It's all been for nothing.
My entire life since I was twelve years old, my main goal, the one thing I fought for and focused on and obsessed over above and beyond all others... it's all been for nothing. It's been an utter waste of time and resources and...
And it's just been for nothing.
I wasn't guilty.
I didn't do it.
I told my father, I said the words aloud, but it still hardly seems real. From a distanced point of view, it should be a relief. Right? I should feel better now that I know the truth.
So why do feel worse?
I lived all these years believing I killed my own brother, and I felt better then I do now, knowing I didn't.
It makes no sense.
I was with Clark when I remembered. There's something vaguely ironic in that, somewhere.
I'm not sure where to begin with this. Did it start when I met with Dr. Garner the first time? Did it start when Clark found out? Or did it start when I was twelve years old, when I decided to bring some hot chocolate up to my mother? Maybe it started even earlier than that.
I guess I'll start where I always do.
I'll start with Clark.
Lana was a witness to one of the nightmares I'd been having since my "sessions" began, and, unfortunately, she was present for one of the worst of them. I woke up on the balcony of the mansion with her standing over me, apparently I'd been up on the ledge screaming Julian's name. The dream itself was a memory from my school days, in the immediate aftermath of my brother's death. I'd been on the ledge then, as well, completely unaware of anything, barely aware that my father was there trying, in his unique way, of course, to talk me down. The only thing my focus had been on was the baby in my arms.
Except, of course, there was nothing but blankets in my arms.
It wasn't one of my saner moments.
Lana went immediately to Clark, of course, and he showed up at the mansion later the same day, in full solicitous mode. I have to admit to being slightly touched... it's been a while since I've been on the receiving end of Clark's concern. Unfortunately he was the last person I wanted involved. I knew how he'd react to my seeing Dr. Garner, and I'd had my full of self-righteous lectures in these past weeks. I told him it was just a nightmare, and, when that didn't dissuade him, I reminded him of his nap in the middle of the road last year. That certainly seemed no less insane than standing on a balcony ledge.
At least Clark hesitated a moment before he went for the low blow. He pointed out (rightly, I'll admit), that he hadn't just spent seven weeks in a mental institution.
I told him I could take care of myself.
Why that didn't work, I have no idea.
At the time, however, I thought I'd managed to lose him. I went to Dr. Garner, and reminded him that I didn't request his services in order to relive repressed childhood memories. Dr. Garner explained that the electroshock therapy damaged a specific portion of my brain, and that, unfortunately, there was no way to retrieve just one block of repressed time, rather than all of them.
I have received my fair share of concussions. I suppose that could account for the apparently vast amount of repressed memories.
I also underwent another treatment while I was there, this time reliving my twelvth birthday "party". It wasn't one of my better birthdays. My mom was pregnant and sick, but had gone to a lot of trouble setting up the house for a huge celebration. Of course, it helps if there are other people to celebrate with. I'm afraid bald twelve year olds have a bit of trouble making friends. Particularly bald rich twelve year olds.
Lionel tried to make me feel better.
Yes, I know how that sounds. But it's the truth. I can understand why I repressed that memory... it still makes me shudder to think of my father actually comforting me. And I don't mean that sarcastically.
Believing my father was incapable of love was far kinder than knowing the truth... he was capable. Not only that, but there was a time when I actually had it.
He gave me the box I gave to Clark. It was
from my mother, technically, but she was too sick to give it to me herself. He told me about its origins, the myth of St. George and the dragon...
He tried to make me feel better.
Yes, I know I mentioned that. But it deserved to be repeated.
I left Summerholt with my mind still reeling, only to find Clark waiting for me. He demanded to know what I was doing with Dr. Garner, but, instead of accusing me of ill intent, said only, "Don't you remember what he did to Molly and Ryan?"
He was concerned.
Figuring out where one stands with Clark Kent is truly a full time job if ever there was one.
I told Clark I didn't owe him an explanation, and he said, "How would you feel if your best friend kept lying to you?" Yes, he actually said that. On the plus side: best friend. On the 'you must be kidding me' side: lying. Yes, Clark. Because certainly you've never lied to me. I'm sure you'd never dream of it.
Give me a break.
The plus side won out over the irony, however, so I told him I was trying to recover the seven weeks of my life I'd lost. He continued to argue, saying if I got caught up in Dr. Garner's experimental research I could die. I told him I didn't care, I was going to remember. Then I left.
And Clark went straight to my father.
I'd strangle him if I didn't...
My father showed up at the mansion the next morning with full knowledge of everything I'd told Clark. And when I asked him he openly acknowledged that, yes, Clark went to him. Lionel tried to get me to stop the treatments, telling me it was foolishness and could trigger another psychotic break. I was just about to tell him that was completely ridiculous when I had another flashback.
Great timing, huh?
This time I remembered spying on my parents, witnessing a fight over newly born Julian. My mother wanted nothing to do with him, she didn't want to hold him or touch him. My father told her he wouldn't have her inflicting psychological scares on his children. She pointed out she wouldn't need to... we had him. Gee, Mom, you don't say. Lionel heard me outside the door after he'd handed Julian to my mother, and asked me what I was doing when I rushed in to check on him.
I think I said something to my father then, in real-time, not past-time, but I can't say for sure if I did, or what it was, because I was just as quickly back in the past, in another memory. This one, though, was never repressed.
This one I've always remembered.
I was standing over Julian's crib when my father came in. I was standing there staring down at his body. My father asked me what I was doing, then, too. And I told him... only I didn't. Did I KNOW, then? Did I repress it later? Or did I already believe I'd...
I don't know.
I honestly don't know.
All I know is what I said at the time, that he wouldn't stop crying. That I tried to rock him to sleep.
My father went over to the crib and saw Julian's body. And he just stared down at his baby for a long time. Then he turned to me, demanding to know what I'd done, his voice getting louder and louder each time he repeated the question. And then he hit me, hard enough to knock me to the ground. Hard enough for his ring to leave a permanent scar on my upper lip.
Maybe that's when I forgot the truth.
Suddenly eleven years had past and I was still lying on the ground.
It took a moment to regain my senses, a moment spent with my father hovering over me in full "concerned parent" mode. I asked him what'd happened, and he said we'd been talking, then suddenly I went catatonic. He told me he'd call a doctor, but I told him not to bother, and went to get a drink of water, a little unsteadily. Lionel went after me, and asked if this was a side effect of the treatments. No, Dad, I always pass out in the middle of conversations. I pointed out his bullshit concern, saying he only cared about stopping me from remembering. Lionel began his: "living in the past" lecture, and I told him to get out.
The next day my appointment with Dr. Garner was cancelled. I knew Lionel was involved, of course, and went to Summerholt. I called him on his cell, told him I remembered, and, what do you know, he appeared from inside the building. He asked me what was so important that I pulled him out of his meeting, I said he obviously was afraid of my remembering, or he wouldn't've come running like he had.
That's when the building started shaking.
I went to the memory chamber, and found Clark unconscious in the tank. I used a chair to break the glass, filling the room with green water, and called his name. He asked me to help him.
At least he trusts me that much.
I checked on him later that night. And that's when it happened. That's when I found out the truth. Not the truth about those seven weeks, of course, but... Well. Regardless. It was a truth worth knowing, if nothing else.
Clark and I fought like we usually do these days, and, to his credit, he did look slightly ashamed over having gone to my father. However he just as quickly turned it around and accused me, again, of being just like Lionel, despite my own intentions.
If he really, honestly believes that, then we truly have nothing left.
I was in the midst of storming off when the memory hit me.
I have no idea what Clark was saying to me when I came back to myself. It was probably something like, "Are you alright?" but, honestly, if he'd said, "Stay and I'll tell you everything, my love," I would still have just mumbled a reply and left.
I was rather dazed, to say the least.
The memory itself? Julian's death.
I didn't kill him.
I was bringing the hot chocolate up the stairs, the baby was crying, and then suddenly the baby wasn't. I knew something was wrong the second Julian stopped... he never stopped crying. I ran into the room just in time to see my mother drop a pillow to the floor. She told me to be quiet, that I'd wake the baby, and then she told me that Julian was happy now.
Mental illness must run in the family.
I spent the night getting drunk. Very, very drunk. I remember starting, and then I remember waking up... there's nothing inbetween the two. I guess that's another repressed memory to add to the collection.
I talked to my father today.
I told him.
At first he didn't believe me, and demanded to know why I'd take the blame. I don't know when I actually forgot that I wasn't to blame, but I know why I would, and told him so. He'd have killed my mother. But I was his only remaining heir. I was safe.
That's when he believed me.
The look on his face was... well, if I was a little colder, a little crueler, I'd say priceless. But I'm not my father, and I can admit it was pained. More than pained. Agonized. He grabbed me, and he pleaded with me. He told me if he'd known, things between us would've been so different.
Yes. They would've. He might've actually loved me.
I said that to him, and then I left.
I didn't look back.
I'm done looking back.
I'm done trying to make up for something that never happened.