Categories > TV > Smallville > Coming Unglued

Coming Unglued I

by Elizabeth_Goode 3 Reviews

After the events of Asylum, the Kents help Clark deal with what has happened.

Category: Smallville - Rating: G - Genres: Angst - Characters: Clark Kent, Other - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006/06/23 - Updated: 2006/06/23 - 1713 words

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Clark stood right outside the door of the Kent home, unsure whether he wanted to enter or not. If he went straight to the barn, maybe his parents would think that he was still at the Talon, just for a little while. If they thought he had stayed longer, they would be less likely to question him a lot when he did come in. He knew that his mother had meant well by convincing him to go to the Welcome Back party for Lana, but when she had seen him, looked right into his eyes, and turned away, Clark was certain that something inside of him had died. He felt numb, shocked.

"Well," he thought bitterly, "I guess 'shocked' is definitely the word of the day."

At the memory of the surprise attack while attempting to free Lex, his heart began to pound almost painfully in his chest. Why did Kryptonite have to hurt so much? Wasn't it enough that it rendered him weak and powerless? Did it have to make him sick and hurt him as well? He could still hear Lex screaming his name as the two insane meteor freaks dragged his dead weight away. Was Lex calling his name out of concern for what was happening to him, or because an incapacitated Clark could not finish freeing him?

Intense guilt gnawed at Clark until the teenager felt tears beginning to well in his eyes. He blinked them away fiercely, determined that this time, he would not go crying to his parents, he would not give them more to worry about than he already had. He felt guilty for being unable to prevent Lana's injury, for being unable to keep Lex from being taken to that institution in the first place and then failing to rescue him, for causing Pete the constant anxiety of having to keep his secret, for lying to Chloe, for being the cause of his mother's miscarriage and then causing his parents extra grief by running away. He had truly meant it when he had told his mother that he wished that he could forget the last few months of his life.

The decision whether or not to open the door was taken out of his hands when the door opened and he was suddenly face to face with his mother.

"Clark!" Martha Kent had not been expecting to see anyone at the door, and so she had jumped nearly out of her skin. She had been on her way out to the barn to see if Clark was there. Jonathan had gone into town to pick up Chinese carryout for a late dinner. It had been eight o'clock when she sent Clark to the Talon, but her mother's intuition had told her at eight-thirty that something was amiss, and here was her proof. Her tall, handsome, respectful, intelligent son, who made her proud to be his mother daily, was standing outside the door of his own home, tears standing unshed in his eyes. Without another word, Martha wrapped her arms around her son, reaching up to push his head down to her shoulder so that she could stroke the soft, dark hair.

Clark was caught so off of his guard that he had no time to steel himself against the unexpected gentleness. The dam of determination that had kept the tears at bay burst, and he let out a muffled sob.

The sound of her child's distress brought out a fierce protectiveness in Martha Kent. She led her son to the sofa, draped a warm afghan around his shoulders, and sat beside him murmuring soft words of comfort. He leaned his head against her shoulder, his body shaking with the effort of trying to stop the sobs that shook him, and she continued to gently stroke his hair.

"Shh, shh. It's all right, baby. Let it out. You don't have to stop, not until you're ready."

It took him another few minutes to calm down enough to speak. "Mom, I - I - Lana, she ... "

When Clark sat up, Martha switched from stroking his hair to rubbing his back. Her heart ached for Clark. She knew her son, knew that there was no way that he could deserve whatever had happened to upset him so much. She and Jonathan had discussed the events of the last few months, and had agreed that Clark could use a break from Smallville, even if it was only for an extended weekend. Jonathan had been looking into a trip to a lakeside cabin owned by a friend of his from the local feed and seed. The cabin was available to rent by the weekend, and as soon as he and Martha could figure out which weekend would be best, the Kent family was going to take a vacation, even if it was a short one.

"She what, sweetie? What happened?"

Clark looked down, knowing that making contact with his mother's concerned, loving eyes would reduce him to tears again. "I went to the Talon, walked in, saw Lana, she saw me, and - and she didn't say anything or smile ... she looked right at me and turned away." Clark sniffed, still trying to regain his dignity after breaking down on his mother's shoulder. "I told you she didn't want to see me."

Martha carefully hid her anger, lest Clark believe it was directed at him. She like Lana, had always approved of Clark's interest in her. Lana was a very pretty girl, and had always seemed so unspoiled and genuinely friendly. This recent trend in Lana's behavior toward saying and doing hurtful things to Clark seemed out of character, and Martha had hoped that her talk with the girl had been helpful. It seemed now that she had done more harm than good. Inwardly, she seethed at Lana's callous disregard for her son's feelings, but out loud she said only, "I'm so sorry, Clark. I didn't know, would never have guessed this would happen."

Morosely, Clark mumbled, "I should have known better."

Troubled by her son's defeatist attitude, Martha questioned, "Why? How could you have known until you at least tried?"

He sighed miserably. "Everything is wrong. Ever since I came back from Metropolis, I feel like it's all coming unglued."

"What's coming unglued?"

"My world, my life, everything." Clark could tell from his mother's face that she was awaiting further explanation. Again, he sighed. Talking about it was the last thing he wanted to do, but he was too emotionally worn out to protest. "Pete said my secret made him worry a lot, and I think he's mad at me for letting Chloe help me with the research part of freeing Lex. Lex knew my secret, and whether he would have used it against me or not, I was glad. I hate keeping it from him, Mom. It makes me feel like a liar, and I guess I am one. I hate lying, but I'm going to have to do it for the rest of my life, aren't I?"

Martha was saved from having to answer that question by Jonathan's arrival and the smell of Chinese carryout wafting through the house. Jonathan took one look at his wife and son sitting on the sofa and instantly knew that something was wrong. Clark was pale and his eyes were red from crying. Martha's right hand rested on the boy's back in a comforting gesture.

"Clark? Martha? What happened?"

"Later, Jon. We'll talk about all of this after dinner. Clark, when did you eat last?"

He shook his head and shrugged. "Maybe yesterday?"

"Well, you're going to at least have some chicken and rice. Come on, sweetie. Into the kitchen." Martha rose from the sofa, pulling Clark to his feet.

At the Kent family table, Clark poked suspiciously at a piece of General Tso's chicken. Jonathan could not help but laugh. "I'd suggest that you x- ray it, son, but I don't think your x-ray vision can actually tell if it's chicken or ... otherwise."

His father's gentle teasing brought a small, sheepish grin to Clark's face. "Otherwise?"

"If you poke it with your fork and it says, 'meow', then I'd be worried. Go on and eat it, son."

Clark looked slightly mutinous, but managed to get the piece of chicken onto his fork and into his mouth.

Jonathan chuckled. "I assure you, the only poison it contains is the MSG."

"Mmm. Chemicals." Martha took a bite of Clark's chicken from his plate, making a show of how much she was enjoying it.

"Mom, that worked when I was what, three?"

Martha sighed in mock-defeat. "Not even then. The tried and true 'airplane' was the only thing that ever worked, and that was because you got to see your father and I making fools of ourselves running around the kitchen making airplane noises. Even before you were speaking English well enough to communicate with us, you liked to see us act silly."

Clark smiled at the images the memory brought to mind, and set down his fork.

"No, you don't, mister! You're my son, and you haven't eaten since yesterday afternoon. It's now my duty as your mother to insist that you eat at least two more pieces before you're off the hook. Just enough to make me feel like I'm a good mother."

Hesitantly, Clark picked up his fork and dutifully stabbed another piece of chicken.

"Down the hatch, Clark. I know you don't feel hungry, but you need to eat something, all right?" Martha narrowed her eyes in mock-anger, but she was still smiling. "Don't think I won't do it. I will resort to the airplane if you push me."

A real smile, the first in a long while, broke out on Clark's face at the idea of his mother feeding him Chinese chicken while making airplane noises.

Jonathan put on his best 'serious' face and turned to his son. "She'll do it, son. Last winter when I had the flu, she threatened and followed through."

The smile turned to laughter at the thought of his father in such an undignified position, and he felt some of the tension and emotional pain recede. It wasn't gone, but somehow, spending time with his parents could always make things at least a little bit better.
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