by victoria p.
Clark looks at the pictures he holds in his right hand. His grandfather, young, proud and strong, standing with his father in front of the house they'd just built. Pioneers, immigrants...
He understands these men far more than he used to, than he ever expected.
The pictures are faded and curling, sepia-toned memories of brave men who traveled long distances in search of a new life. His mother doesn't know he's taken them from the mantle in the living room. They sit, together with pictures of her family, all along the shelf above the television.
Generations of Kents have stared down at him for as long as he can remember; gruff, leathery faces and eyes that had seen too much death, too much hardship. Yet they refused to give up, even in the face of incalculable odds.
He feels a kinship with them deeper than he's ever felt before, as he sits in the storm cellar.
He looks at the ship, gleaming dully in the dim light that filters in through the cracks in the door, weighs the metallic rectangle his father gave him, holding it gingerly in his left hand.
Two worlds. Past and future.
He knows that his parents love him. They tell him in words every day. They show him with every gesture.
"An answer to our prayers," his mother says, "a gift from above."
Jonathan and Martha Kent are his real parents, in ways deeper than mere biology.
But he wonders, as he weighs the tablet in his hand, what his biological parents are -- were -- like. Why they sent him away. Why they didn't come with him. What they hoped he might find or become when he arrived.
He puts the tablet in his back pocket, and looks again at the pictures of his father's fathers. They made the decision to strike out for an unknown country, to leave behind everything they knew in hope of a better life.
He wants to make them proud, live up to their legacy. He wants to make his parents proud as well, to be the answer to their prayers.
It's a big load to carry, but he's strong for a reason. He believes that now. He has his powers, his gifts, in order to make a difference in the world. It's not just about keeping the farm afloat anymore.
No, he knows that he has a responsibility to do good, to do right, to help people, in ways that only he can.
He started by saving Lex Luthor.
He knows it's a heavy burden for any man to bear, let alone a sixteen-year-old boy who's just learned he's from another planet. But it's his, and he will carry it. What else is his super-strength for?
He will shoulder his cross, and though he's never been religious, he can suddenly see the appeal of martyrdom, understands what the universe was trying to tell him when he was strung up in that field.
Yes, he's Clark Kent. He's Martha and Jonathan's little boy, their gift from heaven.
But he's also an alien, and he's going to do right by his adopted planet, and save it, one person at a time.
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