WARNING: Spoilers for JSA #50. Really. Big ones.
Rating: PG-13 for a couple of grown-up words.

I do not own Sand;
Beware for issue fifty;
Not dead, just inert.

(Translation: I do not own Sand, Courtney, Ted or Wesley Dodds. They are property of DC Comics and I am using them without permission. I'm getting no money from this. This fic is a great big spoiler for JSA #50. I didn't want to write this; I'm not even sure I believe it. I wanted to write a nice resurrection fic but nooooo, this wanted to be on paper NOW at 2am this morning. Gah. And thanks to 'rith for the title.)

by Smitty

It's so beautiful down here. I've said that before, but it bears repeating.

I'm still here, at least a little bit. I'm not quite sure I actually have a body and if I do, it's going to take me more than a little while to find it all. But I'm still here. The same Sanderson Hawkins who was an orphan even before my parents died, who idolized Wesley Dodds and came up with the brilliant name of Sandy the Golden Boy. Who, despite years of practicing yoga alongside Wesley, never did master the Crow position. Who could cook a great breakfast, but couldn't boil water after noon. Who loved Thai food. Who had a fatal weakness for women bearing the name Hawkgirl. Who loved movies, every one ever made, and watched the bad horror ones with Courtney and Raging Bull way too many times with Ted because they were my friends. I'm the same Sand Hawkins who led the JSA. Who died to save the world.

Sort of.

To be part of the earth, to have pulled it back together and reordered it, that's not the kind of thing you can do and keep your old perceptions in place--your human perceptions. But Wesley always said, "Adapt or die," so I adapted.

It was pretty weird.

There is no hunger or tiredness. I guess that dispersed with my body. If I were still operating under human perceptions, I suppose it would be curious that I'm not bored, what with being awake twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I suppose I'd be overwhelmed at the constant knowledge of the movements of the inner layers and the activity of the upper levels. Earthquakes, eruptions, erosion, weather, construction. Billions of people, walking, running, talking, sleeping, making love. I feel it all, I know it all, but I let it eddy around me, sifting into my subconscious.

If I were still human, I'd go crazy.

But I'm not any longer and I probably never will be again. I thought about trying to reform, trying to draw my body back together to return to my team and my friends. But this new level of consciousness--it's too advanced. It demands the freedom I'll never have when confined to six feet and a hundred and sixty-five pounds of silicon matter. Because even when I was human, I wasn't carbon-based.

I know what I'm giving up. I'll never taste sticky rice again or scrambled eggs with bacon. I'll never sit on the sofa in the brownstone with Courtney or a revival movie theater with Ted. No more falling on my head in sorry Crow attempts and--thanks goodness--no more viewings of Raging Bull. Sorry, Ted. No warm bodies in my arms or gentle hands against my cheek. No more erections, no more swing dancing, no subways or sake and no more nightmares.

It's a mixed bag of blessings and curses, but there's no looking back, and honestly, no looking forward.

When I was a teenager I was too restless and impatient to just be. I couldn't imagine a moment without action, without springing forward into the unknown. Forty years in a velvet cage tempered me, but even then it was always "when." "When" Wesley got me out. "When" Wesley fixed me. "When" I was human again. Those "whens" finally came and of course it wasn't as brilliant and simple as I'd imagined. And then I started playing the When Game again. "When" I was acclimated enough, "when" I felt more confident. "When" Wesley died.

Now there's just...now.

I feel them up there, my friends and colleagues. I felt Ted's send-off and I think he's the only one who really understood what happened down here, though I don't know how. I don't miss them. They're always right there and I've been a loner for so long I'm starting to suspect it will always be my natural state.

This existence precludes feeling bad about it, so I don't. There are things I'll never have again and people I'll never see, but I'll always know they exist and that's enough for me.

I don't want a funeral, though I suspect I'll get one anyway. I wonder who will go. I wonder where it will be. I don't want to be committed to Valhalla. I am Valhalla and the brownstone and Tibet and China and everywhere else around the world.

The person I was still exists but he neither defines nor confines me any longer. What I am now defies description, even to myself.

Maybe one day, maybe in another forty years, or in forty days or weeks or decades or centuries, I'll walk on top of the ground again, but it won't be voluntarily.

But in this world, you adapt or you die.

And I won't be dying.

End of story.

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