§ Smallville

Just because you're given a new beginning, you shouldn't expect the past to die.

My father sent me to this crap factory in the middle of nowhere as punishment. He wanted me to pay for my more ingenious indiscretions, the ones that cost him a hefty chunk of his fortune to hide. Instead it seems he gave me a blessing, hidden in the guise of a teenage farm boy with an incredible streak of both good and bad luck.

I wonder if it means anything, that I should have killed him. I still have no idea how I managed not to. I have no idea how I managed not to die right along side him.

The irony of it all is, I wasn't even driving that fast. Well, at least not by Metropolis standards. It figures a hick town like Smallville would consider a 40 mile per hour limit reasonable for a stretch of highway no one ever uses. No one except a pedestrian named Clark Kent, anyway.

I know I saw him standing there. If I close my eyes, I can picture it with the clarity only those with photographic memory should be able to possess. He was leaning over the railing, looking out over the water. I swerved to avoid debris falling from the truck in front of me… and all the sudden, I was staring into his eyes. And in that instant, I knew, and I know he knew, that we were both dead.

Death isn't an easily forgotten connection. Even if it lasted for less than an instant, I know it happened.

But I didn't die. At least not permanently.

Because Clark Kent brought me back.

Before he did, though, before I woke up with the taste of homegrown apples on my lips, I saw something. Felt something. I tried to describe it to Clark later, when he came by the mansion to return my gift (per his father's instructions, I'm sure, even though he didn't confirm it when I pried), but I don't think he truly understood. Judging from how fast he left, I'm actually positive he misunderstood.

How does one describe dying and being reborn? I failed then, and if I tried now I'm sure I'd fail even more spectacularly. The memory's faded anyway, all I have left are impressions. Of flying over Smallville, and knowing this little town, that I'd dismissed almost as soon as I'd arrived, was the place of my destiny.

And then I opened my eyes, and saw Clark Kent. He looked… worried. Frantic, even. No one's ever shown me that kind of concern, not that I can remember. But this stranger, this kid… I knew if I'd died, he'd have fucking cared.

I barely had time enough to express my astonishment at his survival (and for him to deny I'd even hit him) when the cavalry arrived, consisting of blankets, ambulance workers, and a worried father.

Not mine, obviously.

Jonathan Kent doesn't much like me, as he proved again the day after as well, forcing his kid to return my 'sorry I nearly killed you' gift. I know finality when I hear it, and I heard it in Clark's voice as he thanked and refused the truck I'd bought for him. I think sharing my near (actual) death experience was, in some way, an attempt to give him a reason to come back. Which might have backfired spectacularly… I'll never know for certain, now. Because I got to save his life, too.

I wonder if frequent near-death experiences are common in Smallville. I'm starting to wonder.

I had some paperwork I needed to finish tonight that I'd left at the crap factory's office. So I was driving up to the building, at a reasonable speed, when I saw… it.

It. A flash, a shadow, a ghost… I have no idea. It was gone in the next instant, leaving behind only the memories I've been trying to forget for the past twelve years.

Even now, I only remember it vaguely. The kid, tied up on a cross, begging me to help him. Although back then, I was the kid. He was around Clark's age. And then the fear, as the sun suddenly seemed to come down from the sky.

Everything else is just a blur, until the hospital in Metropolis.

I could've sworn I saw him, that same kid, standing in that field. Maybe I did. When I looked back, he was gone, but then I heard a voice. His voice, I thought, at first. Calling out to me to help. I wasn't able to help him last time, was too young, too frightened, too much of a coward. I thought maybe it was a second chance, to get it right.

Dying'll do that to you.

It wasn't him, though, not the nameless kid of twelve years ago. It was Clark, in the exact same position, just as frightened.

And this time no meteor shower stopped me from getting him down.

He didn't stay long enough to explain to me what had happened, though, instead hurriedly disappearing through those damn stalks of corn.

I hate corn fields.

I found a necklace on the ground, though. I don't know exactly why I kept it. Maybe to give it back to him.

There's something about that kid. Something more, even, then the dent in my Porsche where his body hit at ninety miles an hour. Something I can't quite put my finger on.

I plan to find out what it is.

At least it'll hopefully prove to be more of a challenge than running good old crap factory #3.

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