Thursday, November 16, 2006
You're Not Alone
Baby Clark fic
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
"It's time for bed, Clark."
Martha Kent spoke the words gently but firmly, aware that the little boy sitting on the carpet couldn't understand her. He was busy making an airplane fly, and didn't seem to hear her voice at all. Obviously he was totally occupied by his inner world, just like any typical three-year-old boy.
But Martha was painfully aware that this little boy was anything but typical.
She and her husband Jonathan had found the little boy in a corn field in the wake of a meteor shower that had smashed into Smallville, Kansas this afternoon. That in and of itself wasn't terribly strange.
The fact that they'd found the boy only a few feet from a small, black-hulled spaceship... that was strange.
Martha had been trying to get pregnant for years, and had finally resigned herself to the fact that it wasn't ever going to happen. To have a child suddenly walk into her life, almost literally a gift from Heaven, had thrilled her, and she'd fallen in love with the handsome little boy instantly.
Jonathan, always more cautious than she was, didn't share her excitement. At first he had wanted to do the right thing, the careful thing. He suggested handing the boy over to the authorities.
They were riding in the battered pickup truck toward the Kent farm, and Martha clutched the boy to her shoulder, glaring at her husband. "Do you know what they'll do to him?"
His lips tightened. "They'll take care of him, Martha. Better than we can, probably. If he's really... well. I think we can guess he's going to have, uh, special needs."
"He's a perfectly ordinary little boy."
"Perfectly ordinary little boys don't walk out of spaceships."
She wrapped her arms around the child, holding the small warm body protectively against hers, and spoke more firmly. "We can take better care of him than the authorities, Jonathan. We can love him."
Jonathan hadn't answered, but later in the afternoon she'd seen him sit down on the floor and talk gently to the child, flying the toy airplane with him, returning the boy's wide, infectious smiles, and she'd realized she'd won. The child was theirs.
She'd decided to call the boy Clark, which was her maiden name. The boy naturally didn't speak English, and all her efforts to teach him words so far had been fruitless. Earlier this afternoon, she'd pointed to herself and said, "Mama."
He'd tilted his head on one side and replied, "Lara."
That sounded like a proper name, but for all she knew it meant he had to go to the bathroom, or that he was hungry. It could mean a hundred different things.
She'd continued telling him the English words for things, and he'd answered in guttural, choppy sounds that she guessed were the toddler version of his native language. It didn't sound like any human language she'd ever heard-- probably because it wasn't. She wondered if he'd learned the language from his parents, or if the ship had somehow educated him as he'd traveled through space.
At last she'd pointed to his chest and said, "Clark."
He'd thought about that for a long moment, then answered, "Kallel."
She wondered if that was his real name, but she had no way of knowing for sure. At any rate, she'd already started thinking of him as Clark, and she didn't really care what his parents had called him. They'd abandoned him in the depths of space, after all.
She'd continued trying to get him to repeat words until he showed clear signs of boredom and irritation. Like any three-year-old, he seemed to have a fairly limited attention span. When he began getting fussy and fidgety, she'd found him some toys in the attic, and he'd settled happily down on the living room carpet and played with them.
He seemed like a perfectly normal little boy, just as she'd said to Jonathan earlier. He certainly looked human. He had huge eyes, the green irises flecked with amber, and dark, wavy hair. He seemed a little skinny, but not undernourished. She had no idea how the tiny spaceship had provided nourishment for him in his passage through space, but it had apparently somehow taken adequate care of him.
She wondered how long he'd been in the ship, how long he'd been all alone in the depths of space, and if he remembered any of it.
Jonathan had left the house after dinner, in order to join the searchers trying to locate people who were still missing in the aftermath of the meteor shower. Ordinarily she would have gone too, but now she had a new set of responsibilities. She had a son to care for.
She thought she could sit here all night and watch this beautiful child, her child, his presence somehow filling a house that had felt so empty this morning. But alien or human, the boy needed to sleep. She held out a hand to him and spoke more firmly.
"Night-night time, Clark. Say goodbye to the airplane."
Martha took the toy from him, placed it on a table, and gently herded him upstairs. She'd bathed the boy earlier today, so she brushed his teeth-- a process that caused him to make a number of funny faces, apparently at the sharp mint taste of the toothpaste-- put him on the toilet, and changed him into an old pair of pajamas she'd found stored in the attic. She'd run them through the washer, so the scent of dust had been replaced by a nice clean smell. She hugged him, inhaling the scent of fabric softener and baby shampoo and clean toddler.
She put him into the bedroom they'd set up for him-- with a mattress on the floor, so he wouldn't hurt himself if he happened to roll out of bed-- covered him carefully with a blanket, and kissed his cheek.
"Good night, Clark."
The child stared at her with big green eyes, looking anxious, and she smiled reassuringly. "I'll see you in the morning," she told him, knowing he couldn't understand her, but hoping he'd hear the reassurance in her tone. Then she turned off the light, closed the door, and tiptoed downstairs.
Five minutes later, she crept back up the stairs to check up on him. She stood in the hall, outside his room, and heard a soft, heartrending sound.
Clark was crying.
Pain and guilt cut through her. The poor baby. He'd been alone in the dark for God only knew how long, and now he was probably wondering if he'd been abandoned to the dark again. She pushed the door open, letting the hall light flood his room, and walked toward him quickly.
"Clark," she whispered, kneeling beside his bed and stroking his hair. "Shh, baby. It's all right."
His eyes were wide and huge in the darkness, and he reached up and grasped her fingers with a trembling hand.
"Don't worry," she said softly. "I won't leave you if you don't want me to."
His fingers curled around hers, and his sobs died away. He blinked at her, looking almost surprised by her presence. She wondered how many times he'd awakened to find himself alone in the darkness, how many times he'd cried, seeking comfort, without any response. She wondered how long he'd been trapped all alone in the dark. The thought of this beautiful, intelligent child, abandoned by his parents and placed into a tiny spaceship for God only knew what reason, made her throat tighten.
Protective love struck into her soul like a hammer. She barely knew this boy, and already she knew she'd die for him. She'd never let him be locked into the dark, afraid and alone, again.
"I won't leave you," she told him again, more firmly. "I promise. I'll stay. You're not alone any more."
His big eyes stared at her a moment longer, then his eyelids began to droop as if they were very heavy. He was obviously sleepy. She held his hand and stroked his hair in a gentle, reassuring gesture, and his eyes drifted shut.
"Goodnight, Clark," she murmured.
His eyes were still closed, but his lips parted, and he spoke a single word, so quietly she could barely hear him.
"Mama," he whispered.
Posted by Meg at 1:23 PM