I've started a chapter with "I'm sorry it's been so long since I updated" about 5 times running now. But this time I had some personal stuff to deal with, nothing too serious, just time consuming. Plus, my computer was brutally attacked by a virus and was out for the count for a bit, so that didn't help either. But mostly, there was a lot more of this Epilogue then what you're about to read. A lot more. And, while I liked what I cut out, (it had Lois Lane in, what's not to like?) it just wasn't needed, and was slowing things down, so it had to go.
Anyway, I've got a few things to say seeing as this is the last chapter, but I'll put all that at the very bottom, for anyone who just wants to read the chapter, and not my thoughts on it. :)
The Times They Are a-Changing
There were moments, of course, when Clark felt alone. An outcast. An alien. But, then again, what teenager didn't feel such things from time to time? And even in those moments when he felt down, he reminded himself that some people had it a lot worse.
He had two loving, if at times over-protective parents; Pete, his best friend, who always had his back; and Lana, his beautiful girlfriend, who was always there to talk.
There were people in this world without a home, or a family, or food. And here he was, sulking because his father wouldn't allow him to play football. When he thought about it like that, his life wasn't so bad after all.
One morning, he was late for the school bus.
Pete laughed, watching through the window as the bus sped right past his best friend.
"Statistical fact:" he said. "If Clark moved any slower, he'd be extinct."
Pete turned to his left, and stopped laughing.
It was weird; he knew the seat next to him was empty. So who had he been expecting to be sitting next to him, laughing at his joke?
At the sound of his name, Clark turned back and saw Principal Kwan standing in the doorway of his office.
"Sir?" he answered, walking over to the Principal.
"Any interest in Journalism?"
"Oh." Clark said, caught off guard. "Uh, I enjoyed covering it in English Class. Why?"
"The Torch's editor graduated at the end of last year, and we're in need of a new one. You up for it?"
An hour later, and Clark found himself in the empty offices of the Smallville High Torch, his first deadline already approaching. There were dozens of scraps of paper laid out across a desk, each one representing a possible story. Clark was wondering what he'd gotten himself in to when something caught his eye.
There was a cork message board on the wall, that was bare. And for some reason, that bothered Clark. He didn't know why, but he just felt that wall should be covered in articles. Almost as though he'd seen it that way before.
He stood up and approached the wall, and when he reached it he was surprised to feel a stabbing sense of sadness. Why, Clark couldn't explain. He'd never seen this board in his life, that he knew of.
He picked up one of the potential stories he'd laid out, and pinned it to the wall.
"Your Mother's worried." Jonathan said, climbing the loft stairs.
His son, previously gazing out of the window into the night, turned to him.
"You haven't said a word since you came home from school." he said, walking over to the window. "You barely touched your dinner. She thinks something's wrong." He looked at his son. "I do too."
Clark's gaze remained on the dark fields for a few seconds. "Did you see the news today?" he eventually said. "Flooding in Pakistan. It's chaos there."
"Clark…" Jonathan sighed, having had this conversation before.
"The government did the best they could, but they didn't get there fast enough. People died."
"Son, you can't blame…"
"I could have saved them, Dad."
"You had no way of knowing, just like the government didn't. You can't feel responsible for these things, Clark. You were in no position to help."
"Well maybe that needs to change!"
They had had this conversation many times before; Clark would blame himself for things beyond his control and Jonathan would try and calm him down. But for the first time since he walked up the loft stairs, Jonathan realised this time was different.
"What are you saying, son?"
"I don't know," Clark said, looking out at the stars again. "I can't go on sitting in school filling out college applications, when there are people out there dying. Not when I could be doing something about it. I was sent here for a reason, I had to be. "
"Now look here," said Jonathan. "I don't want you doing anything because you think it's the reason you're here. You do what you feel is right. Don't you want to go to college?"
"I don't know, Dad. I mean, I like journalism. It's the one thing I can do the same as regular people and not have an advantage, you know? And I'm good at it! But is that my destiny? Is that why I have all these powers?"
"Clark, the only person in control of your destiny is you. Nobody can tell you who to be; not me, not your mother, not anybody. The man that you are tomorrow is based on the choices you make today. So the question you have to ask yourself, son, is what do you want to do?"
Clark thought of the people on the news, their lives destroyed. Totally without hope. For years he'd turned a blind eye, tried to ignore the guilt inside him whenever he saw one of these reports. For years he'd simply changed the channel. But there was always another one. If it wasn't natural disasters, it was murders and wars. He had never understood what drove a person to harm another. He wondered, if people had someone to show them what was right, someone to set an example, someone to protect them, someone to believe in…
He looked at his father, knowing what his answer was.
"I want to help people." he said.
"Then you do that." Jonathan said. "But whatever happens, Clark, just know that I'm proud of you."
He patted his son on the back, and decided to leave him with his thoughts. But before he reached the loft stairs, he spotted something amongst the clutter of Clark's things.
"Son…" he said. "Maybe you don't have to choose between one life or the other."
Clark turned to his Dad. "What do you mean?"
"I mean," Jonathan said. He picked up the glasses that Clark had worn as a child, but had since grown out of, and smiled. "Maybe there's a way you can live both."
Metropolis, years later…
Ted kicked the doors of the bank open. Behind him, Frankie was picking up as many bags of cash he could carry, while Joe placed all of the customers and staff at gunpoint one last time.
"Anyone follows us and they won't live long enough to regret it!" he said, and they followed Ted into the street.
"Got the cash?" Joe asked his partners.
"Yeah." Ted answered.
"Then let's go." he said, turning towards the car parked on the sidewalk in front of them.
But there was a gust of wind, a red-blue blur, and suddenly someone was standing between them and a perfect getaway. He had his arms folded coolly across that now famous symbol on his chest, a single black curl fell down across his forehead, and his cape was blowing slightly in the breeze.
"Hi there." said Superman, he looked from the bank behind them, to the guns in their left hands, and the bags of money in their right. "Something wrong with the ATM?"
Frankie immediately dropped all the cash he was holding and made a break for it. However, he barely made it a few steps before he found himself knocked backwards to the floor, and looked up to see Superman standing over him.
"You said he'd be busy fighting super-villans!" Frankie screamed at his partners. "You said there was no way he'd be around!"
"Oh, fellas," Superman said. "If there's one thing you should know about me: I'm always around."
But Ted and Joe had seen their chance; Superman had moved from blocking their way into the car. Ted jumped in the front seat, Joe beside him, and shoved the key in the ignition. He slammed his foot down, and sped off down the road. He saw Superman watching him drive away, nonplussed.
"Why isn't he…?"
But before Ted could finish, the car stopped in it's tracks, and both men lurched forward. After smashing his head into the dashboard, Ted groggily lifted his gaze and saw Superman now standing in front of the car.
The Man of Steel stepped away from the front of the vehicle, which had crushed around his lower body on impact. Joe kicked the passenger door open and fell out onto the pavement.
"Okay, then." said Superman, peering over to see Joe on the floor. "Can I assume you've seen enough not to try anything el…" But suddenly Joe was on his feet, pointing a gun directly at his chest. "…Obviously not."
Joe was breathing hard, his perfect plan was unravelling before his eyes. But not if he could help it. The stories in the paper couldn't be true, he reasoned. Just made-up tabloid stuff. Rumours, nothing more.
No one was bullet-proof.
Superman simply sighed and allowed the gun to go off, barely feeling it crush against his chest. Then both he and Joe watched it fall pathetically to the ground.
"Ok." Joe said, throwing the gun to the ground, refusing defeat. "But I ain't going nowhere. Not without a fight!" He raised his hands and assumed a boxing stance, nodding for Superman to do the same.
Superman smiled. "Really?" he said. He scanned for an appropriate object, settling on the mangled car hood in front of him, which he ripped away from the vehicle and held aloft with one hand. And making sure Joe was watching, he punched his hand right through the metal. "Because I'd very much recommend going without a fight."
Joe dropped his hands.
Superman stayed for a few minutes more, until the Police arrived. Across the street Jimmy Olsen was ecstatic. There had only been a few decent pictures of Superman since he'd arrived on the scene a few months ago; the guy always seemed to be on the move. But he wasn't moving now, and Jimmy was taking full advantage, snapping away picture after picture on his camera. Wait till the Chief saw these!
He zoomed in to get a close up of Superman's face, but suddenly a mop of brown hair entered the frame.
"Excuse me?" Jimmy said politely. "Could you step aside, please? I'm taking pictures for The Planet here."
"Oh, sorry, yes, of course." said the man, in a thick English accent, and he moved out the photographer's way.
"Don't worry about it. Just trying to get a good look yourself?"
"Something like that. I've been looking all over for him, just making sure everything worked out okay. I mean, that he's okay. I mean… oh, never mind. Anyway, he's a hard man to find."
"Tell me about." Jimmy said, returning to getting a close up. "I've been trying to get a good shot of him for weeks now, but the guy's always flying off. Jimmy Olsen, by the way."
"The Doctor." the man said, shaking Jimmy's extended hand.
They both watched as Superman shook the Police Officer's hands, smiled at the group of onlookers and took off into the air.
"He is really something, huh?" Jimmy said, as both he and the Doctor watched the Man of Steel fly away.
"Oh, yes." the Doctor said, unable to contain the giant grin spreading across his face. "Just the best of you. The best humanity's ever produced."
Jimmy frowned at the strange comment. "Don't you read the papers? He's from another planet. Mars, or something."
The Doctor shook his head. "Krypton."
"That's right!" Jimmy said, remembering Miss Lane's article.
"Mars is completely different to Krypton. Krypton's just ice, Mars is really quite beautiful. Valleys of this gorgeous red. Always wear boots, though, cause the stains just do not come out of your trainers."
The Doctor was too focused on Superman to see the slightly weirded out look on Jimmy's face.
"Anyway!" the Doctor said when Superman disappeared from view. "What I meant was that he just embodies everything that you can be. He gives you hope. He inspires you to be better."
"Yeeeah." Jimmy said, not missing how the Doctor said 'you' instead of 'us'. "Anyway, I gotta get back to work now. See ya, buddy."
"Hmm? Oh, okay. Have a good one. Cool bow tie, by the way."
"Oh." said Jimmy, pleasantly taken aback. "Thank you." And, patting his beloved choice of tie, he went on with his day.
The Doctor, however, stayed for a bit longer. Everything had worked out. Superman was safe, criminals were not, and the people walking the street had hope. Just as it should be.
He just wished there'd been another way.
He sighed, and tried to shake those thoughts away. Fortunately for him, there was always another question to be answered: where to next?
Now that Jimmy had mentioned it, he realised it really had been a while since he'd been on Mars. And it really was a beautiful sight. The Red Planet. Yeah, he decided, Mars it was.
He looked around the street once more, as if doing one last check, and then set off for the TARDIS.
"For a long time now I thought I was just a survivor. But I'm not. I'm the winner, that's who I am. The Time Lord Victorious."
Too many. Far too many people had died that could have been saved, because he was playing to the rules of a dead people. Abiding to outdated concepts of 'fixed' points and people. How many had perished while he clung to his past? Almost everyone on Bowie Base One. The masses he'd left to burn in Pompeii.
Poor Chloe Sullivan, who gave her life because she thought it was the only way.
But never again, the Doctor thought. Adelaide Brook was alive and well because of him. He'd broken the rules, interfered with a 'fixed' point in time and saved her life. She'd told him he was wrong, that it wasn't up to him to decide who lived and died, but she didn't understand.
Only when he was sure Adelaide was inside her house did he start walking back to the TARDIS, the reality of what this meant hitting him. All bets were off, never again would he stand by and watch. Time could be rewritten, for anyone, 'fixed' or otherwise. He had a super-duper time machine, it was time he started using it.
And the first stop was Clinton Street. He made the rules now. If he could save Adelaide Brook, he could save Chloe Sullivan.
And then he heard it. The unmistakable sound of gunshot.
Adelaide's last words returned to him; "I don't care who you are. The Time Lord Victorious is wrong!"
And suddenly, it was as if the light from Adelaide's gun had shone through the window and revealed to him what'd he done. He'd gone too far. He was so sick of watching people die, and scared for himself, that he'd gone and lost his mind. He couldn't save Adelaide Brook, for the same reasons he couldn't save Chloe.
And now he knew it more than ever. He was doomed.
Metropolis General Hospital was busy, full of medical staff and ordinary people in need of help. But amongst everyone else, there was one man walking through the halls of Met Get that no one could help.
The Doctor was, more or less, dead.
Or, at least, as close as he could get to it without actually dying. The radiation he'd absorbed was tearing his body apart, and the biological reaction had started. The regeneration was coming. Everything was about to change.
This is what he'd been running from, for so long. And yet, despite the fact that it was more inevitable now than it had ever been, he found himself still running. Okay, so maybe he was doing this, visiting each of the most important people in his life one last time, to say goodbye. But, mostly, it was just to put off what he knew came next.
'Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'
And, as he limped down the hospital hallway, he couldn't deny it. He was afraid. The Time Lords loved to act all-knowing, but in actual fact, it was their own biology that they knew least about. No one quiet understood how regeneration worked, what were the limits of the process were.
And so the Doctor had no idea what to expect. Anything could happen when he changed. He might be boring, or mean. He might not have arms, or legs. At that last thought, a fresh wave of panic fell over him. What will I do without legs, he thought, how will I run away from things?
But he would have to worry about that later. He'd found what he was looking for.
Clark Kent, glasses and all, sitting outside of a patient's room.
The Doctor smiled, hobbled over to the seat next to him and sat down.
"Hello." he said.
Clark jumped slightly. He'd been too immersed in his own thoughts, he hadn't noticed anyone next to him.
"Oh." he said. "Hi."
"Nervous?" the Doctor asked, and when Clark didn't seem to understand, he cocked an eyebrow. "Shifting in your seat? Fidgeting hands? Come off it, you've got 'About to be a Dad' written all over you."
"Oh," Clark laughed. "Um, yeah. Very nervous."
"Understandable." the Doctor said. "Your first?"
"Yeah." sighed Clark. "You worry, y'know? If you'll be able to handle it, if you'll be a good Dad. If you'll be around enough."
"Oh, you're always around."
Clark blinked, and looked at the man. "Excuse me?"
The Doctor tried to hide his grin. "I mean, first-time Dad. They won't be able to drag you away."
Clark nodded, relieved. Not that there was anyway this guy could know he was…
The Doctor gasped, a sharp burst of pain hitting him. His hand flew to his abdomen on instinct.
"Are you okay?" Clark said, sitting up in his seat. "Do you want me to get a Doctor?"
"Nah," the Doctor said. "I'll be fine." And before Clark could disagree, he changed the subject. "Anyway, this baby of yours, does it have a name yet?"
Clark thought about arguing; the man certainly did not look fine. But he didn't want to be rude, and so he answered, "Sam. If it's a boy, that is. We haven't decided on a girl's name yet. I like Lucy, but my wife doesn't. And she's pretty stubborn."
"That's an understatement." the Doctor muttered, forgetting his friend's gifted hearing.
"What?" Clark said.
"Chloe." said the Doctor, ignoring Clark's previous question. "Good name for a girl."
Over the past nine months, many people had been offering names to the Kents. Clark had learned to politely answer that it was a nice name, and promise that they would consider it, even though he knew they wouldn't. However, this time was different.
"…Chloe." he said. "Wow. That is a nice name. I mean, I'd have to run it past my wife first. But I like it."
"I had a friend called Chloe." said the Doctor. "Brave girl."
The Doctor turned his gaze to the floor and was silent, and Clark was about to say something when the door they were sitting outside of suddenly opened, and a flustered nurse was standing before them.
"Mr Kent." she said. "Your wife would like you to…"
"Smallville!" came Lois's voice. "You put this thing in me, you're gonna help get it out."
Clark was quickly on his feet and following the nurse back into the room. But then he remembered his strange new friend, and turned back.
"Sorry, I really have to go." he said.
"Oh, yeah. It's fine." the Doctor answered.
"But, thanks. For the name, I mean."
"Don't mention it." said the Doctor, nodding for him to go inside.
"Bye." Clark said, and turned to join his wife.
Clark stopped. He didn't remember telling the man his name. He looked back, and saw the man smiling at him, but not like before. The smile was betrayed by the man's eyes, which suddenly seemed so sad, and afraid. His inner-Superman took over, and his natural instinct was to ask what was wrong, and do whatever it took to help.
"Kent!" screeched Lois. "If you're not in here in five seconds, I swear to God…!"
Clark looked between the man and the hospital room, torn. "I…"
"Clark." said the Doctor. "Go on. She needs you."
Clark hovered for a few more seconds, and it was only when his wife screamed his name again that he made his decision. He looked one last time at the man, who gave him a half-hearted wink, and then went inside.
The Doctor, alone again, sighed.
He held his hand up in front of him. The golden glow was starting to form around his knuckles. Time's up, he thought.
He managed to stagger to his feet, and set off down the hallway. One more trip, he told himself. He wasn't ready yet. Just one more trip, and then…
And he had to laugh. As if things weren't bad enough, something he'd said earlier had scared him more than anything. Now, besides his fast approaching death, there was only one thought running through his head.
He really hoped he would still have legs.
Well, there it is, finished. To have this completed is a relief, and a little bit sad. Even though I started posting in September of 2009, I've been writing this story since at least 2008. 2 years, and now its over. And I have to say, I'm quite proud of it. I'm not the best prose writer. I'm studying screenwriting at University, and that's what I'd like to do eventually, but fan fiction works so much better in prose, I think.
It's far from perfect, of course. There's a few spelling errors here and there and the odd continuity mess-up. And a part of me wishes I'd waited till I'd finished the story before posting, so I could look it over and perhaps re-draft it. But the reviews I got as I was going along inspired me to keep writing, so that's something. Also remember that I posted this a few weeks before Smallville's Ninth Season started, and I was worried that Callum Blue's Zod would be involved in storylines similar to this story, so I wanted to post my version first and avoid any accusations of simply copying from the show. However, they took him a different (and awesome) direction, so there was no need to worry.
Something else I want to mention is that this story kind of my farewell to the Tenth Doctor. David Tennant was my Doctor, and he was just tiny bit brilliant. But David Tennant was the Doctor, now Matt Smith is the Doctor, and he's every bit as brilliant. So much so that I'm writing my own "series" for the Eleventh Doctor. Thirteen stories serving as episodes, with my own original companion, which I hope to start posting soon. I hope anyone who enjoyed this story will join me for that, as well. There's a synopsis for the series in my profile, if you're interested.
So, a very huge, gigantic thank-you to anyone who reviewed this story. And even a thank you to those that read, but didn't review. I hope you liked it, and I hope you like what I have coming up.
(Btw, if you're confused about why this story ended with the Doctor worrying about his legs, remember that the Eleventh Doctor's first words were a very relieved "Legs! I've still got legs." I was worried people wouldn't catch that. :D)