by Valentine Michel Smith
Clark Kent had always been different. As a child, found by Jonathan and Martha, at what they presumed to be the age of three, he was about the size of a five year old.
When he started school, he was bigger than most of the kids, something he wasn't too happy about. So when he and Pete Ross became best friends, he decided he wanted to be like Pete.
That included being Pete's size. So while the other kids grew, Clark didn't. Martha seemed concerned about it for a bit until Jonathan reminded her - "No manual for this one." Clark's appetite seemed good, he didn't get sick. He still seemed able to do things other kids couldn't (Jonathan once caught him lifting the back end of the tractor when he was nine) - he just didn't tower over the other kids any more.
Jonathan personally thought it was a good way to blend.
Then he made the mistake of filling in Clark about puberty. It wasn't as though he'd brought the subject up on his own. Dang health class discussion had sparked Clark's curiosity. "What's puberty, Dad?" asked Clark, then ten.
"Well, son, it's when a boy becomes a man." "It generally happens when you're about thirteen. Your body...changes."
"Well, for one, you get taller."
"Will Pete get taller?"
"One day. I imagine. He'll have a hard way to go if he doesn't."
"Your voice gets deeper. And you tend to get stronger and have certain... Well, you look at certain things differently."
Clark was focused on the anatomical specifics. Taller, deeper voice, stronger. Very manly things. Things that would make him more like his father.
The next day, Clark asked Pete what he thought about puberty. "I don't," Pete responded. "Now, if I was Jewish, and I had that Bar Mitzvah thing to look forward to..."
Pete laughed, tagged Clark, and ran off. Clark made a mental note. In three years, he'd go through puberty.
On the morning of his thirteenth birthday, Clark bounded down the stairs for breakfast.
"Morning, sleepy head," said Jonathan. Martha dutifully handed Clark a box of Honeycomb and a bowl. Clark filled the bowl, ate hurriedly, and refilled it.
"Somebody's got quite the appetite this morning," said Martha, exchanging an amused glance with her husband.
"Definitely," said Clark, cereal spilling from his mouth.
Clark swallowed and wiped his mouth. "Sorry, Mom." Clark suctioned the milk from the bottom of the bowl. "What else we got?" he asked as he poured, drained, then poured himself another glass of milk.
"Son, are you feeling all right?" Jonathan wondered aloud.
Clark was already up and examining the refrigerator. He tossed bacon and sausage onto the counter, grabbed pancake mix, maple syrup and eggs. He was reaching for the griddle and frying pan when he looked around to discover his parents behind him. He looked up at both of them. "I'm fine. Really." He grinned broadly. "It's just...puberty."
Clark had read enough to know his body would need fuel if it were to change. His parents were leaving the kitchen as he piled bacon into the pan. "Lemme know if I should make more."
"Clark, you're not gonna eat all that." Jonathan's face was disbelieving.
"Sure I am."
It took some doing and he'd opted for a leisurely pace - between the cooking, cleaning and the eating, but approximately forty-five minutes later, Clark had finished off a total of three bowls of cereal, a pound of bacon, a dozen eggs, ten rather large somewhat lopsided pancakes and a gallon of milk. The button on his pants had exploded away, vanishing somewhere across the kitchen before he'd had a chance to stop it. The buttons on his shirt had done much the same thing. Those Clark found in the wall across the way. He'd quickly removed them.
Clark looked down at his stomach. What had once been flat now protruded distinctly, forcing his undershirt to ride up, leaving at least a three-inch gap between its bottom and the destroyed waistband of his khakis. He didn't feel anything unusual, just like there was...well...more of him. Which there was, albeit all in one place.
Clark rubbed his belly and headed off to his Fortress of Solitude. En route, he was struck by a strange pain, unlike anything he'd ever experienced. It radiated through first through hands and feet, then his arms and legs. He watched curiously as his he watched them expand, the final jolt coming from his spine. The growth spurt wasn't as much as he'd hoped, but still, it was something.
Clark measured himself. He was only two inches taller and his disappointment was palpable.
He went off to the Fortress to sulk, failing to notice that the belly was gone and that his pants were now considerably above his ankles.
The next morning, Jonathan and Martha found Clark cracking eggs into the blender.
"Wrong season for eggnog son," Jonathan offered, shaking his head tickled.
"Clark, why is it I get the feeling I'm missing something?" Martha scrutinized him. A mother knows. Clark stepped toward her and looked her in the eye. "I told you," Clark began very sweetly, "Puberty." He hugged his mother, and returned to the blender.
Jonathan tapped his wife and lead her out of the kitchen. "It's too early for me to be shrinking, isn't it?" Martha said.
"Much, much too," responded Jonathan.
Clark made a total of ten forty-ounce high-protein shakes, using everything from eggs to milk to tofu. Internally the over-abundance of liquid sloshed as he moved. At least today he had the wherewithal to wear a polo shirt and leave the top of his pants undone. The belly protrusion seemed more even noticeable this time around though. How had he managed to drink enough to leave a four-inch gap between the bottom of the shirt and his waistband and not feel that full?
Clark stroked his belly absent mindedly, stopping just short of an Al Bundy moment of sticking his hands into the front of his pants.
Clark cleaned up after himself (no sense making his mom clean up the super mess he'd made) and waddled off to see if the protein shakes made any difference.
Clark spun halfway. The shakes spun with him.
Pete was standing across the yard, waving. "I know it's early," Pete said, walking toward Clark, "but I was in the mood for some hoops." Pete noticed the peculiar way that Clark was standing - arms folded over his mid-section, a bit hunched. "Damn, man, you look like you swallowed the basketball... And what happened to your shirt?"
Clark simultaneously tugged at the shirt and tried to suck the new girth in. "Laundry."
Pete slapped him heartily on the back. "Uh, you might wanna consider going easier on the milkshakes and talk your pops into buying you an Abdominizer." Pete walked over and grabbed the basketball. He dribbled a bit, switching hands and faking, before continuing, "The midriff shirts work for Britney. You ain't Britney."
Pete then noticed the length of Clark's pants. Not able to resist, he sang, "The flood is over, the streets are dry, so why you wear your pants so high?" He laughed deeply, causing Clark to steal the basketball.
The protein shakes seemed to be intent on moving the opposite direction of whichever one Clark chose. Could Pete's timing have been any worse? Apparently not. Clark fell to the ground as pain seized him. "Pete," he grunted, "Think I could take a rain check?"
"What? Have you lost your mind? I'm win-ning for the first time EVA - and you want a rain check..."
Clark writhed, but Pete only thought he was having a moment of poor sportsmanship. Accordingly, Pete continued dribbling the ball, ignoring Clark who was focused on his hands. Damn, they were getting big. As were his feet. Heck, they might be size fourteens by the time this was all said and done. In any event, they weren't fitting in his sneakers anymore - as evidenced by the big toes poking through the canvas.
Pete turned to see Clark still writhing on the ground. Clark hid his newly perforated sneaks as best he could. "Oh man!" Pete said, the basketball slipping from his fingers. Pete ran towards the house. "I'll get your mom!"
"I'm ok," Clark said weakly. He pushed himself up, balancing unsteadily on slightly longer legs. He moved quickly to see how tall he'd grown. Ooooh, today, he managed two and a half inches. And the stupid belly was gone. "Pete," Clark waived as he headed into the barn, "I'm just gonna lie down." Growing apparently, took a lot out of a guy.
Clark slept most of the rest of the day. Martha checked in on him, if only to convince herself whatever Clark was going through was "normal" for him.
For Clark, the third day of puberty meant a carb breakfast as he searched for a way to alleviate the drain growing seemed to have on him. Martha returned from her garden in time to see Clark standing over a large stockpot full of pasta. She stepped next to her son. Ok, there was no doubt about it. He was taller than he had been only two days ago. He seemed too skinny, but...
"Mom?" Clark turned, his eyes meeting hers.
"What is it, sweetie?" Her baby was growing up - almost right before her eyes. Maybe if she stood there long enough -
" - What's al dente?"
Martha smiled a mother's smile and checked the pasta. "That's al dente."
Clark drained the pasta, then dumped it into a large mixing bowl. He grabbed a stick of butter, adding first it, then salt and pepper to the fettuccine.
For some reason, the pasta didn't seem to satisfy him. Clark cooked another large pot of pasta (this time, he opted for ravioli), nuked three potatoes and polished off what he later realized were two gallons of milk.
Clark looked down at the now familiar sight of the belly below. He smiled knowingly.
When the pain hit this time, he was prepared. Or, as prepared as he could be. And by his measure, he was now a respectable five foot ten. Clark hoped he was almost finished with puberty. But he knew he still had a few key items to contend with.
His voice broke later that day. For the first and last time. And had dropped an octave by the time he curled up into bed.
The next morning, Clark sat down at the table, knees banging awkwardly as he maneuvered. He didn't mind the view from here, but the negotiating space was a little more than he'd bargained for. "Dad?"
Jonathan looked up sharply. He hadn't recognized the voice right away - Clark's had never been a deep one. Currently, it was voice on the verge of meaningful manliness. It was a bit...well...disconcerting. "Yeah, Clark?"
"How tall are you?"
"A little over six feet."
"Last time I was checked - which was probably high school - I think I was 6 foot 3 inches - and weighed in at about 210. Off season anyway. Why?"
Clark rose to help his mother with the dishes. Was the boy sprouting up overnight? Like a weed... Maybe his people were... plant people. Could grow to be the size of a giant sequoia...
Clark stood very close to his mother, surreptitiously gauging his vertical gain. He was definitely significantly taller than his mother. That hadn't been the case at the beginning of the week. "No reason," he said.
"You didn't eat very much for breakfast, Clark." Martha reached out - then up - to check Clark's temperature. "You don't feel warm."
"I'm fine, Mom."
"Done with puberty?"
Clark put away the last of the dishes. "Not quite. But I figure I need more meals spaced throughout the day for the last of it." Clark was ready for the final phase - muscular/skeletal development. His bones were due to become denser - and he was supposed to put on at least fourteen pounds of muscle. From what Clark gathered, the fibers didn't increase in number, but widened and lengthened.
He surmised the best way to make sure this happened was to eat all day long. So eat all day he did.
When the spurt hit, the pain this time seemed less and definitely more manageable. Or maybe Clark had merely grown accustomed to it. The fire (as he now categorized it) hit as he stood. The height change shifted his perspective as he watched. The muscle growth forced a once oversized polo to grow snug as it hugged new bulges and contours.
In the morning, he had weighed in at 160. By bedtime, he weighed in at 185. And he'd grown another two inches. Clark fell asleep easily, dreaming sports dreams.
Of course, for all the thinking, for all the planning, Clark had neglected one crucial element in the changes associated with puberty: wardrobe. He quickly discovered his error while dressing for breakfast the next morning. To say the act proved a bit of a challenge would represent not an understatement, but an absolute misrepresentation of the facts.
Clark reached for a pair of jeans and attempted to put them on. He found he needed to well, wiggle into them. He'd watched enough television to know it was something women did fairly regularly. He shrugged and set about the task it hand, although he did find the whole thing curious, given they'd been way too big the day before. The length of the jeans still seemed about right. It would then just be a matter of getting them...over...his...thighs and hips... And...getting...them...zipped.
Clark fought to get the pants over newly thicken quads and glutes and inhaled as he struggled with the zipper.
The denim finally yielded. The zipper, on the other hand, and the rear seam proved casualties.
Clark didn't fare much better with the shirt he'd selected. Also chosen for its previous roominess, Clark slipped on the garment and instantly discovered the sleeves were now much too short. Then, there was also the problem of the new rips in the sleeve seams themselves because of his arms and where the sleeves joined the back of the shirt, no doubt due (Clark assumed) to increased lat and trap mass. Broad backs and large arms looked good, but clearly needed to be shopped for.
Clark pulled off the shirt and bent to reach for another. The pants gave up entirely, dropping to the floor. He didn't care (for now) that the boxers were so tight they felt like they were cutting off his circulation.
When Clark finally showed up in the kitchen, he was wearing his father's clothing.
The normal quick pad-pad of Clark's feet down the stairs had been replaced by a more cautious, sluggish thwaaap-thump. Clark was shoeless. His father was reading the paper and didn't connect the ambling thuds with his child, though, in retrospect, it seemed ridiculous he didn't find it necessary to at least look up. Then again, it was Clark, and all things "necessary" and "rational" tended to take a flying leap out the window. That had started the day he and Martha had found the boy.
Of course, looking up might have prepared Jonathan. If one could have been prepared.
Jonathan saw the scene unfold with surreal clarity and an amazing lack of speed. Martha turned from the counter to hand over his morning coffee, and saw the man-sized Clark sitting in his usual chair. Clark's face was buried in a bowl of HoneyComb (what the heck did they put in that cereal nowadays anyway?); Martha stumbled, losing grip of the cup.
That had set the massive child (*my gawd, he's only thirteen*) in action, and Jonathan got a full view of longer limbs - and wobbly agility. Clark was still fast enough to catch the mug and the coffee as it spilled although freshly graceless - it was like watching a baby take his first few steps. Clark smiled and handed Martha the mug.
Currently, he literally towered over his mother. Jonathan figured as of this morning, Clark had to be six foot one if he was an inch. He shuddered involuntarily. The giant sequoia thing was looking more and more like fact not fiction.
Martha just stood gape mouthed. Luckily, Clark remained oblivious as he worked diligently to empty the last of the milk from this, his second bowl of cereal.
It was Martha who finally spoke. "Clark?" Her voice stopped barely short of trembling. For goodnessake, she he could see muscles where only yesterday there'd been none. And my oh my... What muscles they were. Martha looked down at Clark's feet. They were absolutely huge.
Clark went to the refrigerator for more milk. Martha looked to Jonathan. "I don't know," Jonathan began, "Five days ago, he mentioned 'puberty'... Sweet day in the..." Jonathan shook his head. "I think when we had that talk, I left out the part about it being a four-year process."
Martha huffed slightly. "Four years - at a minimum."
Both Martha and Jonathan turned to Clark. Damn if the boy hadn't grown an inch sipping milk from the bottle.
"I'll talk to him," said Jonathan.
"Please," said Martha. She smiled feebly.
Clark sat down, placing an overflowing bowl of fruit on the table. His parents watched as he polished off eight apples, two fistfuls of grapes, four nectarines, and two bananas. Apparently, the fruit was necessary for additional chest bulk. It was incredible actually, watching Clark's pectoral muscles expand.
Jonathan ducked a flying button.
Looking Clark in the eye later that day, his father had a conversation with him, detailing a bit more about the normal progression of puberty. The Kent family determined it would be in the best interest of all to keep Clark under wraps for the remainder of the summer.
Clark's increased height did help facilitate work around the house and farm. And when he emerged for the start of eighth grade, he found that Pete had had a growth spurt of his own. Although it was a more reasonable (mere) two inches.
Neither boy spoke of the vertical difference. They were buds after all. Still, it was weird... Pete walked with Clark, sneaking glances up at him as he accompanied him to the guidance counselor's office. It seemed Clark had been selected to show a transfer student around school. Pete watched as his friend folded himself into chair desk to wait. Damn, that was a lotta Clark.
Pete took his leave, catching a glimpse of the rather hot Chloe Sullivan as he made his way down the hall. He suspected that Clark was about to discover something new about puberty.
Chloe left the guidance counselor's office and stuck out her hand to introduce herself to the large young man who appeared jammed behind the desk and into the polyethylene seat. He rose, the desk chair rising with him.
Clark worked to extricate himself, finally managing to disengage his rear from the chair. As he began the unfolding process, Chloe watched intently. It seemed to take FOR-EV-A before this Kent person was fully upright - and it made her feel a little...well... Whatever it was, it brought a smile to her face.
Clark felt something too, as he moved behind Chloe indicating "points of interest." That, combined with the look on her face, made it very clear to him that size might have its advantages.
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