Remember the past, plan for the future, but live for today, because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. -Luke
Time. Plainly and simply stated, there is a lot of time. Time does not care about the circle of life or evolution. It does not have emotions; love and hate mean nothing to time. It just exists. The human perception of how life unfolds has been pushed into one little word: time. But, does time just flow along like a river? Or, are there rapids and twists and turns and still waters? Why does it seem to go so quickly some moments and insanely slow others? What if- what if you could bend time? Change it? Fast-forward or rewind it? Freeze frame one special place forever? Or make an endless loop, of a day that you will never forget?
Clark was lying on a soft bed in a dimly lit room. Lithe hands moved over his shoulders and down his lower torso, gently tickling and massaging him. The blue eyes of the hand's owner watched him and he smiled at the feelings of love radiating from them. Moaning, he moved towards the pleasant sensation, and deeply kissed the hungry mouth before him. The sensation of clothed skin rubbing against his naked body caused him to whimper with urgent need. The twin mattress began to squeak in protest as they rocked together heavily, banging the headboard against the wall. Grinding his erection into the fabric-clad muscular leg harder, Clark moved towards climax.
This was a desire that he didn't often feel during his waking hours, and he lusted for more as he cried out sharply in pleasure.
Clark hated waking up with a hard-on. A few years earlier, he would have had an embarrassing mess to clean up, but luckily that was a thing of the past. The sexual dream and its occupant faded from his mind as he turned off the alarm. Yawning and stretching, he reluctantly got out of bed and made his way to the bathroom to have his regular morning shower.
Today was Friday, so he was mildly ecstatic that the week would finally be over. His screwed up joke of a life had gotten even more difficult lately. Having endured about a million heart tests, his dad had recently come home from the hospital, as he had so bitterly complained about being 'cooped up like a hen chicken' since arriving back.
It wasn't that Clark didn't care because it hurt to see his father this way; but, his dad stubbornly tried to do too much too fast. Clark wanted to yell or just overall freak-out whenever he saw his dad lift, push, or move too quickly and start gasping for breath. No matter what Clark or his mom said, his father continually did the opposite, and it was driving him up the wall. To make things worse, his dad was now only slightly less moody and depressed than before he'd left, while his mother had been whole-heartedly worried and stressed in his absence. And Clark was stuck somewhere in the middle. So, the overall atmosphere was now about the same as before, which made him even madder because 'things were supposed to be getting better' like his mom kept saying over and over to either him or herself. Exhausted by too much thinking, Clark made his way downstairs into the kitchen inhaling a deep breath of something good.
Analyzing his feelings, he realized that his parent's moods must have been rubbing off on him a little too much causing him to be unnaturally depressed, worried and stressed about everything. No, he was expected to be the happy-go-lucky Clark Kent that everyone adored, not some moody and mopey doppelganger version of himself.
Absently, he greeted his mom with a faint smile and nod as he entered the downstairs kitchen.
Life had gotten more complicated everyday since Lex Luthor had hit him with his car. He wished he could turn back time to when he had merely thought that he was special instead of some Area 51 reject. Life would be so much simpler. Like when he and Pete had used to collect tadpoles from the nearby pond, feed them and watch as they turned into frogs. 'Okay, maybe not quite that far back.' And there weren't any fairytale endings to those memories either, most of the poor little frogs had ended up dying by frying out in the sun.
Clark muttered out loud, "Wow, way too morbid thoughts there."
"Did you say something honey?" His mom turned towards his direction.
"Not really, I was just talking to myself."
"Oh, well as long as you don't answer back, then it's okay."
Clark laughed at his mom's warped sense of humor. At least, she seemed happier today.
'What was I thinking about?' Lex. Problems and Lex. He tried not to actively blame any of his current troubles on Lex or anyone else for that matter.
But, his problems simply seemed to grow and multiply like some monstrous computer virus. For starters: Lionel Luther had practically super-glued himself to Clark's ass, continually asking him questions and getting much too close for comfort. It was becoming quite upsetting. The urge to strangle the man was becoming just a bit harder to fight every day. Lionel Luthor made him sick.
Staring out of the front window to keenly watch his dad from a distance, Clark quickly went outside to zip through a couple of easy morning chores. During those boring minutes he couldn't stop feeling sorry for himself.
Pete and Chloe were trying to start some sort of relationship, which was confusing in itself. Chloe had seemed more than flattered by their elevator kiss, but that didn't mean they were now committed for life. Did it? Seeing them holding hands in the school's hallways practically icked him out. He couldn't stop feeling jealous about that fact that he didn't have anyone to hold hands with himself.
Lana – the girl he'd yearned for, dated briefly, then pushed so far away that there was now going to be a whole ocean between them — was leaving for Paris in a few weeks. 'Just wonderful.' His friends had no time to spend with him. Lex was an entirely different matter. There was so much confusion and heartache that it simply scared him to think too much about their friendship. If it could be called that. Sometimes, it almost felt like they weren't even friends anymore.
Clark was starting to miss hanging out with people, and the loneliness was bothering him. It made him feel like more of an outsider, like someone that nobody wanted to be around anymore. Only people, who wanted something from him that he was not willing to give, haunted his presence, like the FBI or meteor mutants who seemed to hound his every move. The usual secrets and lies which Clark constantly had to tell to almost everyone continued to weigh heavier on his mind with each passing day.
Standing in the middle of the barn, Clark mumbled, "Chloe is right, I'm a big fat liar." Turning he left to go back into the house.
Washing his hands in the kitchen sink, Clark spoke in a hushed tone, "How are you doing today?"
"I'm fine. You should eat before the food gets cold." She pointed at the table's large plate of pancakes.
"Hot or cold I eat too fast to tell the difference anyway."
It warmed his heart to hear his mom laugh with genuine happiness.
Finally, he decided, as he sat down to eat breakfast that he just wanted to relax and stop thinking for a whole day. Maybe Lex would like to do something with him on the weekend. His once close friend was distant from him now, and Clark felt guilty about the rift that was forming between them. A few things had gone wrong lately in Smallville, and he had accused Lex of becoming too much like his father. It was one of the few insults that actually bothered his friend. When thinking back, he realized that he had been too harsh with Lex; Lex had always been a good friend to him, and he realized that he should start returning the favor.
"Mom, I was thinking of going over to Lex's after school. I haven't seen him much lately, and I wanna go out with him tomorrow." Clark knew that he'd been a bit short-tempered lately, and by going out the next day with a friend to have some fun, he could prove to himself that he could still enjoy life without needing to stress out all the time.
"Will you be home for dinner?" His mom smiled, looking happy with his decision.
"Yes. If not I'll call." He sighed and ate the delicious pancakes that his mom had made. "These are really great!"
In the background, the news was playing, and Clark was disheartened to see that an earthquake had hit Asia somewhere around Russia. The quake had a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter and was followed by many aftershocks of almost as high a magnitude. He watched as they stated death toll estimates ranged all the way to over 5,000 and other horrifying facts, feeling bad for the people on the other side of the world.
His mom glanced over at the TV and mentioned what a shame it was, all those poor people. The feeling of guilt made him angry. Well, it wasn't fun living in 'tornado alley' either, he mused. He quickly gave himself a mental slap for thinking such a thing. 'God, feeling anymore pathetic today?' There really wasn't anything he could do about an earthquake on the other side of the world, so he moved his thoughts onto closer family matters.
"How's Dad doing?"
"He's in better spirits today. But before you go, he needed some help with the tractor. I think there may be a flat tire." His mom picked up his empty plate then continued, "Do you know what you two will be doing Saturday?"
"I don't know. Maybe doing something different in Metropolis for a change? Go bowling. I know how much Lex would love that." Clark snickered.
"I'd like to see that. I hope things go okay between you and Lex." Still smiling Clark could see her brows wrinkle into small stress lines.
"Everything will be fine. Stop worrying."
His mom hugged him. Letting him go with a sweet motherly smile, she walked over to the sink to do the dishes. His mom was the best.
Before leaving for school, Clark quickly went to change the tire on the tractor. On the way, he decided to have a bit of a father and son chat and hoped that it would help them both feel better.
Smiling, his dad looked at him with a strange distant look on his face, "Thanks, Son. I hope you have a good day at school." His face was dirty with oil and something orange was streaked across his forehead.
He joked, "Sure, another exciting day at Smallville High. What could possibly go wrong?"
"Clark, I know things have been rough lately. But, I promise they'll be turning for the better soon. And yes, I'm feeling just fine." His dad patted him lovingly on the shoulder before joking, "In fact, I may be in better health than I was before."
His worry must have been showing again. Clark never could hide his emotions like other people he knew, aka Lex, who seemed to be able to appear just fine when he was actually plotting some serious revenge or something. Smiling, he tried to appear happier.
"Really?" His dad did appear stronger. "You know how much mom and I worry about you, right?"
"Yes. And, I know how pig-headed I can be too. But that doesn't always stop us from feeling and acting the way we do even when we know we're wrong."
Clark had always thought his dad was the strong one, even the fact that Clark could lift him using only his pinky finger had never really made him stop to think about how fragile his dad could be. 'Just like any other human being.' "We care about you. Please, just ask for my help or wait for me to come home first so I can do the larger chores before doing to much on your own, okay?"
His dad sighed, "I will try. I just hated feeling…. so." He turned away from Clark looking up into the bright blue sky, "…useless."
Clark wanted to hug him and tell his dad how he would always be one of the most important people in his life. Instead, Clark held back and settled for just a hug.
"I know I've told you this before, but I will never regret that you are my son and I will do anything I have to in order to keep you safe. Because I love you that much." His dad hugged him tighter, not wanting to let him go.
"That's why it hurts me so much that because of what I did you had to end up paying for it. You and mom- It's always my fault."
"Don't you ever say that again. You hear me? I'll always be proud of you and standby whatever choices you make." Clark glanced at his father's stern expression. "You better get going, or you'll be late for school."
"Sorry." As Clark began to walk away, he remembered his plans for later that day, "Oh, I'd like to go out with, Lex, tomorrow. I'll be asking him after classes. It'd be great to get away and go to Metropolis for the day, but only if you're absolutely positive that you don't need me."
"I'll be fine. I hope you have fun." His dad smiling about Clark spending time with Lex was almost eerie in a nice different kind of way.
"Gotta go. Give mom a big kiss I think she'd like that. See ya."
Clark grinned to himself as he sped off to school. It was great that they had been able to talk even for that brief a moment. He hadn't seen his dad that much lately and now that he had talked with him, Clark really felt like things would be getting better. And, it had been great to almost get permission to go out with his friend as well.
In the past, it had been fun sometimes to bug his dad about Lex. Deep down, Clark knew that his dad had at the very least warmed up to Lex being in their lives, but even if it interfered with his dad's basic sense of morals and logic, the noble Jonathan Kent still had a problem seeing past the Luthor name. 'No one's perfect.' Not Lex or even his own dad. Those thoughts surprised him as Clark made his super-fast short-cut to school.
He still only breezed into class with less than ten seconds to spare. Pete gave him a thumbs up and Chloe rolled her eyes at his now standard almost tardiness. In English, the teacher introduced Hamlet to the class. She talked about how one of the play's major themes was Hamlet's procrastination problem, and about the ongoing debate as to whether Hamlet was really mad or not. He hadn't read the play yet, only Lex would think something like that was light reading material. It was mildly appealing. Second period Math class had a trivial exam; he believed to have passed as usual with flying colors. Overall, the morning was uneventful.
At lunch, Chloe found him walking down one of the hallways leading to the Torch. "Clark, I have to tell you about this retarded movie I saw with Pete last night!"
"Sure, what was it called?"
She snorted after saying the title, "A Foreign Affair." Clark didn't think it sounded very funny.
"We got to see it in special limited release. Personally, I think they're trying to make the audience not realise that it was about this close to being a straight-to-video." Her thumb and forefinger were held about an inch apart. "It was almost like being forced to watch The Bachelor."
"Really. Weren't you guys lucky." Replying sarcastically, he tried to seem interested. "So, what was it about?"
Chloe giggled further, "Two Midwest brothers urgently need household help after their mother dies. So, they decide to join a matchmaking trip to Russia to find and bring home a traditionally minded housewife. My God, how demeaning to women does that sound to you?"
"Huh? Oh yeah, very." 'Please let that be the correct answer.' He had zoned out halfway though.
She didn't appear to notice, "I think David Arquette was kinda cute in it."
Clark smiled, "Me too."
"God, can you believe Pete just loved it?" She was looking at him with an overtly amused look on her face.
"I think Pete secretly has the hots for Tim Blake Nelson." She was obviously trying hard not to laugh.
"What?" She had to be mocking him.
"Clark, you're not even listening to me, are you?"
Sounding defensive, he said, "I tried to."
She poked him in the arm, "Men." Chloe turned to leave him, probably in the search for Pete.
He had wanted to be interested in what she was saying, and he tried to be happy for them and their new relationship, which excluded him. Shaking his head, he started back towards the Torch. His next class, Biology wasn't for another hour. 'Smallville weirdness was never-ending.'
Calling out from behind him, Chloe yelled, "Pete and I are going to watch the Crows practice during our spare time, if you want to join us we'd be happy to see you there! It could be fun to watch. The quarterback this year is a real A-hole. We could make fun of him together!"
He hollered back, "Maybe!"
He didn't have any time to give a better answer before she was gone. It was a nice invitation, but today he didn't feel like dealing with other peoples relationships, so he opted out of going soon after being asked. Instead, his spare time would be a mildly lonely one surfing the internet.
A few minutes later, Clark sighed as he looked outside the nearest window and saw the High School's football team the Crows practicing for one of the season's last games tomorrow. Feeling a twinge of jealously at no longer being part of the team, like two years ago for a whole week almost didn't count, and that they, being Chloe and Pete, were there together without him. First, it only gave him a taste of 'school spirit' and popularity sort of things and being part of the team had almost made him forget how not normal he really was. Second, they tended to get way too touchy-feely with each other. Plus, he still felt a touch of contempt from time to time when he remembered Whitney and friends making him a Scarecrow just for the fun of it. Oh well, 'such is life.'
With an unusual lack of interest, Clark spent most of Biology class playing with his pen. When he applied too much pressure by accident, it sprayed a ton of ink onto his arm and the top up the desk. Embarrassed, he managed to clean it up without having the whole class gawk at him.
Clark made sure to mutter out a comment, "Stupid cheap pens."
Leaning over to help and to whisper into his ear Pete said, "You have to be more careful man. Chloe's only gonna believe that a pen can be that 'defectively brittle' so many times."
"Yeah yeah." 'Over protective hen.' Clark glanced over to see her staring at him mischievously.
Later during last class, he vaguely wondered where Lana was, but he figured that she had used her spare time that day to do some extra work for the Talon; since she wouldn't be there much longer. She had mentioned to him that the coffee shop had been officially sold, and that this weekend would be its final few days open before she would be retiring it.
At the end of the school day, he was glad that no big stories, such as meteor mutants or unexplained deaths, had occurred. Lionel had been blissfully absent, in Metropolis, and he sure didn't miss that bastard. If only that controlling ruthless man could stay away forever, in his own empire far, far away from him and Lex. That would make Clark very happy indeed.
Smiling, Clark made his way down the long country road holding his full backpack by one hand on his shoulder. 'Tomorrow was going to be great.' It was going to be fun to get out and breathe again, without having that suffocating feeling, and it'd be nice to make Lex laugh again.
As he wandered into the Luthor mansion, he momentarily wondered whether Lex would be pleased to see him. His friend had been so busy lately with work and trying to get his own father incarcerated that Clark had seen very little of him, and when he did, it didn't always turn out so well. Lex was so devoted to spying on Lionel 24/7 that he willingly wore a listening device almost constantly now even when he wasn't around his father, 'you never know when the devil might show up unannounced.' On the hopes of sending Lionel off packing to prison on any criminal activity or technicality that Lex could get on him.
Clark had first found the FBI wire by accident a few weeks ago when he'd been sorta prying into Lex's business uninvited and had seen it taped onto his friends chest with his x-ray vision. Looking back, he still couldn't believe how easily he had just ripped Lex's shirt open. 'Wow, wasn't I a brazen one?' Being angry had been a great excuse at the time. Then again, he had done the same to Chloe as well, to save her life, which really didn't salvage the fact that the only thing Lex had been in danger of was betraying Clark. Now something like that would have instantly ended their friendship, maybe forever.
He quickly x-scanned the rooms for Lex and, once locating him, went straight to the main office. The stained glass window at the far end of the room was open, letting in a cool fresh spring breeze. Clark noticed a rather large pile of folders on the left side of Lex's desk, which his friend was staring at with distain. Sure looked like super-fun research, or whatever it was, from where Clark was standing. Making a loud enough noise to attract Lex's attention, Clark was dismayed when Lex looked up with a dour expression.
"What can I do for you today, Clark?" He noticed that his friend was wearing his wire at the moment. That, plus something about him was on edge, guarded, even more than usual.
"I'd like to know if you're free on Saturday?" Clark moved nervously, shifting his feet.
"May I ask why?" Lex's somber expression promptly turned neutral.
"I was wondering if maybe you wanted to do something. But, I don't want to bother you if you're busy. Things have been kind of crazy lately, and…"
Lex raised his eyebrow curiously, asking, "And?"
"If you're busy, that's okay."
"What else were you going to say, Clark? 'Things have been kind of crazy lately, and? And what?"
"I've missed spending time with you. I like to hang out with you. But if you're busy, that's okay." Clark couldn't believe how idiotic that must have sounded. He glanced away, toward a beautiful painting on the wall, and began to blush. The gracefully blended colors seemed to be there to harmonize that section of the room. Lex had definitely re-furnished a bit in the last few weeks, and Clark just hadn't been here often enough lately to have noticed sooner.
"I have a meeting here tomorrow morning at eight o'clock that I have to attend. But, the rest of my schedule can be arranged to give me the day off, if need be." Lex stood and looked hesitant to say more.
Clark heard the 'if need be' louder than anything else Lex had said and asked in an uncertain rush, "Lex, would you like to do something fun with me tomorrow?"
He didn't want to beg, but if Lex said no, he knew that he might start to whine immaturely. So, he just stared intently at his friend and gave him one of his super smiles, hoping to charm a 'yes' out of him.
Lex shook his head in mild amusement. "What do you mean by fun?"
Clark walked closer to him, noting to himself that Lex was dressed all in black again. He liked his friends colorful shirts better, black made him look like a morbid criminal, and it saddened Clark for some reason that he didn't comprehend. Now purple or burgundy, those looked good on him. 'Why am I thinking about Lex's wardrobe?'
"You know the thing that makes you feel good. Fun. We could do anything you want, I don't care. We could go to Metropolis, if you want? There's more to do there." He had a sudden urge to touch Lex in order to try to make him feel more at ease, but didn't.
Lex walked up to him and stared directly into his eyes. It felt like his friend could see right into his very soul, and God was it uncomfortable. 'What was he looking for?'
"Sure. I'd like that. I'll pick you up at ten. Do you want me to surprise you with something, fun?" Lex smirked seductively at him. Clark had gotten used to that particular expression years ago. He missed seeing it. Lex didn't look at many people that way, and it made Clark feel special that his friend had certain looks just for him. Though what they actually meant was a whole different thing.
"Yeah. That'd be great!" Clark had the urge to leave now. The conversation had turned out to be a bit weirder than he had thought it would be. Weird in that Lex was being very friendly and that he wanted Lex to be even friendlier. Plus, his mind was going into the gutter faster than usual around Lex. He had gotten a yes, and it made him feel a strange flutter in his chest. 'That just meant I'm very happy, right?'
As he turned to leave, Lex put his hand on Clark's arm and said, "I'm glad that you want to do something with me, Clark. It really means a lot. I like spending time with you as well." His smile just reached his eyes. "You're not staying?"
"No. I promised I'd be home for supper." Clark stepped out of Lex's grasp and started to walk towards the front door. Turning back to face his friend, he continued, "But I'm looking forward to seeing you tomorrow."
"Till then." Lex took his lame excuse in stride and walked back to his desk, sat down and began to look through some of the folders.
Once he was out the door and halfway to the front gates, Clark stopped and used his super-hearing to spy on what Lex might be saying to himself. He knew that he was invading his friend's privacy, and that it had become an extremely bad habit of his, but he couldn't help himself. He wanted to know what Lex was up to, all the time. After a minute, he heard Lex pick up his phone and tell his assistant to cancel his afternoon appointments for the next day. He heard the lady mention that Lionel Luthor wouldn't be too happy about that, and Lex replied with, '-it's none of your business. I'm not paying you for personal advice.' After the click of the receiver, there was an absolute silence. Sighing and not knowing what he had expected, he slowly began the long walk home, wanting the extra time to think.
In all honesty, he wasn't sure what he really wanted from Lex. He practically expected his friend to be some sort of saint, and when Lex didn't always measure up to his own personal standards, it hurt him. Sighing to himself, Clark wondered why the feeling bothered him much.
During supper, Clark hoped that his parents wouldn't be wondering why he was acting so strangely, because he didn't know why either. Sure, he was quieter than usual but at the same time he felt jumpy. His whole body tingled in an extremely abnormal way. It kinda felt like the air was vibrating off of his skin and sending little shock waves of electricity up and down his spine. Sounds seemed louder than usual, the carrots and potato's aromas tickled the inside of his nose, and his chair felt like lumpy rocks under his ass. Not to sound too melodramatic, but it felt like his body sensed that there was something wrong in the very air around him.
After what must have been the tenth time of loudly shifting in his seat and scratching his nose his mom finally asked, "Clark, is something the matter?"
Staring up at her surprised that she'd noticed his fidgeting, Clark lied, "No."
"Well, it'd be great if you finished eating your meal before you accidentally make it fly off the table." his dad joked, obviously trying to make light of the situation.
"Oh yeah, I guess maybe I'm a bit stressed still, and I'm kinda excited about going out tomorrow."
Frowning, his dad replied, "Where are you going tomorrow? I don't remember you mentioning anything to me."
"This morning, remember? I said I was going to ask Lex if he wanted to go to Metropolis with me." Clark glanced at his mom and saw her resolved expression of acceptance; it was nice to know that his mom was still quite willing for the two of them to stay friends.
His mom smiled as she got up to get her freshly made cherry pie from the kitchen. "That's great. I hope you two have a good time."
His dad snorted into his milk before gruffly stating, "Sorry, I guess I forgot. Just make sure to have your chores done before you leave, and be back before eleven."
Clark smiled at his now sighing dad, who continued eating his meal by extra vigorously chewing on his steak.
Sure, maybe he wasn't normally inclined to ask permission before going anywhere or doing anything, he most often just did it… because hey, he was almost eighteen and… heck it was nice to just have the permission even if his dad still could have said no. But, this time he had asked and after doing a few quick chores tomorrow he'd be home free to have a roaring good time.
The rest of the supper, evening and night went by at a regular pace. Trying to ignore the continued annoyance of unusual sounds and sensations, Clark finally let himself relax, feeling content knowing that he would finally be spending some quality time with one of his best friends.
Lying sprawled across his twin bed, it was around midnight before he was finally able to calm down enough go into a deep sleep.