5 Things That Could Happen
Clark's always wanted to get away. Less complicated, being free, not just for the lack of responsibility but because there's nobody left behind to give you a guilt trip. Nobody to yank him off this high. Family's great while you're in the middle of it, but they're hard to go away from and then come back to. Clark's setting his own rules now. He can drive forever down this highway, and he'll make his own totalitarian decision about how much gas is too much wasted.
He killed his little brother, destroyed his mother, and his dad hates him. He left Lana and Lex without an explanation. He's all alone, no where to go, nobody to talk to. Nobody who knows him.
This is the best thing that's ever happened to him.
He has to pretend so often at home. Ply oblivious, ignorant, forgetfulness. No more of that for him. Or, at least only for fun. 'Cause sometimes he can make people get the funniest looks on their faces...
This red kryptonite was sent straight from heaven -better yet, from his home, from his parents on Krypton. They knew he'd need it to reach his destiny. It's better than a drug, it's like opening a door to a whole other world. This world, the one that's waiting for him. The one he's been pretending to ignore for some 13 years.
Everything's so clear now. That girl glancing at him from the condom aisle at the gas station, she would smile and walk around the back of the building with him if he asked. That boy she's with is her brother, and he'd rather abandon his sister by the roadside than continue their roadtrip but if Clark was obvious enough he'd freak out and destroy the gas station before he stopped defending his slut sister's "honor". Clark could be gone before the police showed up.
But that's boring. Clark needs something a little more challenging, because Clark's special. He's meant for bigger things, everybody says that.
It might be difficult, even for him, to break up a marriage after it's already taken place. And where is that Caribbean island again?
Opportunities have always been sort of metaphorical for Clark. They're there, they're meant for him, but not until later. Clark's always so patient. Fuck destiny, he decides when it's time. Today, the day has come.
Clark grins, roaring down the highway. He's got skills, it's time they're used.
The Kents wouldn't approve of his methods, but he has a feeling his father would be terribly proud.
It really was a motorcycle this time. It's coming up their driveway. Martha drops the dishcloth and only habit saves the glass. It's Clark, she can't be mistaken this time. No one else would be so cruel as to drive a motorcycle up the Kent driveway, would they? Of course, they wouldn't know. Not even rational thought can keep Martha from her mad dash to the front window. It is Jon's motorcycle. She thinks. She's almost sure. She's out the door. Is that Clark? He doesn't... feel like Clark. But she's almost positive now that it can't be anyone else. "Clark?"
The man -well, Clark. Clark kicks the engine off. He swings one leg over the side of the bike, straightens, and just kind of looks at her.
My baby, Martha's can't help thinking. There are times when a mother will look at her child and just feel so proud of just being his mother that her heart literally seems to tighten up her chest. She can't move. Then, he's all grown up. "Clark?"
Clark bows his head and lets out a breath, one hand coming up to yank off his sunglasses. He peers back up at her, hair in his eyes. "Mama."
With his hand up she can see that he's not wearing a ring, but she hadn't needed to check before. She could tell. He's different, but he's her son. She runs to embrace him. "Clark, I-" Where have you been? "I missed you so much. I'm so glad you're here." It's been too long. Soon we would have had to beg someone for help.
"Where's Dad?" Clark asks. Martha grips his arm.
"Your father," she says firmly, looking up at his sweet face, "Is going to be happy to see you as well. He's going to be so relieved to see you."
Clark nods, as if he isn't surprised. He moves to walk inside with her, putting an arm around her shoulders. "How's the farm?"
She smiles up at him. "It's okay. The harvest was hard, but fortunately it was a good one. We hired some people. We're in... well, we're in a little bit of trouble, but we should be able to pull out of it. You know how it is, with farmers. It'll be just fine."
"You needed me, I'm sorry."
"We always need you, Clark."
"But more importantly, we want you to be here."
They turn to look at Jonathan, behind them. He sighs heavily and puts his hands in his jean pockets. "I thought I heard that bike."
He's been listening just as hard as she has.
Jonathan opens his mouth, hesitates. Martha still has her hand on Clark's back, so she can tell that he didn't get tense. He just waits quietly. "Clark- Son, I am so sorry for what I did. I didn't mean what I said. I know -I know what I did, I was cruel and I was thoughtless and I am so sorry, son. I never wanted to lose you." Martha sighs, proud of him. One thing about this circle of the Kent family, they know how to forgive. It doesn't matter how drawn-out the sin.
"I know, Dad. I understood why you said it. I always did," he ends in a very soft tone. Her son is more subdued than she's ever seen him, but that's natural, isn't it? After such a dramatic rift?
"Thank you, son." She knows how relieved they both sound- their words are coated with it. It's only now that she's starting to wonder what they would have done if he hadn't come back under his own free will. It's now that she feels a low knot of despair underneath everything.
But everything worked out. They know how to make this kind of thing okay. Jonathan and Clark are hugging on their front porch. Her husband is almost tearful. "I have... I have cookies," Martha remembered, excited. "They're frozen." She made them months ago, they were for Clark's return then and she's so glad she thought to save them. Even though it has seemed silly at times in between.
They go in, where they can all finally sit around the table again. Clark drinks milk, and she doesn't think Jon even remembers they've not eaten a homemade dessert in this house since Clark went away.
"I'm glad the farm survived," Clark says immediately. "I was worried."
"We're doing alright. Financially," Jon adds quickly. "Had a few hired hands around the place for harvest," he repeats. "We got the corn and wheat cut just in time. The cow market's up." Pause. "Your mother's been selling pies to the Talon again."
"Lana's fine," Martha continues. "She was worried about you, as well. But I think she understood you ...needed to get away."
"Good," Clark says simply. Martha senses he doesn't need to be told Lana's dating other boys. It's as if he guessed everything already, they're just explaining old news to him. "And Lex?"
Jonathan shifts, and she looks at him, not sure what to say. "We haven't heard much from him. We only know what's been in the papers."
"He called asking for you, once," Martha adds. That was quite some time ago. "I just told him you were out."
Clark nods slowly. She doesn't want her baby to look resigned. She starts to wish they had gone to Lex, brought him in to look for Clark. Maybe things would have been different. Maybe Clark would have had more to come home to. Suddenly nothing feels quite adequate.
Clark very carefully slides his hand out of his jacket and sets a little lead box on the table. He puts it far away from him, almost right in front of her. She knows what it is.
"This was much worse than the other times," Clark says quietly. "I finally took the ring off myself, but before, I did some very bad things."
"Clark..." Martha whispered. She thinks of the baby. Her dead baby, it was a girl. She thinks of the spaceship, how strangely relieved she was to be rid of it, the end of that unnatural connection to her body.
Clark catches her forgiving gaze. His eyes are dark, so very old. "I guess I know real guilt now, Mom." He sighs, looking at the table. His jaw clenches- it's gotten so square! "So that's the thing.
"I wanted to tell you I was okay, that the world was safe. I want to go back to protecting it. But I can't come home."
"Come with me."
Lana flinches, good girl sensibilities flashing in her eyes. "This is my home. It's your home, too," she whimpers, stepping back from the motorcycle. Clark rolls his eyes and slides his sunglasses into place. "Your home? More like your prison," he bites out over his shoulder. He pauses just a moment before turning the key and looks back at her. "I can take you away from all of this." She stares at him, probably stunned because he can do that to girls with this grin. He extends an open hand for her.
"Come on, Lana. Be free with me. I'm not leaving you unless you make me, babe."
Lana's mouth opens a little. He grabs her and yanks her forward. None of that teary kissing this time. Girls don't really want green pastures and boys who let them lie in their arms, do they? Of course, Lana doesn't like boys who lie at all.
"Well, come on. I'll drop you off somewhere." He gets her on the back of his bike easy enough.
Girls. Girls are... normal.
He'll try normal for awhile. It'll be cool.
"You can't treat me this way, Clark. I know you're upset," she says next time they stop, and she won't let him follow her in the women's side of the rest stop. "Clark? I understand. I do. I've been through this kind of loss, too. I know it makes me feel better to just talk about it." He can barely get a kiss in sideways. "You have to listen to me, Clark. Everything will start to repair itself if you just go home, talk to your parents. You can't leave your parents like this. You can't just run away."
Fucking hell. This is just too normal.
He stalks back to his bike and leaves her to find her own way home from outside Des Moines.
"We've located him in an area near Denver, sir."
Lex loves surveillance photos. They're always something interesting to study. There's something specifically intriguing about black and whites of nightclubs, as well. That grainy print, the crunch of objects and subjects to sort through in each one.
When he found out Lucas had slipped his guardianship, he didn't bother with being annoyed. Lex's life has been one series of disasters since that disastrous wedding, and honeymoon. He finds it rather entertaining, he could make a fascinating study of the sheer number and quality of the disasters lining up in one summer.
Here he is, little brother. Dark hair, dark clothes, drinking underage. Having a better time than Lex is, that much is obvious. Lex flips through a couple; Lucas is stationary, position unchanged in the next few shots. He's not dancing. Talking, maybe? Trying to pick someone up.
"We've got a team that can pick him up if he comes back to this club tonight." His employee clears his throat. "The original team made an aborted attempt to grab him at the time they got these." He gestures at the photos on Lex's desk. "They thought it best to hang back when they realized he was with someone."
Lex frowned, skipping to another photo farther down. This time it wasn't his brother's face that immediately caught his eye.
"Big guy," his investigator explained.
Yes, somehow, the other lost boy in his life is definitely fraternizing with his brother. Dressed similarly, both drinking. Talking. Just talking? No, laughing. Clark's done something very nice with his hair. In one shot, Lucas has his arm hooked around Clark's shoulders.
Disaster is a word that's thrown around so lightly these days.
"No- I. I knew," Martha whispered. No, whimpered. He's never heard his mother whimper before, but that's what it is. She's in so much pain. "I knew there would be complications. I could feel it. I went to-" The words froze before she could get them all out at once.
She was willing to suffer for a child. Her child, from her own body, from her husband's.
"I talked to Helen," Martha's voice is more shrill. God, his mother, his mother is so beautiful. He needs his mother. He wants to crawl into that bed with her, he doesn't care that she's sweaty or that he'd only fit on the very edge. "I didn't care, I knew it was worth it. Jonathan, I'm sorry. Jon. Our baby!"
No, her belly wouldn't let him get very close to her, anyway. Even lying next to her, even right there just trying to reach. Their child would be in the way.
"Move back, please," he can tell from the Asian doctor's voice that she's containing her compassion. She's trying to sound professional, she doesn't want them all to fall apart in this room while they're still trying to save the patient.
He looks around the hallway when he's back in it. His mind tries to take him back in that hospital room, but he doesn't remember anything about it. He looks around like it's a game, taking a minute to look and trying to remember details, but he can't observe anything. Even when he's looking straight at it. He wonders how long he can stay this way.
He doesn't want to think about it. If he doesn't try to work his way back logically, he might be able to sustain... What else can he do but get lost in his own mind?
His father is babbling, somewhere in the hall with him; he doesn't turn, doesn't want to locate him. He's somewhere. He's babbling. He didn't know, he shouldn't have done something, maybe, their child, her red hair, it was supposed to be forever, what happened?
He gets a strange feeling, like he can see inside his father's head right now. His father wants a drink. Or he will when he thinks of it. A lot of drinks, says his subconscious. It won't occur to him until later. But then he'll drown himself. There's an empty space, the rest of his mind is blank. Clark knows. He can see it.
"-And that. That damn ship!"
His mother is dead. And it's all his fault.