A/N: This was the first one of my fics that made me tear up, so just a warning. As always, please R&R.
Diana wanted me to give the eulogy. I turned her down. I may be sometimes well-spoken, but only like a dictionary, and only as Wayne. To be truthful, I don't know what I would have said. You were the comforting one. If anything, I'd just make it worse.
Wally did it instead. I didn't want to come, but this time Diana put her foot down. There was a body, this time, after all. You—broken and with the dried blood cleaned away by whatever mortician had been trusted with your corpse. I didn't ask. I don't really want to know how they made you look like you were sleeping, instead of beaten to death.
By all rights, it should have been me. I have no powers, nothing but training, body armor, and a too-cynical mind to keep me alive night after night. I should be the one in the ground while you stand above, getting soaked in the rain. Yet, somehow, I always survive.
I wish it were me. I told you this, a year back, after Alfred died, and you sat up with me all night and made tea. That sometimes I wish a street kid with a black-market piece would get lucky, and I wouldn't have to go to anymore damn funerals.
I didn't cry that night, and I haven't cried over you, either. I'm sorry. Last night even I, with my unenhanced hearing, could hear Diana through the Watchtower wall. And yet, all I've been able to do is carry on. Very Brit of me, I suppose.
I think I'm broken, Clark.
When they took Luthor away he was smiling. Covered in your blood and grinning from ear to ear. After all, he'd gotten his heart's desire. As for us, we stood still from where ever we were watching—the rooftop, the Watchtower, close and yet too far away—and waited for you to get up. It never occurred to us, in those first minutes, that you wouldn't.
It wasn't meant to last this long. There was a 93.243% probability that we wouldn't see each other into old age, that one or both of us would be another casualty in this war we'd pledged to fight. I calculated it after you died, the first time. It's comforting, somehow.
You always did say I was a cold bastard, before you laughed to show you didn't mean it and put your arm around my shoulders. Then Diana would laugh too and we'd go over the monitor duty schedules, or something equally innocuous.
I love her, Kal. But you knew that, didn't you, and that's why you were always leaving us alone together. Well it's too late now. Now she and Wally and John can talk about you, and share stories and tear up. I can't do that, and now she sees exactly how much is wrong with me.
And now here I am out in the rain, still cold, standing above your grave. There's a memorial back in Metropolis, but your body is here, in Smallville, under an unmarked granite cross. Clark Kent was sent to Iraq as an international correspondent, to die brutally sometime in the next year or two. And then the last part of you will be gone.
Lois knew, Clark. She always knew. I could see it on her face when I showed up as Wayne, to announce your 'promotion.'
I suppose heaven is a promotion from this. I've never believed in it, but you did, and for you I hope its there.
As for Lois, you should have told her. She loved you, Kal, and we both knew it. But anytime there was a choice between duty and her it was always duty. Story of our lives, huh? Still, you could have told her, had a white wedding in Smallville and little superboys and girls a few years later.
Haven't you, of all people, earned the happy ending?
There I go again, in present tense. I suppose I don't believe it yet—after all, you've come back, what twice now? Even if once you weren't really dead, just sent into the future by Toyman.
Toyman. Jesus. When we made a list of everyone who could kill you, no one thought to include the goddamn Toyman.
No one gets a third chance, I know. But still, I keep thinking you'll pop up behind me today, or tomorrow, all well and dandy. Not a scratch, like always. Or you'll swoop over after saving us in the nick of time from some calamity, with a huge grin and Wally will literally jump on you with glee.
If this is what hope is, then I don't like it. It just sets you up for another disappointment.
Still, I slipped your communicator into the coffin. I couldn't help it. Just a precaution. I've always been the planner, haven't I? And this way I'll know first if your heart starts beating again.
I know it won't happen. I know that this time it's for keeps. But please, Kal, won't you come back once more?