AN: An update after a very, very, long time. I finally got it together and planned out the rest of the story.
“I’m not really human.”
Whatever Clark was expecting to hear, Dawn’s statement was not it. Clark paused a minute in shock, before laughing out loud. He couldn’t help it.
“What?” Dawn asked, face still wet.
Clark just continued to laugh until he nearly doubled over. He continued to laugh as Dawn’s face changed from confusion to sullen anger.
“What’s so funny?” Dawn demanded.
Clark’s gaze met the eyes of an increasingly frustrated Dawn. Laughter paused for a moment as Clark struggled to say something. The moment he opened he opened his mouth, more laughter poured unbidden out of his lips. Dawn began to shift.
“Did you already know?” Dawn asked worriedly.
Clark’s laughter was abruptly cut short.
“No, but I’m not entirely surprised.”
“Who are you?” Dawn demanded, taking half a step back.
Clark smiled, “Clark.”
“You’re not Clark,” Dawn took another step backwards, shaking her head.
“Dawn, I would never let something hurt you,” Clark stated, all mirth gone.
“You’re not Clark.”
“Dawn look at me,” Clark eyes held Dawn’s gaze, “I am Clark Kent.”
“You work for Glory don’t you,” Dawn accused.
“Who?” Clark asked confused.
“If you think I’m going with you to that hell bitch-“
“Dawn!” Clark scolded, “Language.”
Startled, Dawn gave Clark a reassessing look.
“You don’t want to bring me to Glory?”
Clark waved at the fallen men, “These guys work for Glory?”
Dawn shook her head as she began to shake. Clark, noticing Dawn’s reaction, instinctively stepped forward and wrapped Dawn in a hug. Dawn embraced Clark’s large expanse of chest and relaxed, enjoying the warmth. Tears began to tumble once again as Dawn began to cry quietly. She felt her emotions grow in a violent crescendo as she began to scream hysterically into Clark’s arms. After several minutes of silence broken only by Dawn’s sobs, Clark spoke.
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
Dawn shook her head messing her hair against Clark’s chest.
Dawn whispered, “I can’t.”
“It’s too dangerous,” Dawn’s face remained buried in Clark’s chest.
“Does this have to be to do with you not really being human?”
Dawn slowly nodded without lifting her head off Clark.
“I can take care of both myself and you, Dawn.”
Dawn shook her head slowly as Clark winced internally. Clark’s frustration was beginning to build, but none of it was Dawn’s fault, not really. Dawn seemed well aware of her dangerous situation and was trying to protect him from harm. It was actually quite endearing. Clark took a deep breath before taking a leap of faith.
Grabbing both of Dawn’s shoulder’s Clark pulled back from Dawn. Startled, Dawn looked up and met Clark’s eyes.
“Dawn do you trust me?”
Dawn’s eyes flickered for a moment before hardening.
“Don’t be scared.”
Dawn’s question was cut short when Clark picked her up princess style before speeding off.
Buffy wondered about how much time Dawn needed to send Clark off. Yes they agreed that it would take a while and it would take time, but this was getting ridiculous. Wasn’t it bad enough that Dawn would be the last one to say goodbye to Clark? Buffy’s mental sigh was strong enough to escape her lips. It had hurt more than expected when she was saying her own goodbyes; even more so when Clark had almost caught on. It would be unfair to expect her sister to handle it better. Buffy winced when she imagined the look on both Dawn’s and Clark’s face at the end of their conversation. Neither of them deserved this. Stupid Hell-Bitch.
Buffy checked her watch. Wow, it had been over half an hour and Dawn was still nowhere in sight. Even in this situation, Buffy was sure Clark would have walked Dawn home before leaving for good. Looking out the door, Buffy looked up and down Rovello Drive. No tall handsome man with a bratty sister in sight. Something felt off and Buffy knew to trust her instincts. She armed herself with a few knives before charging out the door, intent on finding Dawn. Buffy took off at a light run as her worry began to build. Nearing the park, Buffy noticed three fallen figures on the ground. Oh hell no. She ran top speed, ignoring all need for discretion.
Coming to a halt, Buffy noticed the men’s forehead tattoos and felt her anger beginning to simmer. If these men had hurt Dawn... Looking around, there was no sign of big scuffle, Dawn, or Clark. Oh crap, Clark was missing too. It’d be nice to know what happened.
Buffy toyed with a knife when one of the fallen men began to groan softly, a grim smile playing across her lips.
Dawn was an unstable storm of emotion and thought. First, there was her existential crisis of only existing a few months. Then there was the fact that her mother had recently died. On top of the fact that she often felt neglected or sidelined by the people close to her. And Buffy seemed to have everything worth having in life, leaving Dawn with nothing. This was all not considering the fact she was crushing on a guy who harboured feelings for Buffy. The same guy holding her in his arms as the world blurred around her.
He had laughed when she first told him she wasn’t normal. He had laughed. At that point Dawn had worried that Clark had been playing with them the whole time. The next few moments had reassured her that Clark was still Clark; a worried, caring, protective, and attractive Clark. He had instinctively stood up to protect her without knowing why she was in danger. Clark had also asked for trust before whisking her away. Clark’s actions left Dawn feeling secure and safe, a feeling that Dawn enjoyed basking in. Dawn was beginning to develop an understanding of why Clark felt so safe, even if it led to more questions than answers.
When the world suddenly shifted into focus, Dawn found herself in a barn.
“Where are we?”
Clark grinned apprehensively, “Smallville.”
“What?!?” Dawn screeched, her voice raising a few octaves.
Clark grimaced, “Welcome to the Kent Farm.”
“But that, that... that’s...” Dawn stuttered before asking, “How?”
Clark was slightly surprised, obviously expecting a different response. Clark grinned slightly.
“You ran?” Dawn’s pitched raised incredulously.
Clark nodded his head slightly, obviously regretting his decision. There was a pregnant pause while Dawn processed the information.
Dawn smirked slightly, “Cool.”
“Wha-?” Clark choked out.
“I said cool,” Dawn repeated. Dawn enjoyed the fact that she was still able to throw Clark for a loop even though they were at his place and he apparently had freaking superpowers. Clark’s reluctant grin in response was just icing on the cake.
“So why are we here?” Dawn asked, the shaking of her voice not entirely gone.
“I need to get something.”
“Which is?” Dawn’s curiosity had finally overcome her apprehension.
“This,” Clark replied holding up a metallic disk.
Dawn walked up to Clark and candidly swiped the disk out of his hands. With a reluctant sigh, Clark allowed Dawn to study the disk. Dawn spun the disk slowly in her hands, tracing the markings etched around it. The symbols meant absolutely nothing to Dawn, but the smoothness of the metal intrigued her.
“What is it?”
“It something left for me,” Clark replied simply.
“By my biological father.”
Dawn looked up sharply to study Clark’s impassive face. It was rare for Clark to adopt the emotionless mask around her. It happened on occasion when she probed into his past, but it was rare. Dawn shrugged her shoulders; she’d forgotten that Clark was actually adopted.
“What does it do?”
“It’s hard to explain, but I can show you,” Clark offered.
“Go ahead, let’s see what that disk can do,” Dawn replied.
Clark nodded before whisking out of view and returning suddenly holding a heavy coat.
“Here put this on.”
Dawn looked at Clark like he was insane.
“You want me to wear that?”
Clark nodded, “Trust me you’re going to need it.”
“Where are we going?” Dawn narrowed her eyes, “We’re not going to end up at the North Pole are we?”
“Something like that,” Clark grinned.
“Ok,” Dawn replied as Clark reached down to scoop her up, “Wait we are or aren’t we going to the Nort-“
Dawn’s question was cut off as Clark began to run.
The knights had tried to take Dawn, but Clark had luckily stopped them. Buffy was relieved to find out that Dawn was safe along with Clark. But there were a few things that weren’t sitting right with her. How had Clark taken down three armed knights? Yes, Clark seemed to be big, strong, and handsome. But that hardly explained how an unarmed Kansas farmboy took out three trained warriors. Supposedly without much trouble either. Clark was definitely hiding something from all of them, but Buffy doubt he was out to hurt Dawn. Clark has had too many opportunities to hurt Dawn if he was so inclined; Buffy was willing to bet that Clark cared about Dawn and was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But if Clark had Dawn’s best interests at heart, why hadn’t they come back after taking out the knights? Why was there no trace of where they had gone? The unanswered questions were nagging at Buffy and she couldn’t help but recall part of her dream last night. A dark place with two silhouettes on a bed... No! Buffy shook her head. That would never happen. Something wasn’t adding up and Buffy ran home hoping that Clark and Dawn were safe and calling her right now. Entering the house, Buffy was relieved to hear the phone ringing and answered it quickly,
“Thank God Clark I-“
“Buffy, it’s me Xander.”
Buffy heard his tone and felt something tighten in her chest,“Huh? Xander? What’s going on?”
“The bitch got Tara.”
“You got me all excited about snow and seeing Santa, but you brought me to a cave.”
Clark sighed in good natured exasperation as he put Dawn down.
“We’re not there yet.”
“Do you purposefully try with all the cryptic?” Dawn asked.
Clark shifted slightly, “This isn’t something I normally do. Only the people closest to me know.”
Dawn couldn’t help but preen a little at Clark’s statement. If Clark noticed, he didn’t show it. Judging from his discomfort with the whole situation however, he probably hadn’t.
“Does Buffy know?” Dawn couldn’t help but ask.
“No,” Clark gave Dawn a sharp look, “And you can’t tell her.”
Clark’s toned brokered no argument; not that Dawn planned on telling Buffy anyways. It was nice to know something important about Clark that Buffy didn’t. A little petty? Perhaps, but given the cards Dawn had been dealt it was reasonable for a few-months-year old to be a little petty. Looking over at an uncomfortable Clark, Dawn decided to put him out of his misery.
“So are we going to do this or what?”
Visibly steeling his resolve, Clark nodded and indicated for Dawn to follow him. After walking a short distance, they approached what appeared to be a stone pedestal in the middle of a cavern room. Dawn’s eyes were drawn to the many pictures and symbols depicted throughout the cave and finally rested on the pedestal. It felt just as foreign as the metal disk Clark had showed her earlier.
“Something else left by your biological dad?” Dawn inquired only half-jokingly.
“Yeah...” Clark replied, oblivious to Dawn’s attempt at humour.
Dawn walked forward to trace her hands over the pedestal. Her fingers noticed an eerily smooth surface with only the etched markings to disturb it. Her hands continued to rove around the surface of the pedestal as her eyes focused on an obvious indentation. It was obviously meant to interact with the disk Clark had picked up from the barn. Slowly walking towards an unusually still Clark, Dawn lifted Clark’s hand and opened his fingers. She reached for the disk, noticing Clark’s hesitation, she asked gently,
She watched Clark seemingly struggle internally briefly before he gave her a small head shake.
“Together,” Dawn’s heart skipped a beat for a moment before she agreed with a nod.
Taking Clark’s larger hand into hers, Dawn guided Clark hand to place the metal disk into its designated slot. Dawns mind was already struggling with recent events before her world went white.
When the world came back into focus, Clark steadied Dawn automatically. Surprised, Clark found that Dawn was barely disoriented and she gave him a quick smile before taking in their surroundings. Her face radiated her awe and it helped to briefly alleviate the swarm of butterflies fluttering in Clark’s stomach. Clark’s hesitation began to ebb as he watched Dawn’s reaction to the Fortress of Solitude. She was taking everything in stride, in slight awe perhaps, but she was not freaking out. Clark released the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and began to follow Dawn as she started to slowly walk.
Clark continued to watch her as she slowly spun, with her eyes wide. He began to feel excited; his secret was something that he wanted to share, despite his reservations and all the logical reasons not to. As far as he could tell, Dawn was simply trying to wrap her mind around all the information. She seemed to be handling it all in stride, something which only slightly surprised Clark. Dawn’s calm, but awed reaction made sense considering her earlier statement about her own humanity; her intelligence probably helped as well. What didn’t help was her disregard for the floor and her inevitable stumble due to uneven terrain.
Speeding over, Clark caught Dawn before she completely toppled over. Looking down at Dawn, Clark could tell Dawn hadn’t even realized she’d stumbled.
“I’m fast,” Clark smirked.
Dawn slapped him lightly, “I know that already, I mean all this. What are
Dawn’s unintentional accusation made Clark flinch slightly. Dawn must have noticed the reaction because she quickly followed it up with,
“You know what I mean Clark.”
“I’m a man,” Clark began slowly.
Dawn simply nodded in encouragement.
Taking a deep breath, Clark finished rapidly with, “Just not from this galaxy.”
“You’re an alien?!?” Dawn shrieked.
Screeching tones did not require the aid of super-hearing Clark decided.
“I’m from the former planet called Krypton. My parents sent me here as a baby so I’d be safe.”
“Former planet?” Dawn inquired.
Clark’s eyes lowered slightly, “I’m one of the only Kryptonians left in the galaxy.”
“What happened?” Dawn asked softly.
“I was sent to earth right before the planet was destroyed.”
Clark shook his head, “You don’t have done anything to be sorry for.”
“I’m still sorry,” Dawn insisted.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“I’m still going to say I’m sorry,” Dawn explained glibly.
Clark couldn’t help but smile, “Thank you.”
“I should be saying the same thing to you.”
Dawn quirked an eyebrow, “For being there for Buffy and me? For saving my life?”
“You’d do the same for me,” Clark replied attempting to pass it off as nothing.
“Maybe,” Dawn shook her head, “Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t thank you for it.”
“When did you get so smart?” Clark asked, smiling.
Grinning, Dawn replied, “I’ve always been smart.”
“Now you know about me,” Clark began, “I was-“
“So you’re an alien? With super powers?” Dawn interrupted excitedly, “ How cool is that?!?”
Clark winced yet again as Dawn’s voice reached hypersonic frequencies. Finally registering Dawn’s questions, Clark felt his brief good humour disappear.
“I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
It was all too much. Buffy didn’t know how much more she could take. Her mother was gone, the weight of the world was on her shoulders, and the Hell-Bitch had taken Tara’s sanity. After rescuing Willow from her suicidal assault on Glory with Spike’s help, Buffy returned home to find her house still empty. Clark and Dawn had been missing for hours. After sending Spike out for some reconnaissance, Buffy could not help but brood. Something she knew she should have left to Angel, but today was turning out to be a terrible day.
The Knights Who Say Ni had been adamant that Clark and Dawn had escaped unscathed after Clark successfully knocked them into unconsciousness. That happened over four hours ago and neither Clark nor Dawn had yet to make an appearance. Buffy might have assumed that Glory had Dawn if she hadn’t just come back from a confrontation with Glory. Something was going on and Buffy doubted she’d approve of whatever was happening. Maybe they were just getting ice cream? Sure, after knocking some crazy guys out, it made perfect sense to go grab some ice cream. For four hours. Buffy tried hard to forget about her dream last night, but the harder she tried to forget it, the more she remembered it. She felt bile rising in her throat when she heard laughter by the front door.
Rushing to the door, Buffy watched as a both Clark and Dawn walked in through the front door, basking in each other’s presence all for the world to see. They both saw Buffy and froze. Must have been the expression on her face. Huh.
Dawn raised her hand, “Hey Buffy.”
Buffy just glared at the two of them.
“Uh Buffy?” Clark asked slowly, “Everything alright?”
If Buffy hadn’t been trying to be obvious, she’d have called him perceptive.
“I don’t know, what do you think?” she snapped.
Clark raised both his hands, “Look if I did something-“
“Where have you been?” Buffy interrupted, directing the question at Dawn.
Dawn began, “We were getting ice crea-“
Buffy cut her off with a glare, “Don’t lie to me, it’s been four hours.”
Dawn’s eyes went wide before she offered lightly, “Oops?”
“Where. Have. You. Been.”
“I said we went to get ice cream,” Dawn stated starting to get annoyed with Buffy’s attitude.
“So after taking out a bunch of armed knights, Clark just said ‘let’s go eat ice cream’?” Buffy asked sarcastically.
“Oh,” Was all Dawn could manage to say.
“Oh, that’s right. Oh,” Buffy began a stern lecture, “Dawn Marie Summers, you-“
“Buffy,” Clark interrupted as gently as possible, “I know.”
“You know what?”
“I know about Dawn.”
“You know what about Dawn?” Buffy asked perplexed by the direction of the conversation.
Clark sighed, “I know about the Key.”
“Who, huh, wha?”
“After I fought the knights, Dawn felt it would be appropriate to tell me what was happening.”
It took a second to sink in, “She did WHAT?”
“Dawn. Kitchen. Now.” Buffy demanded.
“Buffy don’t be so hard on Dawn-“ Clark began.
Buffy raised a finger, “This is a Summers problem. We will talk later.”
Dawn shrugged her shoulders helplessly and preceded Buffy into the kitchen. Buffy noticed Dawn was much too calm and happy for someone that Buffy was about to give a good lecture to.
As they walked into the kitchen, Buffy briefly signalled for Xander and Anya to head upstairs.
Buffy’s first question came sharply, “What did you tell him.”
“I told him what I am, why the knights want me, and why Glory wants me,” Dawn replied.
“Why?” Buffy asked, deceptively calmly.
Dawn was beginning to feel a little unsure about the whole scenario. She had promised Clark that she would not betray his secret, yet at the same time she never really betrayed Buffy. She had explained the existence of the Key, its origins, and its purpose, but she had not told Clark why she had been formed into Dawn. Buffy’s secret was still safe. Dawn realized she should make this obvious first.
“After getting attacked by the knights, I figured he had a right to kno-“ Dawn began.
“You are so selfish sometimes you know that right?” Buffy asked.
“It’s not just your secret to tell Dawn.”
“Look I know but-“
Buffy waved her hand, “Let me finish. I can’t believe you would do such a thing without talking to me. Now you’ve brought Clark into this whole mess and he doesn’t know what he’s dealing with. And what don’t you understand about secret identity girl? Dawn I need to fly under the radar for a reason. I like Clark I really do, but I just can’t believe you did this.”
Dawn was beginning to feel her anger begin to build. Here it was again, Buffy being all high and mighty, without even listening to what she had to say. If she just listened she’d know Dawn only revealed what was hers to tell. Maybe Clark could infer things, but Dawn doubted it’d be close to the reality. Buffy was just being bitch and Dawn was going to speak her mind.
“You’re just jealous about all the extra time I spent with Clark that you didn’t get.”
“Dawn,” Buffy warned with her tone.
Dawn added, “I know Clark way better than you could ever know him. I’ve been more intimate with Clark than you.”
Buffy seemed to jerk with surprise before opening her mouth in anger.
“Look Buffy, I don’t know what happened or why you’re being such a bit-“
Buffy seemed to suddenly deflate, “Glory got Tara,”
“Sorry huh?” Dawn asked, hoping she had heard wrong.
“The Hell-Bitch got Tara,” Buffy whispered.
Dawn felt her legs buckle. The room span as her eyes began to water. She hadn’t been prepared for this. First mom and now Tara: why did she keep losing people? It wasn’t fair. As soon as things were looking up, the story of her life took a nosedive.
“What happened?” Dawn asked quietly, trying desperately not to cry.
Buffy shook her head slowly, “Let’s go talk to Clark. We need to figure everything out. He might as well find out.”
Dawn nodded numbly and they both made their way into living room just in time to see the outside wall explode inwards.
It was happening. Crazy swirl of emotions? Check. Crazy Hell Goddess? Check. Clark being stupidly heroic? Check. Same argument beforehand? Not really, but it still seemed like the gist of Buffy’s dream was about to come true. Buffy could only watch in horror as her dream unfolded.
Clark walked forward, “You must be Glory. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
Unlike in her dream, when Clark disappeared through the wall, Buffy couldn’t find her voice to scream.
AN: Feedback is greatly appreciated and loved!