Jumping the Gun

by zahra

It's possible to see thousands of stars in the Kansas night without the aid of a telescope...but Pete's not interested in that. Not interested in them. Not interested in constellations and lazy nights made for lying in haylofts and talking about mythological heroes and horoscope signs. Those nights, those stories, aren't for him anymore. He doesn't believe them, believe in them, and Clark saves them for someone else now. Someone who's willing to humor him. But Pete knows that once upon a time he was worthy. That his company was enough, but that time is past and there's only now.

Only this moment.

Pete firmly ensconced in leather seats and Chloe's clunker roaring to life beneath his muddy sneakers. Flooring a car still in park. Flooding an engine that minutes ago was as empty as the high school after the Friday bell. Always the little things that Pete doesn't get until it's too late; and when he finally slams the gearshift into place and tears out of the woods, he can't help but be even more fucking pissed.

Nobody's getting it. Not Chloe, not Clark, not even his family and everybody's looking over him. Around him. Everywhere but at him and acknowledging his presence. His feelings. Too fucking busy with everything else to think about good old Pete who's just as sturdy and reliable as the mailman. Now Pete sees why mailmen go postal.

Remembers to turn on the headlights when he nearly takes out the left bumper on a tree. But too angry to give a damn. Too angry to notice or care about anything, and so very emotional. So much like Clark and Chloe and they never even notice. Never even fill him in. Even further out of the loop now that they're all lusting after people they have no chance in hell of getting; and Pete thinks he's been in the dark for ages now anyway.

Tearing down deserted roads, endangering his life and God only knows how many forest animals, and so angry that the tears are burning his corneas. Salt in the back of his throat and pain in his heart. Twinges and aches, and his body is just giving over to something else. Leaving him for something better. Just like the way that Clark's been slowly turning away from him and turning towards Lex Luthor. Their friendship being cast aside so slowly, gradually, that Pete almost wishes that Clark had just dumped him altogether instead of doing it bit by bit. Instead of ripping his invisible stitches out one by one.

Blue, paper moon shining through the windshield of Chloe's ancient automobile; and Pete only notices this because it's reflecting off the gun that's sitting next to him on the seat. Pewter gray against navy blue, and the moonlight illuminates the smooth plainness of the handle. All the guns that Pete has ever read about have mother-of-pearl handles or special grips so that they don't slip in sweaty hands.

This gun isn't like that.

It's a lot heavier than he thought it would be. A lot colder. More...metallic. It's nothing like the Winchester Model 94 that Clark's father uses when he goes out to find lost cows late at night. Pete's not really sure how he thought holding a gun would be. How it would feel, but he doesn't think it was quite like this. Quite as definitive.

Reaches out to touch it, again, and rubs his warm hand over the cold barrel. Gelid. The feeling of death. Death for Lex Luthor. It feels good against his palm, feels right, and as Pete slips his index finger through the trigger he's overcome by an amazing sense of serenity.

Confidence. Like the Lone Ranger riding to the rescue.

Gates to the Luthor Tower of Doom looming in front of him, and Pete lifts the gun to rest it on his thigh. Barrel pointing towards the steering wheel and it's all going to be all right. This gun is going to protect him. Protect them all from the bald monster in the castle.

This .38 special is a safety blanket to ward off the forces of corruption and greed. A magic cure-all to fix what ails him. What ails his teen years -- always being second to someone who's prettier, taller, richer. Yet another victim of puberty and small towns.

But this gun can change all of that.

This gun is tangible possibility. Pete's chance at vindication, at winning for a change. It's his opportunity to take back what belongs to him: his family's factory, his friendship with Clark. It's a chance with Chloe and the possibility of things going back to the way they were. The way life was before Lex Luthor. So much hope. So much promise. All of it held in the six chambers of one little gun.


Who gives a shit about high school? You either live in the past and lose out on the present or you fucking get in the jeep. Now are you coming to Babylon or what? -Ali knows WWBKD

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