Friday, January 14, 2005

Chapter 20: Tug of War

The scene barely registered at the outskirts of Lex’s thoughts, which were almost entirely occupied with his earlier conclusion. The very possibility of Clark being Edge’s son both sickened and angered him. The cosmos must have had one sick sense of humor to give Clark and I such fathers... he thought to himself angrily.

When he first walked out of the Talon, Lex had intended to go home and rethink his friendship with Clark. Despite that intention, however, he found himself walking back to the hospital- driven by the need to see Clark… to confront Clark… to demand the truth even though he was certain it would not be forthcoming.

In some ways, Clark kept as many secrets as Lionel kept, and Lex was sick to death of secrets. As he stalked the hospital hall outside of Clark’s room, Lex tried to plan what he wanted to say.

There had been so many opportunities for Clark to tell him about Edge. At any point, Clark could have begged off helping me find Edge… I could have… Lex angrily realized that just like the radio report this morning, Clark would put up with something that personally disturbed him simply because another person desired it or needed it… and never say a word.

How many times has he risked himself for me? Even when I was being drugged, I knew I could count on him.

Somehow, that made Lex even angrier with Clark, and with the unquestioning self-sacrifice that distinguished his friend. Christ, even Lana’s necklace was made out of polished meteor stones. Clark’s cloak of self-sacrifice was almost alien to Lex, who Lionel had forced to look out for himself from an early age. In fact, it would probably have been completely beyond his understanding if Lex’s mother, in her attempts to overcome Lionel’s influences, had not taken care to discuss and applaud people like Clark, who had the strength to sacrifice themselves without comment or complaint. Thinking back on his late mother, Lex pulled out his wallet and staring at the picture that he had shown Lana this morning.

The more he looked at it, the more he was certain that Clark was suffering from the same cause that eventually took her life- guilt. The Doctor’s might have called it cancer. But, Lex knew, now… more than ever, that she had never worked through her guilt over Julian's death, and it overcame her—from the inside out.

While Lex only had a few suspicions about possible sources of Clark’s guilt, he was certain that it was the root cause of Clark’s condition. Until that was done with, Lex knew that there could be no satisfactory closure on the question of Clark’s relationship with Edge and what it meant for their friendship.

Turning on his heel, Lex decided that he still had too much to think over before he saw Clark again and left the hospital without saying a word to anyone… not knowing that Clark, turned on his side away from his parents, had glumly watched Lex’s angry pacing and misinterpreted Lex’s departure as a decision against him.

Watching Lex from the window, Clark had tried to figure out how he would do what his parents asked. He didn’t trust Jor-El and didn’t know if he believed what Jor-El had told his father: that he could die if he didn’t share at least some of his secrets with someone. But, he couldn’t deny that he was being overwhelmed by what he knew ... and felt more alone than he could ever remember—even now that his recent emersion in Dr. Garner’s tank had returned some of his memories of the long-lonely journey from Krypton.

Even then he had the recorded Jor-El as company—a voice and a presence that he then trusted to ease the journey. Now, he felt not only completely alone with his secret, but threatened with permanent isolation from the family he loved if he told them. The look he had seen in Jonathon’s eyes was more than Clark could bear when Jonathon had turned away from him in the hospital room after he caused the accident that killed their unborn child… and he was certain that, at the time, Jonathon knew his intentions had at least been to protect the family.

Clark couldn’t imagine what it would be like when they found out that he had… As he thought about the prospect of telling them, Clark could feel his heartbeat beginning to pound in his ears and a choking feeling began to rise in his throat. He quickly shifted his thoughts off of his parents, trying to calm his breathing and heart beat before something showed on the monitors that would keep him in the hospital even longer.

Turning his thoughts to the others he might have trusted, he immediately ruled out Pete. Pete might be up to a trip to Smallville just to wish his friend a speedy recovery, but Clark knew that reason his oldest friend hadn’t been “around for him”, even for as much as answering his phone calls, was more related to the fact that he couldn’t handle the secrets he already knew than to the fact that he had moved away from Smallville.

Chloe was marked off of the list fairly quickly after that, it wasn’t that Clark believed that she would put him up on the Wall of wierd; although, he had to admit that it was a possibility, Chloe had no hesitation about keeping Lana on the board long after they became friends and roommates. Instead, Clark was afraid that once she had the tip of the iceberg, she’d keep going… investigating and investigating until she brought out every little detail regardless of the consequences… like when she had promised to stop investigating his adoption, but still emailed Dunlevy. Although Clark never called her on it, he had often wanted to point out that she kept just as many secrets going as he did… and not always her own. But that would be like baiting a hungry lion, something Clark desperately wanted to avoid.

Then, there was Lana. He had wanted to confess all of his secrets to Lana so many times, but held back because he was afraid of looking in her eyes and seeing horror or worse hatred. He wasn’t certain, maybe she could have accepted him when he was only an alien, even though he was connected with the meteor shower that had killed her parents. But, Clark was absolutely certain, remembering the look in her eyes from when he was under the influence of red kryptonite and just recently when she admitted to him from her recovery bed that he was right and she wasn’t safe around him, that Lana could never accept him if she found out what he had done. There was no way that she could ever trust him or feel safe around him knowing that he had killed so many people.

Lex was literally the only companion and possible confidant that Clark had left. But, how can I confide in Lex when he’s so closely tied with and against Lionel. … But he’s all that’s left. As Clark watched him pace the hospital hallway, he hoped that the mistakes Lex had made in his own past would be enough of a basis for Lex to find some compassion toward him… some acceptance.

It was obvious to Clark that Lex was angry as he paced, Clark had seen that stalking pace before… when Lex was trying to react to yet another of his father’s persistent manipulations. When Lex paused to glare at the blind that Clark was looking through, Clark’s heart sunk. He’s mad at me. Just come in, Lex. just please, give me a chance to explain… Clark thought to himself, wanting to call out to Lex as he passed.

When Lex pulled out his wallet and stared at the picture, the sinking feeling returned as he wondered who Lex was staring at: Lionel, maybe? Helen? So many people have lied to him. Is it any wonder that he is the way he is? And he knows that I have been… and has put up with it, for what two years? I don’t know why he does when he knows I am, and I know he knows; but he always just accepts it and just goes on with what he’s doing. But, If I tell him about Metropolis? What then? At least before, my secrets didn’t hurt anyone? Clark ended his internal monologue on that t


Anonymous said...

I am getting more and more amazed about your descriptions of both clark and les feeling. hope you have not abandon the story!

12:38 AM  

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