A (sort of) new story
Disclaimer: If I owned Clark, Lex, Chloe or Lana, I'd make sure they got enough sleep. I might be tempted to give Lana an extra cup of warm milk, so she'd sleep longer, though.
In the Wee Smallville Hours of the Morning
Clark is sixteen when he realizes he doesn't need to sleep like other people. A few hours a night, long enough for his dreams to cleanse his mind of the detritus of the day, is all his alien body requires. That leaves the span of time from the dead of night, to just before the sky starts waking up the world. Those hours are all his, to spend as he pleases.
Usually he runs. Full speed, heedless of obstacles, he expends his energy effectively. He stops in various places, noting the differences between cities, but more often, the similarities that lie underneath. If he carried Chloe's camera with him, he could have a portfolio as varied as a National Geographic photographer. He doesn't encumber himself with any kind of recording devices.
Still, the evidence is there: red Oklahoma clay. Sandy loam from a night spent on a New England shoreline. Even, once, a pebble he picked up on a street in Vancouver, of all places. He scrapes it off his shoes when he comes in for the morning, burying it under hay in the barn, or in the compost heap out back.
Nobody notices. His parents have managed to hide a *spaceship* from the prying eyes of a small town. Certainly no one will notice a little out of place dirt. Besides, his mother's thoughts have been centered on the evolving life inside her, and his father's concentration has been on his wife.
That's OK. For as much as his body has been wandering, his mind has been in just one place. He's thought about trying to get to Scotland, to find the place the castle's stones were first chipped from the earth. So far, he hasn't figured out a way to cross the ocean. He doesn't think he could swim that far, and he hasn't mastered that floating/jumping/flying thing so well.
Instead, he doesn't try and travel so far. He just walks right into the mansion. He doesn't really even need his superspeed. Padding up the stairs, he slips quietly into Lex's bedroom, taking a seat on the crushed velvet chair near the bed.
Sometimes, after a particularly trying day, Lex will peel off his clothes, and toss them onto the chair. Clark likes to pick them up, and hold them to his nose. The scent of Lex lingers, like the soil that clings to his shoes. It's his favorite kind of souvenir.
When he's especially daring, he climbs into bed with him. Lex sighs, and mumbles something in his sleep. The sound brings a much needed exhaustion back to Clark, or maybe it's just release. Either way, the wandering stops. He pulls Lex in tighter, and doesn't wake up until daylight.
Lex often finds himself awake in the middle of the night. It's been that way since he was a child. Nightmares tear his eyes open. Sometimes he forces them away with drink, or other substances it's easiest to get in darkness. Other times, he seeks an escape in the strong but silent arms of strangers. Men and women, who will give him what he thinks he wants, but never what he needs.
Lately, he has tried to be good, to do the adult thing -- make the conscientious choice. Four a.m finds him awake and alert, sitting at the laptop. He thinks his insomnia is a sign he should be working harder, plotting and planning himself into a dead slumber.
The nightmares used to be many, and varied. Being left in the burning field, skin scraped raw, bloody welts from falling meteor chips; his mother, just post death, calling out to him, blaming him for missing out on "good-bye"; Lionel, taking everyone he loves from him, finally saying "He's an *extraordinary* boy, isn't he, Lex?" as his sinewy fingers trace the silken contours of Clark's cheek.
He has that last one, a lot. And the one where Clark never forgives him, where he lets him drown in the crumpled car, saying "You didn't deserve to be saved. My life would be so much easier if I had just let you go." Sometimes Dream Clark laughs and says "I'm different enough already. I don't need you adding to it, freak," as he puts his letter jacket around Lana. The perfect pink princess doesn't blink, or move, and that's the scariest thing. No slavering monster from his childhood can match it.
After a nightmare, he moves quietly down to the kitchen, to make himself some comfort food. The cook -- a light sleeper, and devoted employee -- used to get up for him, but Lex has told her not to. He's reacquainted himself with the simple fare he used to make in college. The act of heating the soup, flipping the grilled cheese, even nuking the leftover pizza (when he doesn't just tell Clark to take it home after the movies) makes him forget his unease.
There are nights Lex sleeps untroubled by nightmares and fears. He swears he can feel Clark's presence in the room, warm and bright. The dreams are so vivid, it's like Clark is cuddled up next to him, keeping him safe in a way he hasn't felt since childhood, or maybe ever.
He doesn't want to wake up, on these nights. He doesn't want to ask the questions, or tell the truths that the light of day will uncover. He just wraps his arms around the dream Clark, and prays for another hour of darkness.
Chloe and Lana sleep side by side, on twin beds, dreaming about their mothers. In Chloe's they're in Metropolis, on the street she grew up on. Her mother walks right by her, without acknowledgment, or perhaps recognition.
Sometimes she's five, sometimes she's fifteen. Her mother stares at her, and Chloe is sure she should know who she is. After all, she looks just the same. Her blonde hair may be shorter, and her figure more feminine, but she's had that grin since she was a baby.
Chloe is not big on rejection, though she's had lots of practice. So she sublimates her dreams of bridging that gap to the bed next to her, of skin scented with Love's Baby Soft. It's her house, but she doesn't know if she would be welcome.
Lana dreams of secrets. She's a fairy princess, waving her wand. The sparkles hit the Smallville townspeople, and suddenly she knows everything. She doesn't have to second guess Lex at The Talon. Clark doesn't run and hide when she gets too close to his truths.
Her mother watches over her; tells her she's beautiful, and loved. She tells her how proud of her she is, for making it work. "You're not just a pretty facade, like I was."
Everyone wants her, and in her dreams, it's all right. It isn't scary. Men don't look at her like predators. Chloe doesn't give disconcerting vibes. She always knows what to say to them all. She gives them what they want, what she wants, too, but she never loses her innocence.
Morning comes, too soon for them both, with the scent of Gabe, burning the pancakes.
In other news, I so want to see A Mighty Wind, being a fan of both folk music, and parody. If it's any good, it'll go up on my list with Bob Roberts
New icon, made from an old picture. The tree was outside my window in Oklahoma, and the background was done with a cheap kid's software program. (Photoshop being mostly beyond my abilities). I think it looks rather dreamlike.