Deeper than Friendship
By Elizabeth Bathory

DISCLAIMER: The characters of Smallville belong to its creators and by no way is this work being used for profit. It is purely for enjoyment purposes.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is just a small fic that I had rattling around in my head that I had to get out. It has some basis from Smallville's pilot episode and "Fever." Forgive me that it is not my usual length.

On any other late fall day, driving up to the Kents' farm would be a happy experience for Lana Lang. But today was different. Just the night before, Lana had one of the biggest scares of her life. She had seen Clark collapse right in front of her eyes. As she drove, the painful images kept playing in her mind. Seeing his dad's frightened expression as he helped to carry Clark inside and tucked him in on the couch was heart wrenching and having to leave was even worse. Now, not seeing Clark in school was the worst feeling of them all. Lana had to see how he was doing. She cared for Clark far too much to just let him be alone now.

Lana pulled into the Kents' driveway and felt an almost eerie silence as she drove up to the absence of cows mooing for their feed or hearing farm work in the distance. She got out of her car and hesitantly walked up the porch steps and halted her hand to knock quietly as to not wake Clark if he was asleep.

Jonathan Kent was finishing a meager excuse for a lunch, which Martha would have been very disappointed with if she had been there, when he caught the quiet knock at the door. He made a quick peek in the living room to see if it had disturbed Clark, who was sound asleep on the couch under several blankets, before opening it. When he opened the door, it took his mind in its frazzled state a few seconds to recognize Lana.

"What can I do for you, Lana?" Jonathan said in a quiet voice.

"I was wondering if I could see Clark for a little while," Lana asked almost hesitantly.

"He's asleep in the living room right now and I don't want to wake him," Jonathan replied, trying to protect his son in what ever way he could.

"I don't want to disturb him but could I sit with him for a bit?" she asked. "I mean, after last night..." and then Lana could not find the right words to finish her sentence as her gaze shifted downwards.

Jonathan saw the worry etched in the girl's face and he opened the door to let her in. "Go ahead, Lana," he said as he opened the door. "Forgive me, we're all worried. I'll be upstairs if you need me," Jonathan finished as he closed the door behind Lana and headed up stairs.

Lana thanked Mr. Kent and walked quietly into the living room. The T.V. was still on so it was obvious that Clark had fallen asleep with it like that. She saw a bowl with soup remnants on the coffee table with several glasses of juice that had to have been when Clark had lunch. And then there was Clark, stretched out on the couch with the blankets pulled almost to his neck and sound asleep.

Lana sat down in the armchair next to the couch just to watch Clark, afraid that touching him would wake him. As she watched him, she smiled at the thought that he seemed to look younger than his sixteen years when he was asleep. He seemed innocent and without the weight of the world on his shoulders. The pleasantness of this thought unfortunately gave way to one that began a bit more tragic.

As Lana sat in silence with only the sound of Clark's shallow breathing in her ears and ignoring the television, she remembered their first real conversation their freshman year. She had been going to see her parents' grave and caught sight of Clark in the shadows. He softly apologized for scaring her and stepped into the light so she could see him. It was then that she saw the tear tracks running down his cheeks and truly heard them in his voice. To this day, Lana wondered what could have upset Clark so much to leave him crying by himself in a graveyard.

It was that occasion alone, before the previous night, that Lana had every seen Clark vulnerable. He was always her rock, her pillar of strength, always helping her when she needed it. Admittedly, he could be clumsy on occasion and somewhat shy but underneath all the flannel she knew he had a heart for her. Now as Lana sat here with him, she became in her mind his savior. It was she who was there when he got sick and it was she who got him his Dad when he needed him and now it was she who was watching over him. With these thoughts, Lana had gotten up enough courage to give Clark the comfort of touch as well.

She gently reached out her hand and brushed a few strands of hair away from his face. Clark stirred slightly under her light touch and Lana was immediately kicking herself for waking him.

"Mom?" Clark asked sleepily without even opening his eyes as he resettled under the blankets.

Now, Lana was debating in her own mind what to do next. Did she speak or not? If she did, what would she say? Lana decided to forgo the brain and listen to what her heart told her. "No Clark, it's Lana." She whispered gently as she brushed his hair again.

Clark's eyes slowly floated open as he turned his head towards the voice. When his eyes came into focus, a small smile graced his lips when he saw Lana there. He was at peace for a moment until his brain forced him to remember the previous night and how much it must have scared her. "I'm sorry I scared you again..." he whispered in a soft and scratchy voice.

Lana returned his smile before placing her hand on his chest to calm him. "You don't have to apologize," she told him. "I was just glad that I was there for you this once and I won't leave you alone now until you ask me to," she reassured him as his eyes started to grow heavy again.

"I don't want you to go..." Clark whispered as sleep was taking over him again. He snuggled back into the blankets and was quickly out cold once more.

As he was drifting back into dream world, Lana watch Clark more intently that she had realized and found that her feelings for her friend, Clark, were running deeper than friendship.