Categories: Drama, Angst
Spoiler(s): "Unsafe"
Description: Nothing's fair. Nothing. (Clark/Alicia)
Notes: A "Pariah" missing scene fic. It occurs after Clark discovers that Alicia has been murdered, but before his parents know. I wrote this years ago (I can't believe it's been that long). I was thumbing through fan fiction that I've written that never saw the light of day and found this piece. Most of the fiction I'd neglected was funfinished or of middling quaility, but, IMHO, this is neither, and I wondered why I never published it. Perhaps upon reading it, you'll figure out why. I don't even watch Smallville anymore, but, regardless, I figured I might as well give it an audience. Alicia was a popular character that was mourned much longer in the fandom than she was on the show.
Disclaimer: Superman and Smallville belong to a whole slew of people, none of whom are me. With my deepest respects, I ask to be allowed in the sandbox to play. No copyright infringement is intended.
Feedback: I fiend for it.

Approaching the yellow farmhouse that at that moment didn't feel much like home, Clark could see that all the lights in the house were on, which meant his parents were waiting up for him, a habit they had recently picked back up. That fact alone made him want to turn around and go spend the night in the morgue. If his mom gave him one more self-righteous lecture, or his dad glared at him one more time, he might leave again and for good. Or just die where he was standing. He stumbled up the stairs to the porch, and suddenly realized he didn't have a coat on - he must have lost it at some point.

And then all of a sudden it rushed over him again, that feeling of frantic desperation and wilting despair, and he could barely stand. It hurt so badly - worse than any dose of Kryptonite, worse than the baby dying, worse than hearing Lex was dead, worse than any anguish he ever felt over Lana. Crying was his only outlet, and yet it was its own sort of torture, like deflating a balloon through the prick of a pin. The collar of his shirt was drenched with tears, and he had stopped rubbing his eyes hours ago.

But then again, Clark wanted to feel bad. He wanted this for himself. After all the humiliation, and confusion, and wanting to believe when it was very, very hard, he deserved it; he'd earned it. Totally helpless before his grief, he didn't fight it. He thought back to an hour before, when he was standing on the banks of the river, and how he had wanted to sink into the soil, cascade into the water, and dissolve into the blackness of the absolute night. Every time his breath caught, or he moaned from being accosted by another wave of gut-wrenching anguish, he thought of Alicia. His Alicia.

All he wanted was to tell her that he believed her and that he knew she was innocent. And now, he would never, ever get that chance.

The scene kept playing over in his head like a distorted nightmare: Sheriff Adams standing there - all business and effected sympathy. There was Lois, rubbing his back and whispering God-knows-what into his ear as she stared at Tim, laying half-dead and scorched on the ground. The way they all said they were sorry, that they all felt pity for him, and that they were all so horrified.

And all Clark could think was Alicia.

But not of the cute blond that could skate circles around him, and that had the most disarming smile he had ever come across. Alicia became something different. In that first moment of finality and realization, as she lay there lifeless in his arms, she went from being his girlfriend to this enormous force of nature that tore through him with the power of a monsoon. He was seeing her, breathing her, thinking her - the reality of her was overwhelming, crushing, and so painful because he knew she would never be again.

He was leaning head-first into the porch column when his mother appeared behind him.

"Mind telling us where you've been?" she said. It was the same mother that he has been subjected to for over a week. Mother the Knife-Twister. He didn't respond. He couldn't. "It's four o'clock in the morning, Clark," she continued, goading for a reply. The announcement of the time jarred Clark and flooded him with a throbbing in his head, like maybe he was having a stroke; Alicia has been gone for six hours, Clark thought. For six hours she hasn't existed.

Martha got bold, and tugged at Clark's shoulder. He stood upright finally, and faced her, and at that moment she looked like the personification of Evil. Acute anger suddenly washed over him. The feeling scared him, but empowered him at the same time.

"Clark, are you going to answer me?" she asked, meeting his eyes in the cold hard bluff that had worked for years in reducing Clark to a pliant, penitent son. The kind of son that would send Alicia to her own death. "Where have you been?"

"I went to Alicia's," Clark said before he even realized it, and he wasn't sure why. "I went to apologize for all the accusations I made about her -- "

"Apologize?" his mother echoed, all shock, horror, and total ignorance of the truth

"Yeah," Clark continued, nodding, and gaining momentum, "To apologize and tell her I believe in her, and that I'll never doubt her again. That I made a huge mistake." He brushed past and her and into the house and headed towards the bathroom, before she could see his face. Martha followed down behind him, agitated and voice rising.

"And um, Clark, why did that take until four in the morning?" He beat her to the bathroom, and slammed and locked the door. She spoke through the door. "Clark, answer me!"

"She wasn't herself, and neither was I. I just stood there holding her, and kissing her, and breathing her. Loving her." He almost broke again, all too aware of how much the image that was rising in his mother's head wasn't anything near the truth. "Things got a little -- ," he paused for effect, resuming a matter-of-fact tone. "One thing led to another. We had a lot of making up to do. This is the soonest I could get away." He stared at the door, half-expecting it to fall off its hinges revealing a ballistic red-head on the other side. He blew his nose. It was a minute before his mother responded.

"Are you trying to hurt me," she whimpered through the door. "You're not even respectful anymore!" She started screaming. "Youre an absolute ingrate, Clark, y'know that? After everything your father and I have done for you, after we've been through because of you, you've shown such disregard...disrespect -- ," she spat.

"Martha," Clark heard through the door. It was his father. Clark opened the door, newly freshened and dry, and emerged, storming past both of them. His dad had his hand tenderly poised on his mother's back.

"Look here, Son," Jonathan said, grabbing Clark's arm. Clark jerked away. They stared at each other a moment, Clark defiant, Jonathan bewildered. Jonathan was the first to speak, and his tone was as icy as his stare. "Clark, you've got to make a decision."

"That a threat?" Clark sneered. "You or Alicia?"

"Clark, I didn't say that," Jonathan said.

"But that's what you mean. You want me to just throw away Alicia like everyone else has, so you can sleep at night and know that your son's in his playpen of solitude."

"Clark, you know that's not what I'm saying," he retorted.

"Clark," Martha interjected, "how can you be so convinced this girl didn't do these things? You haven't had five days strung together without her deceiving you in some way." She approached Clark and took his hand, but he pulled away again. "Why can't you see what everyone else sees."

"Because everyone else doesn't see the truth. No one else knows what it's like to be different, so different that you know, without a doubt, that you will never, ever be accepted. But she gave me that acceptance everyday, everyday, no strings attached. I could have done that for Alicia, I could have been that person for her."

Both parents seemed to be taken aback with the use of past tense, and gave each other a quick look. Martha started again, calmer. "You've given every shred of dignity, of respect, every ounce of sanity, every piece of yourself to this girl." Martha approached him, softening still. "You can still support her, Clark. Just maybe in a different way." The irony of the statement nearly brought Clark to his knees. The heat in his head from earlier was coming back, and the back of his eyes were burning. He turned his head away.

"No, I can't," Clark hissed.

"Son," Jonathan began, and Clark chafed under the word, "You have got to accept the fact that that girl is a train wreck. She's bad news. As long as you're chained to her, you're going to be in one disaster after another."

"I have been since the day I was born," Clark spat, turning back around. His tone snapped Jonathan back to initial anger.

"It's got to stop tonight. It's going to stop tonight," Jonathan replied, unmoved.

"It sure will," Clark said. "It sure will," he repeated. But on the second time, his voice broke. He made his way for the front door. He had every intention of going to the loft, or the lake, or back to that tacky hotel room in Vegas that now seemed like the location of the biggest missed opportunity of his wretched life. But instead, he stood there, leaning his head into the door with his hand on the knob, crying tears that seemed to take over his body. His mother came behind him, peering over his shoulder, placing a hand on his cheek.

"Clark," she said in a pleading tone, "what is the matter with you?"

"She's dead," Clark whispered.

"What?" his parents said in unison, bewildered.

"She's dead," he repeated.

"What are you talking about?" Jonathan said.

Clark turned around, crying anew, and breathless. "Tim killed her. It wasn't her. It was him. He did it all -- Jason, Lana, everything. She was hanging there when I found her. There was nothing I could do. Nothing." Both parents recoiled in horror. "I saved a guy who hates my guts but I didn't even -- " He couldn't even finish the sentence -- the idea of it was too much. He stormed out of the front door and down the path towards the loft.

Clark could hear his mother calling after him, but he couldn't stop. He fell onto the couch and prayed to fall asleep.