by Caligo Sidhe
Disclaimer: I don't own Smallville or it's characters, I'm just borrowing them.
He had never pictured himself as a farmer. In all honesty, his father never had either. He had always wanted his son to be great, claimed he was meant for bigger things. And Clark was a good boy, a good son. That was how he was raised. He had always wanted to make his father proud and happy. That was something he had in common with Lex, although Lex never would have openly confessed his need for his father's approval. But Clark had been there when Lionel died from the successful assassination attempt. Clark was the one who held Lex as he cried on his shoulder.
It was too bad, really. Clark had always thought Lex had potential, but he had wasted it on his war with his father and his need to secure Lionel`s love. Clark chuckled fondly, shaking his head as he thought about his obsessed one-time best friend. It really was a shame, the two of them really could have been great.
Clark strode purposefully into the yellow farmhouse, letting the screen door creak and slam shut behind him. He tore off his sweat-soaked forest green T-shirt and threw it in the corner of the kitchen floor. Martha would see it and wash it for him. Clark absentmindedly opened the refrigerator and pulled out the bottle of milk. He took a sip from the bottle and wiped his milk mustache. He leaned against the counter, contentedly drinking the cool liquid. He was still thinking about Lex.
He remembered Lex having told him that their friendship would be the stuff of legends. That memory always brought a grin to Clark's face. Twenty-one. That's how old Lex had been then. The same age Clark was now. Somehow Lex seemed younger then than Clark did now. Clark had been really young back then too. He could remember believing Lex as Lex had spoken those words. So nave. That had been before Clark learned who he was meant to be, who Lex was meant to be. Those people they would become would never be compatible. Still, Clark admitted that he missed Lex. But Lex had been flawed, just like his father had warned. And Clark was a good boy, so he had finally listened to his father.
Martha shuffled into the kitchen, wearing a pale blue housecoat and worn, brown slippers. She hadn't bothered with makeup. Clark had noticed Martha change after her husband died. She really didn't care about her appearance anymore. Sometimes, her never-ending mourning would bother Clark. After all, he had moved on, why couldn't she?
Martha managed to give Clark a brief welcoming smile as she headed to the coffee pot. Always the same with her. Black coffee. Unless she was feeling festive-then she would add a small amount of milk or even cream if she was in a particularly good mood. Today was apparently not one of those days. Clark sighed as he watched her blow on her bitter black coffee. Boring and predictable. That's pretty much what Martha Kent had become. Clark didn't mind her around too much though. She didn't give him much trouble and besides, she had raised him and that counted for something.
Clark returned her smile with a slow lazy grin and threw back some more milk.
"Going out with Lana again?" Martha's voice was soft, barely a whisper.
Clark nodded, wiped the milk of his face one more time and returned the bottle to the refrigerator. "She'll be by any minute. Speaking of which, I need the watering can."
Martha wordlessly set down her coffee and went to the broom closest to fetch the can she used to use for her flower garden but she hadn't used it in years. Just Clark. Clark took it and began to fill it up at the sink. He felt Martha's gaze on his back. It was slightly unnerving. Clark never knew what she was thinking when she looked at him like that. His father, on the other hand, never made Clark guess. He had always told Clark exactly what he wanted, what he expected. And Clark, being a good son, would try to make him proud.
"Finish the deliveries?" Martha questioned tonelessly, having shifted her gaze from Clark to the liquid in her mug.
Martha nodded. "Good...it's nice of you to stay here and do these things. The farm would have been shut down otherwise."
"I know." Clark pulled the full watering can out of the sink and set it on the floor to wait for Lana. "Never really thought I'd be a farmer. But it's just for now and there's no point in college." He meant it too. College would have been a waste of time for him. Besides, Smallville was perfect for him, he had just never realized it as a kid. He would focus on Smallville for now. Smallville was his, it felt right.
Clark's thoughts were interrupted as the kitchen door opened and Lana stepped through carrying an armload of purple and yellow flowers. She was dressed in gray twill pants and a simple white blouse. A small book was tucked under her right arm. Clark knew what it was. Lana always carried it with her. Lex had given her the small gold-leafed King James Bible on her eighteenth birthday, along with a complete transfer of ownership of the Talon to her. "Hi, Mrs. Kent...Clark," Lana greeted shyly.
Martha nodded distractedly in greeting and then shuffled out of the room without another word. Clark didn't bother to answer Lana but grabbed the rust red shirt draped over a kitchen chair that Martha had laid out for him. He pulled it over his head and adjusted it around his torso. It clung to him just tightly enough to show off his pecs and toned abs nicely. Lana's gaze drifted around the room as she let Clark get dressed. He noticed her eyes lock briefly on the blue spandex poking out from beneath Martha's sewing machine on the table. She only looked for a second and then met his gaze. "Ready?"
Lana was perfect for Clark. She symbolized everything that made Smallville Smallville. Since Smallville was perfect for Clark, it only made sense that Lana was perfect for him too. She was a good girl, just the sort of girl a good boy like Clark should always end up with. She was the only one of his high school friends to have stayed in Smallville like him, opting to run the Talon rather than attend college.
Clark passed that Talon as he drove through the center of town. People on the sidewalk waved and smiled as the couple passed by. Everyone in the town knew Clark and loved him. Clark occasionally nodded or lifted a hand in greeting when he recognized the person waving. Lana didn't spare them a glance.
Clark reached over and brushed some hair out of her face. Lana smiled faintly, not turning to look at him. She kept her eyes on the book on her lap, fingering its frayed corners. Lana wasn't exciting, that was for sure. But Clark didn't need exciting at this point. He just wanted a sweet, pretty girl who he could get along with. And that was Lana in a nutshell. She was perfect for him, just like Smallville, and they were both his.
Clark turned into the dirt drive as Lana spoke and they drove quietly through the rows of headstones that stretched endlessly on either side. The Smallville cemetery had expanded quite a bit over the last six years or so. People had a way of dying frequently in Smallville. One of Smallville's dark secrets, another way that Smallville was so fitting for Clark Kent.
After driving through the cemetery a short way, Clark pulled to the side and cut the power. Lana scooped the flowers up in her arms, leaving her Bible on the passenger seat. Clark moved to the back of the truck to retrieve the watering can. Lana waited for Clark and then followed him through the rows of graves. Clark glanced up at the sky where dark gray clouds had started to gather, effectively blocking out the sun. It didn't spoil his mood though.
The two finally arrived at their destination: an offset row of four white headstones. They stepped by the first grave. There were no flowers planted in front of that one. It was different and it wasn't a part of these regular trips. The trips had started two years ago and Lana and Clark had been regular visitors since then. At first, Chloe had joined them. Lex never had.
For that matter, Pete really hadn't either, seeing as how his was the first grave they had visited. Lana knelt in front of it and picked off a few dead flowers from the blue periwinkles and yellow anemones that covered the earth in front of the stone. Lana had chosen the flowers, it had seemed important for her to do so. She stood up and backed away so that Clark could get in with the watering can.
He sprinkled a small amount of water on the blossoms and stared thoughtfully at the engraving. Peter Ross (1986-2005). The headstone was simple, just like Pete had been. Pete had been the first to go. He'd also been the first to find out about Clark's secret. He had tried hard to keep it, Clark had to acknowledge. But it had been hard for him. It had always been too much of a burden for Pete, and Clark regretted ever having told him. It really hadn't been fair...to either of them. Pete didn't have to bear that burden anymore. He was at peace and Clark was at peace with that knowledge. Pete hadn't suffered. His neck had been broken. He had died instantly with no pain. He had deserved that much.
Lana moved on to the next headstone, which was only slightly newer than the last. Chloe had only visited Pete's grave with Clark and Lana once before she had been laid to rest next to her best friend. Chloe Sullivan (1986-2005) Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Clark vaguely recalled Gabe Sullivan telling him that Lex had chosen the quote. Clark had seen Lex at the funeral. Lex had stood off to the side, apart from the other mourners. Clark and Lex's fragile friendship had finally fallen apart before that.
Chloe's funeral was the first time Clark had seen Lex since Lex had walked out of Clark's barn for the last time nearly a year before. It was strange because everyone had expected Clark to walk away from Lex, not vice versa. But truthfully, Clark hadn't been able to accept his friend's flaws and had very much wanted to help him. He hadn't listened to his father's warnings at first when he should have. Back then, Clark would sometimes defy his father. He didn't do that anymore. He was a good boy.
Clark had been surprised at the sadness on Lex's face at the funeral. He didn't cry, not like Lana did. Lana had cried silently through the whole ceremony, tears steadily streaming down her beautiful face. Clark had comforted her. Chloe's death had changed Lana. Prior to that, Lana had never opened the Bible that Lex had given her. However, once Chloe died, Lana found some solace in the words of the book and Clark couldn't remember ever seeing her without it afterward. Not that she joined a church or anything. The book seemed to be enough. It was also after Chloe's death that Lana chose Clark and they had been together ever since. It hadn't been a verbal agreement. Neither one had said anything. Lana had just leaned against him and laid her hand on his, letting him know that he wouldn't have to lose her too.
Unlike Lana, Lex didn't shed a tear, and most people thought he showed no emotion at all. But Clark knew Lex better than most people. Clark had seen his sorrow. Only once did Lex look at Clark during the funeral. At the end when everyone was departing, Lex had caught Clarks eye as they stood on either side of the open grave. In that brief glance, Clark had seen Lex's anguish. Then Lex nodded once at Clark, put his sunglasses on and turned toward his waiting car. Clark had watched him walk away for the second time.
Lana pruned Chloe's flowers like she had done with Pete's. Chloe's flowers were white chrysanthemums and yellow daisies. When Clark asked about Lana's choices, Lana had just shrugged and said that they reminded her of Chloe. Once again, Lana stepped aside to let Clark water the flowers. They always had the same routine, Lana chose and planted the flowers but Clark always watered them. Clark felt a few drops of rain land on the back of his neck and he bent over the delicate flowers.
The yellow of the daisies reminded Clark of fire. Fire reminded him of Chloe. Not because she had had a fiery personality (at least until Pete died, Chloe had never been the same afterwards) but because of the fire that she had died in. Chloe found out Clark's secret. She had managed to break into Dr. Swann's lab after he had suddenly died. Suffocation due to his oxygen tube malfunctioning. That's what the authorities had said.
Chloe could never let anything go. That's why she died. Chloe was reading files of Swann's and was putting everything together about Clark when the fire started. The authorities never knew what exactly caused the fire. They assumed that Chloe had been smoking or had lit a match for some reason and one of Swann's many flammable compounds had burst into flames. Chloe had never smoked though, as her friends knew. Chloe had been trapped inside the room by the flames. The fire department hadn't been in time. Chloe had died as the flames engulfed her where she sat crouched on the floor, crying and begging for mercy. She didn't get it.
Clark missed Chloe...and Pete to be honest. They were decent people, as far a people go. It was probably all for the best though. Clark was better off with no one knowing his secret.
Clark and Lana came the final grave that they were visiting that day. This grave was the newest and the recently disturbed earth stood out. Of course, the headstone also stood out seeing as how it was twice a big as any others around. Hope and Mercy had obeyed Lex's wish to be buried in Smallville, but they were determined that his headstone be deserving of the man that it remembered.
Lana reached out and traced the fresh engraving in the stone. Alexander Luthor (1980-2006) The greatest epochs of our life are the occasions when we gain the courage to rebaptize our evil qualities as our best qualities. Clark grinned at the inscription. Only Lex Luthor would have wanted Nietzsche quoted on his gravestone. Clark didn't think anyone understood the meaning of it, except maybe Lana, who had cried at the funeral when she first read it. Lana had taken Lex's death the hardest, even though she had pretty much stopped speaking to him when he and Clark had gone separate ways. But for some reason that Clark couldn't understand, Lex's death had shaken her and she had become even quieter than before.
Lana knelt down and began to plant the flowers she had brought.
"What kind of flowers are those?"
Lana didn't look up when Clark spoke. "Coltsfoot and Gladiolus."
Clark frowned. "Never heard of them."
Lana didn't answer but worked diligently until all the white and yellow flowers were in the ground. By that time it had started to drizzle. Lana remained kneeling in the dirt, gazing at the headstone. Clark heard her speak softly and slowly. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Clark watched her silently as she spoke to the stone. Clark didn't think that Lana talked to graves anymore. She hadn't visited her parents' graves anymore and she had never spoken to Chloe or Pete. But Clark humored her today and waited until she stood up and backed away from the loose ground. Clark raised the watering can but Lana stilled his arm. He looked down at her perplexed.
She smiled into his eyes. "Let's let the rain water them...Lex would like that."
Clark frowned but lowered the can. He and Lana stood in front of the grave silently as the rain began to come down harder.
"He was so strong." Lana voice betrayed some awe as she spoke.
"He could have been," Clark responded. "But he ended up weak."
"He just drank it, knowing exactly what would happen."
Clark nodded. He had been there. It was the only time Clark had seen Lex since Chloe's funeral. It had only been a few days ago. He had confronted Lex in his Metropolis office. Lex had been dressed in all black except for the rich purple shirt that showed beneath his Armani jacket. Lex had also been wearing the Kryptonite ring on his newly acquired prosthetic right hand. Clark remembered Lex's laugh at Clark's confused expression. He said that he wasn't afraid of losing his hand twice.
Clark had wanted to save Lex. He had asked Lex to join him. Together the two of them could have been great. Lex had just smiled at Clark. But it wasn't his cocky smirk. The smile was sad and so were Lex's eyes. The sadness written on Lex's face had given Clark hope. Clark had taken a step forward to his former best friend, careful not to get too close to the green stone on Lex's finger. Lex had simply raised his hand to halt Clark's approach.
I will never join you, Kal-El.
Clark remembered the coldness in Lex's voice as he had spoken those words. That had been the end. Clark knew that Lex was lost, just as his father had predicted. Clark decided then never to question his father again. He knew what to do to make his father proud. And Clark was a good boy who wanted his father to be proud.
The rain had started to come down hard, soaking Clark and Lana in seconds. Lana's long, dark hair was plastered to her face by the pelting rain. But she didn't take her eyes off Lex's grave. The rain was pouring down hard on the flowers that she had planted, but they stood tall and proud despite the pressure. They reminded Clark of Lex.
Lex hadn't flinched when Clark demanded to know where Lex kept the Kryptonite. Lex was the one who had organized the cleanup of the meteor rock from Smallville. As far as Clark knew Lex was the only person who could get his hands on the green rocks. Clark knew Lex wasn't stupid. Lex had not destroyed the Kryptonite, it would have been careless. Clark knew there was more where that little ring had come from, much more. And he needed to know where it was, because if he didn't, he knew that Lex would stand in his way and prevent him from fulfilling his destiny.
Clark put a hand on Lana and they silently turned and walked to through the rain in the direction of the truck, their shoes sinking into the soft, wet earth as they moved. Clark stepped on ground in front of the first grave next to Pete's that they had ignored previously. Clark glanced at the name through the rain. Clark liked the rain, it was cleansing. The rain was fitting for the occasion because now Clark was finally free to be reborn into the great man that his father had always intended for him. Smallville was just the beginning. There was a whole world out there for Clark. And there was no one left to interfere.
Lex had drank that scotch knowing he would die. Clark wondered how far ahead Lex had planned it. He must have added the poison while Clark was incapacitating Hope and Mercy and their lackeys. They had proven to be more difficult than Clark had expected, being armed with small amounts of Kryptonite. Clark remembered the peaceful look on Lex's face as he sipped on the scotch. Clark didn't understand Lex's tranquility. Lex had lost, it was that simple. Hemlock, the autopsy had reported. Enough to kill ten men. Even Lex could not survive that much. He had not taken any chances. Lex had preferred to die rather than tell Clark where he had stashed the meteor rock. Clark knew that Lex was the only person who knew where they were hidden. Lex wouldn't have trusted anyone else with that knowledge. With Lex's death, the information to kill Clark had died with him.
Clark and Lana reached the truck and Lana hurriedly opened the passenger door and climbed in. Clark stood in the rain a few more moments and stared up at the sky. He felt a smile spread across his face as fat rain drops rolled down his chin. The sky wasn't even the limit. Clark had no limits.
Clark glanced back one more time at the neglected grave, still smiling. Jonathan Kent had never understood and had died from a heart attack, never realizing that Clark's destiny had been greater than he could ever have comprehended. Not like Clark's father. Clark's father understood.
As Clark scanned the graveyard, his eye caught the large white tombstone of Lex Luthor again. Clark missed Lex, and he always would. Lex had almost been a challenge for Clark. Now Lex was gone and everything seemed almost too simple. He didn't even have Kryptonite to deal with anymore. Even Lex's ring had disappeared after his death. Clark didn't know and didn't care where it was now. It was too insignificant to worry about.
Clark finally climbed in the truck where Lana was waiting, studying the inside cover of the small Bible. He shut the door and wiped the wet bangs from his face. Clark knew what was written in the book, scrawled in Lex's elegant handwriting.
I leave it to the strongest
Lana had been confused by that inscription at first, until Lex had handed her the deed to the Talon. Then, Lana had laughed and thrown her arms around Lex's neck. No one had even expected Lex to appear at Lana's birthday party. His father had died only a few days before. But he came. Clark remembered how they look when Lana pulled Lex into that unexpected embrace. They had both looked so happy then.
Clark put the keys in the ignition but a small hand fell on top of his elbow. Clark looked down at the delicate hand that stopped his arm. The skin was white, probably from the cold. Two rings adorned the fingers. One small mood ring on her pinky and a larger dull gray ring on her index finger. He remembered Chloe giving her the first ring after she won it in a fair. He remembered Chloe's laughter as she had told Lana that now Lana wouldn't have to share her woes with the world anymore because they could read her sadness right on her hand. The ring now was a cool blue color. The other ring was some dull gray metal. It had an elegant shape, but the stone set on top was the same color as the rest of the ring. It had a tiny inscription along the rim that Clark could barely make out: 16mat19.
"I like black Mulberry and Foxglove."
Clark met Lana's eyes and they stared at each other for a moment. Clark then nodded. Lana dropped her eyes and removed her hand from his elbow. She stared out the window as Clark turned the key, absentmindedly fingering the gray ring on the hand that rested on the small black book. The rain poured down on Clark`s world and it was reborn.
The quote on Chloe's grave is by Henry David Thoreau and as mentioned in the story, the quote on Lex's grave is by Nietzsche. Lex's note on the inside of Lana's Bible refers to Alexander the Great's last words about to whom he would leave his kingdom. The inscription on the ring refers to Matthew 16:19 which reads "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The words that Lana says to Lex's grave is John 14:27.
The story can be understood better is you have a bit of understanding about flower symbolism. Each flower mentioned signifies something. Although some have deeper and twofold symbolism, simple meanings are: Blue periwinkle-early friendship, anemone- fading hope, daisies-innocence, white chrysanthemums-truth, coltsfoot-justice, gladiolus-strength of character, mulberry-I shall not survive you &sadness, foxglove-insincerity, hemlock-death (you will cause my death)
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