy who never knew his father.
In that moment, Chris cried the tears he tried so hard to keep. And then he screamed, pitifully it seemed, in pain, "Dad!!!" As much as he hated Leo before, there was nothing that compared to the arms of a parent.
It was the day he died. Chris felt pain. And then he felt fear.
This was what death felt like. It was a slow throbbing of your insides, like curdling acid that rots your strength. She cursed the very shell that encased her, for she could only blame this weakness on the frailties of a human.
Illyria held the man before her. He was slowly fading from the mortal wound. Much as she disdained thesepitiful creatures, she had learned slowly that the decline took even those as strong as she down. This man before her was dying, and she should not feel one bit of pain.
Wesley cared. She saw it in his eyes; she felt it i his touch. It saddened her to know that it was all for the shell. He did consciously decide against murdering her, even saved her from certain extinction. For that she owed this human one gift.
Illyria touched his face and whispered, "Do you want me to lie to you now?"
He nodded, and she reverted to the appearance of the shell. Futile promises of love, one meaningful vow to meet again in an unbidden shore where the lost souls rest. Illyria laid her lips on his and closed bid the gentle mind farewell. He became slack in her arms.
It was the day that Wesley died. She felt grief. And then she felt fury.
This was what death felt like. It was hot and frantic. Maria grabbed hold of Max's hand and looked left and right. "It's gonna be okay," she gasped. The car had turned upside down. The stuffed animal that they had gotten for Liz had been thrown and crushed.
She had not been looking. She had not been careful enough.
"Max!" she screamed again. Maria had seen the blood from his head wound. Her vision was even now blurred by the sickening mixture of tears and blood from her own wound. "Max!"
Maria climbed over the body of her unconscious friend. He was not going to die that day. Liz was in the hospital, after having just given birth to a wizened little boy. She craned her neck and searched for the mobile phone. It must have fallen; it must have lodged into one of the crevices; it was just not there. Maria knew he would lose one of her best friends if she did not act at once.
She grabbed Max's hand and held it to his forehead, hoping to stem the flow of blood. "Heal, dammit," she hissed. She had felt herself weakening from her own wounds. Maria told herself again to calm down and remember all the lessons on first aid in PE class. When you and an unconscious victim are both hurt, you treated yourself first. That way, you both had chances of survival.
Hoping against hope, Maria drew Max's limp hand to her temple and closed her eyes.
It was the day Max Evans died. Maria felt fear. And then she was so utterly confused.
So this was what it was to die. It was unsettling and frightening. When she first learned that Lionel Luthor was after her andher father, Chloe was tempted to let fate run its course.
Some people were meant to live for a short time; some people were destined for violent deaths. She thought that perhaps she was just one of those people.
Yet her instincts spurred her feet on their way to Lex. It was maddening that she even considered his offer of protection. For one who had long admired whom she believed was a great man from afar, Chloe could believe nothing of her interaction with Lex during her hiding. Even maddening how in those few months they became intimate. Every second was golden, every brief touch was different... with nuances of something she could not quite name. She doubted that he could give it a name either.
There was one starlit encounter, of one tentative hand on a cold cheek, and a finger brushing a trembling lower lip. A pristine handkerchief was patted on a moist neck. The next day, he had abruptly deposited her back in Smallville. She foun out that everyone had believed she was gone.
To Smallville, it was the day Chloe Sullivan lived again. Oddly, she felt bound to the ground once more, her wings clipped and her heart leashed. That day, Chloe felt it would be better if she died again.
His father's anguished cry was the last he heard from the plane. Chris felt himself floating in limbo, his spirit tossed from hell to heaven, back again, then back again. He had angered many in his attempt to save his brother. It was preposterous, to have his soul rejected by either destination.
He was supposed to just vanish, was he not? Why did he still have his consciousness? He had been mystical his entire life. Chris knew he was supposed to draw a blank from the moment of his death. What was going on? Were his aunts trying to get him back? He completely doubted it. They had him after all, as a newborn infant in his mother's arms. He was supposed to just evaporate, be lost in oblivion. He was not supposed to be wondering about his fate.
Chris sighed as close to a sigh as having no body would allow.
With his and his family's luck, he would have been forgotten in this limbo and spend eternity just thinking about when they would remember to consume him. That kind of thing probably always happened to them.
He felt for another presence. There was someone calling him. 'Hello,' he called out voicelessly.
Chris. Go into the light.
Very trite, he thought. Still, it was finally a sign that he had not been relegated to float in limbo forever. Chris waded towards the tunnel of light.
Would his grams be waiting for him at the end of that tunnel? If he still had lips, he would smile. He wondered if his gramps would be there too. He hoped not, and that he listened to his advise to quit with the cigars.
Hurry up. We don't have all day.
Chris started. Was heaven really tha busy that they had to rush his admittance? He always thought his ascent would be classy, slow and magical. Never look a gift horse in the mouth, he told himself as he waded up, up, up.
When finally Chris encountered the small opening and struggled his soul in.
As soon as he passed through, Chris found himself becoming heavier. He looked down at himself and saw that he once again was recovering his corporeal form.
He was surrounded by blue robed men. Chris did not trust robed men. Robes indicated rituals, either good or bad. From his experience, good can easily become bad and bad can just as easily shift to good.
"What do you want from me?" he demanded, relishing that he once again had a voice. He was done. He had died. Why this?
One of the robed men clasped his hands in front of him, then swiftly opened his arms. "It is a question then of what you can do for the world."
"Hey look," Chris began. "I've done all I can. Wyatt is hopefully going to grow up fighting for good. I've died for it. You can't ask anything else from me."
"We are the Council of Good and Evil. We are the balance."
Chris shook his head. "What does that have to do with my eternal repose?"
"That's just it, son." The robed man stepped off his platform and approached Chris. He waved a hand in front of Chris, and the young man fell to his knees, then his side. Chris twisted in pain as his death wound returned to his body. "You see Chris, since you now would not exist, there is no place for you in either heaven or fell."
"What?" Chris hissed in pain. "You want me suffer this wound forever?"
"Of course not. We wish to give you the honor of being the Guardian of the Future, protector of the balance between good and evil. Too much evil seems to be in the distant future."
"I don't understand," Chris gasped. He knew if he had been alive, he would have fainted from the pain of the recurrence of the wound.
"With your characteristic devotion to your last project--"
"It was my brother I was protecting!"
"And your familiarity with the future and present world, we believe you to be the best candidate. You must appreciate the honor we are offering you."
"So what... you want me to travel back and forth? You want me to go to the future, see the evil, then come back to the present and prevent it?"
One of the other robed gentlemen protested, "Of course not. We don't want the world to be pure goodness. This is the council of balance. You will neither be good nor evil as the Guardian, Chris."
Chris gritted his teeth. "All right! Just... make this go away."
"You will need to go to the hospital for that," another man advised.
Chris snorted in disbelief. "You're not going to heal me?" He remembered his powers and placed his hand on his own wound. It may not have worked before. Maybe it would now.
"I'm afraid you have none of your previous powers. Movement through time is big enough a power for any creature."
Chris swallowed and rolled onto his back, moaning about the pain.
"You will be given help soon. And your first mission is a man named Alexander Luthor."
Chris turned to look at the robed men, and closed his eyes. Next thing he knew, he was laying on his back in an open field. Starlight winked above him.
"Well thank you!" Chris yelled. "Send me back down and kill me by leaving me stranded and wounded in the edge of nowehere!"
Chloe whirled around at the sound of the voice. She had been hunting for clues about the recent weirdness that had been reported. One girl woke up after a hit and run with several silver handprints all over her body. She had said that she had never felt better in her life. It happened around these parts, so she left the house to investigate. She was met with nothing but silence for about forty minutes until that scream.
Chloe turned her flashlight in the direction of the voice. Then, she slowly crept towards it. Her phone vibrated in her skirt, and she almost shrieked in surprise. Her heart was pounding. She was close.
She bent low so that if the person had an axe that he swung, her head would not get chopped off.
Chloe stumbled out into the field and spied the young man bleeding on the ground. It could so easily be a ploy to get her out in the open, but she didn't care. She dropped to her knees beside the fallen young man.
The young man blinked at her and smiled. "I thought I'd surely be dead out here."
Chloe grinned. Wounded and lacking blood, the guy still had some spunk left in him. "Well we couldn't let someone die so normally. What is this, robbery?"
'Of life,' he thought. "Yeah."
She nodded. "I'd take you to the hospital myself but I'm afraid I'll just hurt you more. I'm calling an ambulance." Chloe took her phone out and saw the missed call from Lex. A thrill ran down her spine. He avoided speaking with her at all costs after that night that precipitated her reincarnation in Smallville. Chloe could think of many reasons she should call him back, and more reasons that she should not. First though, there was a wounded guy in front of her. "Smallville General!" she said calmly. "I have a stab wound victim here in the fields, along Sherman Drive--"
Chloe slipped her phone back inside her pocket. She peered into the face of the young man. "You'll be okay," she assured him. Even so, she still frowned at the sight of the very bad wound. She had to keep him conscious. "What's your name?"
"Chris," came the answer.
"Alright, Chris. Where are you from?" Chris turned his head away. "You're not from Smallville. Are you from Metropolis?"
"Anywhere in Kansas?" Chris groaned. "You know a groan can be considered a yes. That's just Kansas," Chloe teased. "Chris," she started, growing somber. "I know you're really in pain. I need some answers though, because they will need it in the hospital."
Chris closed his eyes tightly. "I don't have a home."
"Your parents' names."
Chloe nodded her head. She took out a wad of tissue from her pocket, which she prepared for any samples that she might encounter. Chloe patted Chris' sweaty face. "Okay," she promised, "I'll stop asking questions."
"Thanks," Chris whispered.
"Why don't you tell me a story?"
Chris' eyes snapped open and he frowned at her.
"I have to keep you awake," Chloe defended.
"Then you tell me a story," he suggested. "I bet you won't run out of that."
"Ever hear about the princess locked in a tower?" Chris did not answer. Chloe was not waiting for one anyway. "She got into trouble with the king of a distant land. His son, the prince, took her away and locked her in a tower his father couldn't reach, a tower only the prince could visit."
"Did they fall in love?" Chris asked, because that's the way things went in fairy tales.
"No," Chloe answered. "She kissed him and he turned into a toad."
Chris chuckled, and caused the burning in his belly to escalate. "You bastardized that story."
"Are you calling me a liar?" Chloe grinned and took the balled tissue that she had already used on him, then covered his mouth with it. Chris blew and the tissue rolled to the ground. "That was what happened."
The Talon's business was at best passable that night. Lex sat on the counter, where he would be completely visible if Chloe were to turn up for his evening coffee. He had thought about everything carefully, thinking of her sake more than his own. Now he was ready to talk, and she was nowehere to be found.
"Turn up, Chloe," he muttered under his breath.
Lex surveyed the patrons, reading the movement of each one. A few months ago, he could not care less about other people who. He preferred to be left alone and he certainly did not people-watch. Since the last months of being with Chloe, Lex had been suspicious of every new character that passed by Smallville. He would be damned if he failed to protect her after he promised he would.
A short young woman, only a few years younger than he was, walked out of the back office of the Talon. Lex honed in on the new face. At first glance, she seemed harmless enough. She was barely taller than Chloe. The straight blonde hair ended past her shoulders. Her lips were in a permanent pout. She was an attractive woman to say the least. Lex was immediately on guard, because there were secrets in her eyes she would not allow him to read.
"Who are you?" Lex asked bluntly.
The young woman's eyebrow arched. "I'm the new manager of this coffeehouse," she arrogantly informed him. "And who are you?"
"Let me tell you."
"I don't want to know," she snapped. She knew how to handle customers like him. If there's anything she learned from Mr Parker, it was that you needed to let them know you were still in control.
"You asked." Lex smirked. "I'm the owner."
The young woman's eyes widened. She was about to apologize when Lex held his hand up in a gesture of silence.
"You're new in town."
The young woman nodded even if it was no question.
It was a little too coincidental that this woman would move in right after Chloe came back. It did not help that she sought employment in Chloe's hangout. "What's your name?"
Insane. That was too common a name. "And where did you come from Maria?"
"Look this is all in my resume," she answered, tense.
Defensive too. She was hiding something. "Are you so opposed to questions?"
"I moved around a lot," she surrendered.
Vague enough, Lex thought. "Where were you born?"
"Roswell, New Mexico."
As if people actually came from there. From a common name to a tiny city. She was committing mistakes left and right. "What brought you to Smallville?"
Maria gritted her teeth and glared at Lex. "You don't enjoy life, do you? You ask too many questions."
She shook her head. "Everyone has a right to her privacy."
Lex shook his head. "Not when you're in my town and can pose danger to people I care about."
Maria sighed and leaned across the counter. "Believe me, the last thing I want is to cause trouble around here."
Her eyes were green, Lex noted in surprise as she gazed into his. Eyes like Chloe's. She was sincere, he decided. Eyes like Chloe's would never lie.
The lucid eyes of Maria snapped to the open door. The new manager straightened and headed back to the office. "Linds, can you take over out there?"
Lex blinked in surprise at the abrupt disappearance of Maria. He turned around and saw a tall voluptuous young woman with short red hair walk in. So many strangers in his town. He did not like it. Anyone of these can be after Chloe.
He watched silently as the young woman approached a couple sitting on a table and introduced herself as 'Isabel.' Isabel then asked if they had seen a blonde young woman of a certain height. Lex stiffened when Isabel indicated a height that was very similar to Chloe's. Isabel looked around the coffeehouse, then pursed her lips. She then walked out. Through the glass windows Lex saw a wild-haired man waiting outside on a motorbike. After a brief and heated conversation, Isabel got on behind the guy and they sped away.
Lex got off his chair and saw Maria step outside and move around to check on her customers' needs. She was shaping up to be an efficient manager after all. He started on his way out. He wanted to find Chloe and warn her about the new people around.
"Lex, hey!" he heard when he reached the street.
Lex groaned inside. "Clark, have you seen Chloe? She still has to pick up some paraphernalia from my place."
"That's what I came to tell you," Clark explained. "You told her to stay out of trouble right? She's out in the Sherman field investigating Wall of Weird stuff again."
"She's never going to learn." Lex got in his car. "Which way?"
"Down the street then turn left."
The whine of an ambulance called their attention. Lex looked up in time to see the ambulance speeding past. 'Turn right,' he muttered. 'Turn right turn right turn right.'
It turned left.
He hit the gas pedal to follow in its wake.
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