Buffy wakes up, her head pounding. She's tied up and unfortunately from what she feels with well made restraints. She tries to get her eyes to focus. They're in the Kawatche caves. She looks around. Faith is starting to stir thanks to her Slayer powers, but from the look of it Giles, Xander and Willow would be out a while. Where's Clark? There's a strange noise, she tries to locate it and there near the portal alter is Clark on the ground with a green rock on his chest. He looks in agony. Oh Clark, he's sweating and pale. He looks terrible. Buffy knows what the rock does, Clark's dying. At this point Caleb walks up to her and kneels down. “Well now, welcome back. If your wondering why your still alive, don’t let that thought trouble your tiny mind, I can assure you it's only temporary” He's fiddling with something in his hands. Buffy looks at it. It's a ring with a red stone. “Oh you noticed this.” Caleb brings it before her eyes. “It's for your boyfriend over there and now you're awake the show can begin.”
Faith had come around and had heard all this “B, what’s that ring about?”
Buffy doesn’t answer, she's praying that red stone isn’t what she thinks it is. Caleb removes the green kryptonite and throws it away. He takes the still weak Clark’s right hand and slides the ring on. Buffy watches as a red glow travels up his veins. She looks at his face as his eyes turn red for a moment. Then his face changes. It becomes arrogant and smug just like The First had appeared like when it was mocking Clark in the kitchen.
Caleb speaks to Clark “How do you feel?”
Clark rises to his feet and replies in a single word “Free.”
Clark then moves over to Buffy. “Clark?” she asks with a voice tinged with fear.
“Call me Kal.” Kal then proceeds to kiss her roughly in contrast to Clark’s gentleness. He pulls back and for a second she could swear she saw Clark’s normal expression but Kal reasserts himself. He walks up to Caleb. “What makes you think I won’t kill you now?”
Caleb reaches into his pocket and pulls out the hexagonal key. “You say your free but your not, not from your father.” a Buffy like voice says. The First/Buffy appears out of the shadows. “I can show you a way to be free, then together we can get those things your heart desires, wealth and power.”
Kal contemplates this. Free of Jor-El and his constant manipulations. Free of all that simpering concern Clark has for these creatures. Even though he has to admit his choice in Buffy was good. She does bring great pleasure. He wonders if Faith is as skilled and if her body is as nice to the touch. He then proceeds to x-ray Faith. Not bad at all. He looks at the First/Buffy. “What about these two?” he points to Faith and Buffy “Can I keep them?”
“Oh you can keep Faith but Miss Summers here is a tool of your father. He sent her to you to make sure you followed his will and not your own path. You see Kal I’m on your side. I can show you how to be rid of her and your father.”
Kal shakes his head in disgust. How many more of these instruments of Jor-El’s will does he have to endure? “What do I have to do?”
The First morphs into Kal. “I told you I understood you. Caleb give Kal the key and bring her.” pointing to Buffy.
Caleb hands the key over and goes over to Buffy. “What do you think of your boyfriend now? Selfish, greedy, vain and arrogant, a vast improvement don’t you think.”
Buffy ignores him and tries to reach Clark “Clark, you can’t listen to them. They’re manipulating you.”
Kal looks at her “And of course your not. All you care about is getting Clark back. Well he’s gone and I’m here to stay.”
Caleb slaps her “I can’t wait till I finally silence that tongue of yours.”
Buffy continues to ignore him, more interested in the slight flinch Clark gave when she was slapped. He’s still in there. How does she reach him?
Caleb picks Buffy up and walks to the alter. Kal is focused on Buffy. There is a new mark on her face. How dare he hurt her? What am I saying? Shut up Clark, you can’t help her. I’m in charge now. Kal shakes his head trying to push Clark away. He slots the key in and all 4 disappear.
Faith who has been watching the whole thing is trying to get loose. She looks over at the still unconscious Xander, Willow and Giles. "Obviously your not going to be any help". Now where did B and Clark go? This is just great. What choice is she getting in all this? Death or being a sex slave. "I’m sorry B you’re on your own."
In the Fortress the 2 Kals, Caleb and Buffy appear. “So what do I do?” Kal asks.
The First/Kal walks over to Buffy “First we get rid of Jor-El’s allies then we get rid of him. Caleb it's time for your vengeance.”
Caleb pulls out a dagger “Praise the all mighty. Time to die little girl.”
Caleb draws the dagger back. Clark is raging inside Kal’s mind. Before Kal realises it, he has superspeed over, taken Caleb’s hand and plunged the dagger into his heart. Caleb stumbles back and looks down. He pulls the dagger out and dark power flows out the wound and into Clark. As the power flows into his body new impulses he has never felt before flow through him. Images of him conquering the people of this planet, millions bowing at his feet. His enemies like Lex crushed by his bare hands. He wonders what it would feel like to crush the life out of Lex Luther and Lionel as well. Those two are definitely first.
The Fist/Kal walks over to Caleb’s body. It is dissolving into dust. “I was wondering when you were going to do that. Thank you Clark.”
Buffy looks on in horror. Clark’s eyes are now soulless orbs of black. When she hears the First thanking Clark anger surges. They’ve been used this whole time. This was all about getting Clark. “You tricked us and that isn’t Clark.” she spits out angrily.
“Not anymore certainly but it was Clark that killed Caleb. He couldn’t watch the love of his life die. Love is both a terrible and wonderful thing. Men have committed great acts of courage for love but also atrocities beyond even what you can image Slayer.”
The First/Kal studies its new servant. “I see Clark is still hanging on but he’ll give up fighting once you are dead.” it turns back to Buffy while saying this.
“Kill her.” it commands of Kal.
Buffy watches as Kal nods in obedience and moves towards her, a sick smile on his face. He lifts her to her feet. She expects him to simply snap her neck but instead he breaks her restraints. She looks at him confused.
“Before I kill you I decided to have some fun, I’ll even let you have the first punch. Come on hit me.” he mockingly points to his jaw.
Buffy doesn’t move, she knows it's pointless, she can’t hurt him. “No.”
In response Kal slaps her “Hit me!” he demands.
Buffy again refuses and Kal slaps her harder knocking her to the floor. She gets back to her feet but doesn’t move. Kal goes toe to toe with her and brings his face inches from hers. “So that’s it, the great Buffy Summers is going to die without a punch, a kick not even one of your famous pithy comebacks.”
If she is going to die Buffy decides she can at least express her feelings to Clark. Clark enduring a nightmare imprisoned in his own body. The First said he was hanging on but once she’s dead at least maybe they’ll be together. “I have four words.”
“Really?” Kal smirks and moves his face to literally millimetres away from Buffy‘s “Lets hear them.”
“I love you Clark.” She then leans into his lips and kisses him. At first it is as cold and unfeeling as she feared it would be but then his lips part and he responds. It feels like Clark kissing her for a moment then Kal breaks it, his eyes still just as lifeless. He pushes her against one of the crystal columns, holds her round the throat and raises his right hand back. Buffy closes her eyes and then a loud crack echoes around the Fortress.
Clark is drowning in a sea of darkness. It feels like pieces of him are dying. His memories of childhood are now beyond recall. The light is fading, he can no longer see but he still hears. He hears his voice command that Buffy is killed. He screams "No, not her. I can’t go on without her." The voice replies “I know” then laughs at him. He hears another voice, Buffy’s saying she loves him, he tries to scream to her that he loves her too but no sound comes out. Then a light illuminates the darkness, he reaches for it. He feels it charge him like the sun does. The darkness around him fades. He can see again. He’s in the Fortress and someone is kissing him. No, not someone Buffy, he knows the feel of her lips. He responds desperate to hang on to her. But within moments he can feel the darkness returning, he notices his right hand. The ring, he has to get rid of it. He breaks the kiss, pushes Buffy against a column and raises his right hand. CRACK. He puts his fist into the column inches above Buffy’s head. The ring shatters. Pain wracks his body and he falls to his knees. He can feel the darkness leaving, it is screaming in fury. He falls forward but is caught. He looks up and sees Buffy cradling his head, stroking him gently.
Buffy waited for the inevitable, she heard a CRACK but there was no pain. She opens her eyes. Clark had punched the column above her head. She watches as he collapses to his knees. She sees the dark energy pour out his body. Life returns to his beautiful eyes and before he can fall forward she catches him. He had overcome the darkness, he couldn’t let it kill her. She stroked him gently “You saved me.”
“No.” was Clark’s reply “You saved me. You drove away the darkness. Told you, you blazed like the sun.”
Buffy laughs, tears now running down her face. She kisses his forehead.
The First/Kal looks on in disgust. “I offered you freedom and power and you rejected it for her. Compared to us they’re lives are as a blink of the eye. I could have given you eternity.”
Clark looks at it “No, all you bring is death and destruction.”
Suddenly Jor-El’s voice boomed in the Fortress “You have failed Dark One. Leave this place.”
The First/Kal looks up “He will fail Jor-El just as you did. This world will fall and your son cannot save it just as you could not save Krypton.”
With that the First leaves. Buffy helps Clark to his feet.
“My son you have passed the trial.” Jor-El speaks again “Your time of training draws near.”
Clark knows he must undergo his training. He had learned in the last few days how much he didn’t know about this universe. As much as he hated it, he would have to leave Buffy. He didn’t possess the knowledge to protect her. He replies to his father “I know. Allow me to ensure my friends as safe. I promise I shall return soon.”
“As you wish my son.” Jor-El responds. Buffy and Clark are enveloped in light and reappear in the caves.
By the time Buffy and Clark reappear they find the others awake. They soon untie them and begin to walk back to the farm. Buffy and Clark retell the events of inside the Fortress. Buffy laughs at Giles’ reaction when Clark explains that the Fortress contains knowledge from 28 galaxies. Honestly, for a second she thought his head might explode. The sun is just rising as they reached the farm. As they approached the house Buffy feels Clark tense up and then she sees a red haired woman on the porch.
“Clark who’s that?” Buffy asks.
Clark replies “That would be my mother.”
Buffy considers this . His mother? She doesn’t think she's ever met her boyfriends’ mothers. Well this is going to be interesting. She wonders what Clark's mother will be more upset about, the fact they wrecked her house or the fact she's sleeping with her son. Oh god Buffy, don’t mention sex to her.
Clark takes Buffy’s hand in his and waves “Hey, Mom.”
Martha Kent has been worried about her son. They had barely spoken since Lana’s death and from what she had heard from Chloe, he had been moping around the farm for weeks. She decided to clear her schedule for a few days and check up on him. It was early morning when she got back to the farm. She found fires in the fields beside numerous craters. When she got to the house she finds the windows boarded and the front door broken through. She then finds bodies, lots of them, it looked like a battlefield. She found the courage to look at one of them. Where eyes should be there were strange symbols. She wondered if they were some sort of alien. Perhaps another of Jor-El’s enemies trying to avenge themselves on Clark. Now where was Clark? That what was truly frightening her. She looked around the house. They were bodies in the entrance and a hole through a wall she thought looked about person size.
Upstairs seemed ok. Her old bed was a mess, Clark had obviously been sleeping here. Out of habit she began to make it only to find a pair of women’s underwear in it. Ok, Clark better have a good explanation for this. It occurred to her, she was more upset about the thought of her son sleeping with some girl, unknown to her, than the mess downstairs. Well Martha you take in an alien boy you have to expect weirdness. The weirdness she could handle but like any parent the thought of her son having sex still seemed to disturb her. Remember Martha he is an adult, you and Jonathan raised him well, you have to trust him. Now if only she could convince herself of that. The sun begins to rise and she hears voices. She walks onto the porch and sees Clark and 5 other people. She raises an eyebrow with interest when Clark takes the hand of the blond girl walking next to him. Well at least she knows whose underwear it is.
“Clark Kent you better have a good explanation for all this” she says as she points around the farm “and this” as she pulls out the underwear.
Clark can feel his face heat up as he goes red and he notices even Buffy is looking embarrassed. Faith on the other hand was doing all she could not to burst out laughing.
It was Giles who came to the rescue sort of. “Mrs Kent, my name is Rupert Giles.” He extends his hand and Martha takes it and shakes it. “I can certainly explain the first part but as for the second part I’m afraid your son is on his own. We should go and sit down it’s a long story. The others can clear up this mess."
Giles is impressed at how calmly Mrs Kent took all he had to tell her, but then again she had raised a super powered alien from the age of 3. Power corrupts he knew that better than most but she had raised Clark to be someone who only wanted to help. She and her husband were remarkable people. He hopes to cultivate a friendship, after all she is a Senator. Someone in her position could prove useful when it came to protecting the other slayers. In the old days the Watchers council had friends in positions of power. He didn’t know how many were left so he needed all the friends he could find.
Martha had absorbed all this news surprising well she thought. So demons and vampires exist but is that any stranger than aliens. So she had gotten the whole story of how this First Evil tried to corrupt her son. He had fought it and won, proving to her that Clark’s inner strength was more important than his actual powers. So that just left what was going on between her son and Buffy. Martha wasn’t quite sure what her parents were thinking naming their daughter that but it wasn’t her place to question. “So Mr Giles, what is going on between Buffy and my son?”
Giles had been dreading this part. “I know they care for one another.”
Faith walks in at this point “I think we all figured that out when we caught them on the couch with no clothes on.”
Martha sees Giles visibly cringe and realises that must be true. Oh Clark Kent, you are in so much trouble she thinks to herself.
“I must apologise for Faith. She can be rather blunt sometimes.” Giles adds trying desperately to get out of this.
“No that’s ok. After dealing with politicians in Washington, I find honesty refreshing.” Martha responds.
Faith sticks her tongue out at Giles and Martha shakes her head in mild amusement. She excuses herself and decides it's time to talk to Clark. She goes outside and finds that the bodies of those Bringers as Mr Giles had called them are gone. Having a son who could dig a pit at superspeed was useful at times. She finds Clark in the Barn putting tools away. He looks around at her “Hey Mom, did Giles explain everything to you?”
“Yes but more important are you okay? Giles told me that this First infected you with dark power.”
Clark visibly saddened “I’m fine, it was just disturbing. It released all those dark impulses that you normally lock away. While it was in me the thought of hurting, killing, destroying actually seemed attractive.”
Martha hugs Clark. “But you fought it.”
“Not by myself. It was Buffy’s love for me that brought light to the darkness and Mom you should know I’m in love with her as well.”
Martha pulls back and studies him. For someone in love he's looking very sad. “Clark honey, what’s the matter?”
Clark sighs “I have to leave for my training with Jor-El.”
What? This was all they needed. Her son would be leaving her for some unknown length of time. “When?”
“Soon. I was going to fix the house then come to Washington to tell you.”
“I love her Mom but without my training I can’t protect her or you or this world.” Clark obviously didn't want to leave but he could no longer put it off.
At this point he notices Buffy had entered the barn and was listening to them speak.
Buffy had been gathering up the Bringers’ bodies. She watched as Clark dug this huge pit in a matter of seconds. Jor-El had said his training was at hand. Did that mean he would be leaving her? They really needed to talk. Once the bodies were buried Clark went to put the tools away, she saw his mother enter the barn. Her curiosity got the better of her and she went over and eavesdropped. Oh god he is going to have to leave. She then realises Clark has noticed her. Mrs Kent made some excuse and leaves leaving them alone. “You’re really have to go don’t you?”
Clark was looking very sad by now “I do and so do you. Those other slayers need guidance from someone wise, charming, beautiful...”
They both chuckle and Buffy walks up and hugs Clark “You know flattery gets, well in your case, my underwear getting found by your mother.”
Clark pulls back and looks into Buffy’s eyes “I can’t ask you to wait for me.”
“No you can’t but I want to. You said I saved you from the darkness, well it's true for me also. Slayers are haunted by the memories of the previous slayers. Dreams full of monsters but since I’ve been with you I haven’t had one. We were meant for each other Clark. We are the same, in the world but not part of it. When I’m with you I don’t feel alone anymore.”
“Buffy you make me feel the same.” She really did. All he ever wanted was to fit in, be normal. Buffy made him feel like that. She ignored the alien with super powers and saw the real him underneath. “but I could be away for a long time.”
“I’ll wait.” she then proceeded to kiss him. They stand there exploring each other’s mouths, the feel, the taste, trying to commit it to memory.
It's decided over dinner that Giles, Xander, Willow, Faith and Buffy would leave in the morning. Clark needs to tie up a few things to do with the farm and say his goodbyes to Chloe and Lois. Clark and Buffy sneak away to spend one more night together. They spend the night slowly making love, exploring every inch of each others bodies, savouring the taste and the feel. The world around them dissolves leaving only the 2 of them with waves of pleasure coursing through their bodies. Next morning Buffy wakes up wrapped in Clark’s arms in the middle of a field. He is gently kissing her shoulder. When he sees she’s awake he reaches over and picks up a box and hands it to her.
She opens it and inside is the bracelet Kyla had given Clark, the one destined for his soul mate. “What’s this?” Buffy asks.
“A gift for you. A friend once told me that bracelet was destined for my soul mate, I have no doubt that that is you.”
Buffy puts the bracelet on and the gem in it glows. “It's beautiful. I suppose we should get back though before your mother comes and finds us. I still can’t believe she found my underwear.”
Clark starts picking up his clothes “I know. At least she didn’t catch us on the couch or worse coming out the bathroom like me and Lois.”
Buffy raises an eyebrow “You and Lois in the bathroom huh? Am I going to have to slay her?”
Clark suddenly cursing his own stupidity for saying that “No, no. She was staying with us and just barged in when I was in the shower.” Clark is almost sweating under Buffy’s stare.
“At least she’ll never have the memory of what we did together in the shower.” Buffy states trying to blank out this memory of Lois.
Clark feels a sudden wave of heat at that memory. It’s a good thing he learned how to control his heat vision years ago or he would have just burned half the field. “We should get back before you bring up more memories like that. Otherwise we’ll never get back.”
They get dressed and walk back to the house hand in hand. They find Willow, Giles, Xander and Faith waiting for them. “B, just because your getting some and others like well me aren’t, it isn’t necessary to rub our faces in it.”
“In your case Faith it is necessary.” Buffy turns to Clark and kisses him for what she knows is going to be the last time for a long time. “I love you Clark.”
“I love you too Buffy.” Clark responds as he pulls in for one last hug.
Faith shakes her head “Alright enough, we’ve got a long drive and Xander if you suggest taking the scenic route you are walking back.”
Clark says his goodbyes to the gang and watches them drive off.
A few days later Clark has said his farewells to Chloe, Lois and his mother. He told Lois he was travelling round the world on a journey of self discovery. She was actually surprisingly supportive. He looks around the farm one last time and superspeeds to the caves. He inserts the key and is teleported to the Fortress.
“Father, I have returned for my training.”
“Kal-El” Jor-El voice sounds softer than before “Your training must begin with a question.”
Clark knows the question, the only question he has ever wanted to know “Who am I?”
A beam of light encircles him and the holographic images of Krypton begin.
Jor-El's teachings begin “Your name is Kal-El. You are the only survivor of the planet Krypton. Even though you’ve been raised as a human being you are not one of them. You have great power...”