December 24, 2001

Disclaimer: the Age of the Shack is past. This is a sort of wacky crossover between this Canadian shack that Sanj wrote and this other Canadian shack that I wrote, but AU for both. Don't even ask. Do not archive without permission.

Destiny is a shroud

He thought about breaking the door, because it didn't matter to him, and it wouldn't matter to her. But someone had worked to build this shack, and he had no right to destroy it; that part wasn't necessary. Clark opened the door and walked inside. She was sitting on the floor, slumped down as though something had broken inside her. Her red hair gleamed in the firelight. In her eyes, he could see the swirl of dark possibilities.

"Hey, who are you?" she asked shakily.

He went up to her and knelt down. "I'm sorry," he said. "I have to stop you."

"What do you mean, stop me?" She tried to straighten up, and he put a hand on her shoulder, holding her still. "Hey!"

Clark snapped her neck. He had decided, some time back, that it was the fastest and most painless way, if he did it right. It wasn't as though he was trying to punish them. He just needed to safeguard the future. He wasn't going to let anything bad happen.

With great power comes great responsibility.

And you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

He got to his feet and stood there, looking down at her. She looked very small. Nothing about her suggested the end of the world. Not now. After a while, he heard the sound of an engine. It grew louder, came closer. Someone else had come for her. Clark turned as two people walked into the cabin. The blonde girl made a hitching sound in the back of her throat, stumbled across the floor, and fell to her knees. "Willow," she said. "Willow!"

"I'm sorry," Clark said to the young man. He knew he ought to leave. This part never came out right. "She was too dangerous."

"No!" the blonde girl said, voice thick with tears. "She wouldn't have... What g-gave you the right to decide?"

The young man, still by the door, said nothing, but he was white around the mouth and his hands clenched into fists. Clark shook his head. "I knew. I can see it." Could still remember the first time of seeing it, touching Lex, the power leaping with a flash of white through his skin, bringing knowledge of death and poison and graves and the end of everything that was good and right.

"What if you're wrong," the young man said, his voice tightly controlled.

"You're wrong." The blonde girl had something in her voice, a shaky, frightened certainty. "You're wrong. I love her. She's so strong, she would have found herself."

Clark had to look down at her, then. "Love doesn't... This isn't easy! I had to do it. I had to kill him, and I loved him more than... I have to do this. I have a destiny." He knew, he'd been told, and he'd come to understand. No one else could do this.

The young man came forward. "Doesn't look like a good one to me."

The blonde girl fell forward, crying, whispering "Willow, Willow," over and over. Clark couldn't look at her. He had held Lex for a long time afterwards. A very long time. His father had talked to him and talked to him, over and over, saying that he had done the right thing. Lex's skin had been so very soft.

"I did the right thing." He walked past the young man, away from the girl's tears, out of the cabin, and fell to his knees in the snow. His hands remembered. "I loved him so much. I'm sorry. I'm not going to let anything bad happen."

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