???? / Drying Rack
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: The first prompt word can be guessed before the end of the drabble.
It took Clark running past the Sunnydale border to come to some semblance of control.Welcome to Sunnydale. Right.
Everything was falling apart. Not even here a full two weeks, but Clark had already revealed part of his extraordinary nature to outsiders. It wasn't like the witness was a traumatized preteen; this time there were three different witnesses and wouldn’t have trouble discerning the unordinary. It was probably one of the worst times his heritage decided to manifest itself.
He needed to figure out damage control. Willow was family after all, maybe if he could convince her to keep things quiet, she would help with her two friends. Checking his watch, Clark decided if he hurried he could make the school just after the final afternoon bell. He may be able to catch his Willow before she left for the afternoon.
Easier thought that done. When Clark finally arrived at the school, he huddled behind some dumpsters at the back of the school. The thought of walking into the school terrified him. What if everyone already knew he was different? Instead of exposing himself to the risk, Clark decided his heritage could both damn him and save him.
Closing his eyes, he practiced what his mother taught him, but instead of focusing for her voice he listened for Willow's. He knew it well enough already. She was in the library talking with her... Book Appreciation Club.
"He ran you say?" the cultured tones of the librarian met Clark's hearing.
"Yeah, you should've seen him run, Giles. One second he's beside us, then poof! He was around the corner." Buffy's apt, but somehow still lacking description made Clark wince for several reasons.
"He was abnormally fast I assume?"
"Not sure G-man," only Xander was capable of that level of casual disrespect. "I was too busy laughing at Snyder."
"He looked terrified," Willow added, in her quiet way, "I think he was worried we'd judge him or freak."
There was a pause, Clark assumed they were in the library and focused his vision to get a better idea of the situation.
Buffy nodded her head at Giles. "I think I might have wigged him out a little. I went all grrr-Buffy on him."
"Well we all know how terrifying grrr-Buffy can be," Giles commented with an amused smile. Clark didn't share his amusement.
"I think it's something that's been bothering him for a long time," Willow voiced her opinion, "He's always been-"
"Wait, it's not the Hellmouth for once?" Xander interjected with a raised hand, "Anyone else confused?"
"Well, I think he's always been a bit of a loner," Willow explained, ignoring Xander for the most part, except to stick her tongue out at him, "And the thing is, he's pretty smart and really really nice."
Clark struggled with his internal emotions. He felt guilty for eavesdropping, but it also concerned his safety and by extension his mother's. Hearing positive things about him, was hardly discouraging either.
"Uh, Willow, that could describe you, you know," Buffy commented, trying not to offend.
The redhead shook her head, "Not just that. He seems much more personable than me, and less shy. He's just... reserved."
"Do you think your cousin is a matter for concern?" Giles asked kindly, though he firmly added afterwards, "Keep in mind, you barely know him."
Willow frowned in deep thought, but Buffy had her own opinion, "I think we should let him be for now. Let live and all that. He seemed just as scared of Willow as me."
"Hey!" the redhead exclaimed, "I can be scary too!"
"Yup, that grrr-Willow is some scary stuff," joked Xander, earning him a second stuck out tongue.
"I'm inclined to agree with that assessment as well. As far as his library visitors go, he's been a model visitor," Giles gave the other three a bit of a glare, "In fact, I would say his manner is far preferable to those of other frequent library guests..."
"Whelp, I know when I'm not wanted," Buffy jumped off what appeared to be her favourite perch on the counter.
"Buffy, you need to give me report for your patrol last night," Giles sighed, clearly exasperated.
Xander and Willow smothered giggles as they gathered their own belongings. Even from the outside of the building, Clark was beginning to recognize a very common pattern between Buffy and Mr. Giles.
"Nope," the popping of the 'p', again, "I know when I'm not wanted."
Giles pinched his nose, "I apologize Buffy. You brighten this dank and dreary library with your very presence.” The mocking in his tone was obvious.
Buffy chose to ignore it, “Well, went on patrol. Met demon. Stabbed it. It did some weird regrow thing. Stabbed and slashed it until it was a pile of gunk.”
Clark’s thoughts on their club continued to change as he listened in to the conversation.
Suddenly concerned, Giles began feverishly flipping through a book in his hands, “Kept regrowing, you say?”
The blonde shrugged her shoulders, “Wasn’t a big deal, sometimes it’d heal, sometimes, it’d just get hurt. I just kept slashing it until it looked like a big green pile of goop."
“Good lord, was it still regenerating?” the librarian asked concerned.
“Not sure. Decided when it was a pile of goop that slashing it wasn’t helping anymore. So pile of green goop met big rock,” Buffy paused as in an afterthought, “It was nasty trying to get the stains out of my pants!”
Giles ran into his office for another thick tome muttering all the while, “That description sounds familiar…”
Xander called after him, “Anything to be worried about G-man?”
As Giles emerged from his office he wore a serious demeanour, “Perhaps,” He offered Buffy a look into a book he had brought out with him, “Does this resemble the demon you fought last night?”
Buffy took a short look, “Yup.”
“Well then, there seems like it will not be bothering us any longer,” Giles gave Buffy a warm smile, “It seems as though you adequately disposed of the K’ole Slaugh Demon.”
Willow piped in, “Nothing to worry about then?”
“None,” Giles offered with the shake of his head, “I would appreciated more detailed reports in the future, Buffy.”
“Huh why?” Buffy asked confused, before defending herself, “It was simple. Went on patrol. Met coleslaw demon. Diced coleslaw demon, before smushing it with a giant rock.”
Giles sighed, “K’ole Slaugh.”
Clark decided it was time to go. He had a lot to think about and maybe share with his mother. Book Appreciation Club indeed.Coleslaw
In the end, Clark was glad he decided to talk to his mother about everything. It made the world less lonely as at least one other person knew what he was going through. It felt good to talk and unsurprisingly, Martha Kent was often offered Clark reasonable suggestions and comfort when he needed it. This time was no exception.
In a stroke of genius, Willow had been invited over for dinner, seeing as her parents were away again. Although it was to be a simple small family dinner, going in, Clark and Martha tried to discuss a plan of attack. Well, more like a plan for diplomacy. Based on what Clark had overheard at the library the previous afternoon, after a full day of avoiding Willow, it’d be good to finally get some things out and in the air.
Clark answered the door with a nervous smile, “Hey Willow, glad you could make it.”
“Hey yourself, thanks for having me,” Willow returned with the same nervous smile. She knew there was more to the meal too.
“Well why don’t you come on in?” Clark asked, gesturing into the house, he frowned when his cousin winced.
“You really shouldn’t invite people into your house,” Willow explained when she noticed his look, “It’s just not safe in Sunnydale to invite people in, especially at night.”
Recalling his run-in with the vampire, Clark decided he needed to brush up on his vampire lore, “I’ll keep that in mind. So, dinner?” He physically waved her in without inviting her this time.
Willow nodded happily and followed him through the foyer into the dining room. His mother had just finished placing her spread and welcomed her niece with a warm smile.
“Hope you brought your appetite, I made plenty.”
Willow made a face, “This is my food face. When I have my food face on, food everywhere should beware!”
Martha gave a small chuckle while Clark shook his head in bemusement. The line was pretty bad.
The redhead’s cheeks blushed to match her hair. The three quickly sat down and began their meal. The conversation was polite, but somewhat terse throughout. The topics ranged from food preparation to the weather in Sunnydale.
Clark, who through the dinner had forgotten their plan for diplomacy, was mentally panicking. His mother kept shooting him meaningful glances, but they did little but add to his anxiety. He didn’t know what to do and based on Willow’s reactions she was expecting either him or his mom to make the first move. This was not going to end well.
“When you are finished, could you two get the dishes? I forgot I was supposed to run an errand for Mr. Smith,” Martha asked, giving Clark a meaningful look. He understood that this was his chance in a lower pressure setting; though honestly, it really didn’t change much, but it might be easier to do this standing.
“I’ll wash, you dry?” Clark offered, standing up.
“Sure, sounds like a good idea,” Willow replied with a small smile. She really was a nice girl.
The two started washing the dishes in silence, filled only with the sounds of the running water. Clark decided if he couldn’t say it, maybe he could demonstrate his differences.
“I think I left a dish on the table. Could you go get it?” Clark asked politely.
Slightly confused, Willow replied, “Ok.”
When Willow made her way back to the sink empty handed, she was even more confused. The drying rack was full and all the dishes were done.
“Wha—how?” she asked.
Clark sighed, “There’s some stuff we need to talk about.”
AN: Reviews and feedback would be greatly appreciated!