Disclaimer: Smallville and all related elements, characters and indicia © Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television, 2002. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situationssave those created by the authors for use solely on this websiteare copyright Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.
Author's note: Companion to I Get Along Without You Very Well
A Child Believes: All I Want
---"Lex, you can't be weak. You can't show your tears. You shouldn't even have them."---
Oh, God, Dad, but I do. Far too many. Is that why you sometimes can't stand to look at me? Because I'm not afraid to feel what you don't want to?
Or is it what you can't feel that makes you cringe? What all have you lost since Mom died?
I thought I was going to die. Earl… He hit me so hard with that gun. Right in the back of the neck. I thought he'd shot me for sure, but I reached back and only felt sore muscle.
I was just trying to be brave. Just trying to save a class of school kids and a friend or two, but… I just wanted to have courage. But I was scared. Oh, Dad. I was so scared.
I walk out behind Clark, confused, shaken and feeling betrayed by my own flesh and blood. My own father, though this should be nothing new.
Clark runs into the arms of his parents, parents who are laughing and ecstatic to see him alive and perfectly okay. My heart hurts, it's so sore. I can feel it throbbing painfully as I watch the embrace, the pure love flow through the Kents.
I want that, and I have no problem admitting to it. I want nothing but that right now. Arms to hold me tight, never wanting to let me go, words of concern for my well being. Touches and caresses and mumbles and pats. Physical comfort from my father. That's all I want. That's all I want. I see my father there and even though he lied to me and I believed him and walked into danger… Even though his lack of love and emotions, his lack of parental sentiment almost cost me my life… Oh, God, I would forgive him in an instant if he just put his arms around me. My father's no good with words, no good at all, not when they're about feelings, so I don't expect them. I just want his arms around me, just to know that he cares.
It's all I want. But I know that just something that simple, something that should be so commonplace in a situation such as this… I should know that all I want is all I'll never have. I should know to just stop hoping.
When will I learn?
I approach him and my emotions start to choke me up as I see the expression I left to. Superior amusement. He's not worried, probably never was. He's not going to hold me. Fine.
"You lied to me."
"No, no I didn't," he says coming closer. For a moment my heart leaps at the concern in his eyes. Then as his hushed words continue, I realized that he is merely worried about being overheard. "I said level three wasn't on any plans. It wasn't." Closer still, and then, "It's plausible deniability."
I look to him, disgusted at his apathy and my own need for the man. "What were you doing down there?"
"Doesn't matter." His voice has taken over in the monotone timbre I know so well from my childhood. The one that forms the words, but makes you feel like you're hearing a press statement. And that's what this is. "It was a failure. We closed the door and moved on."
I looked at him incredulous as I realize he's got no emotions on the subject of my bravery-
…can't you just be proud of me, dad?…
-but he has an opinion. That it was stupid.
I have an opinion on it, too. It was unnecessary. If he had just admitted to Earl about his stupid level three, just admitted that the damned thing existed. At least had he tried harder to stop me…
I'm in tears, but I'm not crying. "You almost got me killed."
That amused smile grows. "No, you almost got yourself killed. It was 'your call'. Remember?"
The press comes and I blank out for a moment. Then I throw the press something about us paying for the man's medical bills, though I don't really know what it is that I'm saying. All I do know is that my heart is growing colder and more empty by the second.
"No, no, no more questions, please." I hear my father say to the press. "My son has been through quite an ordeal today."
He then takes me into his arms and the cameras flash and zoom in.
I was wrong. He's taken me in his arms, he's holding me, but I can't forgive him. I can't ever, especially not now. He's using me and my emotions, what I've been through, and he's using it more to escape from the press than even for the publicity that this moment will bring him.
He's using my insecurity, my weakness and vulnerability to get away from answering questions about his work.
I give him the moment that his PR consultant is going to want to kiss him for in the morning, but I'm watching Clark and Martha and Jonathan. Clark's smiling, Martha has her arms around her boy and Jonathan is talking to his son, unable to wipe his proud and exalted smile off his face.
I care about Clark. I do. He really is like a little brother to me, fifteen and sometimes lost in the world that he's trying to make for himself. I care about him, and am surprised to find he cares back, just as strongly. But right now I hate him, too. I'm glad he's alive, but that doesn't stop the pure hate and envy and self pity, and- oh, God, here come the tears.
Caring can't stop the tears, and so I hate, which just adds to all of my confusion.
I would give up all the money, all the years of what I have learned… I would give up everything in the world that I have for what Clark has right now. Love.
I was wrong.
…so very, very wrong…
All I want isn't physical comfort from my father. All I want is physical comfort from a father. A real one, like Jonathan.
Ah, but I was also right. All I want is something I'll never have.