An Embodied Wonderment
By I t s C a l l e d P a i n
Summary: 'And what if he came back?' she asks herself repeatedly. 'What if he could be the one, to love and hold, to teach to smile, to fill the void?' she wonders, 'Why did he have to leave?' A Klaatu/Helen one shot.
THE world around us is like a mural with an atmospheric mist. It is evoking, producing an emotional tone and aesthetic quality. Our little planet, blue, green, mountainous, flat surfaced; it is quite different from all we know to be around us. When we look into the stars we wonder: What's out there, who is watching us? Just a few days ago, we found out. All of us were petrified, writhed with terror and confusion. Alone in the dark we felt, vulnerable, harassed and provoked maybe. Only two people who lived right through it, who were right there to witness it all, to play a part have come to feel very differently.
Helen Benson sits alone on the deck. She watches the moon, the stars. A bright white sphere; it shines like a crystal stone, the little stars around it twinkling like fireflies in the dark. The sky is almost black, an illumination of moonlight and velvet. It makes her smile, it makes her glad, it makes her count each lucky star shining brightly above her, and it makes her heart sting with the regret of never knowing - the chance was stolen before it could blossom.
'What is wrong with me?' Helen Benson asks herself. 'Why do I feel like this?' she keeps wondering. The hot cup of cocoa that is hugged firmly by her hands is growing cold and so is she. Her mind is confused, her heart questions her abilities. She keeps dwelling on what she might have lost. She keeps wishing that everything didn't fly by so fast.
How did it happen? How did she develop these thoughts, these feelings? How did he, an alien who shares not the same form of emotional expression as a human being, make her feel this way about him? He was cold. He never smiled, never laughed, barely blinked; but she cannot forget the pain, the care, the forgiveness. He forgave them. He listened. He learned. She learned.
He came and changed the world, and he changed something else too. He brought them closer; she and Jacob. He put light in their life, gave them something to believe in, something to hold on to: Each other.
So that is why Helen thinks, why she ponders, why she longs. If only she could thank him, just once. She is curious in thought, wondering if they hug on his planet, if they celebrate holidays, if they drive cars, if they worry about mortgages, if they get ill or if they even play. It is only a thought and she doesn't expect to ever know, but a part of her wishes she could.
Are the children like Jacob? Do they relish in their youth, enjoying the pleasure of some game? Do they attend school? They must, she presumes, or else they wouldn't grow to be so intelligent. What about Klaatu; did he have a wonderful childhood? Just what exactly is childhood to them? Is it an organized society, so protected, so advanced, so perfect until they've overcome the weakness that is a need for security, a need to be reassured, a need to smile and laugh to ignore the reality of pain?
'And what if he came back?' she asks herself repeatedly. 'What if he could be the one, to love and hold, to teach to smile, to fill the void?' she wonders, 'Why did he have to leave?'
The void. It is still empty.
The lean back chair in the den goes unused. The razorblade in the bathroom stays untouched in the drawer. The photograph on the mantel is a time come and gone when days were happy and rejoiced by the crystal lake where days stood still, where minutes felt like hours and every moment together was a priceless gem. He is gone, Mr. Benson…he is gone.
Jacob tried to get him back. He believed so strong. Klaatu refused. He wasn't a miracle worker and the boy had to learn this the hard way.
He hid in his room, after his father died; washing his hands of Helen's companionship, feeding his eyes with video games to keep the tears at bay. He was young but bitter. He was moving but standing still. Then the alien made him look again, look at himself and what he still had. The little boy was taught to smile again, taught to rejoice again, and it was all because of a creature who didn't do so himself.
They might have learned to love him, had he only stayed a while. They might have taught him to hold a fishing pole, to stand upon a skateboard, to relish in a game, to taste Helen's brownies, to wear a bandana, to breathe the fresh air of the ocean breeze. Jacob might have taught him a joke or how to play basketball, then passed him on to Helen...
Helen might have took him to dinner, a date for only two. They might have sat in utter silence, feeling awkward being alone. Then he might have glimpsed and she might have seen. Their eyes would have locked into the other's and a warmth of comfort may have rushed throughout their blood. She might have touched his hand then and told him she was glad. He might have nodded and said that he could never leave; but by morning she would wake, finding he was gone. Young Jacob would have no memory of playing with the alien because he never stayed. Helen would flee to her room, feeling like a fool and wishing terribly it was real.
She sighs in the night, diving in and out of her dream-thoughts. Those visions feel so real, they feel so right and it makes her slightly bitter having to face reality. He is gone. Dinner dates, basketball, visiting the ocean…it is all a fantasy that she invents only in a few minutes time. Perhaps he reminds her of her late lover, of Jacob's father, a bit more than she thinks. Perhaps when she glimpsed Klaatu's shadow, for a moment it looked like Mr. Benson.
Now she's left to wonder, if he ever makes it home. She wishes she knew what was behind that face, what was in his heart, what was of his taste. She wonders if he has a family, if he has a lover even. She wonders as her finger dances upon the rim of her mug what he does for a living, if casual work is even qualified where he is from. She wonders what he was hiding, what secrets he kept of his own. She wonders still if there was a past behind those steely eyes, that unscathed expression, those firm lips that never moved, save to speak. She wonders if wherever he is, wherever he's going, whatever he's doing, if he's thinking of her and Jacob…she wonders if he feels anything like a form of regret, like a longing, like a wishful dream-thought whilst he travels abroad through space.
Klaatu sleeps - the Sphere is a cocoon that surrounds him. The energy here is potent and strong, alive yet quiet. It is a circular veil that travels quick and light, moving with grace, hovering without roaring, going without slowing. It carries him home. He blends seamlessly inside of it, unmoved, undisturbed. His body is tired, his eyes are resting and his mind is thinking.
Thinking, thinking….Klaatu, what are you thinking?
He twitches his nose, groans gently, exhales slowly. His arm moves a little, comes to rest over his stomach. His dreams carry him into a fantastic embodiment of wonderment.
'Will they remember me?' he asks himself. 'Will they,' He pauses, not quite sure in his bout of reluctance. But why is the question difficult? For he is by himself. Fear is not an issue; a fear of denial. At length, he goes on, 'Will they miss me?'
It's a temporal fantasy. A nice thought to say the least. Love … it fascinates him in more ways than you would believe.
The Sphere begins to rumble, a gentle hum it makes. Klaatu he turns over, and his heart feels a bit at stake.
Those simple little humans, so caught up in their lives. It's hard to ever think that an alien of his stature, of his state, would ever think them intriguing. But he does…Klaatu really does.
The way they smile is strange and the hugging he's never seen. His mother raised him well - like all mothers of his kind - but she never threw her arms around him, she never said she'd love him till the end. It really isn't necessary, his people seem to think. They know so much already, why wonder if they're loved? A hug it's inefficient, for they already know. A kiss is no good at all, it has not the value of breeding. A family is like a colony, it is produced to populate. So why do humans love and kiss and promise forever? He just can't think.
He reckons it to be wonderful, it cannot possibly be bad. For if it were so, Jacob would run from Helen's embrace and she would never say 'I love you'.
All the little things they do, his people have often scorned. It's wasteful and it's useless and the energy's being overly spent. The planet they are spoiling with their extravagant houses. The air they are polluting with their smog spitting cars. The animals they are killing with their demolition of the wild. Yet they express kindness, and they love one another dearly. Some of them are not so bad, Klaatu has come to see, and want to save their forests and protect each living thing.
He thinks about his people - how very rash they were. To judge a race they've only watched from afar was a revelation that ignorance is bliss.
Now Klaatu has come to terms that both his people and the earthlings were wrong. He thinks both sides have learnt a fine lesson; to take nothing for granted right down to every stone, every bird, every child, every hug, every 'I love you'.
I love you.
There it goes again. It's racing through his head like random bursts of flame. It comes bouncing like a ball against gravel. It's knocking and it's pounding, demanding a place in his graphically intellectual mind. Secretly he wants to let it in, but then there come the risks: If he were to fully understand them, their deeper little side, how would his people perceive him in this brand new light?
He tries to forget it, those troublesome little questions. He wants to brush it off, remind himself it is futile, uncalled for, foolish even. But his feelings are unruly and he just can't quite comprehend. He's never felt this way before, not like a human man. He doesn't understand it, the way they think and feel. Yet he's experiencing it, mild but strong for him. It's strange and it's scary, but inside it makes him warm. He becomes so excited, so enthused until he longs to go back, to announce and say: I know why!
Sad is reality, the choices made in life. He knows he cannot go back, he cannot turn the Sphere around. He knows he'll never see it, that beautiful world again. He knows he'll never see them; Helen and Jacob, and for that he grieves. He learned so much from them in such a small amount of time. For every creature great and small, every man black and white, short and fat, ugly and beautiful, the birds, the dogs, the cats, the fish and every beast in between; throughout the Galaxy they are all quite the same.
He can remember them quite vividly. Their faces are photographically distinct. But he imagines them not as he left them, instead they're by a lake. Helen she is smiling, her hair long and flowing. She's walking alongside Jacob who's laughing as merry as one could. The sun it beats against them, setting peacefully in the sky beyond the mountains. The lake is an illuminating black-red, almost like crimson-glass. The swans float elegantly on its water. The vision is like a dream.
Helen turns and looks, she's smiling at Klaatu. Jacob begins to beckon saying 'Klaatu, come with us!'. Klaatu wants to reach out, to take them by the hand. He wonders what it would be like, to love and understand.
Well it was nice while it lasted, that little dream, he thought. For now he has landed and his people they are apt to greet, wanting him to come out. The mission's been completed, a little differently though. It all worked out its very best with Helen Benson's help.
The alien feels a tug at his lip. It seems to pull upward on its own; but when the Sphere dies down to nothing he drops that little expression, not wanting them to see. He nearly smiled, he has concluded, what a curious little thing.
Everyone is glad, they're standing all around him. He's smack in the middle and he's saluted in a way. It's good and it's over. He's finally home to stay; but Klaatu still wishes…he would've liked to say goodbye. He wonders if he'll ever see them again, wandering only in his dreams by and by.
Before him there's a female, attractive to his kind. She's been waiting his arrival for she's promised as his bride. She comes and takes his hand, and leads him to the dome-coliseum. For a celebration is to be had and their Prime Minister is very glad. The Lord he sits in waiting, upon his little thrown. He nods once in thanks and Klaatu does so.
The female at his side, he thinks her something nice; but she doesn't smile or do the things that Helen Benson did. To hold his hand is the most she likes to touch and to him she feels quite cold. Perhaps it's just her body temperature or maybe something more. Klaatu is looking at her and she's looking ahead. Before him is a female but his mind sees a brunette.
In the corridor he spots a youth, a young male walking along. He turns and glances Klaatu, and for a moment it's Jacob. This makes Klaatu saddened, it makes him rather dull.
The evening is one of speeches and glory, but Klaatu stays silent after he tells his story. It begins to grow late and everyone is tired. Klaatu has to say goodbye to his dream-thoughts for now. He doesn't want to do it, he doesn't want to let go. It reminds him of something special that he had not long ago.
Today he's turned a hundred, he's still quite young and spry. Helen would be ninety, old and withered could she still be alive. He reckons Jacob must be old and married, perhaps moved on from his memories. Klaatu never wedded that female, for to look onto her and see another was unkind. She gladly moved on herself and he is for the most part quite relieved. His life it has been pleasant, quiet and steady; but he's never forgotten the things he never had, it's still there like old lore. And he still wonders if she might have loved him, he would have truly liked to know.
A/N:This is something I wrote right after I saw the movie for the first time. I never posted it then, because there wasn't yet a fandom and as I started posting other stories it partially slipped my mind and when I was exploring through my files, I thought that someone may find a bit of pleasure in reading it. So here it is.
Disclaimer: As you all should know, I own nothing but my creativity and good grammar skills.