Ugly Duckling

by Miria

Feedback is appreciated- the good and the bad. Huge, massive thank you's to MOSS- you my girl!

He always hated looking in the mirror. When he was little and loved to watch his father shave, he would always sit on the toilet, at just the right angle so he could watch the practiced motions of the razor smooth his father's face and throat, not catching even a glimpse of his own reflection in the mirror.

It was a practiced art, not looking at yourself, and he became a champion at it. At times it was almost easy to convince himself that he didn't remember what his face looked like, what his hair and skin looked like. That he fit in with the rest of his world as if he had belonged there from the beginning, just another slice of Kent down home goodness.

It always made him a little sad when he noticed just how much he didn't look like his father. His father was so... light in comparison to himself, and looking at his mother, he knew that he didn't come from her either. If there had ever been a question in his mind about whether or not he was adopted, a single glance at his parents confirmed it for him.

It made him, on occasion, sick to his stomach.

Why was he here, in this place, with these people, who at times seemed so burdened by his mere presence? They tried to hide it, but he wasn't stupid; he wasn't blind, and he could see the glances that his parents threw his way when they thought he wasn't looking.

He knew that they loved him. He knew that. They made a point to tell him every day that he was the light of their lives.

But what kind of light made their mother cry at night or made their father have to do the work of three men just to make sure that he didn't have to hire extra help? "Just a few more years," his father would say to his mother when she would worry and cry and fret over the aching muscles, the wear and tear on his body and in his face. Clark heard them, he heard the conversations and he ached to make it all go away.

He didn't know where he came from. He didn't know who his real parents were or why they had given him up to be raised by people who looked nothing like him, but he knew, as he listened to his adopted mother cry herself to sleep, he KNEW that he hated them. Hated them with everything that he had, that he was, because these people, who had risked everything to take him in, didn't deserve this.

They deserved a different kind of miracle baby, one who was normal and red-haired and perfect, who didn't break the barn door or lift the tractor and didn't keep his parents in an unwitting hermitage at their farm for fear of discovery of whatever it was that he was.

He wasn't the answer to their prayers. He wasn't a miracle child. He was simply, in his own mind, trash, tossed away by a mother and father who didn't want him, couldn't love him, didn't think he was worth the time or effort and watching his parents through the crack in the bedroom door as they argued in hushed tones about what to do now, he knew that they were right.

He wasn't worth it, he wasn't worth anything. Just the kid who looked nothing like his folks, who was laughed at by the kids at school because they knew what his parents obviously couldn't admit to themselves, that Clark Kent was a nothing, a nobody who was tossed away like so much garbage- and why did he even bother sticking around, anyway?

The question hit him more and more often, the idea that he didn't have to stay, that he could go find his real mother and father and give them a nice, hard kick to the shins and ask them why he wasn't good enough, and what did the Kents ever do to deserve something like him if his real parents couldn't be bothered to keep him?

The urge to run away tore at him as times got harder and harder but something made him stay. Something made him go to bed every night in his own bed and listen to his parents discuss just what to do with him. Something made him stay in that bed, no matter how bad it got because no matter what he thought, his mother still called him her miracle baby and still crept into his room when she thought he was sleeping to watch him- just watch him breathe- and he knew he couldn't go. Not yet.

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