An Invisible Caress or Death

Disclaimer: I wish, I wish, I wish oh how I wish, but no matter what Smallville and its characters are not mine. I only play with them, torment Clark, and then send em all back home. SIGH.

CHAPTER 1 - Evil Spores

He muttered under his breath and readjusted the tension of the bolt again angrily tossing the spanner down when he snaps it. Sitting back on his haunches, he scrubbed at his face and stared at his watch. Glancing up through the open barn door, he noticed that the sun had almost set, fuelling his anger once again. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't do what his father did. He was not born to be a farmer. That thought brought a dry laugh from his throat, he had no idea what he was born to do, his future is an enigma, his goals jumbled and mashed together. All he knows is the here and now, here on the farm and now on the anniversary of his father's birthday.

'I'm sorry Dad; I have tried so hard I just can't do it anymore.' Clark sat back and rested his head against a wooden beam, an overwhelming feeling of tiredness flooded through him, at the age of twenty he felt like he was eighty, his joints ached, his head hurt and his back felt like it was made of barbed wire. It confused and saddened Clark even more. Lately he could feel the strength of his gifts waning, picking up a sniffle and slight cough to being with, then the lethargy and now he ached. It hurt and confused him even more. To top it off, not only did he lose his Dad, now he's losing the gifts that set him apart, that gave him reason to get up of a morning and to interact with others. Those and the driving need to help people.

He brushed a hand across his forehead he could feel the heat radiating from his own skin. No kryptonite rocks around, no green, red, or black meteorites just the farm as it always was.

Wearily Clark stood up and waited for the dizziness to pass before staggering towards the house. The neat yellow house with white trim, he lived there for all of his living memory, and only a void existed before that. His parents made it a home not just a house, always filled with the scent of fresh bread, or muffins and cookies, a warm loving kitchen where his mother ruled. After school always a special event, with something warm and fresh from the oven and a glass of icy fresh milk, it would remain engrained on his psyche

His fingertips brushed the white pickets as he stumbled and almost fell, squinting he tried to focus on the door just ahead of him. Only a few more steps ... his knees buckled and he toppled forward unable to brace himself. Gasping as the breath escaped too quickly from his lungs and darkness encroached on the edges of his awareness.

He laid there wheezing, gasping for each breath, the world tilted on it's side as he desperately tried to stay conscious. A pair of legs appeared in front of him, a hand on his shoulder, and a voice came at him, assaulting him, but he couldn't understand a word.

Clark felt himself floating away, away from the voice and the touch, away from the farm to where he felt protected and safe. No one can reach him there. Sighing he let himself drift back into the recesses of his own mind. Where only he knew to go and hide. Where he knows that no one can harm him there.

More hands on his body and he cringed, why won't they leave him alone? He was fine, just tired, just wanted to sleep, to hide out for a while and then he'll be back.

The tiredness and weakness invaded his body, evil tiny spores blocking his pores and connecting, joining a gossamer web covering him. Only he felt it, only he knew it was there.

'Mum?' the word escaped in a harsh breath, carried on the wind before anyone could catch it. Hands lifted him up and carried him, 'no, no it hurts, no it hurts too much.' Clark tried to understand why they weren't listening to him. He was screaming in pain but they said nothing only continued on their path unknowingly causing him so much agony.

Something soft under him made him shudder and whimper, hurt to lie still but he couldn't move. He wanted to be warm, it was too cold he had to retreat further, to hide deeper. Where they can't touch him and cause him pain.

'Who are they? Where was Mum?' a sob slid out through his clenched teeth, the tear scalding his cheek as it coursed down. 'No more.'

They stopped touching him; did they finally hear his pleas? Blinking he focused on the ceiling above him, so familiar that ceiling he recalled the amount of nights, and days spent on the sofa staring up at the ceiling. Often on time out he had to sit and behave, most children were sent to their rooms but for Clark that was not punishment, nor was it a punishment to send him to the barn. He craved solitude, often rewarded with being left alone with his own thoughts and his own company.

Now he felt sick and alone, so very alone. It hurt deep inside, deep 'aaahh.' He screamed and arched his back the pain attacking him from inside first. Before he could catch his breath, another pain attacked him again, robbing him of his breath, of coherent thought. All he could do was to breath through it, concentrate, and breath.

He felt the comfort of a warm cloth on his face, covering his eyes, his sensitive eyes, it felt so good so cool. His scream echoed through the silent house, followed by another as spasms assailed his muscles, convulsing and contorting his body to the point of almost falling from the sofa.

Hands held him down making him scream even more, he needed them to stop touching him, their touch burnt his skin, scorched and blistered each time they touched him.

'Mum!' he screamed louder his hand flailing in front of him, desperately seeking the comfort of his mother's touch, of her unconditional love. But she wasn't there; she was no longer cooking in the kitchen, no more homemade bread, and muffins. She worked away so much, he barely saw her. She made a difference in other people's lives now, now her baby was a man. She spent her time with Lionel, letting him woo her with his money, power, prestige but most of all he enticed her to forget her son's needs.

Anger surged through him as he fought off his so-called rescuers; they were not here for him, not here to save him. They are the ones who made him ill, taking from him while he was too weak to protect himself.

A sharp sensation in his arm made him cry out, he felt a gentle hand on his forehead but it wasn't the hand he seeked. 'No.' He whimpered suddenly ashamed to feel so weak, instead he fled to the safe place deep within the recesses of his mind.

Clark felt his body detach from all of his thoughts, no longer felt the pain wracking him, no longer felt the hands holding him on the couch. No, now he felt nothingness, just a warm cocooned sensation deep in his fortress of solitude in his mind.

He didn't feel the way they dispassionately handled his body now, he was safe from their prying touch.

A sharp knife sliced the soft skin of his inner arm, more needles suctioned out his blood into vials. A curl of his thick luxurious dark hair sealed in a plastic bag, a cotton tipped swab scrapped his saliva while sharp clippers cut his finger and toe nails.

A gloved hand worked methodically to remove his clothing, assess his nakedness for signs of duress or scarring before the hand glided to his groin, a grunt elicited from Clark as the hand invaded the last vestiges of his privacy, a sample taken as the gloved hand forced an erection and orgasm.

Soft gentle hands stroked his face and neck, caressing him as the other hands finished assaulting him and robbing him of samples of his essence of what makes him who he is.

He moaned and weakly pushed at the invading touch but now it was reflex, now he was hidden where no one can invade his privacy or take without asking. He was safe.

'Oh my God Clark?' Martha cried out when she saw her only son sprawled on the sofa, his face so deathly pale. Blood glistened in the artificial light, dripped from his arms, his nose and crusted around his ears. His chest bare and slick with sweat barely rose with each tortured breath. A blanket thrown over his body hid the rest of his naked state. Dropping to her knees her hands fluttered over her strong son, no not strong weakened and ill. A tiny tear escaped from one tightly closed eye as he hid and protected himself.

'Martha what is it?' Lionel asked as he laid their coats on the hallway table, 'you left your coat in the limousine.'

'Lionel please help me,' she begged unsure of who else to turn to, Clark needed help and conventional medicine couldn't help him.

'Mum?' Clark whispered his fingers clutching at an unseen sight, Martha stifled a sob and reached out to grip his hand, brushing her lips on it, 'I'm here Clark,' she whispered back.

'Hurts ... Mum ... hurts so.' Clark whimpered sounding like a lost little boy.

'Hush Clark, it's alright I'm here now.'

'No, no not ... safe.' Clark pulled back the last fragments to seal his cocoon, he felt his true mother's presence, she would make it alright. She would make the memories real again. Bring the smell of cinnamon, vanilla and crusted bread back to ease his tortured mind.

'Mama?' he wept openly, tears falling down his cheeks, it hurt so much.

A surge of pain made him arch his back and scream, startling his mother with the ferocity of it, startling Lionel into dropping the bowl and spilling the warm water. Convulsions wracked his already abused frame, the agony becoming its own entity growing inside him like a cancer. Burrowing through the sinews, muscles and flesh to place its tentacles and attach its anchors.

'Clark please, baby come back to me.' Martha wept as she bathed his feverish face. 'there must be kryptonite somewhere nearby.' She muttered no longer caring to keep quiet in front of Lionel. Her son was ill, her indestructible son was suffering, and so sick.

'There is no sign of any kryptonite.' Lionel reported standing back and watching helplessly at the boy writhing on the couch. A situation he craved to engineer but not here and certainly not in front of Martha.

He frowned and took in the needle marks, the nicks, and cuts on his arms, 'Martha I think someone has taken samples from Clark.'

'What? What are you talking about?' Martha demanded then she saw what Lionel was staring at and she froze, her heart thudded against her chest but she remained unable to move. 'Why? Why now? And who? Who would do this to Clark?'

Clark broke through the last barrier and waited until he had enough strength to fight the stickiness of his eyes, fluttering and blinking a sigh of annoyance all showed his desperate attempt to gain consciousness and control again.

'Clark?' Martha cried out brushing his hair from his eyes, 'Clark honey open your eyes, baby come back to me.'

'Mum?' Clark moaned and slitted his eyes open, his blurred gaze rested on the more than easily recognisable face hovering in front of him. It was the face of safety, of comfort and love. 'Mum ... is ... that ... you?'

'Oh Clark,' Martha wept, 'I was so worried ... do you know what happened?'

'I ah ... sick ... fell ... people ... no ... no!' Clark screamed and tried to fight off the invisible hands holding his body still. Collapsing back onto the couch he lay there panting, trying to regain his breath, he had to stay focused, he had to stay awake for his mother's sake. It was dangerous for her to be there. Clark re-opened his eyes just enough to focus on his mother's face when he saw the shadow floating behind her. Frowning Clark blinked and looked again, he stared up into the eyes of Lionel Luthor.