To Everything There Is A Season

by Meret

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Title: To Everything There Is A Season Author: Meret
Rating: PG
Summary: What happens at the Kents after Exodus Disclaimer: These characters belong to the WB and DC Comics. No profit or infringement is intended. Feedback:

Huge thanks to my beta readers Jayne Leitch and Giyenah. This story is much better for their input.

Clark had been fascinated by the nature vs. nurture argument in school. He guessed all adopted kids were. He didn't know if it was genetic, or something he'd copied from his "male role model", but his temper was like his father's. They both got angry easily, said things they didn't really mean, and then got over it fairly quickly.

His mother was different. If asked, people in town would say Jonathan was the scarier of the two, the one you had to watch out for. Those people would be wrong. Or maybe not, he thought, at least as far as they were concerned. Mom could get irritated, annoyed, even mad. She wasn't a saint. But she only got truly, feel-it-down-to-your-bones angry with those closest to her. It wasn't a loud anger, like Clark's and his father's. Hers had always reminded him of those old jungle movies where someone would say, "It's quiet. Too quiet." It took a lot to make her that way. And even more for her to get over it. He could only remember seeing her that angry a handful of times in his life, and had felt lucky that none had been because of him.

Until now.

It went pretty much the way he expected after Pete got the ring from him and dragged him back. His father yelled, his mother cried, and Clark felt so ashamed and guilty he wanted to die.

His father's process of forgiveness was loud, so he didn't even notice at first.

His mother had always been the soft touch. If she couldn't forgive them, then he wasn't forgivable.

"Is that what you think? That I blame you for the baby`s death?"

"I'm sorry, Mom. I'm so sorry." Clark's tears were flowing freely now; he'd stopped trying to hold them back. "If I could trade my life in exchange I would. You have to believe me!" he said desperately.

"I know that, Clark. It was an accident. That's not why I'm angry," she said, her breath deflating at the end like an unplugged respirator. She turned away from him back to the dishes.

"Then why?" he shouted at her for the first time in his life. "Why don't you ever smile at me anymore? You don't ever hug me unless I start it, and even then you can't wait to get away from me. You don`t talk to me if you can avoid it; you hardly even look at me!" His gut tore like he'd swallowed saw blades. Clark forced the words through the terror tightening his throat. "Do you want me to leave again?" Her back stiffened. "I will if you want me to," he sobbed. "Just tell me what you want me to do!"

She was looking at him now, and he wondered why he'd ever thought that would be a good thing. Something inside of him that Clark thought he'd long outgrown shriveled and died.

"That's your answer for everything isn't it, " she hissed. "Being a mother has been one of the greatest joys of my life. In the hospital I comforted myself with the thought that at least I still had a son at home. A son I adored." She clenched her fists, her knuckles outlined in white. "Only to find out I was truly childless."

He flinched.

You're not a little boy anymore, Clark. For the first time I needed you instead of the other way around, and you left me, you --." Cutting herself off , she turned back to the sink and began scrubbing the roasting pan with short, violent strokes. "I'm your mother, and I love you. I forgive you for leaving. But it will be a long time before I'm able to forget."

Clark whimpered in pain, his eyes wide, staying upright by force of will.

Sighing, she stilled and bent her head. "You've been back less than a week. Just . . . give it some time, Clark. Give me some time."

He nodded, unable to speak. He couldn't breathe, his heart pounded in his ears, and he tasted bile in his mouth. The room was a blur as Clark sped out of the house, the door banging shut behind him.

It was the bang that stopped him. A violent, echoing sound that shot through him like the explosion that had started this whole disaster. He sank to the porch steps, rocking back and forth. Please, please, he thought with each motion. Please forgive me. Please don`t hate me. Please love me.

Finally laying his head on his knees, he rested, trying to calm his breathing. Clark stared at the shadowed ridges on his jeans, the fabric rough under his fingers. He listened to the birds, the sound of the cattle in the distance, trying to let the sounds of the farm soothe him. He finally stood up, wiping the remaining tears off his face with his shirt sleeve. Please let me make this up to her somehow, he thought Please don't let me hurt her again.

He hesitantly opened the door and stepped in. She was still standing where he had left her, glowing in a shaft of sunlight from the kitchen window. Her head was bent, and her arms were crossed like she was hugging herself. "Mom, I --"

Startled, she turned to look at him. Her eyes were bright with tears.

He swallowed. "I'm going for a run. I'll be back in an hour."

A whispered "Okay," and she went back to the dishes.

He softly shut the door as he left the house, and set the alarm on his watch for thirty minutes. He wasn't taking any chances on being late heading back home.

The End

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