Forged

by Punk



1.

You think he would've learned by now not to pick up strange glowing rocks.

But no. He keeps making the same mistake over and over.

Well, not the same mistake. This was definitely a new one. He doesn't think he's ever doubled himself before.

"Um, hi," he says.

His double looks at him dubiously. It's naked. It has his face, his body, his stupid hair and skinny legs. It also has his dick, only it looks smaller than he thought it was. He tells himself that's just because he's looking at it from a different angle, but he still feels vaguely insulted.

"I'm Clark," he says.

"I'm Clark," the double says.

"You may think so, but you're wrong."

"You're the one who's wrong," it says. "Jor-El's never going to--"

Clark takes a step forward. "What do you know about Jor-El?"

"I know all I need to know," it says, then disappears.

This could be good or bad. But experience says it's probably not good.

2.

The double runs exactly as fast as Clark, and it has a head start. Physics is working against him for once. He gives up somewhere around Memphis and goes back home to look for clues.

The caves are empty. Something winks at him from the corner, but he doesn't take the bait. He spent three months trapped in these walls being brainwashed and reprogrammed, made into a mindless soldier, an alien son. His mom did her best to raise him to the surface, but there are still days he has trouble recognizing the Clark Kent in the family pictures, the boy raised and loved by his parents. There are days it takes an effort to act human.

The double's not in the storm cellar or the loft. Clark's room looks like it's been hit by a tornado. That's nothing new, but the closet is open and the drawers of the dresser have been pulled out and dumped on the floor. His family has been torn apart again and again because of who he is. Sometimes he thinks it would be easier on them if he just left.

He hears his mother's car crunch up the driveway. She's not supposed to be home. It's in the car with her.

Clark is in the yard, pulling the double through the window. It's wearing Clark's clothes and Clark's face and it went after his mom. It's struggling, saying he's dangerous. Clark says it's the dangerous one. He grabs it by the throat and it grabs his. Nothing happens. They dive at each other. Two immovable objects and they're reduced to wrestling in the dirt like boys, their great strength equal and useless.

"Stop it right now!" his mother yells, standing over them, the car door open and pinging in complaint. "Both of you!"

They break apart and roll onto their backs, panting.

"Neither of you is dangerous." She kneels between them, puts a hand on their faces. "You're my son. I'd know you anywhere."

3.

He knows he's the real Clark, but his mom isn't hearing a word of it. She separates them, sending the double to clean up his room and telling Clark to set the table.

He'd told her his version of the story, with the white rock and the flash of light, and suddenly there were two of him and the naked one mentioned Jor-El and ran off. She said the double had found her at the Talon. It said it had been in the fields and picked up a piece of quartz, then all of a sudden it was naked and something else had its clothes and face. Clark pointed out that its story made no sense, that there's no reason why the kryptonite would take its clothes if were the real Clark.

"It's obviously the copy," he said.

"You're the copy!" it yelled. "You took my clothes so people would think you were me!"

And that's when she sent them to their separate corners and started pounding the pork chops with a hammer.

Clark sets three places at the table, then goes out to the barn and watches his double through the walls. It's straightening his room, putting the drawers back in the dresser and shoving everything else under the bed where it belongs. It makes his skin crawl that something with his face is just walking around, touching his things, thinking it's him. He fiddles with his telescope and wonders if he can get the double to do his homework.

It's almost dark by the time his father comes back from the feed store wearing a new gimmie hat. His mom goes out to meet the truck and Clark eavesdrops. So does the copy.

"That Tom gets crazier every year. You know what he told me?" He tries to get out, but she holds the door shut, hands white knuckled where she's gripping it through the open window. "What--?"

"Jonathan, before you come inside there's something you need to know."

"What is it this time? Super smell? Invisibility?"

"There's two of him."

His dad sighs. "Are you sure it's him?"

"Of course I'm sure."

"For Pete's sake, Martha, how?"

"Both of them have Clark's memories," she says, looking off at the fields. "Both think they're Clark."

"Great. Two, hey...hold on, are you saying you can't tell them apart?"

"I can't if they can't."

He pulls off his hat and drags the back of his hand across his forehead. "Then how do you know the extra one isn't evil?"

"They're petty and sullen and confused, but they're not bad. They're just boys."

Clark's mouth drops open in disbelief. Petty! That is so unfair. How would she like it if she suddenly had a possibly evil double claiming it was her? What if she had to share him? He wants to go down and complain, but since he shouldn't have been listening in the first place, he's kind of stuck being secretly indignant. He looks over at the house. The double is standing in his room, scowling and looking back at him.

His mom and dad are hugging now, right in the middle of the driveway where anyone could see. His dad rests his cheek on the top of her head, then looks up and notices the broken window. "What the hell happened to the car?"

"It was just a small misunderstanding," she says.

"Are you sure they're not evil?"

"Honestly, Jonathan. Don't you think we'd have more to worry about than broken windows if they were?" She pulls away. "Go wash up for dinner."

Clark can tell his dad's unconvinced but knows better than to say anything. He goes inside. His mom stands there a moment longer, then takes a deep breath and follows.

4.

Yelling "Clark! Dinner!" gets both of them.

"You shouldn't be down here," Clark says. "Go back up to my room."

"But it's dinner," the copy says.

"Someone might see you."

"Who's going to see me?"

"Anyone!" Clark says, flinging a hand at the screen door.

"Clark," his mother warns, obviously talking to him. "We are all going to eat together. If anyone comes up to the house, I'm sure you can find some way to hide in time."

Sarcastic Mom is always a bad sign. There are four plates at the table now.

"That's you," Clark hisses. "You'll go up to my room and stay there until I come get you."

The other one doesn't answer, just sits down in Clark's usual spot. Clark throws himself into the chair in front of the fourth plate and grabs the milk before his double can get to it. They pass the food around, serving themselves, Clark handing things to the copy a little harder than he normally would. The copy kicks him under the table.

His mom wants to say grace for some reason, waiting until they've all bowed their heads to thank God for blessing them with food and family and the chance for them to be together. The moment her hands come unclasped, Clark digs in, fork in one hand and a slice of bread in the other. With all the excitement he'd missed his afterschool snack.

"Is something wrong, Clark?" his mom asks. He looks up from his mashed potatoes, but she's talking to the other Clark that's poking at its applesauce like it's not sure what the stuff is doing on its plate.

"I'm not hungry," it says.

His dad wipes some gravy off his chin. "Guess we know which one's not the real Clark."

"I told you!" Clark says at the same time his mother scolds, "Jonathan!"

The copy disappears, screen door slapping shut long after it's gone.

"Go after him, Clark," his mom says. "Find him and apologize."

"I can't."

"Oh yes you can."

"No," he says, "I can't. It has my powers. I'll never catch up."

She throws her napkin to the table and storms out the door.

"Pass the beans," his dad says. Clark hands them over. He can hear his mom pacing back and forth along the back of the house, the porch creaking beneath her like a widow's walk.

"So what do you think about all this, son?"

Clark scowls at his corn. "I think no one believes a thing I say."

"The way I understand it, both of you were saying the same thing."

"But I was right!" Clark says, and he knows that's the most ridiculous thing he's said all day, but he's pissed. Some imposter tries to hijack his life and he can't do a thing about it. He smashes his pork chop with his fork. It oozes between the tines like clay. His fork melts.

His dad reaches past him for the butter. "Do you think the copy has...evil plans?"

"I don't know. It's not like Jor-El's really all that subtle. If he was behind this, we'd know. He'd be yapping all about it. If it's just a mutant or something, it wouldn't have my powers." He shrugs. "It hasn't done anything bad. It ran away from me in the fields, but that makes sense since it thought I was the copy."

It's not like he's defending the double. He's just telling the truth.

5.

The copy still isn't back the next morning and Clark's trying to get out of school.

"I can't be in two places at once! What if it's seen around town when I'm supposedly in school? I'd better stay home."

"What if it goes to school and starts talking to your friends and you're sitting around here watching Gilligan's Island reruns?"

His mom is very sneaky. He goes to school. Besides, he's got football practice later. Nobody looks at him funny or says anything like "weren't you just in the gym?" or "you're going to pay for what you said about my girlfriend, Kent" so he figures his double hasn't been hanging around impersonating him in the halls.

Spanish sucks and there's a quiz in English for a book he hasn't read. His calculus teacher calls on him while he's doodling in his notebook, but he surprises the hell out of her by knowing the answer. Math's always been easy for him. It must be his alien brain. He wonders if calculus worked the same on Krypton. He's got ten fingers, so unless his people had weird ideas about thumbs, they probably had a base ten number system, but maybe they could think in four dimensions, or five. He'll never know. Thinking about this stuff always makes him homesick and kinda angry. He ditches government, ducking into the Torch office instead.

Chloe's jittering in front of her computer, drinking coffee, mumbling to herself, surfing the web, and twisting her hair into tiny dreadlocks. "Hey, Clark."

"Hi." He drops onto the couch.

"Did you hear? A couple of Mr. Murakami's prize-winning pygmy llamas are missing. The culprit left nothing but a trail of green ooze and some hair. I'm guessing late night llama snack. Unless someone shaved them and something else ate them later. But that seems unlikely."

"Pygmy llamas," he repeats.

"Yeah, anyway, this follows a rash of chicken disappearances, mainly centered around the Crater Lake area, and even a few pigs have gone missing from their pig...houses..."

"Pig sty," he says.

"--according to this guy at the feed store. So it looks like we've got some kind of hungry mutant, maybe more than one. Either that or a large predator like a dinosaur or a whale. What do you think?"

"About whales in Smallville?" It's possible the copy was out eating llamas and that's why it wasn't hungry.

"Are you even listening to me?"

Maybe she hadn't said whale. "Llamas, pigs, chickens. Mr. Murakami."

She cocks her head at him. "Are you okay? You've been acting weird lately, and I know from weird." She waves a hand behind her at the wall of news clippings.

He panics. "Weird? Weird how? Have I said anything...odd?"

"Does that count?"

Chloe's basically the only friend he has left at this point, and even that's iffy depending on what day of the week it is. He owes her some part of the truth. "I just, haven't felt like myself lately."

Her mouth goes tight, probably remembering whatever it was Lionel said to her while he was in Clark's body. God, his life is a mess. If he isn't ruining it, somebody else is, usually while wearing his face, which makes it really hard to explain later. He can't even apologize because it only makes him sound like a psychopath.

"Yeah, I've been having that problem myself." She bites her lip, then spins back to the computer. "So, mutant sightings. I made a map."

6.

The copy comes back a few days later in the middle of dinner, dusty and looking weirdly pleased with itself.

"Where have you been?" his mother demands. "I was worried sick."

Clark and his double exchange a look over her head. It ran off on its own. It's not like it was in any danger. His dad just grunts and pulls the remaining leg off the roast chicken.

"You don't need me here, so I found some people who did," it says.

She looks like she wants to protest that but says instead, "And where was this?"

"Mexico."

"What were you doing down there?" Clark asks. "Pricing school supplies? Asking people what they do in their free time? You suck at Spanish!"

It frowns at both of them. "Maybe you heard? There was an earthquake outside Mexico City. Hundreds of people died."

Cue Dad, always ready with a hearty word of discouragement: "You weren't using your powers, were you?"

The double squeezes its eyes shut, obviously fighting the urge to smash something. Clark knows exactly how that feels.

"C'mon, Dad," Clark says. "It was an earthquake. He had to help. Who's going to notice?"

"There were probably television cameras all over the place. What if someone in town saw a kid who looked like you?"

"Then it's a good thing I was in Smallville the whole time, wasn't it? Being seen in class, running through a giant paper circle at a pep rally, winning a football game in front of several thousand people. Anyone who thought they saw me in Mexico probably feels really stupid right now!" Clark stomps off.

"Yeah!" his double says, stomping off after him. They end up in the loft.

"They always do this," Clark grumbles.

The double slouches against the window frame, arms crossed over its chest. "'Good job saving the school from being blown up, but you didn't let anybody see you, did you? Oh, Clark, while you're here, lift this tractor for me in broad daylight where anybody could see.'"

Clark stares at it, this other him, this thing with his face and his memories. It understands him. It is him.

"They want too much," it says. "They think we can turn this on and off. These powers. Our differences. They don't want to admit it's who we are. Lex says the ancient--"

"When did you talk to Lex?" It never occurred to him that the double might visit Lex. Lex is his.

"I didn't. This was months ago. You were there."

"You haven't gone to see him?"

"No," it says, but Clark doesn't believe it. He lies, and he lies about Lex all the time.

He runs to the castle.

Lex is behind his desk. His shirt is the same color as his titanium powerbook, as his steely eyes. He doesn't get up. "Clark, is there something I can do for you?"

"No, it's just, we haven't talked in a while, right?"

"I haven't seen you in several weeks," Lex confirms, closing a folder and leaning back in his chair.

"Good."

"Excuse me?"

"I mean, it's good that I'm here now. We can hang out."

The look Lex gives him suggests Lex would never do anything as uncouth as hang out.

"How about a game of pool?" Clark offers.

"I'm sorry, Clark, not today. I have work to do."

There was a time Lex couldn't say no to him. It's long since passed, but it still feels newly sharp each time Lex turns from him. "Maybe later?"

"Maybe," Lex says.

Clark leaves. Lonely and aimless, he finds himself at the bridge. The new section of guardrail has finally lost its shine, but he can tell it doesn't match the rest. It's got a new dent in it that doesn't have anything to do with him or Lex and he braces his arms there, staring down at the river crouched low in its bed like a drowsy snake. Three years ago, it was deep enough to swallow Lex's Porsche. You couldn't lose a bicycle in it now.

7.

They're fighting again.

Clark can hear the furious whispers coming from their bedroom.

"I don't like that copy hanging around here," his father says. "How do we know it's not going to kill us in our sleep?"

"We just have to trust that he won't, that he is what he says he is."

Clark and his double are sleeping in the same room, ostensibly so that Clark can keep an eye on it, though in many ways it's comforting to have it near. The double has a sleeping bag on the floor, even though it says it doesn't need to sleep. It's gone a lot these days, spending most of its time out saving people. On the rare occasions it does come home, his father drinks too much and his mom talks nervously to fill the silence.

"But you're not giving me a reason why I should trust it. It could be lying to us!"

"If he has all of Clark's memories, how does that make him any different from Clark?"

In the moonlight creeping through the window, he can see the double looking at him with sad eyes. Neither of them belong here. Neither of them can be trusted. Clark puts a hand out. The other him crawls into his bed and they curl together and listen to their parents argue.

8.

Chloe stops by after dinner. Since the copy doesn't eat, he's never there for meals, and the table only has three settings again.

"You want some?" Clark says, bringing his dessert out onto the porch.

"No! How can you eat ice cream out here? You're not even wearing a coat."

"I'm rugged and manly. Cold means nothing to me."

She snorts. He realizes he's missed her. They sit on the steps and she steals a couple spoons of his ice cream, huddled up next to him for warmth.

"Mr. Murakami's hemorrhaging llamas like crazy," she says. "He lost two more this weekend."

"I'm trying to eat here."

"Just, poof, gone. Didn't even leave a toenail behind this time."

Clark loudly scrapes his spoon against the stoneware bowl, trying to drown her out.

"I brought the flashlights and the camera. You up for some Mulder and Scullying?"

He always gets stuck being Scully. Chloe hops over the gate to Mr. Murakami's property no problem, but Clark hangs back, twitching his flashlight up and down the road. "Chloe, what if we get caught?"

"We're not going to get caught," she says. "Besides, it's totally fine. I told him I might come take a look around. He's probably expecting me."

Clark doubts that.

The llama house has a door with a complicated latch high enough that it can only be opened by humans, or by aliens with opposable thumbs. He pokes his head in and the llamas squint at him and twirl their ears. None of them have anything to say about who's been stealing their friends. The door shows no signs of forced entry. The paddock is too big to circle in the dark, but the stretch closest to the road seems secure. The drainage ditch has a trickle of neon green running through it that makes the back of his neck sweat. He doesn't point that out to Chloe.

They return to the car. "Now we wait," she says, breaking out a thermos of coffee.

"We're not leaving?"

"Nope, whatever this is has to be strong enough to carry off an entire llama, or it just eats it right here. Either way, Mr. Murakami's always a few short in the morning."

"Why llamas?" Clark wonders.

"High in vitamin E."

"You're making that up."

"Yeah."

They sit quietly, watching the Murakami farm. She drinks her coffee and writes in a small furry notebook. He wonders what his double is doing right now. Probably out saving the world. The other Clark doesn't have to go to school or do chores or pretend to be normal, and Clark's jealous. In their divorce from reality, Clark got the parents and the friends, but his double got the freedom.

"My dad thinks I should see a shrink," Chloe says out of nowhere.

There is just no correct response to that. He makes a noncommittal listening sort of noise.

"Because of my mom," she says. "Because of how she went crazy. Not that he's worried I'll go nuts or anything. He just thinks I should talk to somebody about it. We can't afford that, though, so I'm trying really hard to be sane. It's way harder than I thought it would be. I second-guess everything I think or feel, like there's this crazy person inside me and I'm afraid if I get too angry or sad or scared, I'll let her out. I'm always wondering, is that me or is that the crazy girl?"

He knows exactly how she feels. Every time he has to fight down the alien inside him, he wonders if he's a monster dreaming he's a man or a man dreaming he's a monster. He wants to tell her he understands, but he can't. She'll turn this on him, offer him the chance to confess, then resent him when he's forced to lie.

"I think everyone feels like that sometimes," he says instead.

"I have a plan," she says. "Being crazy is not part of it!"

"You are not crazy, okay? I'd know."

She tucks her chin into her scarf and rolls her eyes. "I've got you on a midnight stakeout for llama rustlers."

"That's how I know everything's okay," he says. "If you join yearbook, that's when I'll start to worry."

"I will never join yearbook."

9.

He's feeding the cows when his double appears next to him.

"I know you're not here to help me with chores," Clark says.

He's wearing an old t-shirt Clark gave up for being too small and his hair's curling the way it does when it gets a little long. He tilts his head to the fields. "Let's go for a walk."

"Why?"

"You still don't trust me."

"Don't take it personally," Clark says, leading them to the back of the property. "I don't trust myself."

"You need to get over that."

"I've hurt the people I love too many times to just get over it."

"But what about all the times you've saved them? You can do so much good, but your parents only want you to use your 'gifts' when it's convenient for them."

Clark takes the path for the cemetery. "They're trying to protect me."

"They're trying to control you. They're protecting themselves."

"They love me."

His double hops up to sit on the low wall of the Graaf tomb, legs spread. "Yeah, but they don't understand you. They've made you ashamed of who you are. It doesn't have to be like that. It can feel good."

That's actually part of the problem. Ever since Clark learned what he is, he's tried to ignore the rush that comes from using his powers. He doesn't want it to overtake his caution, but his double's been out using his powers every day and he hasn't been caught and he hasn't turned evil, and if he can do it there's no reason why Clark can't.

Clark's so tired of feeling guilty. "Tell me."

"I've learned so much," he says. "I can fly."

"Hey," a new voice says, "I know you. You're Clark Kent. Both of you."

They turn around. There's a girl standing behind them. She looks vaguely familiar in the way people do after they've turned into something else. Clark probably went to school with her.

She giggles and licks her lips and her tongue never seems to end. "They talk about you, you know. The frogs."

"What about the llamas?" his double asks. "What do they have to say?"

"Not much, I try to break their necks first thing." She smiles, showing off a mouthful of pointy needlesharp teeth. "I bet your necks don't break too easy."

His double stands up. "Let's see."

She shrugs and spits out her gum. Then her tongue's flicking out, unspooling like fishing line. It grabs Clark, pinning down his arms and yanking him to her. He struggles against its sticky pull, but there's the familiar sting of kryptonite in her saliva and his vision goes dark and veiny. Her fingers are in his hair and then they're not and she's halfway across the cemetery, rolling in the weeds with his double. She bites him and he screams.

"Fuck!"

She's got her teeth in his double's shoulder, but at least that means her tongue's put away. Clark zips over and grabs her by the neck, waiting for her teeth to disengage before backhanding her into the stone angel.

"I don't remember kryptonite hurting this much," his double says from the ground.

"That's the problem with memory. It leaves out some things."

Someone's crashing up the road. Clark pulls his double to his feet and they race into the copse of trees behind the cemetery. Clark's heart is pounding the way it always does following exposure to kryptonite, like his body's trying to get things back to normal as quick as possible. His double's heart is beating just as fast, and they hide behind a huge oak, panting and grinning. In the graveyard, the sheriff and Mr. Murakami are standing over the frog girl.

"Well, Mr. Murakami, looks like we got your llama thief," the sheriff says.

"Llama thief, my ass," Mr. Murakami says. "You saw her swallow that alpaca like a peanut."

Clark's double leans back against their tree, breathing hard. "The sheriff's going to come to the house and ask you some questions. Say you were talking a walk in the area and the girl must have seen you then. Say you didn't notice anything unusual. If the sheriff mentions there being two of you, look confused and say you don't have any idea what that's about."

"Are you okay?" Clark asks, tugging the neck of his shirt down to inspect his shoulder. The row of teethmarks fade to red pinpricks, then disappear. Clark brushes his fingers over the perfect skin. He looks up at his double, at his familiar, backwards face.

"Never better," he says.

They are exactly the same height. "You can really fly?"

"I can do anything."

Clark has memories of flight, but they're not entirely his. He reaches up to touch that backwards face, the face he shares with this other him that knows things he doesn't. "What's it like?"

"It's like sex," he says in Clark's ear, hand on his hip, pulling him close. "That summer. Remember the guy--"

"--with the shaved head," Clark says, because he does remember, usually late at night with his eyes closed. That guilt at least has worn thin and soft like old cotton sheets.

"And the pierced tongue." His double crowds Clark against the tree with his body with his body, sliding his hand down to rub Clark through his jeans.

"Oh God," Clark says. He'll have to kill himself, both of him, if they're caught like this.

"Shh," his other self says. "It's just like touching yourself. We're good at that."

He drags the heel of his hand down the hard ridge of Clark's dick, gripping it through the denim, and Clark bites his lip and lets his head fall back because it's weird and backwards but it feels so good to have someone else touching him. He's been so lonely, so alone, and he fists his hands in his double's shirt and kisses him, and it's crazy but it's all he has. It doesn't work at first because they kiss exactly the same, but then his double grabs the back of his neck and tilts his head the other way and they fit.

And suddenly it's a race and Clark's jeans are hanging open and his double's got his hand down his pants, scratching through the curls at the base of his dick the way he likes, reaching down to pull at his balls, and Clark squeezes him through his jeans, scratches with his nails, hard, down to the head. He gasps, and Clark unzips him, gets his dick out, licks his hand like he likes, licks his double's hand, and they jerk each other off, faces pressed together, alien hearts beating hard and loud, and they know everything about each other, everything, and their hands know everything, everything. Everything.

10.

Lex is just leaving the Talon when Clark gets there. He's driving a car that looks almost identical to the one he drove off the bridge the day they met. Their eyes catch but Lex slips into the Porsche and speeds off, tires squealing against the wet pavement.

Clark goes inside. The afterschool crowd isn't there yet because they're not as fast as he is, but the regulars are spread out on the couches, working on their laptops and staring out at the rain. His mom's at the counter, cooking the books and ordering her waitresses around. He doesn't really feel like pie anymore. He thinks about turning around and going home, about finding Lex, about leaving. She spots him, though, and he trudges over to say hi.

"You're soaked! Where's your umbrella?"

"I don't have one," he says.

She shakes her head and lowers her voice, "Have you seen your other half recently?"

Clark's about to say he just left, but then he gets it. "Not for a while."

"I feel like I've failed him."

"He knows you wanted him, Mom. There's just no place for him here. He's doing good, helping people. I'm proud of him." It's a weird thing to say, even weirder that it's true.

"I should have tried harder," she says.

An angry customer springs up in the corner with a soy milk crisis and his mom pushes a muffin on Clark, rushing off to deal with the problem.

He runs home, eats the muffin over the sink, then climbs the stairs up to the loft. His other half is reclining on the couch, one leg thrown over the arm.

"Hey, Mom just asked about you."

"I'm leaving."

Clark shrugs. "Okay."

"No, I mean you won't see me again."

"What? Where are you going, space?"

He laughs. "I was thinking New York, somewhere I can have my own life."

"I won't see you again at all?"

"Maybe I'll come visit after you get your own place. No one in Metropolis will care if you suddenly have an identical twin."

Clark goes over to his telescope, wipes the dust off the top with his sleeve. "I'll miss you. I mean, that sounds dumb, but you're the only person who understands. Who knows."

"It's not dumb," the other him says, getting up. "I'll miss you too."

Clark turns to look out the window because he is not crying. There's just a lot of dust on this telescope.

"Hey, do me a favor. Tell Lex. He's got it half figured out already, and you're just pissing him off with all the lying. You know he'd do anything to protect you."

"Tell Lex," Clark says, like it's that easy. "How exactly am I supposed to do that?"

"Start with the truth. You're an alien. You want in his pants. For a little while, there were two of you."

"There will always be two of me," Clark says.

He smiles. "Good luck, Clark. Tell the Kents I said goodbye, and if you ever need me, leave a note in our tree."

Clark blushes on top of his crying. They hug and then his other half jumps out the window and flies away. Clark just sits down right where he is, like he really has been ripped in half. The floor's real dusty too. He sniffs, wiping his eyes with his clean sleeve.

Footsteps on the stairs. Lex. "Clark, is now a bad time? Can I come up?"

It's not a good time, but then it never is for them. Clark clears his throat. "Sure. Come up."

"I heard voices," Lex says, eyes darting around the loft, finally settling on Clark huddled under the window. "Do you have company?"

"No," he says. "Just talking to myself."


Punk Maneuverability . http://home.teleport.com/~punkm/index.html



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