A Conversation in the Snow

by zahra

For Hope.

There are already flowers on her grave when Clark arrives, and if they had a standing appointment, Clark would worry that he's late. Except that it's always this way, and Clark thinks the flowers must get delivered weekly or something. The irises look fresh underneath the falling snow, and some of them have fallen from the top of the marker onto the inches of white that are accumulating rapidly on the pavement. Clark can only tell this by the green of the stems as the flowers themselves have blended into the cotton-like whiteness. It's cold enough that the flowers might just freeze and be preserved until the thaw, and he wonders if that's really possible.

It's not a stinging sort of snow; it's more lush than anything else, and there's simply a lot of it. If she were buried anywhere else, Clark probably wouldn't be able to find her marker.

He wonders if she liked the snow.


"I know it's been a while," he begins, using wool-covered fingertips to brush off the snow around the flowers. "I've been kinda busy at the farm because my dad hurt his leg, and I know that's no real excuse with the alien powers thing, but hey. Plus, Lana moved in with Chloe and her dad, which just freaked me out, and Pete well, Pete's Pete... and then there's all that other stuff that seems to happen." Clark grimaces and pauses, blinking when snowflakes fall into his eyelashes, obstructing his view.

He tends to tell Lex's mom the things that he can't tell anybody else. He tells her the things that he wishes he could tell Chloe and his mom.

He tells her the things he wishes he could tell Lex.

Of course she's not just anybody so she couldn't just be buried anywhere, and Clark only comes to see her sometimes. Not all the time. He doesn't want to impose, and besides, he thinks that it would be wrong. He doesn't need to visit her, he just wants to. Not because of what she did, but because of who she was.

She brings him closer to Lex.

After Cassandra died, Clark went to her grave for a while too. He's not sure when he got into the habit of visiting graveyards, but he suspects that it started with Lana. In the beginning, he thought Lana's visiting her dead parents was creepy, but since he's made a habit of coming to see Lillian Luthor, he can't really talk. He's visiting someone who isn't even a part of his family. Not that he really knows his family, but he's got this earth family - he's gone over it a million times. Clark thinks he must look like all those homeless guys he sees sometimes that are having conversations with themselves.

There's really no justification for this, but visiting her is important to Clark all the same, so he doesn't try to rationalize why.

There are enough questions in his life already.


He shoves his hands in his pockets because he doesn't know what else to do with them. In the summertime, he would sit on the ground and trace the outline of her name in the dark marble, but alien or not, wet jeans just suck all around.

"I don't know if Lex told you, but I met a girl. She was nice. I liked her, and she liked me. But she's gone now, and I miss her. Everyone says that I didn't know her that long, and that I'll get over it soon, but it doesn't feel like that. I know I only knew her for a while, but it hurts and -- and she kept secrets from me." Clark takes a deep breath and tries to think of how to say this so that he's fair. So that it's not just what he wants to say. He really liked Kyla, but somewhere that it counts, he knows she wasn't the one.

However, for once, he truly understands the disappointment and pain that come from something being kept from you. It's not the same as the secret of his birth - then he was just angry. This is different.

"I really liked her, and she hurt me."


Clark doesn't want to take Lex's mom for granted, not the way that he might do with Lex sometimes. He doesn't do it intentionally, but sometimes he thinks that Lex looks sad, and even if he doesn't always say 'thanks' it's not that Clark's not grateful. He tries to explain this to Mrs. Luthor as though a slab of granite can understand. It's stupid, but it's not; and he likes to think that she knows what he's trying to say in that mom-way. Of course, it's not as though Lillian Luthor is his mother, but this has nothing to do with his mom because she's great and he loves her, and well. She's his mother. She knows him; she doesn't know Lex.

This is about Lex.

Clark wants to know about Lex, and he figures he should come to the person who knew him best. It's not as though they actually talk, but visiting Mrs. Luthor's memorial makes Clark feel better, and he appreciates that. He's not even sure that Lex's mom knew him best, but Lex certainly seems to miss her, and Lex said he loved her. That's good enough for Clark. It's not as though Clark is going to go to the castle and ask Lionel Luthor what makes Lex tick. He's young, not stupid; and he's only willing to take so many risks. This one is calculated and thought out. Clark only comes to see her every few months or so. This will be his Christmas visit, and the holidays seem to make people maudlin, so he takes extra precautions.

Clark comes at night, when there are fewer people and a lesser chance of being seen. He comes on the weekend instead of on the weekdays when Lex might be in town for business. He comes when the weather is bad instead of when it's nice, and he detours by the castle beforehand to make sure Lex won't materialize out of the Metropolis skyline.

Only the truly dedicated give anything that much thought.


He takes his hands out his pockets and studies the mittens that his mother made. Red and blue, just like everything else he owns. He loves his mother very much, he can't imagine the pain of losing her.

"Kyla listened to me, and she knew about the whole freak from another planet thing. I didn't tell her, but she just knew. She guessed, but I didn't try and deny it. I don't know why, I just *didn't*. I know you wanted me to tell Lex. I wanted to tell him - I want to, but he's been acting so strangely. And he got married, what was I supposed to think about that?" Clark knows he sounds petulant, especially to his own ears, but it's been such an odd year. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

"I didn't mean for it to happen, it just did, and everything been so Wall of Weird recently, that I guess it was nice to have someone who seemed so uncomplicated. I mean the year itself was fine until around the anniversary of the accident, and then everything was all wrong. I had all these hopes, you know, but Lex wasn't even around, and then he came back with Desiree. And then there was Byron, and now there's this doctor, and it's just not right.

"I want to fix it, but I don't know how."


Clark brought flowers the first time he came to see her, but they were wild, and the beautiful irises were already there. His handful of daisies looked sort of out of place in comparison, so he stopped bringing them. Now he brings something else instead. Clark brings Lex's mom stories of the things he does with Lex, and the things that Lex says, and he tells her his troubles and Lex's troubles. Clark knows some people would say it's odd that he feels that sort of connection with Lex's mom, but he's not going to question it. They both care(d) about Lex, and it's right. Clark can't say that for a lot in his life; but when he bends down to scoop up the errant flowers, it turns out they're frozen, and when he grabs at them, they crumble, and he pulls back.

He always tries to be so careful; sometimes it doesn't work.

Sometimes things break. He doesn't want to break Lex.


Clark takes a deep breath and steps back slightly to look at the Lady of Justice as though she's judging him. He hopes he's not wanting. "Pete knows too. I had to tell him. We lost the ship during the tornado, and then he found it with me in this cornfield. He wanted to call the Inquisitor or something, and I didn't know what else to do. I know I keep saying I don't know what else to do, but it's true. I know if I told Lex this could all go away, but - but I can't. Not yet. Things aren't right, and there's all this stuff in the way."


The snow seeps into the wool of Clark gloves, but his fingers don't get cold. He's never had frostbite, but his mother would have a fit if she could see him standing out in the snow with nothing more than his corduroy jacket and some gloves as protection. He can't help it; Clark likes the snow. It's pretty, and it makes everything seem so peaceful. It's just nice/ beautiful/ right.

Metropolis when is snows is like the snow globe that his mom unpacks around this time every year and places on the mantle above the fireplace. It's too beautiful to be true, and as Clark stands there contemplating this, there's snow falling in his hair, and his lips are turning blue. All the outward appearances of cold don't penetrate through. Naturally, he would be cold if he was anyone else. Point in fact, he would probably be freezing, but Clark isn't just anybody. He's not somebody else, so it really doesn't matter. None of it matters, not even his talking to the grave of his best friend's dead mother.

He thinks she might understand what he's trying to say.

Snowflakes whirl around him, and his hair whips into his eyes, causing them to tear up. It has nothing to do with the cold, and the snow. It has nothing to do with paying respects to a woman he never knew in life.


"He misses you, you know. He doesn't say it or anything, but I can tell. I don't know what to do now, and I was kinda hoping you could help me out. I mean he's your son, and he's my friend - my best friend - but I don't know how to help him, and I really want to. I'm not sure what I think you're going to say, but I just. I wanted you to know that I'm going to try and make it work out."


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