TRUTH

Tell me the truth, Clark. Just tell me the truth.

They all say it—you get close to someone, and at some critical point they start asking you the questions you can't answer. Like once they know, all your and their troubles will melt into the sky like smoke, and this yellow sun won't turn red someday. Like they'll still look at you the same, with eyes full of joy and curiosity and not hatred. Like who you really are won't change anything. The problem is, they won't take no for an answer.

Why do you have a spaceship, Clark?

Pete is the first person you choose to tell—the first person who knows. You've grown up together, best friends since preschool days, and he is like a security blanket for you—a sign that things can stay the same. He jokes and teases and laughs all the time, and you rescue him and he doesn't get insulted. And then he knows, and clouds descend over his face, and he hardly ever laughs anymore, and his teasing has a bitter edge. And one day he leaves town and doesn't keep in touch, and all you can think is this was a long time coming.

Clark, where were you?

Chloe is always irritated with you—you don't show up or hand in your articles for the Torch on time, usually because you were off saving someone, and you can't tell her, so you just shrug innocently. She thinks you don't take her seriously.

She finds out your secret by accident—or rather, someone else's design—and you're almost sorry. But it feels too good to have someone to actually confide in, who doesn't mind all the latest drama with Jor-El and Brainiac and Zod, or just the run-of-the-mill villains you're always vanquishing. She's there for you in ways no one else has ever been.

Inevitably, though, your secret makes her suffer. You want to take it back, keep her in blissful ignorance, but you don't want to lose her. And you still can't answer all her questions.

She's like Earth's sun—hair brilliant and golden, mind sharp, fiercely passionate and loyal—and you hope she's not sorry she got dragged into your mess.

When were you going to tell me, Clark?

Lana asks and asks, eyes bright as stars and as unforgiving. You can't tell her what's really going on, you can't…

And somehow she knows anyway, and she doesn't seem to hate you, even though you always thought she would…

Murderer! she shouts in your dreams. And she cries and her tears are poisonous green.

She says she likes it—she's all for alien rights.

You tell her you love her. She smiles and it's like the first light of morning, beautiful and rare…and then she says she has to go.

You save her over and over, and it's only in your dreams that she says it's not enough. In reality, she just keeps going. Away from you. Going, going…

The first time you met, you remember thinking Lana's laugh was like bells, and that in her eyes, stars danced.

But Lana never laughs anymore.

Clark…who will you become?

Lionel, it transpires, knew all along. You wonder if you should have noticed that. All those times you and your parents thought he was getting so close, and he already knew your secret.

He drives your dad crazy, but eventually you see past the layers of tough-street-kid-becomes-billionaire and widower-raises-only-son and LuthorCorp's-profits-skyrocket and Luthors-play-for-keeps and evil-overlord-of-Metropolis, etcetera, to the warm heart beneath. Okay, lukewarm.

He knows, and he's spent his entire life trying to protect you. And you can't help but admire that, or at least feel grateful for it. After all, he kind of reminds you of your biological father, Jor-El.

And then he dies for you—and you know your secret kills.

Clark…how did you do that?

Lex asks and asks and never stops asking. He has so much faith in science. He thinks he can explain away your powers. He thinks he can explain you. He thinks he can explain the universe.

It's nice, when he's not digging holes in your artless excuses.

Lex is so reasonable, and sometimes you think you really should tell him…and then he knows and he thinks it's amazing and he finally trusts you but you don't get there in time and they take his memory and he's never the same again.

He's still obsessed with you, though.

He wants to know everything. But you can't tell him

So you keep saving him, and he's never in the least grateful.

It hurts you that you can't be friends anymore more than you'll ever admit. Lex's smile is like an angel's, and his eyes used to be so innocent—looking out on the world ready to understand all its secrets.

Lex doesn't smile anymore. And you hate that self-loathing, suicidal smirk.

What are you?

The one question they don't ask—but you see it in their glances, sometimes. It hurts the most. The question humanity would ask if they knew your secret.

And everyone you're close to asks, eventually—asks the torture-questions. The questions you can't answer. Demanding something you can never give, because when you do, the burden is too heavy for them.

They all want the impossible from you. And they won't stop demanding:

THE TRUTH! THE TRUTH, CLARK!

Everyone you're close to—all except Lois, for some reason.