A/N: Disclaimer - Please note that I do NOT own any rights or credits to Smallville or any of its characters, places, etc. Darn it.
To Catch a Fever
Summary: Set during the episode Fever. Clark is dying and with Martha already near death, Jonathan's all that's left to save them. Missing scenes as well as my own interpretation of what happened.
Lana swallowed when she saw him, standing alone on his front porch. He had his back to her, staring off into the darkness. Even at a distance, she could tell he had a lot on his mind. She couldn't imagine what he was going through right now. The past few weeks crossed her mind and she pursed her lips. She'd been so angry with Clark the last time they'd spoken he may not even want to talk to her. She was still angry, but she knew deep inside her heart that she still cared deeply for Clark, and no matter how many arguments and secrets that came between them, he'd been the one constant good in her life. Clark had always been there in her time of need, now it was her turn.
"Clark?" she said, trying to keep her voice low enough not to startle him.
He turned, the hardness that set his jaw immediately melting away when he saw her. He looked tired, worried.
"Hi Lana," he replied and stepped across the porch to meet her at the top of the stairs.
"I just wanted to make sure you were okay," she said softly.
Clark shoved his hands in his pockets and gave her a half-hearted, but grateful smile. Lana took her place across from him. Even if he didn't want to talk, she hoped her presence would at least bring some comfort to him.
She had heard through the Smallville grapevine that Martha Kent was rushed to the hospital earlier that morning. It wasn't until she had visited the hospital herself that she realized just how serious her condition was. Martha had inhaled some sort of toxin, unidentifiable and presumably fatal. Mrs. Kent was strong, and her body was fighting the dangerous infection, but it was a task she had to do on her own; even her loved ones couldn't fight the battle for her. And that fact alone was killing Clark, that there was nothing he could do to help her.
It was odd, in a way, seeing Clark so resigned. He was always so strong, so confident. Clark always had the answers. As much as it was irritating to her sometimes, she'd come to realize that that was what she relied on him most for, his quiet confidence and personal strength. Now, both qualities were being tested. She could tell in his eyes that he was running things over and over in his mind, trying desperately to find a solution to the problem they faced, but was drawing a blank. It wasn't in his nature to give up, but it was only human to have doubts. It was one thing to pull a person out of a flaming vehicle, it was another entirely to heal the terminally ill.
Clark wheezed, then visibly shivered.
Lana furrowed her brows, concern flickering across her lovely features, but Clark smiled and his smile was enough to put her mind at ease.
"It's weird how random memories can just pop into your head, huh?" he said, trying to sound stronger than he really felt. He wheezed again, this time a look of discomfort washing his expression. He continued, "When I was in second grade I was afraid to go to school because I thought my mom would disappear while I was gone and never come back. I wouldn't even get on the bus in the morning until she promised she'd be there when I got home. Sure enough, every day there she was when I walked through the door."
He frowned and she could tell he was holding back an enormous amount of emotion. Clark loved his mother. Having lost both parents at an early age, Lana understood the pain all too well. "Don't worry Clark," she said and gave him her most reassuring smile. "In a few days you'll walk through that door and your mom will be there again."
Clark tried to smile in return but something strange passed over his eyes. He wheezed again, this time his breath caught in his throat and he struggled to breath.
"Clark? You okay?" Lana asked, growing more concerned.
His eyelids drooped alarmingly and suddenly he wasn't holding himself up anymore.
When Clark suddenly slumped forward, Lana jumped to catch him, but she wasn't fast enough. He tumbled down the stairs, landing hard on the ground below.
Lana's breath left her and she screamed, "Clark!"
Racing down the steps she dropped to her knees next to his body. He wasn't moving. "Clark. Oh god, Clark," she breathed, rolling him over.
He wasn't breathing.
"Mr. Kent! Mr. Kent!" she screamed.
Jonathan Kent heard Lana's terrified scream and came running. He burst through the kitchen door, his already frazzled nerves jumping to a million terrible conclusions. Nothing, however, could have prepared him for the sight of his only son sprawled unconscious on the ground at the bottom of the porch stairs. Lana Lang was bent over him, her delicate fingers searching his neck for a pulse. Jonathan saw her terrified expression when she looked to him. "I don't think he's breathing!" she cried.
Jonathan flew down the steps, immediately dropping to his knees next to his son. Sure enough, he wasn't breathing. Just like Martha. Oh god, Martha! Clark! he thought despairingly. He couldn't lose Clark. Not Clark – not when he was so close to losing his wife, too.
Lana watched in horror as Jonathan Kent began to slap his son's face. "Come on, Clark!" he screamed, "Come on son!"
Whipping off his jacket he began to administer CPR, first breathing into his son's mouth then hurriedly pumping his chest. CPR had saved Martha…if he could just…
Lana finally found her voice. "I'll call an ambulance," she said, turning to rush into the house.
"Wait! Lana, no!" Mr. Kent suddenly cried, stopping her dead in her tracks. She turned her shocked expression on him but he had already turned his attention back to Clark. "Bryce," he said, pumping Clark's chest again. "Dr. Helen Bryce! Call her! No one else!" The panic in his voice frightened her. "Tell her to come alone!"
Numb and confused, Lana nodded, willing to obey if only for the well being of her friend. She turned and raced up the stairs, her mind flooded with questions. What happened to Clark? Is he going to be okay? And why did Mr. Kent react like that when I mentioned calling an ambulance?
She shivered, her hands trembling as she grasped the phone on the kitchen wall, remembering how limp Clark's body had felt when she had rolled him over and how terrified she had been when she realized he had stopped breathing. She dialed the number, which had blessedly been left by the phone in case of emergencies, with shaky fingers. Within a few rings a female voice answered.
Lana did her best to describe to the doctor what had happened in a few sentences; any longer and her trembling hands may have dropped the phone. Dr. Bryce had hesitated when Lana told her to come alone.
"Why?" the female doctor demanded.
"I don't know," Lana said honestly. "Mr. Kent just told me to tell you that."
Dr. Bryce made an irritated noise and then said gruffly, "I'll be right there."
Lana was hanging up the phone when Jonathan Kent entered through the kitchen door, Clark's unconscious form draped in his arms.
"Is he all right?" Lana gushed, the words spilling out of her before Mr. Kent was even through the door.
"He's breathing," Mr. Kent answered briskly, heading into the living room. "Lana, go upstairs in Clark's room and grab a pillow and blanket from the bed, would you please?"
She nodded and headed for the stairs, pausing momentarily at the foot of the staircase to watch Jonathan Kent carefully lay his son on the sofa. It was strange, seeing such a big man being so gentle. He lay Clark on the cushions and then smoothed the boy's tousled hair out of his face, resting his palms ever so tenderly on Clark's cheeks.
Lana flushed with emotion, something in between envy and longing, then turned to head up the stairs. She found Clark's bedroom at the end of the hall. It was small and sparse, since he kept most of his belongings in the loft where he spent most of his time. A desk was pressed in the corner, papers and schoolbooks scattered haphazardly across it. A modest twin-size bed was on the opposite wall, unmade and looking like if Clark were to lay on it, his feet would dangle off the end.
Lana grabbed the pillow and hand-stitched quilt from the bed and moved to leave when she caught a handful of picture frames out of the corner of her eye, resting atop a small oak dresser. There were several of Clark and his family, the portrait of perfection that they always seemed to be. She smiled at the one of Clark as a small boy, grinning proudly and holding up a very large fish that was nearly bigger than he was. There was one of he and Chloe and Pete at the Torch, one of Ryan, and one of…of her.
It wasn't just of her – it was both her and Clark on horseback. It was taken shortly after Whitney had left and Clark had been trying to help her keep her mind off him. Good old Clark – always putting others feelings before his own.
With tears glistening in her eyes, she returned downstairs. Mr. Kent had removed Clark's shoes and was now attempting to remove his jacket. Lana set the items down and moved to help him. They worked together without a word. Jonathan carefully lifted Clark's upper body and Lana took his head in her hands and cradled him in her arms, taking his weight so that Mr. Kent could remove the jacket.
Clark was burning up. He was running a fever. With his head on her shoulder and his breath on her neck, a frightening thought crossed Lana's mind. What if I lose Clark like I lost my parents…and Whitney?
It was a thought she couldn't bare to dwell on. She found herself caressing his hair and hugging him to her. She didn't want to let go, but she forced herself to when Mr. Kent reached for his son. As gently as possible, she lay him against the pillow.
Everything forgotten, even the presence of another being in the room, Lana reached out and touched his cheek with a tender hand. His skin was hot to the touch and it frightened her, but she couldn't pull it away, not even when she felt compassionate hands grasping her own shoulders.
It must be a Kent thing, she thought bitterly. Here was a man who was not only facing losing his wife, but also his son and here he was comforting her. Always trying to ease the pain of others, even when the pain is more unbearable for them.