Clark drank his cooling coffee and did a horrible job of acting interested in Chloe’s conversation. The bitter taste of coffee coated his tongue and he licked his lips to get rid of the taste.
He nodded his head at whatever Chloe said and stared out the bay windows in his parent’s dinning room. The sun was dawning, and like always, he felt that little pull inside of himself that begged him to chase after it.
He usually felt invincible on sunny days when the sun beat down on him…but then, these days, nothing, not even the sun had any lasting affect on him.
It’d been three days since Clark returned to Smallville and he was finding it impossible to adjust back to the way things were. In fact, Clark wondered if there would ever come a time when he felt like his old self again.
“Clark?” he heard Chloe say.
“Hmm,” he replied as he still gazed out the window.
“Do you ever get the feeling you’re talking and no one is listening?”
“Hmm, what was that, Chloe?” he asked distractedly as he looked into Chloe’s bright blue eyes.
He heard a muttered, “never mind,” and saw a fake smile crawl slowly across Chloe’s thin lips. It was the smile she always gave him when he hurt her feelings.
He gave her an equally fake, but undeniably apologetic smile before he shook his head and looked pointedly at the coffee cup in front of him.
“I’m not the best of company right now, Chloe,” he said as he run his finger around the rim of his cup, “too much on my mind.”
He felt her warm hand circle around his wrist and she squeezed gently. “You know you can talk to me, right Clark?”
He nodded his head and tried, but failed to put into words what he was feeling. She wouldn’t understand what he was going through and he was certain she would never forgive him if he confessed to her half the things he’d done recently.
He turned away from her compassionate eyes and stared out the window at the slowly darkening sky. His thoughts quickly went back to what he’d been thinking about a few minutes before—Xander. Clark rubbed his hands over his eyes, but it didn’t matter, no matter how many times he did it, Clark always saw Xander staring right back at him.
Overwhelming guilt coursed through Clark, and he held back a whimper by biting his lower lip hard.
He’d let his father drag him away from Xander. He left Xander to take all the blame.
‘And what am I doing days later,’ he thought, ‘I’m pretending to listen to Chloe tell me about how pissed off Lana is with me.’
Clark didn’t care about Lana, Hell, Clark didn’t even deserve Lana.
He glanced back at Chloe and saw the love and compassionate clearly written all over her face. Clark didn’t deserve to have Chloe’s comfort either.
He pulled his wrist away and tried not to notice the hurt in Chloe’s eyes when he did.
“Listen, Chloe, I…” he paused and stood up from the table to get some distance from her, “I think you should leave.”
Clark looked away from her soft pleading eyes and shook his head.
“Just leave, Chloe.”
He could tell she was trying desperately to get him to look at her, but he kept his head down. His eyes focused on a large chip in the hardwood flooring. His mom told him it was a result of a cranky, baby alien that wanted a second helping of apple pie. She’d said it was the one and only time he’d ever stomped his feet in protest. He felt so distant from the child he once was, that Clark briefly wondered if every memory before his time as Kal, was merely a distance dream.
He could feel Chloe’s eyes burning into him, and with his amazing hearing, Clark heard her say something that no human would ever hear, something said so quietly that he was certain she though she was only saying inside her mind.
“Please, Clark, please look at me.”
But Clark couldn’t and wouldn’t look up. The silence in the room grew more and more deafening by the second. After a few devastatingly uncomfortable moments, he heard Chloe jump up and her chair scratched hard against the hardwood floor.
“Fine, Clark,” she snapped, “b-but…”
Clark could hear the hitch in Chloe’s voice and knew she was about to break down. It seemed Chloe was aware of it too; because she snapped her jaw shut and violently grabbed her coat and jacket off the back of her chair. The rough movement caused the chair to topple over and they both silently watched as it crashed to the floor.
He heard Chloe’s deep breathing and glanced at her as she slowly closed her eye. Her heartbeat began to slow down and when she opened her eyes she looked calm and collective. It only took a second look to tell the calmness was hairline thin.
The huge blindly smile she flashed him was as painful to witness and he could tell it was for her to produce.
“Okay, Clark,” She said with that fake bubble voice she used whenever she was about to break, “J-Just, you know, call me, okay? I’m here whenever you need to talk.”
He nodded his head and watched her all but run out the door.
Clark stood in his loft and listened to the sound of the wind rustle against the corn stalks.
He could see a million stars up above, but none of them looked like home-- nowhere, not even the loft, felt like home anymore. Kal was still at the edge of his mind and it was hard for him to think of anything else but the feel of blood on his hands and the sense of power he felt when he squeezed someone’s neck just a little too tight. He shook his head and gripped his hands tightly together.
“I’m just Clark Kent, I’m not Kal,” he hissed to the stars.
The image of Xander’s eyes burning with hatred and pain as Kal claimed him, came rushing back, and he heard the word “Monster,” in Xander’s phantom voice whisper in his ear. Clark bowed his head and found that single word impossible to disagree with.
A moment later, Clark heard a noise in the distance that made him look up and grab onto the barn window. He felt the wood splinter between his fingers and fall helplessly by his feet.
The sound was getting closer and he closed his eyes to concentrate on the noise. The sound of tires rolling and sleek metal zooming effortlessly down the road made his heart leap.
He knew it couldn’t be who he though it was, but the slim possibility, the hope and longing of who it could be, caused Clark to turn and ran down the stairs of the loft at super speed.
The sight of a grey Porsche that came ripping into his driveway almost made him sob out loud.
It couldn’t be. It was impossible, only in dreams did things like this happen. But moments later, the sports car stopped an inch away from him. And he started in wide wonder as a young bald headed man climbed out of the car.
Clark blinded the tears out of his eyes as he took a step forward. Before Clark was even aware of what he was doing, he was holding Lex in his arms and sobbing into his neck.
“Clark,” Lex said his name in that way no else did. It sounded like a sigh at the end of a pray and Clark soaked it up and held on for dear life.
And for a brief second, for one blessed moment, Clark felt like he was finally home.
Lex watched as Clark paced back and forth in front of him and slowly drank the bourbon in his hand. It felt nice to be back in his old castle and he watched the flames from the fire illumine Clark’s beautiful face.
His friend’s beauty seemed to always have the ability to hypnotize Lex and he drunk it all in; as well as the memories that he and Clark shared in this very office over the years.
It was good to be home, and with Clark so close by Lex felt even farther away from that island and it’s cursed hot nights.
He watched Clark bite into his lower lip savagely and awaited the drama filled tale the boy was about to spew. Even though Lex usually hated these long talks about teenage drama and Lana filled dreams, Lex was eagerly awaiting Clark’s flow of emotional turmoil. Anything, and everything that could make Lex feel like his life was back to normal was a blessing in his eyes.
Lex watched Clark open and close his mouth a few times as if the boy was trying desperately to remember the English language. He smiled at Clark’s rumpled appearance and thanked god his own teen years were well past him. Heartache was something no young man ever dealt with well.
“How is Lana?” Lex asked.
The question usually helped Clark get rolling, but this time, Clark looked like he didn’t even recognize the name.
Lex paused and began to wonder if maybe this wasn’t one of there usual I love Lana, Lana doesn’t love me talks.
“Clark,” Lex asked as he leaned forward and placed his glass on the coffee table, “did something happen to Chloe or your parents?”
Clark shook his head and ran his fingers nervously through his fingers.
“No, no, nothing like that,” Clark stopped pacing and walked over to sit next to him. He placed his head in his hand and turned to look into Lex’s eyes. The look in the young boy’s eyes were deeply rooted in pain and regret, a look Lex rarely saw in his best friend’s eyes.
Lex leaned down and placed his hand on Clark’s leg.
“Hey,” he said softly, “What is it, Clark?”
Clark’s eyes were filling with tears and Lex ran his hand gently up and down Clark’s thigh.
“Tell me?” he whispered
“Lex,” Clark voice was soft and fragile, “I need you’re help.”
Lex listened to Clark as he told him a friend of his, one that Lex had never met before, was in trouble.
“What kind of trouble?” Lex asked as he leaned up and crossed his arms. Lex was use to these kinds of conversations with Clark; they came up almost as much as ‘The Lana Conversation.’
He should have guessed if Clark wasn’t upset about Lana, it always had something to do with saving lives.
“You’re father,” Clark stated as he stared up at the ceiling, “He has my friend locked up in LuthorCorp.”
Lex watched as Clark’s Adams apple bobbed up and down as he appeared to cough down a few sobs. .
Lex blinked a few times as he tried to wrap his head around what he’d just said, but more importantly how intensely it seemed to be affecting Clark.
Clark usually felt passionate about the people he played the hero to, but it never hit the boy this hard before. It seemed this new friend of Clark’s meant a lot to him.
Lex asked the obvious question “Is your friend affected by the meteors?”
Clark shook his head and brush tears away from his eyes, “no, he just a…” he paused and looked like he was trying to find the right words, “…a friend.”
Lex tilted his head and began to think. Why would his father want Clark’s friend, did he know something about Clark? Lex’s mind went into over drive and he kept his eyes focused on Clark.
“Why do you think Lionel has him?” Lex said as he grabbed his glass and took a gulp of the strong alcohol.
Clark looked nervous and Lex awaited the inevitability badly told lie.
Clark glanced around the room before he sighed and shook his head, “You probably already know that your father’s office was broken into a few days ago…Well I…”
Before Clark could say anything more, Lex chocked on the bourbon he’d just taken a sip of and was coughing to get it down. His eyes widened as he digested what Clark said.
It couldn’t be---The break in a few days ago—the young man in the elevator—the strange boy that Lex couldn’t stop thinking about.
Lex took a deep breath and asked, “You’re friend’s name, is it Xander?”
Lex almost jumped out of skin at the speed in which Clark leaped up off the couch and got into his face.
“You know about Xander?!” Clark demanded, Lex opened his mouth to explain, but Clark shook his head quickly and waved his hand to stop him. “No, wait you can get into that later—Just tell me, Lex, is Xander okay?!”
Xander sniffed the air in disgust as he stared up at the huge welcome sign in front of him.
The air reeked of manure, fresh cut grass and clean air; a smell Xander knew well and hated even more. It was the scent that came off the monster after long hours of fucking and would coat Xander’s body even after a long scrub in the shower.
The welcome sign read “Smallville.” And the hyena in Xander hissed out the name into the gentle breeze passing by.
Smallville, the small town the monster, Kal once told Xander he came from.
The hyena hissed as Xander narrowed his eyes past the sign and gazed at the corn field behind it.
“I fucking hate corn fields,” he muttered to himself and shivered as he recalled an old horror movie that scared the shit out of him when he was a kid. The hyena laughed inside his head and he told it to shut up.
He picked up his backpack and begun to walk down the road that lead to town.
‘Kal might not be here,’ the hyena hissed into Xander’s ear.
Xander nodded his head at the voice inside him.
“Yeah, but we couldn’t find him in the city. He might have come home.”
The hyena began to cackle and a wicked grin curled Xander’s lips.
‘Then we should make sure we give him a welcome home party he’ll never forgot,’ the hyena hissed.
Xander laughed out loud as he stared up at the blinding sun. It was hot in Smallville, but nothing compared to the scorching hellmouth heat.