by TimIan

My thanks go to Rhiannonhero for the beta, and for saying she can feel the desert in my words. :)

He is four years old. He feels heat on his skin. When he looks up, he sees a yellow sun. This will be his first memory.

His body is wrapped in material--several layers when the temperature drops, fewer when the temperature rises. This inverse relationship is clear to him within a week, but he has no need for clothing; his body is impervious to the elements. Eventually, he will learn to shiver when it is cold and sweat when it is hot.

His eyes are always open, and he observes his environment with startling intensity. He awoke with an instinctive grasp of body language, but still requires several weeks before he realizes that his unwavering focus unnerves those around him. He alters his behavior immediately, occasionally feigning distraction or exhaustion.

He appears to be utterly trusting. He sits where he is placed, eats whatever food is set before him, evacuates when prompted. Although he can metabolize food, he has no need for it; his body is a closed system.

He neither rests nor sleeps. He spends his nights lying motionless in the dark, quietly practicing the modulation of tone and pitch. The words themselves are simple to voice but he finds the relationship between concept and sound difficult to establish. He discovers a dictionary in the closet of his room and teaches himself to read in an afternoon. Within a week he has committed every printed word in the house to memory, and has a vocabulary of over 200,000 words. Still, he does not speak. After three months in his new home, he has grown confident in his ability to emulate age-appropriate diction and behavior. His first word is "mommy."

His consciousness is tasked with ensuring the organism's survival, his behavior governed by heuristic benefit analysis. He plays the role as well as he can. With his parents he plays happily with his toys, but the moment they leave the room the toys fall from his hands. He is adept at mimicking human behavior, but is incapable of experiencing emotion. He smiles constantly.

He is five years old. The alteration of his consciousness has been gradual but marked; his psyche has split in two. The imperative to survive remains the pedal curve of his existence but direct control over his behavior has been ceded to a nascent personality--neural psychology as close to human as his physiology will allow. Defensive mechanisms have rewritten his personal history, barring conscious access to any knowledge that he has ever been other than what he has become.

Clark is six years old. He has no memories of his life before Smallville, and he loves his parents with all his heart. Clark's Mommy is teaching him to read, and some nights she lets him help with the dishes. Clark's Daddy carries him on his shoulders as he does chores around the farm, and the view from so high up makes Clark feel dizzy and brave. When he grows up, Clark wants to be just like him.

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