TITLE: A Million Light Years From Home
DISTRIBUTION: List archives OK, anyone else just ask. Archived on Elegant Slumming http://www.obsessedmuch.net/elegant_slumming/
SPOILERS: Set after Crush, spoilers up until then.
CLASSIFICATION: Clark/Lex, Clark/Chloe (Implied), Clark/Lana (Implied)
SUMMARY: Sometimes certain people need a push in the right direction.
FEEDBACK: People, if I need to ask for this we're all doing something wrong. <BG>
DISCLAIMER: They belong to Gough and Millar blah, blah, blah.
DEDICATION: Thanks to Yvette and Zahra for their help.
It's quiet, like it always is as Clark stands and looks out of the large open window in his loft. He leans against the frame, wood reassuringly cool even through the thick fabric of his shirt. No movement; he simply stands there watching. He's been doing a lot of that lately. The night is so still he can even hear himself breathing; the only other sounds are noises that Clark's so used to. They almost fade into the background, something that's always there but easily forgotten.
It's been a while since he's simply stood there and taken everything in. He can remember a time not too long ago when almost every night was spent like this. After the family meal and all his chores were done he'd retreat here. His fortress of solitude. Except now solitude doesn't really seem that appropriate a term.
It may be quiet and peaceful here but Clark's mind is full of distractions. He can't help but think about Chloe. About how so much has changed in only a few days. How things have become so much more complicated and it just reinforces to Clark how so very different they now are. How she's no longer the only girl who would talk to him on the first day back at school. She's no longer the girl that would swap her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for whatever piece of home grown organic fruit his mother had packed for him in his lunch that morning.
Now she's the girl with the prom dress that's pink. The one waiting for him to call except this time it's not just to chat. This time it's to talk about something in particular, something Clark's not sure he's ready to discuss.
Things aren't supposed to be this complicated.
He thinks about Lana. How he's wanted her for so long. Except now that she's ready, he's not quite sure if he is. Not sure if he ever really will be.
And Lex, he always thinks about Lex.
And that's why Clark hasn't really spent that much time back here, alone in his loft. Because he hasn't wanted to, Clark hasn't wanted to be alone; he's wanted to be with him.
At first he didn't really notice it. Those feelings. They'd simply crept up on him, taken him by surprise and by the time he'd realised the way he was feeling he was powerless to fight it. Not that he thinks he would fight it if he had the opportunity to do it all over again.
No, Clark's pretty sure he wouldn't want to fight it at all.
And what does that say about him? What does that... make him?
That's one of those things that has brought him back here. One of those things that's forced him to take a step back and really think about what he has. And what he wants.
The air is heavy with the thick smell of nature; it's so visceral that Clark almost feels like he can taste it. The way that when he closes his eyes his senses are assailed with the ripeness of grass, a freshness that Clark knows he'll always associate with home.
Although it's not really his home. No matter how hard he wants something to be true he can't change the facts. He can't have something simply by wanting it enough.
To be normal. To have Lex.
One of life's little ironies is that the things you want most are the things that are the hardest to achieve. Although Clark is pretty sure that if he did put in enough effort he might at least be able to have one of those things.
Although he's not sure. He's never quite sure about anything when it comes to Lex. It's like some Jedi mind-trick. Lex seems to have this power over him that Clark can't even begin to explain. The way that after every conversation the two of them have, he's just a little unsure about what they've been talking about. Like Lex can make him forget anything that isn't as important as the two of them simply spending time together.
Lately, Clark's become used to being confused.
He can feel the cool night air on his skin, caressing him reassuringly as he moves to look through his telescope. It's pointed up to the canvas of the sky. His vision is filled with a blanket of stars, tiny pinpricks that glisten in the black velvety darkness of the night.
At least this helps him to think. Reminds him of so many days spent just like this. Watching the sky through his telescope, before he turned his attention to other things. When this was the most exciting thing for a boy his age. How quickly that all changed when his telescope was turned towards a less celestial focus. Although that's not really where he's been devoting his attention to lately either.
There are so many stars filling the sky. Clark remembers with fondness, not too long after he'd been given the telescope how he'd tried to count them all. The way he'd recounted his intentions to his mother as he'd quickly finished off his dinner. He'd been so much younger then and he'd happily told her of what he'd intended. She'd just smiled sweetly at him, told him that if anyone could do it, it was her beautiful son.
He'd smiled back at her, literally beaming and thought to himself how he couldn't possibly ever love anyone as much as he loved his mother. How he had to admit that he felt a little guilty about it, how he was sure he should love his father just as much, but he didn't. There was something about her that always made him feel so special.
She made him know he was loved.
He'd stood on tiptoes and kissed her on her cheek, he was so much shorter than her then, yet another thing that's changed. He'd run out to the loft and positioned the telescope in the furthest corner he could see and started counting. After a while he'd started to nod off. The last thing he remembered before he fell asleep was his mother wrapping him in the soft cocoon of a blanket. He'd protested at first. Told her that if he stopped now he'd surely lose count and would have to start again, right from the beginning.
She'd smiled sweetly at him and kissed him on the cheek. Her lips warm against his cool skin. She'd whispered to him that it was okay, that he could start again tomorrow night. That things wouldn't change that much if he left it alone and got some sleep.
And he'd believed her. He would believe anything she said and although things hadn't changed that much, when Clark climbed up to the loft the next evening, they'd changed enough. The smallest change so that Clark had no idea where to begin.
He'd felt betrayed. Not so much by his own mother, but by the world. At that time he hadn't understood at all how something so small could make such a difference. How one night meant that all his previous work had been futile.
That was the first night that Clark realised there were some things he couldn't control. No matter how much he wanted to.
It's been so long since he's simply watched the stars. Spent the evening alone, his thoughts his only companion. The stars no longer hold as much interest for him; maybe it's because he knows their secret. Knows that he won't ever be able to count them.
Or maybe it's for a very different reason. Maybe it's because there are so many other things that hold his interest.
Once again he's lost count; except this time Clark doesn't even bother to start again. This time he simply gives up. Simply watches.
Clark thinks about how things were so much simpler then. When the most troublesome thing in his life revolved around a childhood fancy of counting stars. Clark wishes things were that simple now.
Although he knows that he could make things simpler. That there's always an easy route, but Clark thinks it's about time he started thinking a little further than that. Started thinking about what's best, not what's easiest.
Like Chloe. Although Clark can't help but wonder what she'd say to him if he said that to her, that she was easy. But she's the simplest solution to a complicated problem.
And Clark does love her. Does want to make her happy and there's a lot of things that Clark is but one of them *isn't* stupid. He knows how Chloe feels about him. Knows exactly what she wants. He didn't really need Ryan to tell him that Chloe wants Clark to ask her to the prom.
In a way Clark wishes that it could be enough for him, like he knows it would be for her. But as much as Clark wants Chloe to be happy, there's no way he wants to hurt her. And he would. A simple decision for Clark would only lead to heartache.
And now there's Lana. For so long she's what he's wanted. He can't even count the nights he's spent here, furtively watching her. Maybe it's just timing, maybe it's because of Chloe but it doesn't feel right for Clark to want any more from Lana either.
Whitney needs her. It wouldn't feel right for Clark to make his move.
And even if he can't admit it to himself he knows there's another reason. One that's more complicated, something that's stopping him from taking the easy way out.
From their very first meeting Clark knew that things would never be the same. He knows it's nothing to do with how they met either. Although it somehow seems appropriate that Lex smashed into his life with the force of a speeding car.
Clark's amazed at how something that at the time didn't seem so important, can change so much. Can make Clark have no idea about how to get back to the point before Lex appeared in his life. Clark knows there really is no going back to the way things were before he met him. That he'd have more chance to count the stars in the sky than become the "old" Clark Kent.
The one that *wasn't* in love with Lex Luthor.
He moves away from the telescope. Pushes it slightly so it's no longer trained towards the sky. He's at least been able to make a decision. It might not be the easiest but he knows that it's the best one.
Clark's sick of simply watching everything. It's about time he spent a little less time watching something he has absolutely no control over and more time doing something about it.
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