Pairings/Characters: Clark/Lex, Jonathan/Martha, Enid Abernathy, Caleb Hawkins
Genres: AU, Drama
Spoilers: For "Arctic"
General Summary: What if Clark never had superpowers?
Chapter Summary: Clark’s life is good, but he misses Lex.
Date Of Completion: March 17, 2009
Date Of Posting: April 8, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1167
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
All chapters can be found here.
CLARK KENT OF THE SMALLVILLE REGISTER
The two trucks pulled up the driveway, the weary drivers parking their vehicles in their customary spots. Father and son climbed out, sooty and bedraggled.
“I’m going right to bed,” Jonathan yawned.
“We saved the Hutchins house.” Clark was grinning through the soot on his face.
Clark checked his father over surreptitiously. He had a clean bill of health but Clark still worried. Jonathan put his arm around his son’s shoulders.
“Get some sleep. Tomorrow will come soon enough.” Jonathan gazed up at the stars.
They drank glasses of water to soothe smoke-scratchy throats, then headed upstairs.
Each of them took a shower, and Clark stumbled to his room, suddenly hit with exhaustion.
Clark sat on his bed, rubbing his face and wincing slightly as moonlight streamed in through the window. He had a headache, but that wasn’t too surprising after fighting a fire.
His mind was racing even though he was tired. He thought back to the lunchtime conversation with his mother.
It was true that he hoped to fall in love again, maybe get married once more, and reclaim the house that he and Dad had built for him and Lana on another part of the farm.
He and Lana had been happy together. It hadn’t been a fairytale marriage after all, but they had loved each other.
It had hurt badly when the news came of Lana’s death in a car accident. It still hurt sometimes, even four years later.
He had been truthful with Mom. His life was a good one, useful and peaceful, punctuated by excitement as a member of the volunteer fire department. His love of writing was satisfied by working part-time for Smallville’s paper, but he was happiest working on the farm.
He stretched out on the bed, starting to relax, the edges of the room beginning to shimmer in the moonlight. He suddenly felt cold and burrowed under the covers as he shivered.
He had taken a minor in journalism but his degree was in agricultural studies. He had visited Metropolis occasionally and enjoyed the excitement of the city, but he was a small town boy at heart. He loved farming and this farm in particular.
Clark drifted off to sleep, a smile on his face.
The next day kept Clark busy, performing the usual chores, working on the bookcase and then heading into Smallville for his meeting.
Clark smiled and greeted the familiar townsfolk, old Mrs. Abernathy saying, “Hello, Clark. How are you?”
“Just fine, thank you, Mrs. Abernathy. And you?”
“Fine, fine. What brings you to town?”
“I have a meeting at The Register.”
“Oh, good! I really enjoy your stories.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
Mrs. Abernathy winked. “Star reporter, eh?”
Clark laughed. “Yes, ma’am.”
After leaving the elderly lady, Clark talked to a few more people until he arrived at the newspaper office.
“Hey, Mr. Hawkins.”
Caleb Hawkins was sitting at his desk, sleeves rolled up and eyeshade on. He was around sixty years old, gray-haired but sharp-eyed. The office was old-fashioned with rolltop desks, gooseneck lamps, and a large ceiling fan, but that befit a newspaper that had been published since before the Civil War in the days of Bleeding Kansas. Caleb Hawkins came from a long line of proud newspapermen, glad to give voice to the issues of the day. His ancestor Jedediah Hawkins had been anti-slavery during the 1850s and had paid a price for it, but that hadn’t stopped him from still publishing his newspaper on the now-ancient printing press. Clark was very proud to be part of such a distinguished newspaper.
“Have a seat.”
“Good job on the Town Council article. It’s not easy to make those things interesting unless there’s a donnybrook.”
“Verbal or otherwise?”
Blue eyes twinkled. “That’s right.” He leaned back, the old leather chair creaking. “Got a report on the fire?”
“I can type it up right here, sir.”
“Good, good.” Caleb picked up a pencil and tapped the old oak desk. “Seems like our old friend Lex is in the news again.”
“Oh?” Clark began writing his report in his notebook.
“Seems like he broke off his latest engagement. What’s that, his third?”
“Yes, he’s been married twice.”
“Funny how our little Smallville can lay claim to such a famous personage.”
“I guess Lex can fit into a lot of places.”
“No doubt.” Clark looked up and Caleb’s eyes were kind. “Better get on that article.”
Clark moved to his desk, booting up his computer. He reviewed his notes in his head while waiting for it to warm up.
He had to push thoughts of Lex out of his mind or he would never be able to write this article.
On his way back to the farm, Clark let his thoughts drift back to Lex.
Lex had been his best friend, and then his lover, but they had eventually drifted apart. Clark had been hurt but thought perhaps it had been for the best, after all. He had never been completely comfortable in Lex’s world and couldn’t expect Lex to live in his world.
Then there had been Lana, happy to work at The Talon, and even had started to show her artwork at Metropolis galleries.
Yes, Lana had been the best choice.
Clark bit his lip, all kinds of pain flowing through him.
A low-level humming sound sprang up, almost a mixture of voices, and he frowned. He’d always heard this buzz, ever since he could remember, occasional but annoying, as if he was hearing something from far away. A shiver went down his spine. He was suddenly cold on a warm spring day, another annoying little oddity he suffered from time-to-time.
He felt a little better at seeing the farm. It really was home.
He drove through the gates under the arch with the lettering that said KENT FARM.
He thought briefly of the night of the meteor shower, and how his parents had found him in a basket on their doorstep, bundled in a red-yellow-and-blue blanket. It was always assumed that he had been left behind in the chaos, or his mother or father had been killed during the shower. No one had ever come forward to claim him, and none of the dead had missing children.
Lex had been caught in that shower, too, and had lost all his hair and gained incredible healing powers.
Oh, Lex, seems Smallville hurt you from the very beginning.
Did I hurt you, too? Is that why you went away?
He sighed as he parked the truck in the yard, shutting off the engine. Climbing out of the truck, he walked to the front porch.
Just as he was about to sit on the swing, a familiar voice asked, “How are you, Clark?”
Astonished, Clark turned to see Lex standing in the driveway.