A failed experiment in writing. It's been done on my computer for a long time now; I just never felt the need to put it out there. *shrug* If you have some helpful advice of how to improve this fic, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

Atlas.

Zeitgeist.

-----------------------------

"You remind me of Atlas."

Clark looks up at him. "Who?"

"The famous Greek god. He stood alone, forced to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. You remind me of him sometimes. I think it's the way you slouch."

He grimaces. "Thanks."

"Sit up, Clark. There's no reason for you to look so despondent all the time."

*************

"Your father and I have tried to shelter you as much as possible, but one day we won't be there for you and you're going to have to carry the burden of your gifts on your own."

On my own?

"No, Mom, don't say that."

I don't think I'm strong enough. I don't think I can do this by myself.

I don't think I want to be alone.

*************

"What happened to Atlas at the end?"

Lex shrugs. "Never really had an end. They never cared about him enough to discuss what would have happened."

Tentative pause. "Do… do you think he would have been happy?"

He gave a skeptical chuckle. "No one likes to carry the world on their shoulders, Clark. He led a life of pain and misery, always staggering under the weight of the earth and sky. You know, I saw a stone statue of him once in Florence." He reflects. "He always appeared to be on the verge of snapping into two."

"I thought gods were invulnerable."

"That's what made the Greeks so unique, Clark. They infused their gods with a touch of human mortality." Lex glances at him. "Atlas had his weak points, just like the rest of us. You think he liked being lonely?" He shakes his head with a smile on his face. "No, no one is invulnerable. Even pillars break."

"I don't get it, though. Why didn't he just quit his job?"

Lex smiles again and walks to the head of the stairs, preparing to leave. "It's not that easy. He had to accept his fate, Clark. The world can't survive without an Atlas."

*************

"You can't change who you are. As long as you live, people will try to exploit you."

Maybe there is a way I can change that.

Clark sits in front of the gray, rectangular box. Drawing in a sharp breath, he opens it.

Immediately he feels the effects. The pain strikes at his stomach, but he shakes it off and reaches his hand toward the box.

Trembling, he picks up one of the meteor shards –

Burn! Drops it.

Hand now clammy, taking in another wheezy breath, he reaches out and picks the shard up again.

Ignores the instinct to drop it. Squeezes it in his hand. Hard. Pain.

Swallowing saliva. Picks up another shard and is able to drop it into his hand.

I can do this.

Squeeze. Pain shoots up his arm.

I'm not an alien.

Pick it up. Drop. Squeeze.

Pain! It hurts, hurts –

No! It doesn't hurt. I'm not an alien!

Squeezes harder.

Picks it up. Drops. Pain. Squeeze. Denial.

Pick up. Drop. Pain. Squeeze. Denial.

Tears.

Head drops down onto the table with a loud thud.

Chair tips over.

Body falls to the floor. Cough. Tears.

I'm not an alien.

*************

There's no changing who you are. No changing who you will become.

He wears the suit well.

*************

"Do you believe in destiny, Lex?"

"I've always told you that I'm a strong believer in fate."

"Yeah… but it's a little depressing, isn't it? It's like you have no control over what lies in your future."

"My destiny is to be a better man than my father ever was. Why would I want to change that?"

"But if you're stuck with a sucky destiny… well…"

"If that's what you're worried about, Clark, you needn't worry. You're one of the strongest people I know. You're going to be something great."

Something great.

"I'm not sure I want to be great, Lex."

I just want to be happy.

*************

Some things just aren't meant to be.

But maybe someone will be there to save him…

When he breaks…