his face all red

this boy is not the one she grew up with.

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1. his face all red

this boy, this laughing, golden boy talking to her mother, is not the one she grew up with.

clark scott was a boy with hair that curled the slightest bit at the ends. clark scott was a boy with powers she helped hone, powers she knew the secrets to. clark scott was kind, and considerate, and in this he is a hero to the mistreated, at least. his alien parentage was secret, for the most part, while hers was not. clark scott was her best friend and her brother, in many ways.

this boy has all of those things.

(and his powers)

(and his kindness)

(she hates this impostor for this false kindness, for posing as her dead best friend and the city's golden boy)

but just last week, she killed clark scott.

 

 

for months their intangible villain had plagued them. it ate people up and spat them out; it left the streets in a disastrous wreck.

it came from some alien planet, they concluded. 

(like their parents)

it went after clark, mostly, when they fought.

(for his powers, she knew)

(she had no powers. she thought she was safe.)

the city was quiet, these days. afraid. it felt cold, despite summer, but metro city always felt cold, being in michigan.

when their villain next attacked, she hid. letting clark take the brunt, as she knew he would. (to protect her. always to protect her.)

when she crawled from her hiding place, tentative, their villain was gone and clark was stained in what she guessed to be its blood. 

clark scott - her clark scott - laughs at her for hiding. (the m'ega were--they were not a cowardly people, she thinks, though a saying of theirs was never fight when you can run. the m'ega knew how to run. they were not made to fight. they were the people her father named himself after, and she thinks that must mean something.) he laughs at how grateful the citizens of metro city would be for their villain to be gone. (to him)

they are isolated from the city, she thinks. far from it. 

clark scott's last words were not even words. they were laughter. (not that she could hear it)

 

 

she brings home a torn scrap of his clothing from his final scuffle with the villain, stained with his blood that shines an odd golden red in certain lights. 

the villain killed him, she tells the city. (me) (it was me, she wants to scream) but not before he defeated it. it left nothing behind but the scraps of him.

even her mother wept for the son who was not hers by blood. people consoled her and grieved for clark scott in a way she never would.

three days later, clark emerged from the edges of town, appropriately hurt. the people were overjoyed. (the joy. the joy on all their faces. it was maddening.) but it couldn't be him. it couldn't. (not when she killed him herself) "i got so lost!" he cried, the city's golden boy. (lost in what?) "thank god for elle." (i killed you) "thank god she helped me destroy that thing." 

she was the only one who noticed how his clothes were not torn. how they were not stained with the black ichor of their villain. how they were not stained with his own blood.

she was the only one who noticed how he never spared her a glance.

 

 

she could no longer sleep. she was used to waking to her father tinkering in the fake astronomy tower, back when she would fall asleep among things that really were too dangerous for a little girl (though she was not a normal little girl) and would find herself moved and tucked away in a corner under the night sky. but both metro man and megamind had gone missing the night they returned from harvard, and she has no reason anymore to wake in the night. 

twice she has woken to see clark by the old schoolhouse, though for what she has no idea. the telescope in the fake astronomy tower is powerful, but it does not pick up sound. twice she has seen clark through it by the old schoolhouse. twice she has seen him look up, staring. right at her, it seemed. 

(was this guilt?)

(was this clark, real and whole?)

(if it was, he never turned to look at her but through the eye of the telescope.)

(she goes to the schoolhouse at night, now, instead of watching clark from afar. still he does not acknowledge her.)

(this clark scott laughs, the city's golden boy, but it is only elle ritchi who ever notices the lies behind it)

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