Monday, April 03, 2006

This Ordinary World, Chapter 2


General AU fic
No particular season
Rating: G
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC comics, not to me

“I really don’t like this, Martha.”

Clark sat between his parents in their old red truck, happily playing with a fire engine his mom had brought along. His mom’s hand stroked his hair, and he wiggled with pure joy. Everything was right in his world again. He was going home.

“I don’t like it either,” his mom said in her soft voice. “But they didn’t give us a lot of choice, did they?”

“That bracelet…” His dad broke off, drumming his fingers on the truck’s steering wheel. “They’re not allowing him to be who he really is, Martha. We shouldn’t go along with this. It’s wrong.”

“We don’t have any choice, Jonathan. If we don’t do this, and he hurts another child, they might take him away from us entirely. And then… you know what they’d find out.”

“The doctor at Belle Reve already knows,” Jonathan said darkly.

“He’s promised to keep our secret. But if anyone else finds out…”

Jonathan took his eyes off the road for a moment, glancing down at the dark band of metal on his son’s wrist.“I suppose you’re right,” he said at last. “We really don’t have any choice. And at least he’ll be normal. We can be grateful for that, at least.”

Clark looked up quickly, recognizing the word. Normal, he was pretty sure, meant the same as everybody else, and that was a good thing. If he was normal, Pete wouldn’t look at him with fear in his eyes. His parents would never put him back in the dark place. Gangs of boys wouldn’t surround him, trying to beat him up because he was different. He’d be precisely the same as everyone else. The thought made him even happier.

Normal was exactly what he wanted to be.

*****

Years passed, and Clark grew into a handsome young man, just as tall as his adoptive father. The huge green eyes remained unchanged, as did the unruly, dark brown hair, but his angular face matured into chiseled, masculine lines, so extraordinarily handsome that Martha felt a pang in her heart every time she looked at her son. Clark was a kind, intelligent, and decent boy, so much so that she all but overflowed with pride and love for him.

The meteor rock bracelet remained firmly on his wrist.

In Clark’s freshman year of high school, he fell in love with the girl next door, a lovely, dark-haired girl named Lana Lang, and the two of them became inseparable. That same year, a young man named Lex Luthor, the heir to the hated Luthorcorp empire, arrived in Smallville, only to drive his silver-blue Porsche off a bridge a week later and drown. The general consensus in town was that the Porsche was a greater loss by far than the man, but six months later the Luthorcorp fertilizer plant in Smallville closed down, throwing a large percentage of the local labor force out of work.

Strange things happened in Smallville, as teenagers mutated, developing bizarre powers and killing the townsfolk. Martha read about the tragedies in the paper and shook her head sadly with Jonathan over the strange stories, but there wasn’t much the Kents could do to prevent these tragedies from occurring. One of Clark’s best friends, a girl named Chloe Sullivan, died in their freshman year of high school, killed by a young man who’d been mutated by the meteor rocks. Chloe’s body was found frozen, much to Clark’s grief. Clark’s other best friend, Pete Ross, died not too much later, killed by a mysterious illness caused by the pollen of a genetically engineered flower called Nicodemus.

Jonathan Kent died of the same illness. Martha and Clark grieved for their losses, but they consoled each other and threw themselves into the backbreaking work of keeping the farm solvent. The Kent land had been in Jonathan’s family for three generations, and Martha had no intention of letting it pass out of the family’s hands before Clark had a chance to inherit.

Clark played football in high school, but he didn’t excel, and the athletic scholarship he’d hoped for from Metropolis University never materialized. Instead he attended Central Kansas A&M, which allowed him to remain at home and help his mother keep the farm running. He graduated at twenty-two with a degree in agriculture. That same year, he married Lana, and the two of them set up housekeeping at the Kent farm.

Martha watched her son’s achievements with the deep pride of a mother. Martha and Clark had always been exceptionally close, and she couldn’t have loved him more if she’d borne him herself. Although Clark had come to her from another world, the spaceship he had arrived in was still locked quietly in the storm cellar, and no one could possibly guess that Clark was anything other than human.

Their lives hadn’t been easy, but she knew everything could have been much more complicated and difficult. She sometimes looked at the bracelet adorning Clark’s wrist and thought about what he might have been like if not for the intervention of the kind doctor at Belle Reve Sanitarium. The thought of his terrifyingly inhuman strength, the possibility that he could have badly hurt someone, perhaps even killed someone, frightened her, on those infrequent occasions she allowed herself to think of it.

But she was happy with the way things had turned out for Clark, and rarely let herself think of what his true abilities might have been, and of the trouble they might have caused. Clark had matured into a contented, decent man with a good life, and that was more than enough for her. His life could have been impossibly complex—he could even have wound up in a lab somewhere, or taken away from her by the authorities forever-- but instead he was normal. Perfectly normal.

And Martha was incredibly grateful for the choice she and Jonathan had made so long ago, the choice that let Clark live a normal life. As the years passed, she pushed the fact that Clark wasn't truly human to a distant corner of her consciousness, and refused to let herself think of Clark as anything other than the solid, unremarkable farmer and husband he'd become.

She simply couldn’t imagine Clark any other way.

-The End-

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that's about the most horrifying thing I've ever read. Kurt Vonnegut would have a heart attack. (And of course, it will all end a few years later when the entire world is destroyed by something only Superman could have stopped.) Let us rejoice in our differences, lest we lose it all....

- The Die Hard

academiannut said...

Hey -

That was great - thanks for the link, Elly.

Creedog VanDrey said...

A Clark Kent story about a perfectly unremarkable life. It seems benign, but it's so ominous because we know the truth.

My only disappointment was, though the story was stunning as is, is that there were so many more avenues to explore. But maybe that was part of the charm (or anti-charm) in that we know there's more but there just isn't.

Anonymous said...

Whoa. This story is very different from all of the smallville fanfics I've read. I loved it though! Very different and creative!

Although, it left some twists in my stomach. It made me greatful for the differences in the world. And it's amazing how ordinary the Clark Kent story could've been just by a single, simple choice and action. And you took that idea and turned it into a wonderful story!

Great job!

Anonymous said...

The part where Lex's story ended in a few words was a punch in the gut! This is a really good story, and beautifully shows how one small decision, like Clark's to defend Pete, can affect the universe in huge ways... really good!

Anonymous said...

Thats was chillingly horrible. All those people that are going to die why didn't they think of the good he could have done. Especially when his friends were in danger. and should the meteor rocks have been poisonous. Was Superman the main stimulus for the superhero revolution. didn't He drag so many good people up in the world. Where the guilt and responsibility. They committed murder by the mass million by one selfish incident of wanting to be normal. That was seriously a case of evil being good left undone. seriously