Categories > TV > Smallville > Despair's Edge

Rising from Ashes

by RedK_addict 0 Reviews

Jonathan and Martha finally confront their son. Lionel prepares an evil scheme. Clark suffers yet another nightmare spawned from his continual depression.

Category: Smallville - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Clark Kent, Lex Luthor, Other - Warnings: [!] [?] - Published: 2006/07/03 - Updated: 2006/07/03 - 2833 words

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Martha climbed the last few steps to the loft and took a good look around. She had never seen the place in such disarray. Papers were scattered every which-way across the desk and the floor. Clark's telescope, the one Jonathan had given him, lay partially assembled and neglected by the window, as if he had been taking it down and gotten bored halfway through. School books lay in a haphazard heap on the old leather sofa. The ashtray on the wooden trunk...

Ashtray?

She planted her hands on her hips and shook her head.

"Clark Jerome Kent!" Now she understood why Pete thought that they should talk to Clark. But her alien son was nowhere to be seen. "What, has he developed camouflaging powers now?" she muttered to herself. She called his name again, louder this time. "My goodness, when I find that boy, he is going to be in so much..."

"Out here, Martha!" she heard her husband calling. She practically stormed down the stairs and out of the barn to where Jonathan was waiting. He glanced at her once and nodded in the direction of the barn she had just exited. There was Clark, sitting on the roof and gazing out into the distant fields with that empty stare that had so recently become the norm for him.

"Don't bother him now, Martha," the farmer whispered. "Whatever Pete said to him did him a world of good. He hasn't come down from the loft except to eat until now."

She gave him a look that said, Well, he hasn't exactly come down yet. "Ok, maybe he's not /down/, but he's /out/," he amended. "And by the looks of it, something Pete said has him thinking."

"Jonathan, he's been smoking in there these past couple weeks!" she whispered back, her motherly worry heightened.

He sighed as he thought of what they should do in light of this new information. "We'll catch him when he comes in for dinner tonight and confront him about it. I'm sure our son has a very good explanation."

"But we've tried to catch him before. He always waits until we've gone to bed before coming into the house, you know that."

Mr. Kent turned and steered his wife toward the house, still whispering. "Then we'll turn off the lights and wait up for him." He paused for a moment, then went on, still keeping his voice low. "Do you remember last year when we came home to find the house trashed, and we watched him rushing around trying to get it clean before we got home?"

She nodded, smiling slightly at the memory. "Those were the most amusing ten seconds of my life."

"Actually, I think it was closer to twenty. And earlier this year, when he took off with my motorcycle, I found him at the school/. And, two weeks ago, he tried to commit suicide /in the loft/, where he knew full well that we would probably find him and try to stop him. There's a part of him that /wants to be found, Martha. We just have to keep trying and keep looking. He'll come to us when he's ready."

Two men walked down the darkened corridor of the LuthorCorp research center. One wore a white lab coat and carried a clipboard. He had a sturdy frame, dark hair, and a goatee, and he didn't seem at all intimidated by the other. "We haven't finished all of the tests, Mr. Luthor," he stated in an official yet urgent tone. "The subject may not survive."

The second man - Lionel Luthor - stroked his well-trimmed beard in a thoughtful gesture. His hair was long and dark, graying slightly at the sides, and his fine suit hinted at wealthy living. "Chad Nash is an extraordinary young man, doctor," he answered, his voice silky smooth, but with the slightest undertone that suggested a predator on the hunt. He never once raised his voice beyond a low, warning monotone. "I didn't hire you for your moral ethics; I hired you to create an interrogator for me. Now, I'll ask you again. Is the truth serum ready for use?"

The man hesitated and considered what might happen to his funding if he gave the wrong answer. "Y-Yes, it is, but I'm currently still working on the antidote..."

"I'm not concerned with a cure," Lionel interrupted. "Prepare the subject for release. I will take care of all his social information, so you needn't worry about that. Your only concern is to inject him with the serum tomorrow morning. Is that clear?"

The scientist sighed and nodded, stopping in front of a metal door at the end of the hall. "Everything will be ready by tomorrow morning, sir," he confirmed reluctantly.

"Good." Lionel smoothed back his long dark hair and smiled. "Very good."

Clark remained on the barn roof until nightfall. Even after the sun had set and the stars appeared in the night sky, he waited until all the lights went off in the little yellow farmhouse before jumping down to the barnyard below. He made his way slowly up the gravel drive, his quiet footsteps resounding loudly in his ears. Creeping up the squeaky porch steps, he hesitated at the door, listening carefully for any noises coming from inside. Hearing nothing, he eased it open and slipped into the kitchen, shutting it softly behind him.

He took a deep breath and looked around the dark house. He knew he could've been in and out of there in no time at all if he used his superspeed, but, for some unexplainable reason, he didn't. He glanced up at the wall clock over the dining room table. It was ten thirty.

Silently, he headed toward the stairs to get a clean set of clothes from his room. He'd seen his parents earlier, out in the yard looking for him, and he'd decided that he'd sleep in the loft tonight and talk to them in the morning.

He had made it up the first couple of stairs when he heard a noise behind him, and then the kitchen light was turned on. He turned around and there they were, standing by the door through which he had just entered and looking very concerned. "Knew I should've used my x-ray vision," he commented, adding a touch of lightness to his voice to assure them he wasn't going to bolt. he came back down to the bottom step and leaned against the banister, waiting.

Jonathan spoke first, keeping his voice low and trying not to sound too upset. "What have you been doing, son? You should have been in hours ago. Heck, you should have been in days ago." Clark nodded and let out the breath he'd been holding. So they didn't already know.

"Clark, we've been very worried about you," Martha insisted.

"I was just doing some thinking, Mom." Stepping down to the floor, he began moving toward her, hesitating halfway. If she smells the smoke on my clothes, she'll find out/, he thought. /But I'll have to tell her eventually, anyway. I can't lie to her. Guess I'll just have to break it to them slowly, then. I wish I'd been quicker getting to my room, though.

He considered going back to the stairs, but his mother had already closed the distance between them and enveloped him in a warm embrace. "Sure, two weeks worth of thinking," she said, burying her face in his chest. He pulled her close, a little awkwardly, and concentrated on not seeming skittish. He heard her breathe in deeply, and he tensed slightly. "Now," she said, at last pulling away, "why don't you go change those clothes?"

Nodding, he gladly complied, turning to continue on up the stairs. The sound of his father's voice stopped him. "And when you get back down here," Jonathan added, "the three of us are going to have a nice long talk." Clark's shoulders sagged when he heard this. So they did already know.

His parent's voices drifted up into Clark's room from downstairs as he settled into his bed. The lights were already off. They'd been off for a good while now; he was used to it. But tonight was, so far, the first peaceful night he'd spent up here in what seemed like forever. Of course, he had been spending nights up here, but it had always been short, waking up at three in the morning so that he was sure to be out of the house before his dad got up.

But not tonight. Tonight he could sleep peacefully. He closed his eyes and listened as his parents continued their conversation in low voices on their way up the stairs.

"I think that was very nicely handled."

It was his mother speaking. She sounded relieved, but tired. He realized then how worried she'd been about him.

"Except for the part where you told him he could stop smoking /when he was ready/," she went on.

"Martha, you heard him. It doesn't affect him. He needs some way of venting his feelings, or he might try to..." Jonathan couldn't bring himself to mention their previous trying ordeal to his wife. "When he's ready, he will stop."

Clark's consciousness began to slip. Just before he dozed off, he heard his mother say, "I know, Jonathan. I know. I just hate to see him like this."

Clark woke up and felt a cold hard surface beneath him. When he tried to sit up, he found his arms and legs were strapped down. Panic started to set in. /Alright, calm down/, he told himself. /You can break out of this, no problem. Just snap right out/. He strained against the wide straps that held him down, just a little at first, and then with all his strength. The bindings held firm.

The radiation hit him just as he became fully aware of his surroundings. He was in a small, dark room, with one door and only a single, dim florescent light hanging from the ceiling over his head. The flat metal surface he lay on was, in fact, a lab table, and his arms were strapped down to it in two places each, his legs in three, and his torso by a cold metal band across his chest, which was too tight and constricted his breathing.

Or was that from meteor radiation? Again, his attention was drawn to the constant dull pain in his chest and legs. Every muscle throbbed, every vein and artery strained to pump blood through his aching body. His heart rate was slow, his breathing labored. He could almost feel the poison moving through his bloodstream. For he knew that's where it must be. This was no external torment like it had always been before; this pain came from within.

The door to his prison opened with a jarring clank. Attempts to turn his head in order to see who had entered were futile. The muscles in his neck simply would not obey. His mind seemed sluggishly slow, fogged up. The alertness he had achieved upon first waking had quickly slipped. Now his awareness was evaporating. Had the sound of the door opening jarred him from sleep? Or had he already been awake? He could no longer tell.

The sound of a young man's voice traveled across the room to his ears, but his brain was slow to register the words that were spoken. "How are we doing today, Clark?" The voice was very familiar, but he just couldn't put a face to it in his hazy state of mind.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was really only a matter of seconds, the face that it belonged to appeared in his line of vision. "Still awake, I see."

It was Lex Luthor.

"Lex," he hissed between teeth clenched together against the pain.

"Yeah, Clark, it's me," Lex replied, nodding his bald head and fixing Clark with a cold stare. His voice quickly went from casual to a mocking taunt that sent shivers down the unfortunate farmboy's aching spine. "You know, you really should have told me sooner. But I guess that doesn't matter anymore, does it?"

"Lex... please... get me out of here," Clark managed to whisper.

His friend didn't seem to hear him. "Ready for another dose, Clark?"

"What... what are you talking about?" He was gasping for air now; the metal band seemed to be getting tighter and tighter around his chest. Each breath burned in his lungs like an unquenchable fire.

A sickly evil smile graced Lex's normally friendly face as he held up a syringe of glowing green liquid. "You're losing your memory, I see," he commented, pulling the plastic guard off the needle. "Then I suppose you don't remember what I did to Lana just before I locked you up in here."

Clark's heartbeat increased slightly and his eyes widened in fear. A heavy weight settled in the pit of his stomach. The thought of something happening to the girl that he loved seemed to give him a temporary burst of strength. But it wasn't enough. "What did you do to her?"

"You don't remember? Come on, you were screaming about it for months!"

"Tell me what you did!"

Lex smiled again and held up the syringe. "Maybe this meteor rock injection will jog your memory. Maybe it'll kill you instead. Or, maybe, it will mercifully do both." He inserted the needle into Clark's arm and injected the poisonous fluid into his bloodstream. "I highly doubt it, though."

The ensuing torture was more intense than anything he had ever experienced in his life. A series of sharp pains in his chest caused his entire body to spasm. His arms and legs jerked against their restraints. A scream was sure to have erupted from his throat had it not already closed up and cut off his breathing. A deadly chill crept over him and plunged his mind into darkness...

Clark's eyes snapped open and he sat bolt upright, breathing heavily. When he felt the mattress give beneath his hands, he relaxed some. It was just another nightmare.

The same nightmare he'd had for six nights straight.

He sighed and rolled over, pulling a pack of cigarettes from under the pillow. After a moment's hesitation, he put them back again. That wasn't what he needed. It wasn't even what he wanted. What was the point?

Besides, his mother had made it explicitly clear that she didn't want him smoking in the house.

Hanging his feet over the edge of the bed, he sat up and put his face in his hands. All of this -- the nightmares, the depression, his friends and family constantly worrying about him -- he hadn't asked for any of it. Well, that's what you get for trying to kill yourself without thinking it through first.

Except that he had thought it through. He had wanted his life to end, simple as that. Beyond that, he hadn't been thinking about anything else. And he certainly hadn't been considering the possibility that he might fail, or what might happen afterwards. Now he was dealing with the consequences.

With a sigh, he got to his feet and went to the window, staring out at the yard directly below him, and the fields beyond stretching out to meet the sky at the horizon. "Sure is a long way to the edge of the world," he muttered.

"It sure is." He fairly jumped out of his skin when he heard his father's voice behind him. Spinning around, he saw Jonathan standing in the doorway. "Sorry, son, I didn't mean to scare you. Your mother and I heard you yelling. I came to see if you were all right."

Clark sighed and went back to the bed, sitting down heavily on the edge. "It was just a nightmare."

"The same one?"

He nodded. "This wasn't the first time you've heard me." It wasn't a question.

"Every night for the past week." Jonathan sat next to his son on the bed. "We were afraid you'd run off if we ever came in, so we didn't." He paused to study the boy beside him. "What's on your mind, son?"

Clark took a deep breath and waited for the words to come to him. When they did, he spoke slowly. "I knew it would take me a while to recover," he said. "But... I don't know. I guess I just didn't think it would take this long. It's been two weeks, and I don't feel like I've gotten /anywhere/. I'm stuck in a rut, and I can't get out." Drawing a stuttering breath, he turned at last and looked his father straight in the eye. "I don't think I can do this on my own anymore."

Placing a hand on Clark's shoulder, Jonathan nodded. "You're not alone, Clark. We'll help you get through this together, as a family. Things are going to get better."

"I hope so, Dad. I sure hope so."
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