Categories > TV > Smallville > Despair's Edge

The Experiment

by RedK_addict 1 review

Lana can't decide whether she believes Clark. When she tests his new excuse on him, she gets a very unpleasant surprise: He was telling the truth.

Category: Smallville - Rating: PG - Genres: Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Clark Kent, Other - Warnings: [!] [?] - Published: 2006-06-15 - Updated: 2006-06-15 - 2253 words

Sitting behind the counter at the Talon the next day, Lana fingered the small piece of red rock in her palm. It had been no easy job to acquire it. She had searched her room forever to find her class ring, and then had worked for hours at it, trying to pry the stone out. And finally, here she was, thinking that maybe this wasn't the best idea after all.

She glanced up and saw Clark threading his way between tables, chairs, and the few early customers. He gave her a small smile of greeting as he reached the counter, which she returned with a smile of her own. "Hey, Lana," he said.

Lana slipped the rock into her pocket and smiled. "Hey, Clark," she said. "Oh, would you hold on a minute?" She turned to a waitress that was filling someone's order. "Hey, Angie, I'll be in the back for a while. Could you cover for me?" Angie nodded and headed off with the customer's order. Clark gave Lana a confused look. Lana just smiled nervously and motioned for him to follow her.

Clark had no idea what Lana was up to, but he followed her into the back room anyway. Something about her mysterious air intrigued him, but his mind was screaming for him to be careful. "So, Lana," he said after she closed the door behind them. "What was so urgent that you had to see me right away?"

Lana shrugged uncomfortably and slipped her hands into her jean pockets. "I was thinking about what you said yesterday," she began. Clark looked uncomfortable himself. Lana went on before she lost her nerve. "Part of me wanted to believe you, but the rest of me still wasn't so sure. So I was wondering if..."

"You want proof, don't you?" he asked warily. He knew all too well where this was going.

"Well, I guess you could call it that," she replied, grimacing guiltily. Part of her felt wrong about doing this, not to mention a little scared, especially if he was telling the truth. "It's not that I don't believe you, Clark," she said quickly. "It's just... I guess I'm a little skeptical of the whole idea."

Clark sighed and avoided her eyes for a moment. "I'm not so sure what kind of proof I can give you, Lana," he said unconvincingly. He had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He could pretty clearly guess what she was up to, and he didn't like it at all.

Lana's eyes dropped to the floor. "Clark, don't be mad," she whispered. "Please, just understand, this is a lot to get my head around. I just need to see it for myself, to see that it's more than just an excuse this time." She slipped a slender hand out of her jean pocket and held the red stone in front of her, bringing her eyes slowly back up to meet his.

Clark winced when he saw the all too familiar red rock in Lana's hand. He shook his head and took an involuntary step backwards, the wall at his back looming up behind him. "Lan-Lana, no," he said, stumbling over words in his panic. "Do-don't do this!"

Lana took two steps toward him, holding the stone out. "Clark, I have to do this," she said quietly, as much for her own benefit as for his. "I need to know that you're telling the truth this time." Clark glanced almost fearfully at the fragment of meteor again, watching as it began to radiate a faint glow the closer it came to him.

Squeezing her eyes shut for a miniscule moment as her steps faltered, Lana continued moving forward until she was standing right in front of him. Clark, who was backed into a corner, suddenly felt claustrophobic for the first time in his life. Between the wall at his back and the incredibly close proximity of the girl closing in, he could hardly breathe.

"L-Lana," he gasped out, his breath coming in short ragged bursts.

She didn't stop. Even if he could steady his breathing long enough to say something, he got the ominous feeling she couldn't be dissuaded. She stretched her hand toward him, watching him flinch away. But there was nowhere for him to go. She had him backed into a corner. For a slight moment it was amusing, the thought of the seemingly invincible Clark Kent cornered by a girl with a rock. But at the same time she felt bad about doing it. Nevertheless, something inside her burned to know the truth. That burning sensation was what drove her hand forward. She watched him clench his eyes shut as the stone neared him.

A tingling feeling began to spread over his entire body, beginning at his chest. He had no idea where she had put the meteor rock, but he knew that he had come in contact with it. He could feel himself drowning in the change that was coming over him. He fought desperately to stop it, but he could already feel his resolve, his morals, his control slipping away at an alarming rate. His eyes snapped open as he struggled to maintain what was left of himself. Lana backed away, startled. She wasn't sure what to expect, but she knew that the pain and struggle on Clark's face couldn't be a good sign. And then she had another feeling added to her mixed emotions: regret.

Ultimately Clark lost the battle. He knew all along he would, but for Lana's sake he had to put up a fight, no matter how pathetic his attempt was. "No," he whispered, his voice strained. "No. Lana..." And then it seemed like he was shoved to the back of his mind, where he could do nothing but watch the horrible things that his alternate personality would do.

Lana took a couple more steps back when Clark's eyes flashed an eerie red color. She heard him call her name in a desperate, strangled whisper before his entire expression changed from painful struggle to malicious intent. She jumped slightly when his gaze was abruptly directed toward her with a half-evil gleam in his eyes. "C-Clark?" she stammered. "Clark, what's going on?"

A rather unpleasant smile graced Clark's usually kind and gentle face. "What do you mean, Lana?" he rasped, his voice much deeper than she was accustomed to. It almost made her jump again when she heard it.

Lana backed up against the opposite wall. "Clark, you're scaring me," she whispered, her breath quickening. What had happened to the mild farmboy that had moments before stood right in front of her, begging her not to go through with her test of his truthfullness? It had taken mere seconds for a complete transformation to take place in a young man she thought she had known. All skepticism was was blown completely away by the sight.

"What's to be scared of, Lana?" his deep voice rumbled out again, mocking her. He took a step toward her and she instinctively tried to back up farther, finding that her back was already pressed hard against the wall. She desperately wished she could just slip right through the wall at that moment as the vile grin on his face grew slightly wider and, if possible, more unpleasant at the sight of her panicked state.

She could feel her breathing quicken as he continued his advance. A scream rose up in her throat and threatened to let itself out, but she kept her mouth shut. If she screamed now, someone would hear and come running. Clark would get in trouble for something that was not his fault. And nobody but her knew that he was being affected by a red meteor rock. No, she had to keep him here, where she at least had a chance of getting that red meteor away from him.

And so she closed her eyes, kept quiet, and let him get close to her, however uncomfortable it made her, however much it made her tremble with fear. A quick shiver went up her spine when she felt his hand come in contact with her arm. She flinched slightly without quite knowing why, opening her eyes to see his face right next to hers. She jumped a little bit and inhaled sharply. "You don't need to be afraid," he purred in her ear, his breath sending tingles down the back of her neck. "It's just me, Clark Kent, remember?"

Without warning, his lips pressed to hers in an aggressive kiss. Only fear of what he might do kept her from slapping him in the face right then and there. She was scared, and he knew it, but if this was an attempt at reassuring her, it wasn't working very well. Her mind worked frantically, trying to come up with a way to get her out of the mess she had created for herself. Her mind just barely registered the fact that this kiss was not like any other kiss he had given her. It was... different, somehow, more aggressive, more claiming, more...

More passionate. She caught herself melting into it, deepening it, encouraging him to keep kissing her. Stop it! her mind seemed to scream. You're not helping! This isn't him! Get that rock away from him!

She broke away suddenly, gasping for breath. Clark grinned down at her and pulled her closer. "You're trembling," he whispered, wrapping his arms around her waist. "Don't tell me you're still scared." An idea suddenly struck her and she gazed up into the deep green mirrors that were his eyes, shaking her head and willing the tremors of fear to stop. Tentatively, she pulled his head down to hers for another kiss.

He gladly obliged, claiming her mouth once more and pressing her back against the wall. She unconsciously grabbed at his arms as she felt his hands slip behind her and make their way up to her shoulder blades. When she realized what she was doing, she pulled her hands away, moving them to his chest after a moment's hesitation. "Oh, now that's better." His voice was low and raspy, and filled with a sick pleasure that made her skin crawl. She tried to ignore it as she slowly moved her hand toward his shirt pocket, where she had slipped the red meteor fragment.

He must have guessed by then where she had put the rock, and that she was trying to get it away from him, because before she knew it, he had siezed her wrist in one of his hands and was staring down at her disapprovingly. "Let go of me! What are you doing?" She tried to yank her hand away, but his firm grasp only tightened around her arm.

"Wouldn't want you spoiling the fun, now would we?" he hissed. At that moment, much to Lana's relief, the door swung open and Angie appeared looking slightly flustered.

"Lana, we ran out of mugs up at the counter. Do you know if we..." She stopped short when she saw the scene in front of her. Clark had Lana pushed up against the wall, her wrist in one hand, his other hand behind her back. She stood gaping at the two, morning coffee rush forgotten for the moment.

"It-it's all right, Angie," Lana stuttered, not sure exactly why she was still defending him. "Clark was... just leaving. Weren't you?"

He gave her a chilling smile in response as he released his grip on her arm and took a few steps back. With one last glance and a shrug, he turned and left.

Lana let out her breath in a relieved moan and slipped to a sitting position on the floor, closing her eyes and laying her head back against the wall. Angie knelt down next to her, face etched with concern. "Lana, are you okay?" she asked, keeping her voice low. "He didn't hurt you, did he?"

The young manager shook her head and blinked her eyes open, trying to calm her breath. "No... no, I'm just... just a little shaken up, that's all." Angie nodded uncertainly and rose to her feet with the intention of tracking down the extra mugs. Lana stayed on the floor for a moment longer, thinking. Well, Clark had told the truth this time, she knew that now. He was somone completely different around those meteor rocks. She gazed at her wrist, which was now showing a deep purple bruise on it, and wondered whether the green rocks affected him. Only one /safe way to find out/, she thought.

Clark stepped out of the Talon and onto the sidewalk on Main Street. "She wasn't any fun anyway," he said to no one in particular, shrugging as he made his way down the street. Suddenly, his foot caught on the curb, and, next thing he knew, he was flat on his face in the gutter. The fragment of red meteor fell from his shirt pocket and bounced along the ground, slipping between the bars of a metal sewer grate.

As he picked himself up off the ground, an expression of horror and disgust flashed across his face. "What the... What have I done?" he whispered. "What have I... Lana. Lana, oh my... What have I done?" In a moment of pure panic, he bolted, running as fast as his superspeed would carry him. He didn't care where he ended up, he just had to get away from town.

Away from her.
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