Title: Letting Go
Summary: Ed the hardest part is letting go. That's what I'm afraid of. Based on a scene and contains spoilers from eppy 4.09 'War Within'
Disclaimer: Ah you know write? Ed's with me and well yeah that's about it…lol
A/N: I loved the Ed/Clark scenes even though they were built on angst and I wanted to expand a bit more on them. It's a first for me in that it's my very first Ed based eppy one shot (*gasp*) lol so go easy if it's lacking something. This is set between the beginning when Ed confronts Clark and the end when he makes up with him – sort of like a missing scene I created and hope you all like it.
"Words in italics and double quotes – directly from the eppy."
"Right there! Stop right there! Let's see some hands! Hands!" Ed yells as him and Sam catch up with the running teen.
"Dad…dad stop it's me."
"Clark what the hell are you doin' here?"
"You okay? You hurt?" Ed asks impatiently.
"What the hell's going on here?" Ed demands in frustration.
"I was just hanging out…I saw you and…"
"So who are these kids? You're friends or what?"
"They're just friends from school."
"Saturday's your Cello lesson right? Clark?"
"I stopped going."
"What do you mean you stopped going?" Ed queries. "When?"
"I don't know…a couple of months ago."
"What about the $40 bucks your mom's giving you ever week?"
"I'll pay you back alright?"
"Blowin' that on beer and fireworks, aren't you?"
"What? Now you take an interest? This is what it takes? Really?" Clark huffs indignantly. "Maybe I should start putting…"
"Your mother and I trust you to use your head? Now was that a mistake?" Ed asks his son seconds before Greg interferes.
For the first time in probably a year, since the time Sophie took Clark and went to her mother's during her pregnancy was actually nervous about going home. When Sophie left it was due to his putting work first; this time it was to face his son for putting his wife and daughter first. Balance. The key is balance and he knows inside that's where he's lost focus.
Without saying much of a word to anyone, Ed quietly changes, getting small glances from both Sam and Greg who had witnessed his frustrated but only partial parental meltdown; a public display he had cursed himself for over and over again. The last time Greg had intervened with a personal family member was with Roy outside the hotel where his partner was shot by his own foolhardy actions. Today stung just like then. Only this one was a bit worse becuase it was his own flesh - his only son.
"Ed," Greg calls to him just before he's about to escape out the exit doors. But not being in the mood Ed simply turns to his boss and friend, nods and then quickly darts out before he can be pulled back. It was Saturday and still early in the day but he wasn't about to go right home; not in his current frame of mind. Instead he finds himself heading to the bar, slowly walking up the counter and ordering a glass of scotch.
Ed sits staring at the dark golden liquid for what seems like an eternity until he feels a small pat on the shoulder and looks up into the quizzical glance of his best friend.
"So I'm driving by on a sunny Saturday afternoon and I see this car…and it looks like my best friend's car but it's Saturday and I know he wouldn't be in here. But when I check the license plate I see…it is my best friend. What's up Eddie?"
"You sent here to check up on me?" Ed asks Wordy as his best friend and former team mate slowly slides onto the stool beside him.
"No I was heading to Costco down the block. Musta been a real hot call for you to be hitting the hard stuff late Saturday afternoon instead of at home takin' advantage of a sunny day."
"I really don't want to talk about it," Ed huffs as he holds the small glass in his hands and swirls the golden liquid around.
"Hey Tim, how many's he had?"
"Just…the one," the familiar barkeep answers in truth forcing Wordy to look at Ed in shock.
"Okay buddy you really got it bad," Wordy frowns as he slowly pries the glass from Ed's fingers and pushes it away, forcing Ed's soulful blue eyes to turn and look at his friend in remorse.
"I screwed up…with Clark," he lightly whispers before he turns back and just stares absently at his wedding band. "He um…pretty much hates me right now and can't say I blame him."
"I doubt he hates you. Come on Ed what happened today?"
Ed turns to Wordy and after letting out a heavy sigh tells him the scene with Clark. "And then Greg stepped in before I could really lose it," Ed shake his head, mostly at himself. "Shoulda just waited until I got home to ream him out."
"Yeah…much better plan," Wordy frowns as he gestures for the bartender to take away the whiskey and bring two waters. "Being here…well not really here...but somewhere...is good to calm down and collect your thoughts before you go home though."
"He doesn't talk to me anymore," Ed groans. "Drinking…"
"You are guessing now right? Did you actually hear him say he was drinking?"
"Guilty by association," Ed frowns as he takes a sip of the cold water, letting the refreshing liquid cool his scorched palate. "Here I am thinkin' my son, you know would be honor roll student is going to what I…" Ed pauses and then looks away.
"You want for him?" Wordy finishes softly.
"And I guess instead of asking him how things are going I just go along asking everyone else but my own son. Can I blame Sophie and Izzy?"
"Yeah…" Wordy smirks. "That'll go over well. I have four of them at home…you only have two. Be lucky you have Clark. At least the male to female ratio is even in your house," Wordy chuckles.
"I gotta let go right?"
"Only a little."
"I honestly don't care that he doesn't want to play the Cello anymore or take lessons," Ed glances at Wordy with a heavy frown. "I just wish he felt comfortable telling me."
"Have you asked recently?" Wordy dares to ask.
"I know this is my fault."
"It's not about fault Ed," Wordy quickly corrects. "It's about growing pains. He wanted the money right?"
"Just wish he woulda asked."
"Yeah right," Wordy slaps Ed on the back. "Gee dad I'd rather blow off my safe and boring music lessons and go hand with kids and get drunk and shoot off illegal fireworks down by the river. Yeah that'd go over really well with the SRU team leader."
"Funny," Ed remarks dryly. "You know I'm actually wanting to just wait until dark before I go home. Scared of my own kid," Ed smirks at the silliness of his own statement. "I can talk down a hardened serial killer but I can't even talk my own kid out of his room."
"You remember the time your old man caught you and Roy smokin' those cigars?"
"Yeah Uncle Rick's," Ed smiles as he remembers the strained memories. "I remember wanting to buy a bus ticket and skip town rather than face him."
"And what happened?"
"He asked us why and then talked to us about lung cancer instead and turning into Uncle Rick. I knew he was pissed at us but um…but after that talk I never touched a cigar again. Was too afraid his words about me turning into Uncle Rick as I slept would come true - literally."
"Yeah wasn't he a cross dresser?" Wordy teases.
"Nice try," Ed smirks. "But he was somethin' else alright. I just thought…I mean damn it Wordy, Clark is the last kid on this planet I'd ever suspect doin' somethin' like that. Sneakin' around on a Saturday, hangin' with the wrong crowd."
"Wrong for you maybe in this instance. But he's gonna wanna fit in right? Hard to be heading toward prom and being captain of the Cello squad."
"I know. I just don't want to go in there guns blazing because that's gonna make him shut down even more."
"Ed, he didn't break the law, he lied to you. That's bad but it's not something unheard of for a teenager."
"I gotta work on building that trust again."
"How about friendship?" Wordy warmly suggests.
"That is if he'll talk to me again."
"Maybe if he joined a punk rock group or took up skateboarding you might have reason to worry, but you're not there yet."
"I took him for granted Wordy. I just assumed I never had to check up on him because he was doing what I wanted. And he took it as if I didn't care; called me on it right in front of Greg."
"Hmm speaking rash thoughts out loud, yeah wonder where he gets that from," Wordy lightly teases.
"I know...I know," Ed sighs. "I was too busy doing my job I forgot to do my job."
"Well he hasn't moved out yet right?"
"No…no he hasn't," Ed agrees as he takes another sip of his water. Ed looks over at Wordy and smiles.
"I miss you," he confesses quietly. "Seriously did you know I was here? The Costo is not down the street."
"Yeah Greg told me you left with a pissed off look. He's paranoid what can I say. I asked him why…"
"He called you?" Ed asks in shock.
"After he got Spike to trace your GPS. Guess old habits die hard my friend," Wordy answers in truth. "Takes a brave man to walk out on Greg Parker and live to tell the tale."
"I just didn't want to hear it from him. So he sent you."
"One of us woulda made you listen," Wordy smiles. "But that's okay because I know if the situation was in reverse, you'd be doin' the same thing for me."
"I would," Ed confirms. "Letting go…never felt like this before."
"And you know I don't scare easily."
"Well there was that one cat," Wordy recalls a discussion from a few years past. Ed looks at his best friend and lightly laughs.
"That was the exception," Ed looks down at his glass before he takes another drink of the water and then back at Wordy.
"I'll be fine. You doin' okay?"
"Still settling in," Wordy confesses with a heavy sigh. "Work seems the easy part these days right?"
"Tell me about it. So…"
Ed and Wordy talk for about another half hour until Ed knows it's time to head for home and talk to his son, wanting to smooth things over before the day progressed too much. The two of them soon leave, promising to get together for another family barbeque in a few days and always just a phone call away.
Ed then heads for his car and drives home, his mind wondering what Clark will say when he finally confronts him. It was up to him to make things right. As the parent, it was his role and responsibility to make sure his family was the same cohesive unit that he tells everyone they are. If anyone had to take the lead in keeping the peace in his home, it was his job. Sophie had called once during the day but that was it; nothing since and now he wonders if maybe Clark just ran away from home and that was it. With some trepidation, Ed slowly heads inside, pausing in the front entrance as he spies Sophie in the living room with Izzy on her lap.
"Is he upstairs?"
"Out back," Sophie replies with a small smile.
"How is he?" Ed asks with some hesitation.
"He's you. He blows a gasket and then after he's calmed down he's human again," Sophie retorts.
"Great another me," Ed just shakes his head.
"And yet we still love you," Sophie winks. "He's okay. Are you?"
"I will be after I talk to him," Ed nods as he heads for the back of their house, not bothering to take off his jacket, just wanting to talk to his son and make things smooth between them again. Clark was growing up and as much as he didn't want to inwardly accept it, he had to let go and allow him more freedom, more choice, more free will and just hope in the end his son would still be happy to call him dad.
Ed slowly walks down the back steps and sees Clark sitting on the bench just listening to music. So taking a deep breath, Ed eases himself down on the bench beside his son. Go for it! His brain commands. He had made up his mind on the way home that he would get out his apology and then just try to get on the same level with Clark and see where it goes from there.
"Buddy I owe you an apology. It's been all about your mom and the baby lately and I uh…took you for granted. And I took you for granted Clark because you are such a good kid. You are such a good kid and I messed up. I'm still tryin' to figure it out for myself here."
"Dad it's okay."
"I ever tell you about the time your grandfather caught me and Roy smokin' cigars?"
"No," Clark smiles in response.
"Well we were drinkin' a little bit too…" Ed's voice trails off as he starts to relate the amusing anecdote from the time in his life when he was Clark's age.
And for the next about half hour the two of them, father and son, sit outside on the bench just talking and laughing like two good friends. Ed looks over at his son and smiles, his own inner countenance finally at peace since this whole ordeal had started. Greg was right to send Wordy because he knows if he had gone straight home without talking to anyone he might have made matters worse by saying something stupid or by not saying anything at all.
Clark wasn't lost to him, it was just that their original path wasn't as straight and narrow as he had once thought and that would now mean he would be forced to pay more attention and once again have an active role in his son's changing life. It wasn't as much about letting go as it was about learning to adapt to something new. But as he hears Clark laugh and watches his son respond more and more he knows they haven't reached the end yet; this was a new beginning for both of them.
A/N: okay so first Ed based eppy one shot and I do hope you all like it. Please review and let me know your thoughts and I might get some confidence to do another Eddie OS. Thanks so much in advance!