By Kraz <email@example.com>
Submitted: April 2001
Summary: An alternate beginnings story. With tragedy in his past, Clark contemplates leaving Smallville to make a new start in Metropolis.
Many thanks go out to people who helped bring about this story.
First to Merry Truitt, my beta-reader/editor, who poked and prodded me along through real life breaks to finally get this story out of my head. I thank you.
Second goes to Wendy Richards, who led me to the archive and the message boards after first finding fanfiction.net. I thank you!
Third goes to all of the wonderful fanfiction writers, who gave me the inspiration to undertake writing this story, and who, by preceding me, gave me a forum in which to showcase it. I thank you all!
This is an 'else-worlds story', meaning that in does not take place in the "standard" Lois & Clark universe. It is in a world very much like our own.
The story itself does have a fairly serious WHAM in it, as it deals with tragedy and recovery. However, it is a multi-part story, and it is my intention to have "the toys back in their proper places" when the series is completed.
This entire story was based on a song I wrote in the summer of 2000. The lyrics to the song are included at the end of the story, as an afterthought, so to speak. I of course, already copyright them. The story itself belongs to me, but the main characters belong to whoever holds the copyrights on them at this time.
This is my first attempt at fanfiction. This is also my first attempt at any type of fictional writing since high school (a fairly decent set of moons ago…). Any comments would be greatly appreciated, even if it's to say I didn't like it. But if you do that, please have the decency to tell me why!
I think that's it… if not, too bad, I'm sure you're bored enough already!
The bus pulled out of the Smallville Depot. Its sparse passengers scattered about the inside, seemingly ignoring one another. Clark Kent was happy for that. He wanted the solace, perhaps even needing it. It seemed as if lately all he did was brood.
His mother was right. He did need to get away. He needed to let his emotions run their course, somewhere where every corner didn't cause a flash of painful memories to stir inside his head. A place where nobody knew him, or what he had lost. A place where people wouldn't have to worry about saying the wrong thing accidentally. A place where…
"Stop it, Clark" he muttered to himself, under his breath. "You're not supposed to be brooding about it."
The bus, after what seemed an eternity, but was actually only a couple of hours, turned on to I-70, and began its long journey toward Metropolis. Clark remembered the amused look on his parents' face when he told them his destination.
"But why Metropolis, Clark? With your abilities, I'd have thought you would want to head overseas again."
"Yes, son. Metropolis isn't the outback! It's wall-to-wall people. How are you going to come to grips with everything there?"
"But don't you see, Dad? That's what I need. A bunch of strangers. No reminders. And I've never really been to Metropolis, unlike overseas. No one has ever heard of Clark Kent there. No one to ask how I'm holding up."
"Okay, Clark, I can understand that," Martha Kent replied, "but why the bus… why not just fly?"
"Superman is gone for now, Mom. And I'm not sure I want to bring him back. He's cost me too much."
And with that, Clark gave his parents a look that told them he no longer wanted to discuss the issue.
As the bus slowed into the rest stop, Clark was awakened out of his reverie. As the passengers got off the bus, he joined them, heading for the diner for a bite to eat, and to stretch his legs.
Having dined, and stretched, he again boarded the bus. He again dwelled upon Superman, his creation. The public hadn't seen the 'blue boy scout' in over three months. Some papers said he disappeared from whence he came, while others speculated on a government plot. One of the national tabloids even went so far as to say he settled down with some 'Earth Chick' and was working on a brood of super-kids. Clark winced inwardly as he remembered reading that. No, no kids… never again. The thought brought tears to Clark's eyes again.
Clark forcefully blinked them away, focusing on the mundane, putting the memories away again. The sheer effort sometimes exhausted him. He forced his thoughts towards Metropolis, and the new life that awaited him. He fell asleep wondering what he was going to do there.
A disorienting jostling and many screams awoke Clark from his nap. At first, Clark could not figure out why he was on his back, but he soon realized that the bus had flipped on its side, and was scraping along the road. Realizing that the passengers were in danger, he reacted, not thinking of the consequences.
The window next to him was broken. He reached out, and pushing slightly, he was able to use super speed to get his hand between the bus and the ground. Focusing on his aura, he began to fly, hugging the bus close to his form, thus causing the bus to lift off. He slowed the bus down, and as it came to a stop, he gently turned it upright, after which he threw himself to the floor of the bus, joining the rest of the bus's passengers.
Now that the bus had stopped moving, the passengers decide to calm down just a bit. They quickly, and rather hysterically, exited the bus, just in case it decided to do something else unexpected. Clark, not wanting to draw attention to himself, exited as well. Many people were milling around asking, "What happened?" to each other. The bus driver tried to explain.
"There was some kind of flash on the left side of the bus, and then, next thing I knew, it tipped over, as if something just pushed it. What I'd like to know is how the bus righted itself. There is no way it could have just righted itself like that. Had that naturally happened, it would have continued to flip the other direction, not stopping when it was upright. I mean, I'm not complaining… but…" He shook his head as he began to mumble to himself.
Clark's super-hearing kicked in, and he heard a passenger mumble "You don't think the blue… nah, he's gone. It couldn't have been him, could it?" Clark felt a momentary flash of panic rise within him, but he forced himself to just ignore it, and try to get people to forget about the incident.
"Maybe we should unload our bags from the bus. I don't think it's going to be going anywhere anytime soon," Clark suggested to the gathered passengers. "And perhaps you might want to let your company know what's going on, so we aren't out here in the middle of nowhere forever." He looked to the bus driver.
With that, everyone seemed to busy themselves with something, whether it was helping unload the bus, or aiding the rest of the passengers. Some of the passengers were examining the left side of the bus, trying to see if what the driver had said had any merit. They all noticed a hole in the side of one of the cargo bays, and scorch marks along the side, circular around the hole.
The passenger who had mumbled to himself, seem to be drawn to the right side of the bus, towards the rear, where he found the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. There was an upside-down handprint in the side of the bus. "Maybe he's not gone after all!" he said to himself.
Eventually, after the police and paramedics showed up, a second bus arrived to carry the passengers to their destination. Remarkably, no one had any serious injuries, just bumps and scrapes. The paramedics and police were astounded by this fact, but even more so by the mysterious handprint. However, Clark was nervous about the situation, and had tuned out any mention of the print and Superman, and was very relieved when the police released everyone, allowing them to board the new bus.
Settling down in his new seat, Clark reflected upon the issues running through his head in regards to Superman.
3 years ago
Clark had just returned yesterday from his overseas excursion. He was sitting at the kitchen table of his parent's home, eating a home cooked dinner with his family, when the phone rang.
"Kent residence," his mom answered.
"Hi Martha, this is Lana Lang. How are you doing."
"Fine, Lana. How are you doing? I had heard you were in Egypt with your father on some dig or something."
"Yes, I was. We just finished up last week, and I decided to comeback to Smallville to center myself a bit. Sometimes it's completely amazing the gamut of emotions you go through during an archaeological dig."
"I suppose that's very true. And I know Clark always says that Smallville helps him find balance within himself."
"Speaking of Clark, Martha. What part of the world is he in this week?"
"Oh" Martha started, with a gleam in her eye, "I think he's in Kansas."
"Yes, he came back yesterday. Did you want to speak with him?"
"Sure, I guess. I wasn't really expecting him to be home."
"Clark." Martha turned her head away from the phone. "Someone wants to speak with you!"
"Hi Clark, it's Lana."
"Lana! How are you doing?"
"Oh, just fine. How are you doing?"
"Not too bad. How is Egypt?"
"Egypt was nice, but I'm not there anymore. I'm in Smallville."
"Oh, really. When did you return?"
"Over the weekend. Look Clark, I'd really like to talk to you without the use of the phone. How about we meet down at Maisie's for coffee?"
"Sounds like a plan. Say in half an hour?"
"Sure. See you then."
"Great. See you then."
Clark hung up the phone, and looked at his mother, who had that motherly gleam in her eye.
"Oh, nothing," she replied with a smirk.
Twenty-five minutes later, Clark found himself at Maisie's diner, with a cup of coffee in his hand, looking out the front window, waiting for Lana. Six minutes later, she walked in. He grinned at her.
"You're a whole minute late, Lana. I may have to hold that against you."
"Clark, it's fashionable to be late. Besides, as your mom will surely tell you, it's good to keep the men folk waiting," she replied with a good-natured smile.
Clark stood as they hugged each other, and then as she sat down, sat across from her, and took a sip from his cup.
They talked for a couple of hours, catching up on what had happened on their separate trips overseas. They joked with each other, and told various anecdotes about mix-ups with local customs. Eventually, Maisie approached their table.
"Hey you two, I hate to break up a good time, but I'd like to go home tonight," Maisie informed her two customers. "And I can't do that if you two are going to sit here and not pay attention to the time," she added, with a twinkle in her eye as she winked at the pair.
"Is it that late?" Clark asked. Maisie simply nodded.
"Well Clark, I guess we better continue this somewhere else."
As the couple exited the diner, Lana looked up at Clark.
"Let's head over to Woodland Park. There are a few things I'd like to finish talking about."
"Okay," Clark replied, with a slightly confused look upon his face.
As they couple wandered into the park, Lana looked like she was struggling to say something.
"Clark, the last time we spoke, I know you were unhappy with how things turned out. I know I didn't take your telling me about your 'uniqueness' very well, and you probably felt a little betrayed. I just wanted to apologize for that. You see, Clark, at the time, there was a lot of tension in my house with regards to my mother and father, and what they each expected of me. And all three of us were expecting you to propose, and to be honest, at that time, I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. When you told me about your abilities, and then literally swept me off my feet, it came completely out of left field. More like out of the ball park, state, country, maybe even the planet. I left with my father to get away from everything, sort of running away from my problems. However, after three years in Egypt, I was able to really think about everything. And I realized that I treated you very badly, and I can only hope you can forgive me."
"Lana, there really is nothing to forgive. I also did some growing up while I was overseas. I probably should have explained things better at the time. To find out that your best friend through high school and college was more than he appeared to be had to be a complete shock. I'm just glad to know that you weren't running from me specifically."
"No, Clark, never."
With that, they hugged. After a few moments, Clark stepped away.
"C'mon, I should probably get you home."
"Clark, will you do me a favor?"
"Show me." Clark looked confused for a moment. "Show me the world through your eyes."
Clark could only smile. "Are you sure?" Lana nodded.
Clark closed, and gathered Lana in his arms, and then took off. He took Lana around the world, showing her the most incredible things she had ever seen. He took her toward the North Pole, to show her the Aurora Borealis. To London, and Big Ben. India, and the Taj Mahal. He took her to many places he enjoyed in solace, simply to enjoy the beauty of things. However, Clark felt a joy he had never felt before. He was able to share these things with someone. Someone he cared about.
As the morning dawned, they made their way back to Smallville. When they landed, Lana looked up at Clark.
"Thank you. That was simply magnificent!"
"No, Lana, thank you."
Slowly, as they looked into each other's eyes, their lips met.
Clark and Lana continued to date. Clark fell in love with the idea of being able to share himself truly with someone. And Lana simply fell in love with Clark. Over the course of the year, they took many trips overseas, visiting exotic locales, and various places Lana had wished to visit. During one of these visits, Clark rescued victims of an over-turned boat and was photographed in the process. The next day, his picture appeared in various newspapers throughout the world. Luckily for Clark, in the process of the rescue, his glasses came off, and his wet hair seemed slicked back in all the photographs, so nobody recognized Clark.
Clark and Lana immediately returned to Smallville, and consulted his parents.
As Martha and Jonathan examined the various articles, noting the various pictures, something seemed to click in their minds.
"You don't think something that simple would work, do you?"
"I don't know, Martha. But you can barely tell its Clark, with his hair slicked back and no glasses. Plus, if you design some kind of outfit, most people won't pay attention to his face, especially if you make it colorful and flashy."
"Mom, Dad. What are you trying to get at?"
"Well, Clark, it's obvious you can't go into hiding with this. You've been doing these kinds of things for years. It's only a matter of time until you do it once, and someone would recognize you. However, with these pictures taken, you have a very rare opportunity. You could come out of hiding, so to speak, in some kind of outfit. A uniform, so to speak."
"I get it," Lana chimed in. "Kind of like a disguise. Clark would use this uniform to perform his 'stunts'."
"Exactly. Only it would be more of a public persona. Clark would be a different person, wearing the outfit. And by making it colorful and form fitting, it would draw attention away from Clark's face, to make it even more of a disguise."
Jonathan thought about it. "Actually, if you don't use a mask of any kind, then people wouldn't suspect that this person was anything other than what he says he is, simply because he is showing that he has nothing to hide."
"I don't know?"
"Clark, you have to do this now. This is the perfect opportunity. The next time you might not be so lucky. At least this outfit will allow you to be more open. You've always complained about not being able to do more at a rescue because someone might see you. Now it won't matter if someone sees you, because they'll be seeing the identity, not Clark Kent."
Clark looked at his family, thinking of some of the possibilities. "Well, it would definitely allow me to help more openly. Let's give it a try."
Over the next several days, Martha and Lana worked on various designs and color schemes. Lana had some outrageous ideas, and Martha tried to keep it simpler. Eventually they decided on a basic blue spandex suit. To help break up the bright blue, they added red boots, and red underwear on the outside. As they examined it, something seemed to be missing.
"I don't like the plain chest. It just doesn't look right, Lana."
"It's not bad. But what did you have in mind?"
Martha thought quietly to herself. 'It should be something that represents Clark. But what? Of course, I've got it.' She quickly headed for her bedroom, and opened the cedar chest at the foot of the bed. Moving aside some blankets, she found what she was looking for.
"This is it. This will be perfect."
They quickly sewed on the "S" symbol on the costume.
"Clark, come try this on."
Clark, who had been watching the Messenger pre-launch with his father, got up and approached the ladies.
"This doesn't look bad, Mom. I like the basic colors. Maybe we can even add a yellow belt, since the crest is red and yellow."
"Not a bad idea, Clark, but try it on for now."
Clark took the outfit into the bathroom to try it on. He had to admit he liked this one. Although he wasn't sure about the cape, it did seem to swish around nicely. All in all, not a bad job.
He stepped out of the bathroom, and into the living room where his family had gathered. When Jonathan looked at his son, he couldn't help but look surprised.
"That's my boy!"
As the evening was winding down, Clark took Lana home. Having taken a couple of quick test flights earlier in the evening, he wanted to take a longer one, testing his speed and aerial abilities with the costume. Taking Lana home would allow him to kill two birds with one stone. During the trip, they had the radio on to listen to the Messenger lift-off.
The announcer was going on about this being the Messenger's last shot. If this flight didn't work, than the United Nations was going to cancel the Space Station Prometheus project. He also discussed with several colleagues how the project leader, Doctor Antoinette Baines, had been found guilty of sabotaging the project, but for unknown reasons, as she died in a helicopter explosion just before the knowledge came to light.
As the countdown entered its final stages, Clark pulled into Lana's driveway. As they entered her house, they moved to the television, both wanted to watch as the Messenger reached take off. However, as the countdown reached two minutes, Clark got a very odd feeling. He was unable to describe it, but it was odd nonetheless. It seemed to be some general sense of unwellness. As the countdown hit the one-minute mark, the feeling became even more compelling. He was standing, not being able to sit down. Lana looked at him.
"Is something wrong, Clark?"
"I don't know, but I have this really weird feeling. I think something is going wrong with the Messenger. I can't explain it, but I think something is terribly wrong."
As the countdown reached thirty seconds, Peter Jennings' voice came over the countdown. "The countdown has been stopped at 29 seconds for some reason. They are listing a small wiring failure as the problem. They are simply holding there for now."
As Lana turned towards Clark, he was no longer there. There was an odd whooshing and a small boom outside of her house. She knew where Clark had gone.
It only took Clark a few seconds to reach the launch site. Several witnesses on the ground noticed a sound similar to a low flying jet, and looked up, to notice the figure wearing the red and blue suit. A quiet murmur went through the cloud as this flying man approached the Messenger.
Landing on the main catwalk, Clark quickly reached the main outer doors to the shuttle. He gently, yet forcefully opened the doors, and entered. He followed his gut feeling to a small chamber to the side, where he saw a brunette looking at him with something akin to awe.
"There's a bomb!"
Clark quickly looked over the device. 'What the heck do I do with this thing?' he thought to himself. X-raying the box, he carefully opened it. Noticing that it was a simply made device with electronic triggers connected to C4 explosive, he took the firing mechanism and explosive out of the casing. Seeing no safe place to put it, he opened his mouth, and swallowed.
An extremely muffled thump signaled the detonation of the bomb. Clark felt an odd tingling from inside his stomach. His eyes widened as it rippled throughout his body. He brought his hand to his mouth as he burped. Looking shameful at the woman standing there, his manners took over.
With that, the young woman promptly fainted.
Clark went over and gently picked her up, and left the chamber. As he was heading to the main shuttle doors, he encountered the other passengers of the shuttle flight.
"Excuse me, but what is going on?"
"There was a bomb located in that side chamber, but I disposed of it."
Everyone was talking amongst themselves with regards to this stranger in an odd blue outfit, and about him taking care of a bomb.
"Who are you?"
"I'm a friend."
"Well," one of the shuttle pilots spoke up, "it looks like Prometheus is a scrub. We've missed our launch window, and with it, our deadline."
Clark looked at him. "This shuttle is in fine shape, and has no problems with it. You simply need a push now that the main engines have fired. If everyone will strap back in, I'll have you docking with Prometheus in no time."
The gathered group looked at him oddly, but then seemed to shrug it off. 'What the heck, it can't hurt' and proceeded to their respective seats.
Clark left the shuttle with the still unconscious woman, and slowly floated to the ground. Gently setting her off to the side, out of the way, but easily seen from the main doors, he headed back to the shuttle.
Placing himself underneath the shuttle, he found a good balancing point, and gently pushed.
As several officials came out of the main doors, they looked at the shuttle, and watched it slowly leave the ground under what seemed its own power. However, none of the engines were firing. As the shuttle took off, they noticed the blue figure underneath, aiding its flight.
After helping the shuttle dock with the space station, Clark headed back to Earth. He knew he only had a few more minutes until his air ran out, but knew he would easily make it. Flying faster out in space, he entered the atmosphere. He noticed that it seemed to have no effect on him, but his cape was not faring so well. He slowed his entry to stop his cape from burning, and then once reaching a safe altitude, headed for NASA headquarters. He figured there would be a few questions that needed to be answered.
As Clark floated down to the launch pad, he noticed two things. First, the brunette who warned him of the bomb was awake. Second, it looked as if she was being arrested. However, as the crowd noticed his approach, all movement ceased.
When Clark landed in front of the crowd of officials, everyone seemed to be asking him a thousand questions at once. Clark held up his hand, and the crowd quieted.
"Please, I know you have questions, and I will answer what is pertinent, but I'd like to know what your doing with the young lady here?"
"She is under arrest for entering a secured area, damaging government property, and a list of several other offenses once I get her back to the offices."
"I see. Does NASA treat all of the people who save their launch and keep a multi-billion dollar project from literally blowing apart in this exemplary manner?"
The crowd had the decency to look shameful.
"I'll make you a deal. If the young lady was willing to never tell a soul about her being on the shuttle, including about how easy it was getting through your apparent simple security, would you be willing to let her go on the basis that she was responsible for saving the shuttle from blowing into a million bits?"
The officials nodded. Looking over at the young lady, he asked "Well, would you be willing to agree to this, young lady?"
"My name is Lois Lane, and yes, on one condition."
"And that is?"
"You give me the exclusive about you!"
"In the interest in fairness, and keeping you out of jail, I'll agree. However gentlemen, I believe you would like some information about your shuttle."
Clark gave the account about docking the shuttle with the space station. The NASA officials were able to confirm a lot of this with the shuttle crew and the space station itself. After satisfying the officials, Clark turned to Lois.
"Now, Ms. Lane, I believe I owe you something to maintain my end of the bargain. Where would you like to conduct this official interview?"
Perry White, editor of The Daily Planet, one of the world's most prestigious newspapers, was very rarely at a loss for words. Even less often was he at a loss for not having at least one single Elvis story that fit a given situation. However, he found himself in a situation that covered both.
After hearing the astonishing news on the wire about some guy in blue tights single-handedly lifting the shuttle into space, 'Someone is spreading some serious malarkey now,' he thought to himself. He was completely unprepared to see his top reporter, who had been missing all day, to suddenly appear in his newsroom, in the arms of some stranger in blue tights, FLYING through the main glass windows into the news pit, that rested several stories above the ground.
"Perry, every paper in America is going to be printing the story about how this man," she pointed to Clark, "who saved the Prometheus project by flying the Messenger to dock with the station." Clark blushed slightly as she mentioned his deeds. "However, I can offer you one better. I can offer you an exclusive interview with him, that we will conduct in the conference room, in about five minutes. How does that get you?"
Perry looked back and forth between Lois and Clark. "Sweetheart, you're not messin' with an old man are you?" Lois shook her head. Perry quickly got himself under control. Looking about his newsroom, seeing people gawking at the man in blue, Perry stood to his full height. "What are we, second stringers for the Weehawken Gazette? Let's get to work!"
With that, the newsroom became a bustle of activity. Lois ushered Clark into the conference room, and quickly pulled out a chair for him. Feeling slightly mischievous, Clark declined the offered chair, and lifted his legs, so he sat floating in the lotus position. Lois' eyes widened, but she quickly got herself under control. She quickly began the interview.
The next morning, Clark arrived at Lana's to find her reading a copy of the Wichita Gazette. He noticed on the cover a picture of him lifting the shuttle off of NASA's launch pad. Lana raised an eyebrow at him as he entered, and he blushed slightly. He sat down at the table with her, getting the feeling she had some questions for him.
"Superman, eh?" Clark had the decency to look ashamed. "How did you get labeled with that moniker?"
"I don't exactly remember. Ms. Lane was going on some tangent about not being able to go around being called 'a friend' and nobody taking the things I do seriously. Somewhere in the middle she said something about super-powers, and made a jump to call me 'Superman'. I didn't argue with it, and she assumed my silence was consent. It does have a nicer ring than 'Resplendent Man'."
Lana laughed at that, as they were tossing names back and forth the night before, not coming up with anything useful.
Lana continued to read the article to Clark. "You did a pretty nice job of evading her questions, answering with just enough context to satisfy her, but not enough to make her dig deep. Those journalism classes were good for something, I see," she challenged.
Clark looked at her with a teasing gleam in his eyes. "Yeah, they helped a bit with this interview, but I really need to be careful with her. I think she was just floored that I agreed to the interview. I'm willing to bet that the next time I do an interview, she'll be looking for the tougher questions to ask."
"Next time? I don't really understand why you did one this time."
Clark relayed to her the story of what took place last evening in Florida, after leaving her abruptly. Lana had a bemused look to her as he recounted his encounter with Lois Lane, commenting about women falling for him when he got to the fainting part. Clark just blushed and shrugged.
"All in all, a pretty dramatic introduction to Superman, don't you think?"
"Not bad," Clark replied, "might not be what I was looking for, but it will have to do."
Over the coming months, Clark encountered a variety of scenarios that Superman was able to help with. There were dozens of life- threatening dangers people found themselves in where Clark was able to lend a hand, both locally in the United States, and abroad.
Clark's relationship with Lana continued to prosper. He truly enjoyed sharing with her what he was able to do. And she really helped him when he was distraught over what he couldn't do.
During that period, Clark started working at the Smallville Post, a small local paper, and quickly worked his way up to Editor. He enjoyed working at the paper, helping people in the area through articles he'd write. Plus, because they were in Smallville, he didn't need to worry about associating himself with Superman. Clark felt life was really treating him pretty well.
It was during a discussion with his parents that he decided to ask Lana to marry him. His parents were in a good-natured argument over something very unimportant, and their interaction made Clark realize what he wanted out of his relationship with Lana. Clark decided not to postpone asking Lana for too long.
A couple of weeks later, during the Annual Corn Festival, Clark proposed to Lana. She delightedly accepted, and plans were made for a wedding the following June. Clark continued to aid the world at large as Superman, and even managed to meet with Lois Lane a couple of times. Once, he helped her when some invisible bank robber trapped her. And again he came to her rescue when someone threw her out of an airplane. Clark was somewhat amazed after talking with her that someone wanted him badly enough to throw someone out of a plane to get his attention. The LAW rocket that came shortly afterwards was even more surprising, but after letting it explode in the upper atmosphere, he decided to rethink his mission as Superman a little. That evening, he sat down with his parents and fiancee to discuss what had happened to him during that day.
"Apparently, from what Ms. Lane says, they definitely think I'm an alien. Why they are so sure, I don't know."
"Did she say anything about why they were after you so badly?" Martha asked.
"Well, she seems to think that they think I am some kind of advanced scout for an alien vanguard bent on taking over the world."
Looking up after making his comment, Clark noticed that his parents' faces, and that of his fiancee were at a cross between downright hilarity and horror, as if that someone could think Clark would even want to do that.
"How many times did I tell you that they would dissect you if they got the chance? That just proves it. Someone is out to get Clark."
"Dad… no one is out to get me, they're out to get Superman."
Everyone at the table looked oddly at Clark.
"Clark," Martha asked, "when did you start talking about yourself in third person?"
"Huh? Oh," Clark had the decency to look shame-faced. "I don't really talk about myself in third person, it's just that it's easier to separate myself from Superman if I think of him as a different person."
Clark's parents looked at each other with an amused grin on their faces. However, when they looked back at their son, they noticed he had a faraway look in his eyes. It was then that they heard the news broadcast in the other room about a cruise ship in the pacific that had had a mechanical malfunction, and were in danger of sinking.
He looked at his family. "I, uh, need to go. Lana, you gonna make it back to your place ok?"
"Just go, Clark. I'm pretty sure I can make the five-mile drive back to my place in relative peace."
With that Clark vanished from the room, a startled 'whoosh' in his wake.
It seemed like summer would never arrive to Clark. Finally, the month of June came, and with it, quickly came the first weekend of summer, the date of his wedding to Lana. It was a large ceremony (at least by Smallville standards, since everyone in Smallville was there, as well as several former residents of the village.) Clark and Lana were both mildly nervous, but realized that it was just common to have some nerves prior to such a momentous occasion. Martha and Jonathan had everything prepared for the reception to be held at the farm afterwards.
Finally, the hour had arrived, and Clark and Lana were standing before the priest.
The priest, having reached the point of the vows, spoke up. "Clark and Lana have decided to make their own vows." He nodded to Lana.
"Clark, I know that we haven't always seen eye to eye, and that I was originally scared by the idea of being with you. Not because of you, but because of me. However, you have taught me that there is nothing to be afraid of. Because of your patience and understanding, we are here today, and for that, I can never be thankful enough. You have taught me what it means to love somebody completely and totally, and I promise, for the rest of my life, to share with you the joy of what learning that has brought to me."
"Lana, because of you, I will be able to achieve everything I have ever wanted in life. A wife, with whom I can share everything. A place I feel that I am accepted for who I really am. Up to this point, they have only been dreams that I never thought I could have. But you have changed all that. You allowed me to realize that not only could the dreams be real, but also you helped me achieve them. I can never thank you enough, or repay you for the world you have opened before me. I can honestly say that you have made me the luckiest man in the world. I love you, and I shall always love you. And I promise, until the end of time, that the life and love you have given to me will always be shared between us."
The priest spoke up. "Let no man tear asunder that which God has brought together. By the power vested in me, by God and the state of Kansas, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
The entire church hall cheered.
Clark and Lana spent their honeymoon in a beautiful bed and breakfast in Maine. Having never actually been there before, Lana believed it would be a perfect getaway. Besides, Clark could take them to Hawaii or a deserted island anytime.
Clark, on the other hand, was slightly apprehensive about spending their honeymoon in Maine. However, once they arrived and settled in, he realized there was a charm and quality about the place he hadn't recognized before, and he felt that this was an incredible place to spend his honeymoon with his new bride.
Lana and Clark spent much time during their honeymoon doing whatever it is newlyweds do on their honeymoon.
Clark had just finished unpacking some of his things at super speed. Lana stood to the side with an amused look on her face as he sped his way through her house. 'Their' house, she corrected. Even though Lana's parents had given her the house when she decided to return to Smallville, she had never really felt at home in it until now. Because it wasn't her parents' house anymore, it was hers and Clark's home.
They had decided since Clark was living with his parents while they were dating, that they wouldn't move in together until they were married. But now that they were married, and their honeymoon over, they moved Clark's belongings over here. Now that Clark was finished, Lana had to admit to herself that he looked quite sexy running around in a thin t-shirt stretched over his muscles. Very sexy indeed. And, she remembered that they were married now. She walked up to Clark who was finishing putting some books on a shelf, and tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned around, she simply attacked him.
Seasons changed as seasons do, and summer soon became fall. It was a very late summer storm that caused a tornado to trail a path through Smallville and the outlying areas. Unbelievably, Superman was on hand to aid the tiny town, much to the amazement of the community. And due to his efforts, property damage was minimal, and loss of life was nil.
Helping her husband and father-in-law out, Lana and Clark surveyed different parts of the farm for damage to report to the insurance company, or to see what needed to be fixed prior to the planting season after winter. Walking around Schuster's field, examining a grove of trees, Clark felt a very odd sensation sweep over his body. As he and Lana moved towards a ripped up tree, the sensation made its way to pain, and agony, and Clark quickly fell to his knees.
"CLARK!" Lana exclaimed, as she fell to her knees. "What's wrong. What's happening to you?"
"I… don't… know…" and Clark promptly slumped to the ground.
Clark awoke in his old bedroom at the farmhouse, with his wife leaning over him with a damp cloth, and his parents, with worried looks on their faces, aiding in his comfort. He awoke with a fever, nausea, and aching all over his body. He had never felt this miserable before in his life.
"I don't know, sweetheart. One minute we were walking along, and the next, you fell to the ground unconscious. I was hoping you could tell us what happened."
"I don't know. I just remember feeling… pain, I guess, as we walked to the old copse of trees. I figured we'd get there and I'd take a second to relax and see what happened, but then I blacked out."
"Clark, Wayne and I are going to head up there to see if we can find anything." Jonathan commented. "I know where you were, and we'll check it out." Jonathan felt useless, unable to help his boy through this. But maybe there was a reason why this happened, and if there were anything in the copse, he and Wayne would find it.
"Clark, while your father's out looking, why don't you have some warm broth. You need something in you."
"OK, mom." Clark grinned, and then cocked his head slightly. He turned his head and looked through his room, and attempted to use his powers. It was then he realized that he wasn't hearing anything out of the ordinary. No seeing through walls, and no floating. "Um, I think my powers are gone."
Clark rubbed his face and ran a hand through his hair. "I went over everything in my head, and I can't hear anything other than you guys, I can't see through my bedroom walls, and I can't even manage to float off the bed. I'd say whatever happened to me was pretty nasty in its effect."
Jonathan finally returned later that evening with a big, heavy, lead box. He called Martha to the kitchen.
"Martha, come here for a minute."
Martha entered her kitchen and looked at her husband expectantly. "Did you find anything?"
"Well, yes, but I have no clue what it is." With that, Jonathan opened the lead box, showing Martha its contents.
Martha peered into the lead box, and noticed what appeared to be a huge emerald-like quartz rock, but it had a sickly, green glow to it.
"Martha, Jonathan, come quick. It's happening again."
Clark's parents quickly headed to Clark's room. Clark was lying on his bed, writhing in agony. Just as quickly, he fell unconscious.
Martha looked up at Jonathan. "Jonathan, did you leave that box lid open?"
Jonathan's eyes opened wide in shock, and he ran to the kitchen to close the lid on the box. Immediately, Lana and Martha noticed the tension leave Clark's face, as he seemed to relax into slumber.
The following morning Clark woke up still powerless. Lana had stayed with him through the night, and in the morning she helped Martha prepare breakfast, which she then brought to Clark in his room.
"Breakfast in bed?"
Lana got a sly grin on her face. "Wouldn't want my husband to tire out too much. How are you feeling this morning?"
"Not too bad. A little achy, and still without powers, but a lot better than I felt yesterday."
As Clark and Lana ate their breakfasts, there was a knock on the door.
"Come on in, Dad."
"Hey Son. I'm really sorry about last night. I can't believe…"
"Dad, don't worry about it. None of us knew what that rock would do. None of us know what it is, or why it does that to me, and doesn't hurt the rest of you. At least now we know to look for it."
"Yes we do, son. Wayne and I are heading back up there this afternoon to see if the tornado uprooted anymore of that rock."
"Well, if you find more," Clark said with a grin, trying to boost his father's spirits, "just keep it away from me."
Jonathan chuckled. "Will do, Clark. Will do."
Clark's recovery took several days. After that morning, he and Lana returned to their home, as Clark was feeling "normal, just not 'super'". He and Lana continued working on their home, and even engaged in some honeymoon relations during his recovery. On the morning of the fourth day after his exposure, Clark noticed that his powers had returned. He realized having worked outside a lot the day before, he was in the sun quite a bit. He also remembered the energized feeling he got while in the sunlight.
"I wonder if the sun has anything to do with my powers?"
"What's that, honey?"
"Oh, just thinking out loud, sweetheart."
"Well," she asked as she walked over towards him. "What were you thinking about out loud?"
"I was just wondering if my powers were solar based."
"Oh, and I suppose this was brought on by having your powers this morning, and being in the sun all day yesterday in the backyard." 'Shirtless,' Lana thought to herself. She grabbed her upper lip with her bottom teeth, savoring the memory of watching her bare-chested husband work around the yard yesterday.
"Well, that, and the feeling I had last night when I came in. I mean, I worked hard outside all day yesterday, and I was less tired when I came in, then when I went out there. Plus, after working all day like that, you'd think I would have worked up an appetite. But when we ate, I just ate to eat with you. I wasn't hungry at all."
Lana mulled Clark's comments over in her head. "Maybe, if you were some kind of experiment, they tried to breed some type of photosynthesis into you."
Clark cocked his head to one side, looking at his wife. "Huh?"
"Well, Clark, we know you don't have any idea what you really are." Lana noticed the slightly disturbed look come over Clark's face. She rushed to him, holding his arm and looking him square in the eyes. "Clark, sweetheart. I don't care what you are, whether you're an alien, an experiment, a mutant, or whatever. I love you. Even if you find out tomorrow that you're from another planet, it won't change how I feel about you. I have accepted you for who you are, for a long time now. I know it bothers you not knowing. But I hope we can discuss it occasionally without making you uncomfortable. It's a part of you. It's your heritage, no matter what it may be. And because it's a part of you, I will accept it and love it, no matter what it may be."
"But to just ignore it would be wrong for us, Clark. It affects you. And because it affects you, it affects me. Sweetheart, it affects us. And if it affects us, I want to be able to discuss it with you."
Clark looked at his wife, digesting what she said. He knew he let it bother him occasionally, not knowing what he is or from where he came. But listening to Lana, he knew that his wife would support him, no matter what his background may be. A lone tear streaked down his face.
"Lana, honey. Thank you. I know it affects us, but I never thought you would want to talk about it. For that, I underestimated you, and I'm sorry. But I won't do that again." Clark grabbed his wife by the waist, and lifted her up, slowly let her down, sliding along his chest, until her lips were in front of him. Then he kissed her hard.
Clark carried his wife upstairs, where they participated in more newlywed games.
On a cold November morning, just after Thanksgiving, Lana found herself at the doctor's office. She had been in before, about a week ago, to get some medication prescribed for a cold that didn't want to go away, but after taking the antibiotics, she was feeling pretty good. Well, except for this tiredness she couldn't seem to get rid of.
"Good morning, Lana. How are you doing today?"
"Oh, just fine, Dr. McDonald. I'm a little concerned why you had me come back here. I hope it's nothing bad."
"No dear. Nothing bad. At least not from a health standpoint, anyway. Sometimes, newlyweds regret the loss of their freedom so soon after their marriage, but you and Clark both seem fairly adaptable."
"Sorry, I tend to be somewhat long-winded sometimes. Basically, we ran your blood work after we gave you the antibiotics last week, and we found some interesting results."
"Interesting in what way?"
"Lana, my dear. You and Clark are going to be parents."
Doctor McDonald studied Lana's face, as he studied the faces of every woman he told of their upcoming pregnancy. He loved to see the look as recognition of impending motherhood sank in. The majority of the time it was an incredible gift to be able to tell the young women who came to see him. There were a few cases where the up-and-coming mother did not find the news as heart-warming as the doctor would have hoped. But he found that to be the case much less often now that he moved to Smallville.
Lana's face was a mask of shock. Pregnant. She was pregnant. This wasn't in the plans. This was unexpected. This wasn't supposed to happen so soon. She was pregnant.
She was pregnant with Clark's child. This caused her to pause for a second. Clark, who all he ever wanted since he found he was different, was to belong, would now be a father. And she knew he would be an incredible father. And she knew just how much being a father would mean to him. A smile slowly crept across her face as she recognized just what this baby would bring to Clark. A true sense of belonging. Not just with her, not just with his parents, but also with his son or daughter.
She realized that she was able to give Clark something that he had never been able to find. It touched her heart to be able to give him this gift. Her face was beaming as she looked at the doctor.
"You can't say anything to Clark about this," Lana said to Doctor McDonald.
"You don't understand, Clark has wanted this for so long. I want to wait and share it with him for Christmas. I want this to be the best Christmas present Clark ever receives."
Doctor McDonald chuckled as he listened to a very excited Lana Kent tell him how to contact her regarding anything to do with the pregnancy until Christmas.
The last few weeks before Christmas seemed to fly by for Lana. She knew what her 'condition' would mean to Clark, and it seemed like everyday it was getting tougher for her to wait to tell him. But she knew it would be an incredible surprise to Clark on Christmas morning.
She finally made her way into Smallville, to finish up her Christmas shopping, and to find that perfect card that Clark could open up on Christmas morning, that would just tell him what he was about to become.
She spent almost a half hour looking at different cards, before her eyes noticed one that was kind of hidden behind some other cards. She read it and realized it would make the absolute perfect card to tell Clark with. She noticed that it also seemed to be the last card of its kind. She smiled to herself as she thought how lucky she was.
She went to pay for her various items, and the clerk at the counter raised an eyebrow as she rang up the card. When she looked at Lana, Lana simply brought her forefinger to her lips in a shushing gesture, and winked. The clerk had a huge smile on her face.
"Going to be an interesting Christmas at the new Kent household this year, huh?"
Lana just laughed. "Yes, I think Clark is in for the surprise of his life this year."
"Well, God bless you both, or should I say the three of you!"
Lana just chuckled and left with her purchases.
Christmas Eve finally arrived, and Lana and Clark were at the Christmas Festival in Smallville with Clark's parents. Lana's parents were supposed to be there as well, but their plane was delayed until Christmas morning.
The Kents were enjoying themselves, dancing, and having fun. It was a very enjoyable Christmas party. But eventually it was time to leave, and Lana and Clark made their rounds and said their goodbyes, and wished everyone a very merry Christmas. As they were leaving Smallville, it started snowing, adding to what had already been several days worth of snow on the ground.
While they were driving home, they were listening to various Christmas Carols as they played on the radio station. When they neared their home, they heard an NRB announcement on the radio. There was a Canadian village in dire straits, and officials were trying to locate Superman. When they pulled into the driveway, Clark looked to his wife.
"Clark, sweetie. Go. Just be careful."
"God, I love you."
"Just go." She kissed him hard. "And hurry home."
With that, Clark took off, changing into Superman in mid-air on his way to Canada. Lana headed inside to warm up from the winter chill she had. When she got inside, she noticed that there was a message on their answering machine. She played back the message.
"Lana, darling. It's mother. I was able to get a charter flight to bring me to Wichita. I should be arriving fairly late, or early depending on how you look at it, around 1 am. Do you think you could have that husband of yours pick me up? I'd really appreciate it. Hugs and Kisses. Ciao."
'Couldn't wait and come with daddy, could you mom?' Lana thought to herself. After saving the message, she left a quick note for Clark, and then hopped in the car, and headed to State Route 54, and Wichita. As she was pulling out of the driveway, the phone in the house began to ring. After the fourth ring, the answering machine picked it up.
'Hi, you've reached the home of the Kents. This is Clark…'
'And this is Lana, and we aren't home right now. But please leave a message, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Please wait for the beep. Thanks.'
"Lana, darling. It's mother again. Apparently the barbarian from whom I chartered the plane won't bring me to Wichita due to the weather. A little bit of snow makes him scared. Anyway, we've landed in Kansas City. I'll get a hotel room tonight, and he says he'll bring me the rest of the way in the morning. So don't bother picking me up in Wichita. Bye darling. Hugs and Kisses. Ciao."
Lana continued her trek, as the weather got worse. Realizing that there was no way that she was going to make it to the airport, she found a good stopping point to turn around and head back home. She wasn't that far from home after all, and she knew that she could easily make it back.
As she headed back, Lana was startled by a bright gold light and then noticed a deer standing in the middle of the road in front of her. Panicked, she swerved the car to miss the deer, and the car seemed to take a life of its own. Skidding across the ice formed on the shoulder of the road, the car picked up speed, and shot off the side of the road. After smashing through a road sign, the car reached a shuttered stop as it crashed into a tree near the road.
Once again, silence reigned in the air. A figure in a dark cloak rose from his resting place on the other side of the median, and walked to the frozen deer.
"Oh please. I can't believe she missed the dear. How entirely droll. Hmmph. Maybe the wreck will be more exciting."
As the figure passed the deer, he reached out and removed a small device clinging to the animal's shoulder. As soon as the device was removed, the deer looked up at him, and then took off.
"Oh sure, run now Bambi. That's another stupid tale I had to endure in that awful place. How dreadfully quaint."
The figure finished crossing the road, and surveyed the damage caused by the wreck. Now this held promise. This could be fun. He headed to the damaged car, looking in. Lana was bleeding from a nasty cut on her forehead, and appeared to be unconscious. She moaned slightly.
"Now, now. Can't have you coming back now, can we. That would just ruin all the fun of the whole plan. The blue buffoon is just causing way to much havoc with the future. I mean, it's just so boring with everyone idolizing him and you. Can't have that." With that, he held a small metal device to her neck, and a small 'sfft' sound was heard in the silence of the night.
"Well, that takes care of you and the super brat. Let's see what we can do about hubby now." With that, he took a hunk of glowing red rock on a black base out of his pocket and proceeded to hide it under the seat. "Won't Clarkie be surprised when he finds you here shortly. But I can't stick around. Must be off. Ta ta for now."
With that, another gold flash of light was seen, and the figure seemed to step through it.
It took Clark three hours to finally be able to land on his back porch. He was rather tired from his rescue in Canada. But at least he was able to save the village from its icy predicament before any lives were lost. Plus now, they would have time to shore up and fix the dam while the entire lake and river were frozen solid.
Clark entered his dimmed home quietly, not wanting to disturb his wife. As he entered, he cocked his head, listening for a familiar sound, but not hearing. Looking around the house, he found a note sitting next to the answering machine, as well as the blinking message light. Clark replayed the messages and read the note. Clark shrugged his head at his mother-in-law's logic. 'No matter, I'll head out and find Lana and help her home. Maybe a super lift will speed things along.'
Clark left the same way he entered, and took off into the crisp night air. He calculated the distance driving to Wichita, and flew straight there, hoping to catch Lana before she left the airport. Arriving at the airport, he hovered above, examining the building looking for Lana. Not finding her there, he flew through the parking lot, looking for their car. After examining both of the local structures twice, and not finding the car, Clark started to worry.
Flying above State Route 54 on his way back home, trying to see if he could see his wife driving home. Right as he approached State Route 283 turn off, he noticed the police lights. His heart leapt into his throat as he approached the scene and saw their car in the ditch. Immediately he realized there was no way he could land and maintain any type of impartiality, and flew to his parents' farm.
Thirty seconds later, Clark pulled up to the median on the opposite side of the road by the State patrol cars. He jumped out of his father's truck, and ran to the scene. The patrolmen on the scene quickly approached Clark.
"Excuse me, sir. But this area is off-limits right now."
"That's my car." Clark looked very stony-faced. Clark heard the quick intake of breath from the younger patrolman.
Clark stated getting an odd, tingly sensation in his head as he approached the scene. He looked questioningly at the patrolmen.
"Mr. Kent, I hate to do this to you, especially during this season, but…" Clark had already taken off towards the car, yelling Lana's name.
The car door was already open when Clark got to the car. His wife was sitting very still, with her head slightly leaning away from the door, and down. She had frozen blood on her forehead, and Clark knew immediately that she was dead. Tears fell from his face, as he grabbed her hand and knelt next to her outside the car. He was swaying on his knees, willing her to open her eyes and smile at him.
Clark's inner voice kept telling him over and over, 'This is Superman's fault.' Clark kept calling Lana's name, hoping this was just a nightmare, and he'd wake up and it would be Christmas morning. But he realized it wasn't a nightmare, it was just his dreams shattering.
Jonathan awoke to the ringing of the phone. Wondering who could be calling at this hour, he grabbed it roughly.
Jonathan Kent's face went ashen as the voice of the patrolmen on the other end was talking to him. Martha slowly rolled over to look at him, and was shocked by the look on his face as tears started to stream from his eyes. Jonathan slowly hung up the phone, almost as if he was not even aware he was doing it.
"Martha, get dressed. Clark needs us."
"Jonathan, what is it?"
Jonathan looked straight into his wife's eyes to find the strength he needed to tell her the hardest thing he'd ever said in his life. "Lana's dead."
Another patrol car stopped by and picked up Clark Kent to take him to Smallville. An ambulance arrived while they were loading Clark into the patrol car. Clark watched helplessly as they lifted his wife's body from their car, and placed a white sheet over her. Tears again started flowing. All of his fears recently about not being able to save his wife came true. And it was all Superman's fault. As the ambulance was taken away, and the patrol car slowly made it way from the scene, no one noticed the odd reddish glow coming from underneath the front seat of the car.
Christmas morning arrived, and while the rest of the world shared a blissful holiday, the Kent farm was very despondent. Clark didn't want to seem to talk to anyone about what had happened the night prior, and was very sullen and unresponsive. About mid-morning, Lana's parents arrived, believing it to be any other Christmas morning.
Clark's parents knew that Clark was in no shape to do this, but he wouldn't let them take the burden. Stealing himself up for the encounter, Clark spoke with Lana's parents.
"Dr. Lang, Mrs. Lang. Lana was in a car accident last night. A fatal one."
Carol Lang burst into tears. The color drained from her husband's face. Over the next half hour, Clark explained what little he knew about the accident.
"Why was my baby girl in the car, Clark? Where were you? Why weren't you in the car? Why was she even there at all? Why?"
A bleak expression appeared on Clark's face as Lana's mother tore into him with her accusations. Each one ripping open his heart a little more. 'She's right. Why wasn't I there? I was off playing hero to a bunch of strangers, while I let my wife die.'
Seeing the look on his son's face, and knowing the truth about Clark's activities the night before, Jonathan Kent spoke up.
"Carol, Clark was here helping me last night. He had no idea Lana had even left until he got home." Jonathan bit his tongue, not letting his own accusation about why Mrs. Lang would even try to force her way into Wichita with the weather like it was. But he knew it wouldn't help here.
Knowing what Jonathan was trying to do, Lawrence Lang grabbed his wife. "Clark, we'll be at the Smallville Inn. Please contact us when you've made the arrangements." He looked at Clark with sympathy, and nodded, attempting to convey to Clark that he realized Clark was not to blame for what had happened, and that them staying would not be healthy for anyone involved.
Lana's funeral was held three days later. Every single person who attended their wedding came to offer their condolences and sympathies to Clark. While Clark was quiet and polite with every one of the attendees, he couldn't help but be desolate. Warring in Clark's head was every accusation Carol Lang made, over and over again. And behind it all, the mental commentary that Superman was to blame for this tragedy.
Martha Kent was in town to buy some extra supplies. Clark had been living with them since Lana's death, and while Clark had hardly eaten anything during that time, other various supplies were running low. While shopping at the pharmacy, Martha overheard Loretta, the clerk, and Doctor McDonald in a conversation.
"I can't believe what happened to that poor girl. So young, and so happy. And she just couldn't wait to give Clark the good news." Doctor McDonald gave Loretta a funny look at her comment.
"Oh, she was in here a couple days before… the accident and bought a certain card, and we had a nice laugh over it."
Doctor McDonald nodded. "I just pray that she never told Clark. It was hard enough to lose Lana like that, but to lose the baby as well. He's been so despondent since the accident. I truly hope," the doctor paused as he heard something hit the ground behind him. Both the doctor and Loretta looked up to see a wild-eyed Martha Kent standing there.
"Oh, Lord. Martha." Loretta ran over and gave Martha a hug. Doctor McDonald got a chair and brought it by the counter, and helped Martha sit down. Martha was getting over her initial shock, and tears were running down her face.
"Lana was pregnant?" Doctor McDonald simply nodded. "For how long?"
"She found out just after Thanksgiving. She was about 5 weeks along at that time. She wanted me to keep quiet about it because she wanted to surprise Clark for Christmas."
"Does anyone other than the two of you know about it?"
"Other than the nurses at my office, no one knows about it from me"
Mary looked ashamed. "I… I told Maisie."
Martha realized with that comment that anyone and everyone who dined at Maisie's between the couple of days that Mary told her and Christmas Eve, and knew about Lana and Clark, knew about the baby.
However, while the news spread like wildfire about Lana's condition, small towns take care of their own. Clark never learned about his wife's condition from anyone who knew.
Finally, after spending a couple of weeks at his parent's house, Clark returned to the house that he and Lana had lived in. He knew he would only stay here long enough to pack everything for sale. Mrs. Lang refused to talk to Clark about the house, but Mr. Lang assured Clark that the house was given to Lana for her and her husband, and the Lang's had no wish to have it back, or any of the proceeds from it.
Martha, during the time Clark had lived with them, had come to the house and gathered all the unopened Christmas gifts, and returned them to the stores. She and Jonathan had removed all the Christmas decorations, so that the house wouldn't sharply remind Clark of that fateful morning a few weeks ago. During that time, she was able to tell Jonathan about what she learned from her trip into town a few days ago.
Clark, slowly, normally, packed up the entire house. The process took several days, in which Clark never stopped to rest or eat. Finally, on the morning of the third day, Clark got to the master bedroom. He packed up the clothing and furniture, and finally went to tear the bed down. As Clark lifted his pillow, he found a green envelope lying under it. Curiously, he opened it.
'So, you're going to be a father…'
Clark's hands started trembling as he read the contents of the card. Tears flowed freely down his face as he read what Lana had written to him.
'My darling, loving, soon-to-be daddy -
I can't begin to describe how happy I was when I found out that we are going to become parents. I knew immediately how much this would mean to you. You are no longer alone. There is a part of you in me, growing and nurturing. And in about thirty weeks or so, he or she will be apart of our lives.
My love, words fail me when I try to relay how filled with joy this makes me. Clark, your dreams are coming true. And honey, so are mine!
With all my love (and baby's love too)…
— Your soon-to-be mommy.'
Clark couldn't speak as he read. He was only able to silently mouth 'No' over and over again. Until finally, unable to take it anymore, he screamed.
Martha and Jonathan pulled up to 'the house' as Clark referred to it. They knew that Clark was going to sell the place. They had a realtor come and do the inspection and handle all the selling, as they knew that Clark was in no mental condition to handle the process. And this way, they were sure Clark would get a fair price for the house, and not just give it away due to the anguish he felt about the place. They knew while they were all saddened by the loss of Lana, that one day Clark would live his life again, and that he may wish to purchase a house. The proceeds from this sale would be there for him in his future. Martha and Jonathan would see to that.
As they got out of the truck, they heard an anguished yell pierce the dull gray day. A few seconds later, they saw the glass in the upper bedroom windows shatter. They ran into the house, calling for Clark. When Clark never answered, the quickly made their way upstairs to the master bedroom. Entering the room, they found Clark on the floor, unconscious. In his hand, they saw the surprise card Lana had left for Clark to find Christmas morning.
"Oh, my poor boy." Martha and Jonathan quickly gathered Clark's unconscious form, and placed him on the bed.
Clark awoke from his mental shutdown and sat up. He looked around, trying to orient himself to his surroundings. The room he was in was dark, even for his vision. He stood up, and found a wall close by. He felt his way around the corners of the room, until he ran into a door. Opening the door, he looked beyond. What he saw frightened him. His mom and dad were lying on operating tables, with examiners standing over them, cutting into them. After pulling out various organs, the examiners looked at each other.
"Well, these subjects appear to be human. Apparently they were just harboring the alien, and not aliens themselves."
One of the attendants looked up at Clark. "Perfect, you're awake. Now we can examine you."
Clark's face drained of color. "What? What have you done to my parents?"
"We did nothing to them, Alien. Some burglar killed them while you were out gallivanting around, trying to play at being a hero. They died because you weren't there to save them."
"No… It can't be."
"I'm afraid it is, Alien."
"Why do you keep calling me an alien?"
"I'm not calling you an alien, I'm calling you Alien. You don't deserve a proper name. You let your precious wife die. She was supposed to be the answer to all your dreams. She was carrying your child. The hope of your entire existence. And you let her die, because you wanted to help a bunch of strangers. Strangers who were supposed to die."
"I… I was just trying to save lives."
"Awww… I was just trying to be a hero…", the attendant said in a whiny voice. "Well, Alien. Haven't you ever heard of natural selection? People who live in stupid places are supposed to die stupid deaths. While you were playing hero to a bunch of people who were supposed to die, you let the most precious things in your existence die. And for what, so a bunch of villagers can die a week later?"
"You didn't even pay attention to them, did you? You sacrificed your wife and child for them, and didn't even follow up on what happened. Yep… Alien is the right name for you. None of the villagers took your saving them as a warning. They assumed it meant they were protected. Guess what happened to them? The whole village was washed away when the ice melted. You sacrificed everything that meant something to you for a bunch of stupid people who threw away the second chance you gave them."
A look of absolute horror washed over Clark.
"And you didn't even learn from that. Couple of months later, you felt you had to be a 'hero'," the attendant said, forming quotation marks with her fingers. "So, back out you go to rescue mountain climbers caught in an avalanche. You have to go be the big blue Boy Scout. While you were out being a 'hero'," she made the quotation marks again, "some dumb schmuck broke into your beloved adopted parents' home, and gunned them down. Once again, Superman costs you your loved ones. Apparently, you didn't learn either, so we are here to learn about your powers. Once we learn about them, we will be able to give them to somebody who can at least learn from their own stupidity."
Clark slumped against the wall in shock and pain, when a gray box was opened, and a sinister green light bathed the room. The group of examiners lifted him onto an operating table behind him, and tied him down. Using scalpels, they began to cut the spandex off his body. The head examiner lifted a device Clark had never seen before.
"This will cut away your breastbone, so we can examine your lungs and heart." He began to find the right place to begin the procedure. "Oh, you may want to brace yourself, Alien. I'm sure this is going to hurt quite a bit."
Clark felt the pointed end of the device cut into his skin, and screamed.
Martha and Jonathan were getting increasingly worried. Clark was tossing and turning while unconscious. They were used to his floating, not this. He seemed to be getting more distressed, and finally screamed while bolting upright in bed.
Martha immediately grabbed her son's hand. "Clark, we're right here, sweetie. You were having a nightmare, nothing more."
Clark's eyes focused and his mind cleared, as he awakened from his nightmare. He hugged his mother tightly. "Oh, mama. What have I done?"
Clark's grief continued to run its course. During the next couple of weeks, he remained a hermit at his parents' house, while they aided in the sale of his house. Finally, realizing how unhealthy his seclusion was, he began to make his way into Smallville for an occasional item or two. However, the looks he got in town were difficult to deal with. The community's sympathies were never disguised, and they all wanted Clark to know that he was still a loved member of the community.
Having spoke with his mother regarding the issue, he went to see Doctor McDonald. The nurse at the front desk gave him a kindly look when he arrived.
"Good afternoon Clark. Doctor McDonald is expecting you. Just head down to left, and his office is on the right."
Clark headed into the doctor's office.
"Hi Clark. Come on in and sit down. And close the door, will you please?"
Clark complied, and then sat down.
"So, Clark, what can I do for you today?"
"Well, Doctor McDonald, I know now that Lana was pregnant." With this comment, the doctor's face paled. "I guess I want to know why you felt it necessary to exclude me from that information?"
"Well, Clark. When this all started, Lana was very excited about the pregnancy, and she wanted to keep it a surprise for Christmas. I certainly could understand that. However, when the accident occurred, I had a decision to make. Do I tell you about the baby, and make you even more desolate, or not tell you, and allow you to recover from your wife's death. I can understand you being mad at me for withholding this information, but as the cause of death was obvious, there was no reason to do an autopsy. I simply wanted to spare you the additional anguish of dealing with both deaths. If you feel that I was wrong in doing so, I apologize. But I believe that additional stress at that time would have been devastating. Plus it would have increased your sense of guilt in a situation where you shouldn't have been feeling guilty."
A confused expression appeared on Clark's face. "What do you mean, feeling guilty?" Clark knew why he was feeling guilty, but wanted to know what the doctor knew.
"Well, Clark, Smallville is, well, small. I know all about it."
Clark became more concerned. "All about what?"
"About Carol Lang blaming you for her daughter's accident. Like you had anything to do with it. I've been through similar things with other people, Clark. I can understand how you can blame yourself just because one person irrationally points the blame to you. I know you were not at fault, and that it was simply an accident. And you must believe that as well."
A slight smile appeared on Clark's face. He understood what the doctor was trying to do, but the doctor didn't know what he did. However, it wouldn't do to let the doctor know there was more to the situation than what he believed. Clark realized that Doctor McDonald was doing what he felt was best for Clark. And Clark was even able to admit that if the situations were reversed, he would do the same. Rising from his chair, he shook the doctor's hand.
"Thank you, Doctor McDonald. I appreciate what you tried, but unfortunately, Lana left a card for me regarding it, and my parents weren't able to find it to keep me from seeing it. I guess I can say I wish I didn't know, but on the same token, I'm glad I do know."
Clark left the doctors office glad that he had dealt with the issue of Doctor McDonald withholding information from him. But again, as he thought inside with the doctor, had the roles been reversed, he probably would have done the same. As Clark headed to his car, he still noticed some of the pained looks he received, and he realized he would continue to receive them. He would just have to deal with them.
After a month of the guarded looks he received, he realized he had had enough. He wasn't sure what he wanted to do at first, but he knew he could no longer live in Smallville. There was simply just too much pain here.
Clark awoke to his shoulder being shaken. He looked up with a confused look on his face.
"Hey son, we've stopped one last time for a meal and bathroom break before heading into Metropolis. Did you want to get out and stretch a bit?" The older bus driver looked upon Clark with a kindly face.
"Yeah, sure. I think some fresh air would be good."
Clark got out of the bus and stretched, walking around the bus depot. The driver had told him they were stopped for an hour, so he decided to walk around away from the depot for a while. While he was wandering around, he heard a song come over the radio. He had heard the song a few times in Smallville, and it always struck a chord within him, so this time he concentrated to listen to the song's lyrics.
*I was so afraid, of spending just one day knowing you were gone I watch the mornin' rise, and my heart just slowly dies, through the break of dawn*
*Waking in the morning, I turn to see your face, staring back at me But as the picture clears, through the drying tears, it was only just a dream*
*And I've been dreaming through the night, praying everything's all right Tryin' to go a night without you, is driving me insane And I've been walkin' through the day, and there's nothing left to say I just can't go on living this way*
*The light begins to fade, and through coming haze, the darkness seems so long Spending every night, tossin' 'til the mornin' light, baby I was oh, so wrong*
*Waking in the morning, I turn to see your face, smiling back at me But as the picture clears, through my runnin' tears, it was only just a dream*
*And I've been dreaming through the night, praying everything's all right Tryin' to go a night without you, is driving me insane And I've been walkin' through the day, and there's nothing left to say I just can't go on living this way*
As the song finished, Clark realized it struck a chord with him. It fit his own feeling about what happened to Lana and their child. Clark mentally reviewed his decision about leaving Smallville. He didn't think that he was running away. He knew that there was nothing left for him there. And everything and everyone reminded him of what he no longer had. No, it was time to make a brand new start of it.
Clark realized that his parents didn't understand his decision to come to Metropolis, but Clark had this feeling that maybe the big city would be the best place for him to deal with his guilt and the death of his family.
Besides, at least he had a shot at a job here. Having met Perry White as Super… no, his other self, he knew that Perry was a man of integrity. And working for the Daily Planet might not be so bad, if he could only get the job. Sure he had a great recommendation from Mr. Williams, the owner of the Smallville Post. That at least got him the interview. Hopefully, he could land an assistant editor position. But he would even take just a plain research position.
Clark wasn't even sure why he was doing this. At first, he simply wanted to get away. He was thinking of just disappearing, and not dealing with anyone. But then he realized that was the coward's way out. No, other people lost loved ones, and even at their own fault, they had to accept their losses and move on. And while there would be no more Superman, Clark Kent owed it to the memory of Lana and his unborn to child to attempt to rebuild some semblance of a life. With that, Clark headed back to the bus, and soon it was on its way, resuming its trip to Metropolis.
… for now