My name is Clark Kent. I have lived a long and eventful life. I started my life as the son of farmers. As I grew though, I noticed oddities about myself. I was strong. I was fast. I was durable.
I could shoot lasers from my eyes.
That last one freaked me out badly. I think that was when I stopped trying to rationalize the strangeness and began asking questions. After an accident at school involving a glowing green rock, my parents finally told me the truth.
I was not their son, not biologically. They found me when a small ship from space crashed in front of them on their way home one day. They showed me the ship. The ship still worked though, as it had opened up on my approach. A message from my biological father explained why I was on Earth. Krypton, the planet I was born on, was dying, and the Council was being too stubborn to let him do anything about it. Not willing to let his son die, he built a ship and sent me to Earth.
He told me my name was Kal-El, but that the name given to me by whoever raised me was likely the best option to go by. He told me that he expected great things from me. A Kryptonian who lived under the light of a yellow sun could become either the greatest threat in the universe, or the greatest hero. He told me that humanity was a young race, but it was also brilliant in its absolute determination to survive. He said that humans struggled to find their place, but if I took up the mantle, I could be the Guiding Star of Humanity.
He said they would stumble. He said they would fall… but in time, they would get up, dust themselves off, and keep chasing that star. It was up to me to show them the path. They would follow it in their own time.
I had this strength, these powers. I was raised as a moral man by the Kents. The choice was obvious to me. Donning a red cape and a blue Kryptonian battle-suit, I became Superman. It was time to show the world that there is always a better way.
And Jor-El, my father, was right. I lived my life saving lives and stopping evil. I even helped found a team of superheroes dedicated to protecting the Earth. We called ourselves the Justice League.
Sometimes it was easy. Sometimes it was hard. But in the end it was always worth it, even if I only saved one life. It would always be worth it. I never once regretted my decision to become Superman.
Clark shot out of bed with a gasp, only to stumble as he found himself getting tangled up in his… hooves?
He tried to stand up, but was forced to fly in order to keep from landing on his face. He examined his body… his now purple furred body. His now equine purple furred body. He looked at the hooves that had replaced his hands, eyes wide. “What… happened to me?” he asked. Then his eyes widened and his hooves flew to his throat. “My voice…! I sound… I sound like a girl!” A terrible chill went through his body, and his hoof went southward. “Oh Ral…” He turned a pasty white.
Spike was startled from his sleep by a shrill scream of terror that he instantly recognized as Twilight’s. Instincts he never knew he had forced him from his bed and charging through the library towards his caretaker’s room. He threw the door open. “Twilight!” he yelled.
He found Twilight floating in the air, trying and failing to hold her blanket over her body. She looked beyond panicked. “Twilight, what’s wrong?” he asked urgently, approaching her.
Twilight’s eyes snapped to him, and he saw them widen in surprise. Then she did something Spike never would have expected her to do. Her eyes glowed red briefly, and instincts once again flared in Spike’s mind. He dived to the side, narrowly avoiding twin beams of red energy. However, just as he was doing so, something registered in his mind.
Twilight’s eyes were sky blue.
“Twilight! Calm down!” Spike said, jumping to his feet and turning to face his friend.
Clark floated away from the lizard thing that had charged into the room. In his panic, he had accidentally unleashed his heat vision on it. He was grateful he missed, but… wait, was it talking to him?
“Please, Twilight! What’s wrong?!” the lizard begged.
“Twilight?” Clark asked after a moment. That word rang in his heart. It resonated with something deep inside him.
“I did it! I did it! I got my Cutie Mark!”
Clark groaned as his head began pounding. “Who… what are you?” he asked the lizard.
The lizard blinked at the question directed at him, then he frowned. “Twilight, are you okay? It’s me, Spike? You’re number one assistant?”
“You… want me to raise him, Princess?”
“Spike, get back here and apologize to Fancy Pants!”
“Thank you for looking out for me, Spike.”
Clark… no, Twilight shook her head. She grabbed her head with her hooves. She… no, he needed… he needed to think… Twilight Kent moaned as more and more memories that were not his own began filtering into his mind, mingling and mixing with the memories already there. “What…? Who…?”
Twilark looked up, and her heart melted at the concern in the green eyes of the dragon in front of her. “Spike…!” he gasped. Blood was beginning to leak from her ears, she could feel it. Something was wrong with her mind. “Princess… HELP!!!” And with that, Clight’s eyes rolled upwards and he passed out.
Spike just barely managed to catch Twilight’s head as she fell from the air, likely saving her from a concussion. He grabbed her pillow from her bed and placed it under her head. After making sure she was no longer thrashing and would be okay if he walked away, he went to get a scroll and quill.
“Princess! Twilight just woke up and was having a panic attack! She looked at me like she didn’t even know who I was at first, and passed out after I reminded her. Her ears were bleeding! Please! I think she needs help!
He flamed the letter away instantly. “Please hurry, Princess,” he muttered, going back to Twilight and petting her mane as she slept. He did it often to calm her down whenever the Princess was forced to put her under a sleep spell when she was having a panic attack. It usually helped.
Some hours later found Spike waiting in the main room of the library with his and Twilight’s friends, pacing impatiently as Luna examined Twilight in her bedroom. Celestia was with her, though he didn’t know why.
As soon as Celestia had arrived with Luna, she told him to go gather Twilight’s friends and bring them back. Considering how early in the morning it was, this took a bit of time, especially since he couldn’t get up to Rainbow Dash’s home on his own. He eventually had to enlist the help of Derpy, who had been just starting her mail route.
“What exactly happened, sugar?” Applejack asked Spike, bringing him to a stop from his pacing.
“I woke up to Twilight screaming. She sounded scared, so I went to see what was wrong. She nearly shot my head off with some kind of weird laser vision, and didn’t recognize me at all. When I tried to remind her of who I was, she started panicking again, started bleeding from the ears, managed to tell me to get a letter to the Princess, and passed out.” He paused for a beat. “Oh, and her eyes weren’t purple. They were light blue. I don’t know if that means anything.”
Applejack looked stumped, before her eyes flashed with an idea. “Hey, wasn’t she having issues with those memories? I know she accidentally tried to call herself Clark Kent last night after that whole ticket situation.”
Rainbow looked at her in confusion. “What’s that got anything-”
Everyone’s eyes snapped towards the stairs. That had been Twilight’s voice.
“Clark Kent, please, calm yourself. You are perfectly safe,” Luna’s voice said calmly. Spike noted that her dialect sounded much more modern then it had at the party a week ago, though it still sounded overly formal.
“See?” Applejack said somewhat smugly. A crash and the library shaking wiped the smugness from her face. They would have charged upstairs, but Celestia had warned them that they could not enter the room until she said so. She had said something about distracting Luna as she worked.
“How do you know who I am? Where am I? Why am I in this body? Why am I a girl?!?” Twilight was panicking again. Spike instinctively made to run up the stairs, but Applejack stopped him, shaking her head at him.
“Mr. Kent! If you don’t calm down you’ll have another panic attack. Please, we’ll explain as best as we can, but first you must calm down,” Celestia’s voice spoke slowly and calmly.
The sound of someone struggling to control their breathing was all that was heard after that.
“Do you feel better?” Celestia asked, keeping her distance in case Twilight, or rather, Clark, panicked again.
Clark nodded slowly. “Yes… Yes, I think I’m okay.” He took a deep, steadying breath. “…Where am I?” he asked calmly.
“The planet Equus, in the country of Equestria, and the town of Ponyville,” Celestia answered.
“Equus? I’ve never heard… no… wait… I know that name. In fact, I know all of the names you mentioned. How do I know them?” He frowned. “I’m… a Unicorn? Twilight Sparkle?” He shook his head, then looked at Celestia. “Princess Celestia,” he nodded, getting a nod in return. He looked at Luna. “And Princess Luna.” He sighed. “What’s going on?”
“You and my student, Twilight Sparkle, share a soul, Mr. Kent. She recently managed to awaken your memories and obtain your abilities, but your own subconscious appears to have overwhelmed her and taken over, forming a consciousness based on those memories.”
Clark blinked owlishly at her, before groaning and bringing a hoof to his head. “I only understood…” He paused, before screwing up his face in confusion. “All of it?” He shook his head.
“This… unscheduled rain storm…”
“Gah!” Clark leapt up and flew to the ceiling, looking around. “Who said that?” He nearly shouted.
“Clark Kent, you must remain calm!” Luna said harshly.
Clark winced, floating down. “I’m sorry…” he mumbled. “…I heard a voice in my head. It said something about unscheduled weather.” He blinked. “Wait… Pegasi control the weather? That is so cool!” He was almost childish in his revelation. His head throbbed and he stumbled backwards, grunting.
“If you draw on young Twilight Sparkle’s memories, even unintentionally, you will begin drawing her subconscious towards the surface,” Luna explained calmly.
“Isn’t that a good thing?” Clark asked, rubbing his head. “I would think you’d rather have her than me.”
“You would be correct, if not for the fact that your subconscious and hers are vying for dominance over your body,” Luna explained. “An inner struggle such as that can cause irreversible damage if we do not find a solution to it soon. Right now your subconscious has overtaken Twilight Sparkle. Her subconscious is now dormant, but drawing on her memories will awaken it, leading to a struggle for control again and a repeat of the incident that had squire Spike demanding our aid.” Luna shook her head. “Tis the downside of sharing your body with another entity. Trust Us, we would know. Though...” She paused, considering. "Mine own situation was similar, but it was matter of two souls fighting for control, not two personalities in one soul."
“But… wait, you want Twilight back... does that mean you intend to kill me?” Clark asked, carefully altering his stance for a quick exit, through force if need be.
“You and Twilight are one and the same, Mr. Kent,” Celestia, said, making Clark look at her in confusion. “My student is your reincarnation after death. This entire situation has occurred because, I believe, my student has refused to accept that she was you, subconsciously rejecting the memories.”
Clark furrowed his brow. “But…” He groaned, this time from a migraine that thinking about this was giving him. “Okay, let me see I’ve got this. I died.” Celestia and Luna nodded. “I don’t remember it though, but whatever, we’ll come back to that. I died, and then I was reincarnated as Twilight Sparkle. Recently she awakened the memories of my life, as well as gained my powers, but she is subconsciously rejecting the memories?” They nodded again. “Because… she’s isn’t accepting that she was once me?” He was obviously have trouble wrapping his head around this.
Celestia shook her head. “Imagine if you will, Mr. Kent, that the roles between you were reversed. You grew up as a… Kryptonian, I think Twilight called it?” Clark nodded. “Imagine you spent your entire life, short as that may be, knowing without doubt you were Kryptonian. Then, suddenly, you have memories of another life as a Unicorn. As a female. You would initially reject such a thing as well, would you not?”
Clark shuddered. “I… kinda don’t need to imagine it. I’m currently living it.” He just barely managed to stop his hoof from reaching towards his crotch.
Celestia nodded. “Twilight accepted your powers because they helped her save my sister and her friends from certain doom, but she rejected the memories after she had the time to look through them properly, though whether it was a conscious decision on her part or not, I do not know. We’re operating under the assumption that she did this subconsciously.”
Clark nodded. “But memories are stubborn things. They can’t just be shoved to the side because you don’t like them.” His eyes lit up as he began putting the pieces together. “Because she rejected them, my memories were kept separate from her own. Because of this, her subconscious mind could not govern over them, and my memories constructed one in its stead… me. And then my subconscious tried to assert itself, which began causing issues. It culminated in me taking her spot at the helm and her getting thrown into the deeper part of my… her… our mind.” He grumbled. “Something tells me terminology is going to be a pain until this gets settled.”
Luna nodded. “That is the basic situation at hand. And, as we have explained before, Twilight Sparkle’s subconscious is actively fighting to regain control, and drawing on her memories will bring it closer to the surface. Then it will only escalate into another struggle for control and may lead to brain damage.”
“Which is bad,” Clark added. “So how do I fix this?” he asked.
Celestia hesitated, unsure. But Luna stepped forward. “Think back, Clark Kent, to your previous life. Remember it. Remember that final day. Remember the day you finally exited the mortal coil. Then, try and recall your birth as Twilight Sparkle. Your mind will not be able to recall such early information… but your soul will. Do so, and your mind will bridge the gap between Clark Kent and Twilight Sparkle.”
Celestia glanced at Luna with a raised eyebrow, before nodding to Clark. “It’s the best we’ve currently got. At worst, we’ll just have to think of something new.”
Clark nodded and sat down, leaning his back against the door, closing his eyes. ‘Think back. Go back. Throw yourself back towards that day. What is the last thing I remember?’
As he continued to concentrate, something happened. A sudden feeling of rushing ran through him, and then vanished. He opened his eyes, and found himself staring into the violet eyes of Twilight Sparkle. Looking down, he found himself in his Kryptonian body. He looked back up and looked at the Unicorn more closely. She looked… regretful?
“Did you hear all of that?” he asked.
Twilight nodded. “I woke up in here just as you were beginning to panic again. I heard the whole thing.”
“So… Do we both do as the Princess said?” he asked.
Twilight nodded. “I think so. I think I should focus on my birth, while you focus on your death.”
Clark nodded. “Better than nothing I guess,” he said with a shrug, sitting down. He closed his eyes again and began searching.
Clark didn’t know how long he and Twilight sat there trying to pull up the memories. It felt like hours had ticked by, but he knew enough about meditation to know it may very well have been only seconds.
Twilight suddenly growled. “Oh, this is hopeless!” she yelled. “No matter how much I try to remember it, all I keep getting are flashes of your life!”
Clark opened his eyes and nodded. “I keep getting your own childhood memories.” He shook his head. “You would think something like dying would be easy to remember.”
Twilight grunted. “At least you’ve got the easy part. I have no idea how to search my soul for memories.”
Clark blinked, then his eyes widened as an idea came to him. “Your soul… Of course!” he exclaimed, startling Twilight. “We’re approaching this as two separate beings. The whole point of this is to get you to accept that you and I are the same person!”
Twilight’s eyes widened in understanding, then she groaned. “Oh for… WHY is the obvious conclusion always the hardest one to come to?” she grumbled. She took a deep breath, letting it out slowly to calm herself. “Okay, so… do I try and remember your death, and you try and remember my birth?” she asked.
Clark shook his head with a smile, finally understanding the situation now. “No. You try and remember your birth and your death,” he explained, getting Twilight to look at him in confusion. “You’re me, Twilight. You are what I become.” He motioned around them. “This is your mind. We’re in your body. I’m only here because you created me and stuck the memories of Clark Kent in me. I’m not really him, just a copy that you made.”
“But… the Princess said…” Twilight tried to respond.
“She said that the memories of Clark Kent created me.” He shook his head. “But they were wrong, Twilight. The memories didn’t make me. You did. Subconsciously, yes, but you did. I’m nothing more than an interactive jar you used to keep the memories away from you when you realized what they meant.”
Twilight opened her mouth to try and deny it. She tried to deny that she didn’t hide from the truth like that. But… nothing came out. Clark was right, she realized. She didn’t like that she wasn’t always Twilight Sparkle. She was scared. She was terrified that accepting the much larger amount of memories from Clark Kent would somehow make her stop being Twilight. They shouldn't, she hadn't changed when she accepted them in the forest... but fear hardly ever ran with logic.
She had to laugh, though Clark realized it was also a sob. She smiled through unshed tears. “I have been an absolute foal, haven’t I?” she asked. “I’m just… what will happen to me? Will I stop being me if I accept that I’m you?”
Clark knelt down next to her and hugged her. “The memories were always in you, Twilight. They were always there. They were always a part of you. Accepting that you are Clark Kent and Twilight Sparkle won’t change anything. You’ll just have more knowledge to go by is all.”
Twilight shivered in his grip as she fought with herself. He held her, providing comfort for… himself, he supposed. ‘If we’re not a prime example of a nutcase, I don’t know what we are,’ he chuckled to himself.
“Clinically insane,” Twilight answered.
Clark blinked, before smiling. “See? You’re already accepting it.” They started to glow softly. “Go on, Twilight. Remember.”
Twilight nodded, closing her eyes.
The landscape shot by as she rushed as fast as she dared. She had to get there. She had to hurry.
The warnings of the fortune teller flashed through her mind briefly, and she wished she had heeded them, knowing what she did now.
Clark watched as his legs began breaking apart into motes of light, which Twilight began to absorb. He smiled. “That’s it. You’re doing it,” he encouraged her.
She hit the ground hard, cratering it. She slowly pushed herself to her knees, her body trembling in agony. A sudden coughing fit revealed blood.
Blood… mixed with a green glow.
“Finally… I have waited so long for this day...”
She painfully looked over her shoulder, finding an old Lex Luthor standing behind her in his latest technological kryptonite powered suit. “Lex… Why?” she asked.
“I only ever wanted one thing,” Lex answered, walking around her and kneeling in front of her. He grabbed her chin and forced her to look at him. “I just wanted to make humanity strong. I believed that by leading it I could.” He shook his head. “We both know I’m not a tyrant. I would be strict and harsh, yes, but I would also be fair. After all, we humans become great only when under duress.” He sighed, letting go of her head.
She felt her arms give out and fell on her face. She looked at him, and found him pointing a simple revolved at her head. She could see the green glow of the Kryptonite bullet down the barrel.
“But you had to stop me at every turn. Every single loss I experienced, I grew more desperate. I grew more… unhinged.” He shook his head and sighed again. “I am no longer the man that can lead humanity into greatness. That’s why there are two bullets in this gun. Once you’re gone, I will stop myself from becoming the monster you always feared I was. I only hope someone else steps up to help humanity grow.” He pulled the hammer back. “For what it’s worth, Clark… I cherish the friendship we used to have.”
Twilight gasped, the bang of the gun firing dislodging her from the memory. Her eyes flew open, and she only gasped again at the sight of Clark fading away into light… light that she was absorbing. “Clark…?” she asked hesitantly.
“It doesn’t hurt, Twilight.” He assured her with a smile. “It actually feels nice… like I’m laying down after a long day.” He hugged her tighter. “Come on. Almost done,” he said.
Twilight nodded after a moment, then closed her eyes. Slowly, she sank into her own soul… and found the light of creation that birthed her.
She looked around in confusion. Where was she? The last thing she remembered… Her expression fell. “…He did it. He actually did it” She murmured to herself. She looked at her hands. “So… I’m dead now. It’s not what I was expecting.”
“It rarely ever is.”
She spun around, and found herself face to face with… herself?
“Welcome to judgment, Clark Kent. And yes… this is indeed the day you die for good.” Her double nodded. “It is rare that a soul such as yours crosses into the beyond. Rarer still for it to do so repeatedly.”
She rubbed the back of her head sheepishly. “Er… that’s… not going to count against me… is it?”
Her double laughed. It had a musical tone to. “Goodness, no! You only were able to come back to life because I allowed it. Simply put, you still had work to do, which is why I did not stop you. But… that work is over, and now you stand before me for the last time… or is it?”
Her double grinned an innocent grin. “Your life in this world is over. There is no denying that… but it would be a waste to just let you go on to Paradise without first extending an offer to you.”
She felt unease at this. She had worked with Bruce far too often to not recognize when she was about to make a deal with the devil… figuratively speaking of course.
“Existence is vast and varied,” her double began. “No two universes are the same. This variation gives birth to wondrous and beautiful things… but it also births terrible and monstrous things. I do my best to guide heroes to combat whatever malevolence that threatens their universe, but sometimes… sometimes that threat is simply too big for even the best.” She watched her double shake her head with a sigh.
“So I decided to create a team, much like you yourself did. I began recruiting heroes, but not the strongest. Oh no, strength isn’t going to solve those biggest threats. No. I recruit heroes who show a certain… aspect upon their death. Then, when those threats show up, I reincarnate the heroes. With the help of Destiny, we prepare you for the coming danger. Then, when it’s over and done with, you live your reincarnated life however you wish, and return to my service upon your death.”
She felt her heart drop. More conflict. More war. No peace. “So I’m just going to be thrown back into the fire?”
Her double frowned at her, surprising her. “You misunderstand me. This is entirely your choice. Additionally, when the weight of you service begins to wear on your soul, I will release you and let you go into Paradise. Once you’ve recovered, you may at any time return to my service. As I said, the choice is entirely yours.”
She considered that, but a question arose in her. “If I turn it down now… if I wish to spend time in this Paradise first and get away from what I’ve already gone through, will I be able to join at a later time?” She asked. “I want to help, I do… but I was looking forward to some peace.”
Her double smiled and nodded. “My offer will stand for as long as you wish. You may accept it at any time, even if you initially turn it down. But be warned, I will not allow knowledge of Paradise to escape into the mortal coil. If you join me, I will take from you the memories of your time in Paradise whenever you are reincarnated, but I will return them upon your death.”
She nodded, seeing no real issue with that. “I’d like to go to Paradise… How do I contact you when I’m ready to come into your service?” she asked.
Her double waved a hand. “I will know when you are ready, do not worry.” She was given a kind smile. “Enjoy your Paradise.”
There was a flash of light, and she was gone.
With a flash of light, she was back. She looked upon her double and nodded. “I’m ready,” she said.
Her double nodded. “Clark Kent, from this day forward you are a Hero Soul. I recruit heroes based on aspects that they display throughout life. For you, it was your ability to instill hope into others that drew me towards you. There is no other with your capacity for hope. Just being in a place without hope, doing nothing but stand there, your very presence begins to lift spirits and encourage passion. Hero Soul, I name you the Soul of Hope.”
And suddenly she was falling. Shrinking. Becoming light. “Go now to your rebirth. You are needed.”
And then she was looking into the face of… A Unicorn? No… more than a Unicorn. Her mother. “Twilight,” her mother said with a teary smile. “Your name is Twilight Sparkle. Welcome to Equestria, my little girl.”
Twilight opened her eyes, finding her teacher hovering over her with a worried gaze. “…Princess?” she asked. She rolled over slowly and gently got her hooves under her.
Celestia helped her up. “Careful, Twilight. Slowly. How do you feel?”
Twilight did a mental check on herself, and had to smile at the warmth she felt coming from the center of her chest. “I feel… relieved, actually. Like I had a headache all my life, but didn’t know it, and suddenly it’s gone.”
Celestia smiled, walking her student towards her bed. “I’m glad. Luna said you might feel a bit off balance for a few days. Your body can now begin adapting to the awakened memories without the memories vying for control.”
Twilight caught the brief frown on Celestia’s face though. “Princess?” she asked in concern.
Celestia shook her head. “Don’t worry, my faithful student. It’s nothing important.” She helped Twilight into bed, using her magic to pull the blanket over the Unicorn. “Get some sleep, Twilight. I’ve instructed Spike to close the library for today. Consider it a day off.” The aura of magic around her horn intensified for a moment.
Twilight yawned, feeling her mind grow fuzzy. She was tired, despite the fact that she couldn’t have been awake for longer than an hour total since her breakdown. “What… What about my friends? I heard them earlier.”
“Luna is speaking with them now. There’s no more danger, so they can go about their day. They’ll be there when you’re ready to go back outside.”
Twilight frowned, a thought drilling through the haze of exhaustion. “But… I don’t hear them…” she mumbled, her eyelids getting heavy.
“I cast a privacy spell on the room to let you sleep peacefully. Only if you yell in pain will sound get through,” Celestia explained. “Shhh.” She put a hoof to Twilight lips, silencing any further questions. “Spike can send me a letter with whatever questions you have… after you get some sleep.”
Twilight pouted. “… fine,” she grumbled, then turned on her side and snuggled into the warm blankets. “G’night… Princess…” And she was out.
Celestia shook her head with a smile, releasing her hold on the sleep spell she had cast once Twilight was in bed. Twilight began to snore softly. “That spell is taking longer and longer to work every time I use it on her.” She sighed, walking through the bedroom door. “Her magic’s getting stronger. Still no sign of slowing, either.” She shut the door and went to join her sister.
“An ageless Hero Soul… Is it destiny, or chance? I can never decide…” she mused to herself.