Home was too well-lit.
Clark's brain felt water-logged and wrung out at the same time. Lurking in the forest, watching the beacons of yellow light pour from the windows, he felt as if the lamps were forcing him away from his house. The friendly glow reminded him ominously of meteor-rocks. He shook his head at himself. In the back of his head he knew the real reason he didn't want to enter that door.
He would walk inside with a somber expression. There was no way he would be able to smile, not after what had happened. His parents would come up. Maybe they wouldn't notice at first. Did you have a good time, Clark? Why did they ask you to stay? Was the meal good? Then they would notice his look and his unwillingness to answer questions. Clark, what's wrong? Are you okay? Oh, honey, what happened? Tell us all about it. Lana troubles, son? His father, especially, he did not want to talk to. He never understood what Clark was feeling.
Clark realized he was walking away. They won't mind, his head argued. They don't know when you're coming home anyway. You could just… walk around a while. Get your head together. He was too tired to argue with himself. His feet carried him to the road. He didn't know where he was going. The darkness of night was broken by pinhole stars, hundreds, thousands in the black, all overshadowed by the rip in the sky that humankind knew as the moon. That's what it had always looked like to Clark. A rip, a tear, as if someone had peeled back the black façade and the moon was a glimpse of what the sky was really like. That was how he felt sometimes. Like the sky.
A turn in the road, the crunch of gravel, and he had passed his parents' property. He was on public land now, heading towards the town. He couldn't muster the energy to run, and anyway, where would he run to? Smallville? Metropolis? Europe? No, he would just walk. Walk and think. The feel of her lips still burned his mouth, and he could have pointed to where her fingers were on his neck. The memory warmed him, and at the same time hurt. He didn't have a watch, but it couldn't have been more than five minutes ago that he was in Lana's arms, finally holding her the way he had always dreamed.
He was walking faster.
"What are you running from?" he asked aloud.
"You tell me," said a voice.
He whirled around. The night screamed.
In front of him stood Lex Luthor.
His shock subsided. "Lex!" he nearly gasped. "Don't do that to people."
"Sorry," said his older friend. "I didn't know anyone else was out here."
"Neither did I!" Clark said, still smarting from his surprise.
Lex stepped forward. They could barely see each other by the moon's light.
"So what are you running from?" he asked.
"Um," Clark said. "Monsters."
Lex stared at him, then laughed. "You've got a weird sense of humor, you know that?" He shook his head and turned serious. "But really."
Clark ignored him. "What are you doing out here so late?"
"I was coming to see you, actually. I wanted to ask you some questions. But now," he spread his arms, "here you are! Walk with me." He started towards Clark's house.
"Let's not go that way," Clark said hurriedly.