Family, Friendship, and Love
An uncomfortable pall hung over the Kent farm like a thick, black cloud. Father and son spoke to each other in clipped sentences. The baby was only discussed once between them, when Jonathan had made a disparaging comment about having to hire new farm hands and Clark had responded icily, "When this baby comes, you'd better not take your problems with me out on him."
Martha tried to smooth things over but it was difficult, especially with Clark home everyday since school ended for the summer. It didn't help that she had to show unwavering support for Clark and, at the same time, appease her husband. The baby items that were slowly accumulating in the house added to the tension, a blatant reminder of the situation.
Fear also played its part in causing family strain. They had no idea how long the term of pregnancy was for a half-alien, half-human child. They had no idea if the baby was developing normally in the egg. They had no idea as to how he would be born. They had no idea if he would even survive once he was born.
Plans were made, however, for the baby's arrival as if he was a normal human child. Clark would not be returning to school in the fall and would take the GED test when he turned seventeen. He would wait until after the baby was born to obtain a full-time job. He would continue to live at home since he was still a minor and part of his income would go to his parents, for taking care of some of the baby's needs and babysitting while Clark worked. Finally, they prepared an affidavit of paternity to be filed with the county, legalizing Clark's fatherhood.
The only thing left to do was wait. Clark's sixteenth birthday came and went. The summer days grew longer and hotter. The bulge on Clark's right side protruded another two inches, making it harder to hide under his clothes. Chloe and Pete thought he was getting fat because of the amount of food he ate. He only smiled in response.
"How does it look?" Chloe asked, pushing back slightly from the desk.
"Wow, Chloe," Clark said, leaning over his shoulder to better see the computer monitor. "That's great."
"I thought so." Chloe primped. "It's about time the Torch webpage had a facelift."
"Yeah, but is it still easy to navigate?" Pete asked. He parked himself on her lap, ignoring her cry of dismay, and reached for the computer mouse.
"I'm sure it's fine, Pete." Clark returned to his spot on Chloe's bed. Chloe's bedroom was the coolest room of her house and they had gone there to escape from the summer heat.
"God, Pete, you're heavy." Chloe shoved ineffectually at him. "Are you on the Clark Kent diet?"
"Don't you mean the Eat Everything In Sight diet?" Pete joked, rising so she could move.
"Ha-ha," Clark muttered sarcastically, even though it was the truth. He was always hungry these days. Aside from the lump on his abdomen, it was, thankfully, the only side-effect of his pregnancy.
Chloe escaped the chair and joined Clark on the bed. She shoved his feet over so she could sprawl across the bottom. "Speaking of food, are we pizza-bound tonight?"
"I'm in," Pete said quickly.
Clark shook his head. "Can't. My mom wants me to help her at the Community Fund-raising Dinner tonight." He glanced at the clock. "In fact, I should probably go. I still have some chores to do."
"Okay, Clark," Chloe said as Clark rose and started for the door. "Are we still on for Jackson's Hole tomorrow?'
"Pick me up around 10:30 AM," Clark replied with a grin.
"Bye, Clark," Pete called after him. "Maybe we'll stop by the fund-raiser and make fun of you."
Ignoring Pete's threat, Clark made his way downstairs, calling, "Goodbye, Mr. Sullivan!" as he passed Chloe's father on the way out the back door.
He started on his usual shortcut home. Chloe lived on the outskirts of downtown Smallville, and he'd walked — or run — from between her house and his thousands of times. It was surprising his constant travels hadn't worn a path in the ground.
As soon as he was out of sight of any witnesses, Clark took off running at superspeed. He wanted to grab a snack before starting his chores. Dinner was to be whatever was served at the Community Center. His mother had teased earlier that they'd better not lose money feedi—
"AAHHH!!!" A scream tore from Clark's mouth as his insides suddenly twisted in agony. He fell, skidding along the ground, creating a furrow as physics forced him out of superspeed.
He screamed again, raw and bloodcurdling, wrapping his arms around his stomach. Ripping, tearing pain sliced through his abdomen. He curled into a ball on his side, face pressed hard against the dirt and chuff of the fallow field. Tears burned rapid paths down his cheeks, and his shallow gasps of breath sounded loud and harsh in his ears.
More pain, another scream, and he defecated in his shorts. Under his arm, the lump on his abdomen moved.
Gritting his teeth, he fought against the waves of agony spearing through him and uncurled enough to look down at himself. With concentrated effort, he managed to x-ray through his skin just long enough to see that the egg had moved down the fertility tube.
His next scream echoed in the evening sky, causing a flock of birds in the field to abruptly take flight. He shat uncontrollably again as his body attempted to expel the egg.
It was ridiculous and would be uproariously funny if it didn't hurt so horribly much. Clark was laying an egg. Another ear-piercing scream tore from his throat.
Sweat soaked his clothing and beads ran down his face, mixing with his tears, making him itch. The smell of feces invaded his nostrils. Another splitting cry, and the smell got worse.
The haze of agony had prevented Clark from remembering the cell phone jammed in the front pocket of his shorts. He found it as he ripped the soiled shorts and boxers from his body. His mom had purchased it for him just in case he was away from home when the baby decided to arrive. Like now.
It was his dad who answered the phone. "Dad," Clark whimpered, phone pressed between his ear and the ground. "Help. Help meee-AAHHH!!!"
The pain was blinding, centered in his lower back and colon. The egg was forcing its way past the opening beneath the prostate into his anus.
"...—ark! Where are you? Talk to me, son!" Jonathan was shouting over the line, when Clark could focus again.
Clark went over his route in his mind, trying to determine how far he'd gotten. "Kierson," he ground out between tightly clenched teeth. "Kierson's fie—." Another cry of agony, choked back down. A harsh sob. "Help, Dad. Please help."
"I'm coming, Clark. Hold on," Jonathan said frantically, the sounds of the truck in the background. "You just hold on..."
Clark couldn't hear any longer. Fire burned up and down his spine. Sparkling shards of the sharpest torture ripped him from the inside out. His scream broke his voice, his mouth remaining open in a silent wail.
The egg passed from his body, followed by a gushing of liquid that sizzled and crackled as it bathed the egg and ground. The stench of acid burned his nostrils. His insides quivered as they returned to normal.
The pain was gone as swiftly and suddenly as it had arrived, and it made Clark tremble. He breathed in several large gulps of air, fighting back the sobs of relief, before craning his neck to see behind him. He could just make out the top of the egg, which was the size of a rugby ball. It was milky white in color, and was dissolving rapidly.
It took all his effort, plus a minute more, for him to turn around. By then, he was coated in dirt and feces, and more tired than he'd ever been in his life. It didn't matter, though, because the egg had partially dissolved, revealing a kicking, flailing, tiny infant covered by a thin mucus-like membrane. The membrane covered his entire body, expanding and contracting around his mouth and nose.
With shaking hands, Clark peeled the membrane from the newborn, rolling onto his back when the baby was free, keeping him away from the acidic substance bathing the egg. The baby let out a lusty cry.
Clark began to laugh, even as the tears rolled down his face once again.
Jonathan jumped from the truck barely after putting it in parking gear. He could see Clark in the middle of Kierson's fallow field, lying in a shallow ditch. He ran towards Clark, heart pounding in fear. Things may be tense between them, but Clark was still his son and even the idea that Clark was in pain seared Jonathan's gut. "Clark!"
A baby's cry greeted Jonathan first, as he got closer to Clark, followed by the stench of acid and dung. The smell made Jonathan's eyes water and his throat burn. He forced himself to take shallow breaths and rushed over to his son's side. "Clark, son, I'm here."
"Dad." Clark smiled wearily. He was flat on the ground, half-naked, cradling a tiny, squalling infant against his chest. "It's a boy."
Jonathan knelt beside Clark. He took in the fragments of what looked to be an egg on the other side of Clark, Clark's grime-streaked face, and finally the human-looking child nearly hidden under Clark's large hand. Jonathan realized, then, that he was a witness to a miracle.
Tears welled in his eyes, and he smiled as he brushed his son's matted hair from his forehead. "Congratulations, Clark. What are you going to name him?"
Clark lifted his head, looking down at the baby's reddish, bald head. "Samuel," he answered in a soft, tender voice. "Samuel David Kent."
The baby snuffled, his crying tapering off. Green-blue eyes fluttered before falling completely shut.
Clark dropped his head back, green-blue eyes blinking sleepily as well. Jonathan looked lovingly at him. "Come on, let's go home."
Jonathan helped Clark to his feet, grabbed the ripped clothing and cell phone, and assisted him to the truck. Jonathan made a mental note to return later to take care of the egg remains and cover over the furrow in the ground.
The careful drive home was made in silence, Clark never removing his eyes from the sleeping infant in his arms. Jonathan helped him again, from the truck into the house, leaving him standing in the kitchen while Jonathan detoured quickly to the laundry room to change his shirt and wash his hands, both dirtied from helping Clark.
Clark looked like he was asleep on his feet when Jonathan returned to the kitchen. Jonathan smiled fondly and reached for Sam. "Why don't you go get cleaned up?" he prompted. "It'll give me a chance to bond with my grandson."
"Okay," Clark agreed, though he was reluctant to give up the child. He slowly handed Sam to Jonathan, caressing the little boy's head, before sighing, toeing off his sneakers, and heading upstairs.
Jonathan knew he wouldn't have long. From personal experience, he knew that Clark would loathe to allow his new son out of his sight.
"Hello, Sam," Jonathan greeted the baby in his arms, not feeling silly at all talking to a sleeping child. "I'm your grandpa. Your daddy's daddy." Though that wasn't entirely true. Clark, by human standards, would be considered the mother since he'd carried the child inside his body. Lex Luthor was the father.
Jonathan scowled, wishing he'd gone with his gut instinct and gelded Luthor when he first noticed the way the bald child molester looked at Clark.
Sam fussed slightly, and Jonathan's scowl was wiped away. No matter how he felt about Sam's parentage, Sam was precious. Jonathan and Martha both firmly believed that every child was a blessing, including one fathered by a Luthor.
Jonathan shifted Sam in his arms and studied the newborn curiously. On the outside, Sam looked like a human baby. Two arms, two legs, ten fingers and ten toes. Two little baby nipples and natural male genitalia. His naval dipped inward, although there was no evidence of an umbilical cord having ever been present.
Sam was small, smaller than normal newborns, approximately eight or nine-inches in length. He had a regular baby's plumpness, though, and didn't seem to be effected by any preemie-type afflictions.
Jonathan was reluctant to acknowledge it, but Sam looked like Lex. The resemblance was noticeable, even this early in Sam's life. Jonathan had read the baby books Martha had purposely left out for him to find, and he knew the first-born child usually looked like his father.
Jonathan sighed, brushing his fingers over the baby's soft skin. He was going to have to sit down with Clark and Martha and have a serious conversation about raising Sam, Clark's alien abilities, and Lex's role in Sam's life.
"He's a lot less furry than the babies you usually hold."
Jonathan looked up as Clark descended the stairs, clean and fully dressed. Jonathan smiled playfully at his son. "But he's just as adorable."
"Yeah, he is." Clark's expression was tender as he accepted Sam from Jonathan. "He looks like Lex."
Jonathan stiffened, then exhaled slowly. Well, he had wanted to make amends with Clark, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. "I agree, especially without hair."
Clark glanced warily at his father. "Are you making fun of my child?"
"Actually, I was making fun of Lex," Jonathan admitted, "and I was joking."
Clark smiled suddenly, one of the beaming ones that Jonathan hadn't seen in months. "Don't worry, Dad. I thought the same thing."
Jonathan relaxed, chuckled, and lightly clapped Clark on the shoulder. "Are you hungry?"
"Go sit down," Jonathan instructed. "I'll fix us some supper."
"We should probably call Mom," Clark said, taking a seat at the kitchen table. "She's going to be mad that I won't be able to help tonight."
"Oh, I think she'll get over it quickly," Jonathan said. He paused, cleared his throat, and added, "I'm sorry, Clark."
Clark ducked his head. "Yeah, me too."
"Okay, then. Supper." Jonathan walked to the refrigerator. "Any preferences?"
Jonathan looked back at Clark. "Clark, it's ninety-five degrees outside."
"I know, but I'd rather stick with liquids." Clark made a face. "After what happened earlier, I want to avoid having to go to the bathroom for awhile."
"Speaking of," Jonathan headed to the pantry, "you'd better put a diaper on Sam before you have to take another shower."
"Good idea. I think Mom hid the diapers in the laundry room." Clark stood and wandered that direction, continuing to speak to Jonathan. "You know, Sam looks like me on the inside, so we won't be able to take him to the doctor, which is one of the first things to do on Mom's list."
"What else is on the list?"
"Filing the paternity and getting some size-appropriate clothes," Clark replied. "Mom wanted to wait until Sam arrived before buying a bunch of baby clothes."
"That's smart of her."
"Yeah." Clark re-emerged, with Sam diapered and covered with a thin yellow blanket. "She also said I have a month before I have to find a job, so I can get used to having Sam around."
Jonathan cranked open a can of tomato soup. He'd make grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches to go with it. "It's going to be difficult having a baby in the house. You were already such a little man when you found us."
"Well, I've read that babies are really aliens in disguise," Clark commented with a wry grin.
"Then, I guess we won't have any problems, will we?"
Clark laughed, and all was right once more between father and son.