By Delphic 9 Comments
Metropolis. The city of tomorrow. It was hard for Connor to look out across the beautiful city, with its towering skyscrapers, and down at the clean streets below. It was hard to believe that only a couple of weeks ago the city had been a battleground. The streets below had been littered with blood, and pieces of flesh belonging to friend and foe alike. It was enough to drive any hero insane, or make them want to run away.
Connor had not had a good night’s sleep since before the battle, and now when he tried to sleep he had nightmares. He could hear screams, feel the blood on his fingertips, and hear the voices of friends now dead pleading for him to save them. Many had died, and Connor knew he would forever be haunted by them.
He and a few others had tried desperately to stop them. Asked them to cease and desist to prevent further bloodshed, but it was in vain. Deathstroke had struck the first blow when he fired off three rounds at Superman. After that, everything happened so fast. He had seen Kara and Dinah butchered, Dick burned alive, and worst of all Tim bled out in Connor’s arms. Blood and screams were all that he could pull from the shredded remains of his memory.
When Connor looked back at the final reports; he could scarcely believe what he had done. His kill count had been massive. According to the reports, Sinestro, Black Manta, Sliver Banshee, Metallo, Cheetah, and many others had fallen to him, but Connor could barely remember any of it. He remembered seeing Cheetah plead for her life before he ripped her head from her sholders, but outside of that it was a blur. By the time it was over and Connor finally woke up, he could scarcely move, and he was holding a broken, but still breathing Cassie Sandsmark in his arms. For that one brief moment, he was thankful.
His hands though were covered in blood, and no matter how many times he washed them it seemed like the blood would not come out. Cassie, who was now in recovery, had sustained a few burns, a laceration on her right leg, and a broken arm, but she would not even look at him. She said that she had seen firsthand what he had done, and that for the first time in her life she was afraid of him. Even now she refused to see him.
In truth, he couldn’t even stand the sight of himself anymore. He refused to wear the ‘S’ because he felt like it didn’t fit him anymore. Connor just wanted all the pain and emptiness he was feeling to go away, he wanted to forget about it, but he knew he couldn’t do it in Metropolis and that was why he currently stood on the roof of the Daily Planet waiting. He was waiting for the only person he could think of to reach out to at the moment. Suddenly there was a slight change in the wind, and the person he had been waiting for had arrived.
“Took you long enough.” Connor said turning around and looking up into the face of the Man of Steel.
“You’ll have to forgive me. “ Superman said, “As you know there’s been a lot going on.”
“Yeah tell me about it.”
“Is Cassie still refusing to see you?” Superman asked, landing next to Connor, and leaning up against the side wall of the building.
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“Diana told me.”
“Oh, I see.” Connor replied. A moment of silence passed between them. Connor knew Clark had not been without his losses as well.
“So what did you want to talk to me about?” Superman asked, and after a brief moment Conner let out a sigh as he said.
“What?” Superman replied with a shocked tone.
“I can’t do this anymore Clark. Kara, Dick, and Tim. They’re all gone. I tried so hard to stop everything from happening, but I failed, and I got pulled right into it. Now I have blood on my hands.”
“We all have blood on our hands. Me, Diana, and even Cassie does.”
“Maybe you can live with that Clark, but I can’t. I can’t close my eyes without seeing their faces. The friends who died. Those I killed.” Connor spat a look of rage on his face before finally pausing and looking away and muttering under his breath, “Those who fear me. I still see Cheetah begging for mercy when I close my eyes. She was crying. Saying ‘please spare me’, but all I could think about was what she did to Tim. I loved the feeling of my hands around her face as I pulled, the sounds of her screams in the palm of my hand, and the sound of ripping skin and muscle as I took her head.” Connor said as he held his palms up looking down at them. “I loved it so much that I would do it again, and that scares me.”
Superman stood there, not saying anything, but just looking away.
“I’m sorry,” Connor sighed, “I forgot to ask. How are the wounds?”
“I’ll live.” Superman replied, “Look Connor, I understand what you’re going through. We’ve all had to do things in this fight that years ago we would have never dreamed of doing.” Superman walked up to Connor and placed his hands on the nineteen year olds shoulders. “Are you absolutely sure about this, about walking away from all of this? The world needs you.”
“Yes.” Connor replied. “I’m sure.”
“Then I guess you’re mind is made up. Do you know where you’re going to go from here?”
“Yeah, I thought about going back to Smallville, and maybe fixing up the old place. Living the rest of my days out there in peace, you know?”
Superman let out a short laugh, “That doesn’t sound too bad. Will you take Cassie with you?” Connor was silent for a moment, but finally replied.
“No. She can’t stand to see me right now; besides, she’s better off without me.”
“So you’re going to end it?”
“Yeah, I guess I am. It’s too bad though. I really saw a future before, but now…”
“It’s alright Connor, I understand. Do you know when are you leaving?”
“First thing in the morning.” Connor replied “I have to pack a few more things first, and I have to figure out how I’m going to tell Cass.”
“Alright. If you do this though, I have one condition.” Superman said causing Connor too look at him with a puzzled look, “Swing by the Fortress and pick up Krypto. I’m not there as much these days, and he’s been spending too much time alone. I think some wide open spaces would do him some good. Just promise me you’ll take care of him for me.”
“You bet.” Connor smiled, and held out his hand. Superman smiled back, and took the boy’s hand.
“Goodbye Connor.” Superman said, shaking the boy’s hand in friendship, for the last time.