by Mistress Ace
The Day Clark Kent Went Nuts
The day Clark Kent went nuts started out like any ordinary day. I didn't have any clean clothes, my older brother stole my sneakers and tossed them up over the phone line, my car was outta gas - the usual stuff. You know, no big deal kinda crap.
So here I am shuffling along the dirt road outside of the Kents' because no gas, no car. Sure, I coulda begged a ride from one of my brothers or called Chloe, but a man's gotta have some pride. And pride doesn't give much room for putting in a 'save me' call to the girl you've had a crush on since the day she breezed into your school and then macked on your best friend because you were too caught up in the thrill of junior high to volunteer for the mentoring program so you coulda met her first.
Yeah, I still have issues about that.
I mean, I was thrilled for Clark 'cause let's face it, Clark wasn't getting anywhere with anybody back then. Not that he is now but that's a whole different set of issues. I mean, we all have issues - we're teenagers. But my buddy Clark, he's got National Geographic, Starlog and Scientific American all rolled into one. Clark's issues have issues.
Okay, I'm getting off track here. So I'm kicking up some dust while I pass the Kents' and I hear somebody hollerin'. Which, really, around Clark's place - that happens a lot.
The Kent's don't like trespassers on their property but I've always been a special case. My folks and Clark's parents go way back, double dates and that sort of thing. Although the thought of my parents out on a date at all makes my skin crawl, those double dates have always given my family full access to the farm so I guess I can put up with some skin crawlin' for that.
So seeing that I've been a friend of the family since the time I was old enough to know you shouldn't shove peas up your nose - I tell you that story some other time but let's just say there's a reason why Clark hates peas - I high-tail it toward the hollerin'. You never know, the tractor might've fallen on Clark's dad again and even though I can't lift it off him, I could run for help or something.
Or Mr. Kent might've had another heart attack, and contrary to popular belief, Clark isn't the only guy in Smallville who knows how to give CPR. Long as it isn't any of the Luthors in trouble, I don't mind giving a little mouth-to-mouth. Even if Clark's dad is a guy and I don't kiss guys - neither does Clark, except that one time and yeah... shutting up now.
Anyway, I'm running and there's more hollerin' and I skid around the side of the barn and there's Clark. Just standing there with his head thrown back and he's yelling at the top of his lungs. Now, I'm looking around for what's making Clark yell because Clark's pretty much the strong, silent type. He doesn't talk a lot, never has - probably because English wasn't his first language but yeah... Clark's yelling and that's just not good.
Here's the thing about my buddy. Clark really has a tough time of it. What with the local mutants, the accidents, his mom losing the baby last year, and his other best friend being that snake-in-the-grass Luthor, I just know he's gonna snap.
I have nightmares about this.
One of these days, Clark's gonna snap under the pressure of all those issues and he's gonna turn to me with the wild look in his eyes. And he's gonna say something like, "I'm sorry, Pete, but it's time to kill all humans."
Man, when that day comes, I just don't want to be around.
Because that's the day I'm gonna have to kill my best friend.
I know, I know, you think this is just teenage angst talking, but it isn't. You see, I know how to kill Clark. Bullets won't do it, knives won't do it, you can hit him with a truck and he won't even bruise. There's only one way to do it and there's only three people in the whole world who know how.
And I'm the only one who could do it.
Clark's dad is this great guy and he's got this stubborn streak a mile wide, but there's no way he could kill Clark. Just no way. And his mom, well, she's really beautiful and she's tough as nails, but Clark's her blind spot. She'd protect him and hide him and even if somebody proved to her that Clark was out killing people, she wouldn't believe it.
No, I'm the one stuck with shoving a meteor rock down my best friend's throat, or shooting him with a green bullet or stabbing him with a knife made out of that poisonous stuff. I wake up in a cold sweat thinking about this shit and there are some nights when I just don't sleep... a lot of them.
Uh, that thing about the issues I mentioned earlier?
We've all got them.
Anyway, Clark's still hollerin' up a storm and I don't see anything wrong. There's no bodies, the cows seem to be fine and both his mom's car and his dad's truck are gone, so I know they're okay. I'm running around, making sure that everything's fine and Clark just. Doesn't. Stop. Yelling.
Crap, crap, crap. There's a lead-lined box in my backpack and I never wanted to use this. I never wanted this responsibility.
Man, I wish Clark never told me.
And I must be yelling too because all of a sudden, Clark stops. He just stops.
Then he turns to look at me and I'm on the ground, digging through my backpack and my hands are shaking. My face is wet, though I don't know why and Clark's on his knees in front of me and he's reaching for me.
I can't get it open. God, I'm gonna die and I'm the only person who can save the world and I'm gonna die 'cause I couldn't get the stupid box open. The whole world's gonna die 'cause I was too slow and...
"Pete? Pete, what's wrong? You're shaking. Did somebody hurt you? Oh God, is Chloe in some kind of trouble?" Clark's picking me up and he's staring at me like he can see right through me. Which... well, yeah, he can but it's still so weird when he does it.
I drop the backpack and it spills and the box is still closed. Damn, damn, damn...
Then it registers what Clark's saying. He's still just Clark - no red meteorites around, no insane alien dad pushing him into doing strange shit. He's just... Clark. And he's calm...
Well, mostly calm but he's getting pretty frantic because his voice is a lot louder and his eyes are kinda red and man... I don't wanna be burned.
"I'm not going to burn you, Pete. Just tell me what's going on."
My inner voice - not really big on the keeping quiet thing.
I have to work on that.
And my outer voice is having a problem because I'm trying to answer but nothing's coming out. I cough, sort of, then stumble when Clark pats me on the back and finally, I'm able to say something. Well, something when my brain is actually engaged. "I'm okay, I'm okay. Just... what's with the yelling? I don't see anything wrong and I was walking by and I heard you and..."
Clark's gets the hugest smile on his face and he's blushing. If he wasn't seven-and-a-half feet taller than me and if he weren't a guy, the blushing thing would be really cute. But he is and he is and I gonna make my sister burn all those Queer As Folk DVD's as soon as I get home - or at least insist she stop watching them when I'm in the room. All that guy-on-guy stuff is messing with my head.
Anyway, Clark's blushing and shuffling his feet and yeah... burn those damn things. And he's tucked his hands in his back pockets while ducking his head and I'm not thinking about kissing my best friend.
Well, maybe I am a little. But, yeah, my mom says it's normal to have thoughts about both guys and girls when you hit a certain stage and... that inner voice? Can. Shut. Up. Right. Now.
Clark's mumbling and I don't catch what he saying in all my own confusion. So, I do that smart thing and just say, "Could you repeat that?"
"Uh, it's this thing I do, Pete. Lana taught it to me a couple of years ago."
Lana, right, focus on Lana. She's a girl. Long hair, pretty face, smells good. Yeah.
"Taught you what? To stand in the middle of your folks' yard and yell your head off?"
Clark's blushing even more now and wow, I didn't know anybody could get that red. But Clark's not... well, he's just not.
"Uh, yeah." Clark shrugs and he's dug this trench in front of him with his toe. We're gonna have to fill that in before his parents get home. "It helps when things get to be too much."
"Oh, stress relief. I get it. So instead of shooting some hoops or hitting something..." Like I said, life is tough for Clark. If he hits something, it'll end up in the next time zone.
Clark's nodding and the blush is fading, which is good. Remind me to scrub my brain out when I get home tonight, okay? I nod too and there's a whole lot of head bobbing going on around here and... I didn't just think that. I really didn't. "Okay. That's kinda cool. Weird, but cool."
And all of a sudden it's all good between us again, even with the weird tension. As I squat down to gather up my stuff, Clark's filling in that trench with his toe and patting the dirt into place before he offers, "So... do you want to shoot some hoops?"
The box is back in the bag and I'm breathing a whole lot easier now. Thank God the world didn't have to count on me to save it today. "Nah. Why don't we try that yelling thing?"
When I look up at Clark, he's bouncing on his toes and that big grin is back. It practically blinds me and I have to blink to clear away the after-image as he says, "Yeah?"
"Yeah. Sounds good to me." Everything's put away now. Clark's happy and I'm kinda happy, too. It's good when we're both happy. It feels right. "Hey, did you know my brother tossed my shoes up over the phone line today? They're probably still hanging there."
"Wow. Do you want me to get them down?"
That's my friend, always wanting to help.
Clark's a good guy, he really is - even with the conquering mankind thing - which he'll never do. I just want to be clear about that. His dad, his real dad's this big jerk, but that's another story.
"Nah. Let's leave them up there. When Mom sees them, she's gonna fry his sorry ass." She will, you know. Sam's not gonna be able to sit for a week once Mom's done with him.
She's a lot scarier than Dad any day.
I'm standing shoulder to shoulder... well, shoulder to mid-chest with Clark and he looks so thrilled that we're gonna do this. Like I just handed him the best thing in the world.
I think I just did.
"Cool... So, on three?"
I grin and start counting down for us as we throw our heads back. "One, two, three...."
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