Family, Friendship, and Love
Someone once asked him if he'd thought his life would turn out like this.
Clark Kent stretched his arms out across the back of the green-painted bench, ankle propped on his opposite knee. The warm sun shone brightly in the sky, and he squinted slightly as he kept an eye on the red-haired boy playing on the basketball court in the park. Sam had a basketball in one hand and a stopwatch in the other. White chalk scribbles desecrated the half-court blacktop, two full chalk sticks worth used in the hour they'd been at the park.
Clark watched as Sam pressed the stopwatch button, let it fall, and shot the basketball towards the hoop. The string around Sam's neck prevented the stopwatch from dropping to the ground. Sam watched intently as the ball hit the rim of the basketball hoop, and he pushed the button on the stopwatch again. Frowning, he crouched and wrote the new calculation on the blacktop.
Clark smiled fondly. His son was obsessed with mathematics, almost as much as Sam was obsessed with building robots and other inventions. Their house doubled as a testing ground. The toaster had been turned into an AM radio that received signals from Japan. An old refrigerator had become a gentle wash laundry, with automatic arms that hung the clothes on the clothesline. Auto-adjusting stilts that rose up to eight feet replaced the need for a ladder. So did the glove-operated extending arms. Puppy, the robotic guard dog, sat by the front door and barked when his sensor alarm went off at night. Suffice to say, seven-year-old Samuel Kent was quite the child prodigy.
Just like his father, Lex Luthor.
His parents stared at him in confusion. After a long minute of silence, his mom began looking more worried. His dad looked as if he were waiting for the rest of the joke.
"Pregnant," Jonathan Kent repeated with skeptical amusement.
"Clark, you're joking, right?" Martha asked.
Clark shook his dark head, green-blue eyes down, slumping his broad shoulders even more. He ripped the paper napkin in his hands into small portions, a pile of shredding already on the kitchen table in front of him.
"Come on, Clark," Jonathan laughed. "You're a man. Men can't get pregnant."
Clark didn't say anything. The napkin shreddings became smaller.
Martha reached across the table and covered Clark's hands. "Clark?"
Clark raised his head and looked at her. His eyes glistened, but no tears fell. "It's the truth," he whispered, wishing it were not. "I'm pregnant."
An uncomfortable silence pressed heavily on the occupants of the kitchen. The hand covering Clark's had jerked, but Martha didn't pull away. Clark looked down again, face red with shame.
"Do you know how?" Martha had a tremor in her voice.
"How do you think?"
"Well, I don't know, that's why I'm asking," she said.
"I had sex, Mom. Unprotected S-E-X. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Don't talk to your mother like that," Jonathan said.
"I'm sorry, but I'm a little wigged out." Clark pulled his hands away from his mom. "I'm pregnant. As in, knocked up, bun in the oven, in the family way. As if I wasn't enough of a freak already."
"I'm not sure I understand, Clark," Jonathan said. He cleared his throat uncomfortably. "You had unprotected intercourse with a girl—"
"Guy," Clark interrupted, clenching his hands in his lap. "I had sex with another guy."
Silence descended again, tense and ugly. Jonathan broke it with a bluntly asked, "Who?"
Clark hesitated before answering. "Lex."
Jonathan shoved back from the table. The chair screamed as it scraped violently against the floor. He stalked out of the house, the screen door slamming in his wake.
"Mom—," Clark began worriedly.
"The truck keys are still on the counter, Clark," Martha reassured. "Besides, your father doesn't know where Lex lives in Metropolis."
"Somehow, I don't think that would matter."
Martha pursed her lips and was quiet for a moment. Eventually, she asked, "Do you want to tell me what happened?"
"With you and Lex," Martha said. "I suspected something was developing between you two, but I didn't think it had gone that far."
"We were friends, Mom, and that's it." Clark reached for another napkin and began to shred it. "One night, we had a little too much to drink and way too much po- adult television, and...," he trailed off, turning crimson. He shifted and cleared his throat. "I liked him, no matter what anyone else's opinion was of him. He always treated me like I was an equal, not some geeky farm kid. Even after that night, things didn't get uncomfortable between us. In fact, Lex opened up a bit more." Clark's expression saddened. "But he's gone now, so it doesn't really matter, does it? It's not like I could tell him that I'm pregnant, anyway."
"Honey, it's not that I don't believe you," Martha began tentatively, "but how do you know you're pregnant?"
Clark stood and pulled up the hem of his shirt. An oval lump the size of a football, protruding approximately two-inches from his body, distended the right side of his abdomen. He caressed his palm over the spot. "It's grown larger over the past month. When I first noticed it, I x-rayed myself, hoping I wasn't growing a tentacle." He laughed humorlessly. "Instead, I found that I'm growing another life."
He released his shirt and removed a piece of notebook paper from his pocket. He unfolded it and laid it on the table. "This is what I look like inside. I used an anatomy book to label it as best as I could."
The crude drawing of Clark's torso was simple. He had human-like lungs and a heart in the correct places. His esophagus ran from his throat to his stomach, which was on the side of his body beneath his right lung. The stomach branched off in two directions. One tube led towards the left side of his body, where his liver and intestinal tract were. He had no kidneys, pancreas, appendix, or small intestines. The large intestines snaked back and forth three times, halfway across his body, ending at his colon.
The second tube from his stomach hooked down to a sac nestled below the digestive organ. The walls inside the sac were lined with small beads that resembled amphibian eggs. A tube, which was labeled ‘fertility tube', ran from the sac to the colon, ending beneath the prostate. A triangle in the sac indicated to look at the close up sketch also drawn on the paper.
The second picture showed that the child was male and looked very frog-like. A matrix of membranes connected the baby to the walls of the egg. The egg itself rested in the bottom of the sac.
"The way I figure it," Clark began, leaning over his mother's shoulder to point at the drawing. It was also easier to explain when she wasn't looking directly at him. "The fertility tube is closed until the prostate is stimulated, to protect it from bodily waste. The egg must be nourishing the baby through osmosis, since the stomach is connected directly to the egg cavity. I'm surprised that only one of the eggs was, um, in-inseminated, because I'd bet that all the eggs on the sac wall are fertile."
Martha nodded, set the paper aside, and turned on her chair. She reached for the hem of Clark's shirt. "May I?"
Clark lifted his shirt for her. His mom's hands were warm against his skin.
"It's hard," Martha commented, pressing lightly against the lump.
"For protection, I'd guess," Clark said.
Martha looked up at him. "You seem very calm"
"More like resigned," he told her. "I've already had a month to adjust to this bit of alien fun. I'm all out of tears and screams of unfairness. Now, I'm just scared, feeling a little helpless, and sad that Lex will never know he's a father."
"Sweetheart, I think Lex is the least of your worries," she said.
"I know," Clark sighed, lowering his shirt. His eyes fell on the paper on the table. "But I miss him. I wish he hadn't accepted his dad's offer to return to Metropolis."
"I hate to say this, Clark, but it's better that Lex is gone," Martha said gently. "You would have had to keep your pregnancy from him and the secret that the baby was his child, once he was born."
Clark wanted to ask why, but he already knew the answer. It had been drilled into him since he could understand English. Once he turned eighteen, he would be allowed the option of telling whom he wanted about his secrets, but with the mature understanding of the danger to himself, his parents, his friends, and now his child.
"What do you think bothers dad more," Clark said, sinking into the chair beside his mother, "that I'm pregnant, that I slept with another guy, or that the guy was Lex?"
Martha patted his hand, her silence answering for her.
The more Martha got upset, the more outwardly calm she became. The serene smile she gave Clark when he left the house should have clued him in that all was not right in her world. In fact, all was very, very wrong.
Her baby was going to have a baby.
Her male child, who had sexual intercourse with another male, was going to have a male child.
Lex should be glad that he was very far away.
Martha smoothed the creases from Clark's drawing. She lightly traced her finger over the frog-like image of the baby growing inside Clark. Her baby's baby. Lex Luthor's child.
The fact that the baby was a Luthor did not bother Martha; Lex was more than his last name. The problem was that the baby's father was a twenty-one-year-old man who impregnated her fifteen-year-old son. Clark was still a child himself, and while she did not believe Lex took advantage, he should have stopped it from going that far. He was the adult and had the responsibility to protect Clark from making unwise — and illegal — choices.
Martha might be more understanding if love was the basis for their actions. People did incredibly dumb things when they were in love. However, Clark did not profess said emotion and she was skeptical that Lex would have left Smallville if he had been in love with her son.
Martha stood and went into the kitchen to make herself some tea. She added a large splash of cooking brandy to the tea, though she doubted even a full bottle of alcohol would make the situation any more tolerable.
Her baby was going to have a baby, and she was going to have to pretend that it didn't bother her at all.
Jonathan saw Clark approaching, and he forced himself not to turn his back and walk away. He gripped the top beam of the fence, calloused fingers biting into the wood. The sharp prick of a splinter was a reminder to keep his temper under control.
Jonathan was well past the point of anger. A Luthor had once again managed to destroy a Kent life. After all Jonathan had done to try and keep Clark safe, to teach him to recognize good people from bad, Clark was still tainted by the Luthors.
Jonathan blamed himself, with a self-loathing that turned into acid in his stomach. He saw how Lex had looked at Clark; Lex had wanted to devour every drop of innocence and purity from him. The bald slime succeeded, too, and left town after he'd gotten what he'd wanted, leaving behind a mess for others to clean up in typical Luthor fashion.
"Dad," Clark said tentatively, stopping beside Jonathan. His head was bowed, hands shoved deep in his pockets. "I'm sorry."
Jonathan snorted rudely, which was a great way to start off a conversation, but he was still furious. "Being sorry isn't going to change the fact that you had sex with a Luthor."
Clark winced, but forged ahead. "It wasn't like Lex—"
"I don't want to hear it," Jonathan interrupted.
"I don't want to hear it," he repeated angrily. "I told you time and again to stay away from Luthor and you refused to listen, so you can deal with the consequences yourself."
"It's not like I got pregnant on purpose," Clark said in a wavering tone.
"Clark, unless you tell me that Luthor forced you, you're as much to blame as he is," Jonathan stated.
Clark's eyes shot up, a hint of anger coloring them darker. "I'd bet you'd like that, wouldn't you? For me to cry rape? I'd bet you'd love to run to the police and have Lex locked away, not to mention destroy his name."
"The Luthor name should be destroyed," Jonathan said bitterly.
"Lex, Dad! It's Lex, not ‘Luthor'!" Clark exclaimed. "I don't know what your deal is with Lionel Luthor, but stop taking it out on Lex! He has done nothing but try to be a good friend and community member since he got here."
"Your ‘good friend' hit you with his car."
"It was an accident, Dad. Jesus!" Clark fumed. "It could have been anyone driving and the result would have been the same. I was the one loitering on the bridge, which isn't legal. Lex did nothing but die that day—," he narrowed his eyes, "—and I'd be making another bet that you wish he had stayed dead."
Jonathan said nothing. How could he, if he somewhat agreed? The problems he'd faced in one way or another — the contamination of his property, Clark being shot, Earl's affliction, Chloe's injuries, and now Clark's pregnancy — none of them would have happened if Lex Luthor had died permanently on the riverbank. It shamed Jonathan to know how petty he was, but that didn't change his feelings.
Tears appeared in Clark's eyes, and Jonathan had never heard such pain in his son's voice. "Thanks, Dad. I knew I could always count on you for support."
A split second later, Clark was gone.
In Jonathan's mind, the Luthors had won, once again.
Clark was at the castle in a blink, and he collapsed onto the stone steps with a choked sob. Violently scrubbing his hand over his eyes, he pulled his legs to his chest and rested his forehead against his bent knees. He was not going to cry. He'd shed enough tears over the freakshow that was his life.
A few tears escaped, anyway, from behind tightly closed eyelids. The anguish of his father's disdain cut deeply. Clark had been afraid his parents weren't going to take the news well, which was why he'd agonized for a month about telling them, but he hadn't prepared to be outright rejected by his dad, or to learn that Jonathan wished Lex was dead.
"Lex hasn't done anything wrong," Clark whispered despairingly. Since Lex had arrived in Smallville, he'd only done good things. He hadn't fired anyone from the plant, even though Lionel had wanted him to do so. He'd re-opened the Talon for Lana instead of turning it into a parking lot. He'd risked his own life to free Clark's classmates when Earl had taken them hostage. He had been careful in handling the Amy situation, he had made sure Whitney was kept out of trouble during the blackmail thing, and he hadn't taken any action against Pete when he'd tried to kill Lex.
Lex was a good person buried under the Luthor mantle, but no one seemed to see that except Clark. Sure, he was dodgy when it came to business and getting what he wanted, but he'd never purposely hurt anyone. The few times he and Clark had fought, Lex had been trying to learn more about his friend or trying to help in his own way.
Lex was gone now, though, having left the same day as Ryan. It had been a double blow to Clark, losing two people he felt very close to, even though he'd only known Ryan for a few days. Learning that he was pregnant shortly thereafter had sent Clark careening into depression that led him to spending a lot of time sitting on the steps of the castle, making futile wishes for things to be different.
However, Clark wouldn't change the events that led to his pregnancy for anything. The look on Lex's face when he'd first entered Clark, like he'd been given the keys to heaven, was forever burned in Clark's mind. The sex had been great, but it was afterwards, lying face-to-face beneath the sheets, both of them wearing shy, goofy grins, that had been the best part. It had felt right. And when he and Chloe had shown up at the castle the next evening for Chloe's video interview, Lex was more relaxed and happy than he'd ever been, which had made Clark happy in return.
"I miss you," Clark said roughly, voice clogged with tears. He hugged his knees tighter to his chest, and sat on the castle steps until dawn.