A/N: For distanceincrowdedrooms :)

Since I'm expanding past the main story at this point, the chapter titles won't follow the same format as the first six.

Chapter 7 - Lana's House

Jonathan and Martha made an effort to let Clark play with Pete at least once a week. Jonathan didn't want them to play unsupervised, but if Pete noticed there was anything strange about the fact that they were never allowed to play alone, he didn't say anything.

About a week before the first day of school, Martha expressed her concern that Clark had only ever met one other child his age.

"Do you think he's ready to meet someone else?" Jonathan asked.

"Do you think he'll be ready for kindergarten, if he's only met three people in his life?"

Jonathan grimaced. "Who did you have in mind?"

"I was thinking about taking him next door," Martha said.

"To Nell's?"

"Yeah. Lana's around his age."

"How old is she?"

"Six. But she's just starting kindergarten this year. I guess she had a tough adjustment period, after her parents . . ."

Jonathan nodded slowly and glanced into the living room, where Clark pushed one toy car into another and giggled. "We could always start him a year late, too. We could say we don't think he's ready."

"He's already taller than most kids his age. I'm sure he was older than two when we picked him up, which means he's already older than five now."

"It doesn't matter. Keeping his secret is more important."

"It's important because we want him to have a normal life. If we shelter him from everything, he won't have that."

Jonathan frowned. "Holding him back from kindergarten for one year—"

"Would be a slippery slope. And you know it." She took his hand. "He's already registered, and he's excited."

Jonathan didn't want to admit how much sleep he'd lost worrying about Clark. He'd expected to worry about a child if he had one, since the farm equipment could be dangerous, but he found he didn't really have to worry about his son's physical safety—Clark was already strong enough to lift a truck partway, and it seemed like he was only getting stronger with each passing day. Instead, Jonathan worried about someone finding out the truth. And while he could keep a close eye on a toddler playing around the farm, he couldn't follow his child everywhere to make sure he never let anything slip.

Still, they took him next door later that day. Nell and Martha went into the kitchen to chat, and Jonathan was left to supervise the kids. He was fine with that—Nell was always trying to flirt with Jonathan when she was alone with him.

The first thing Lana did was to run over to a shelf and try to pick up a big cardboard box. She struggled with it for a moment before looking back at Clark and saying, "Can you get it?"

Clark's eyes went wide, and Jonathan's heart pounded. Lana probably wouldn't notice anything was off about Clark just because he could lift a box . . . would she?

Clark toddled over to the shelf and pulled at the box. Jonathan could tell he wasn't really putting any effort in. "It's really heavy." Clark turned to face Jonathan. He tried to wink, but it came out as a blink. "Daddy, can you help?"

Jonathan's heart swelled with pride, and he got up to pick up the box and set it on the floor.

"Yay!" Lana pushed it over on its side, and big Legos spilled out all over the floor. "I'm gonna make a castle!"

"I'm gonna make a spaceship!"

Jonathan smiled—Martha had been right to keep Clark's origins away from him. Jonathan didn't have to worry about him accidentally sharing where he was from, and he could talk about spaceships and aliens the way any other kid would.

Lana plunked down on the floor, and Clark sat down a few feet away from her. She hadn't gotten any further than sticking two bricks together when she jumped to her feet again. "I wanna show you something!"


Lana raced out of the room toward where the bedrooms were, and came back with a little green piece of rock. "This is from the meteor that killed my parents."

"Your parents died?"

"Yeah." Lana sat down next to Clark and set the rock on the floor in front of him. "They're going to make a necklace out of the rock, so I can always remember them."

Clark started whimpering, and Jonathan didn't blame him. It sounded horrible to him.

"It's okay. It was a long time ago."

"Oww . . . Owwwwww!"

Jonathan hurried over to face his son, whose face had turned red. "Clark, are you alright?"

"No!" He pushed himself up, but tripped over his feet on the way up and landed on his hands and knees. He screamed—one knee had landed on the corner of a lego.

"Okay, okay." Jonathan had never seen Clark like this before. Clark didn't even get so much as an upset stomach when he ate too much.

Jonathan knelt down and picked him up, sitting him up on the carpet. The lego he'd landed on fell away from his leg, leaving a deep dent and a little trail of blood in its place.

Martha raced into the room and knelt down in front of Clark. "Baby, are you okay?"

"He's bleeding," Jonathan said. "Does Nell have a first aid kit?"

"I—I'll find out." Martha jumped back up and ran.

"Is he okay?" Lana said in a small voice.

"It hurts!" Tears streamed down Clark's face, and his muscles tensed. His face was red, but Jonathan could have sworn his hands and arms looked greener than usual.

"Hang on, little guy, Mommy's coming back, she'll make it better." Jonathan ran his hand through Clark's hair, hoping to calm him—it wasn't a serious injury, even if it was the worst he'd ever seen Clark get hurt—but then he remembered that Clark had been complaining about the pain before he'd even been injured. "Where does it hurt?"

"My knee . . . tummy . . . head . . . arms . . . everywhere." He sobbed and curled up on the floor in fetal position.

Jonathan's blood ran cold. What if this was some kind of sudden-onset alien sickness? They couldn't take him to an emergency room. They couldn't do anything for him. He could be dying, and they wouldn't know it. Or it could be fairly minor, and he was just reacting this way because he wasn't used to any pain at all. There was no way for them to know.

Martha hurried back into the room and knelt beside Jonathan. "Show me, baby."

Clark moved his leg just slightly, and she turned him onto his back to get a better view.

"Okay, I need you to hold very still, baby. I'm gonna clean it."

Jonathan kept running his fingers through Clark's hair. "Deep breaths, son. Look at me. Deep breaths." Jonathan started taking deep breaths himself, making a show of each inhale and exhale.

Tears still ran down Clark's temples, but he kept his eyes on his father, and he matched his breaths.

Clark sucked in a breath and started to whine again when Martha dabbed hydrogen peroxide into the cut, but Jonathan pressed his hand a little harder into Clark's head and whispered, "No, no. Keep looking at me, son. Deep breaths."

Martha finished with the band aid and sat back. "Is that better?"

"No," Clark whispered, and he let out another sob.

Martha leaned down to kiss him on the forehead. "Do you want to play?"


Martha and Jonathan exchanged a glance—that was a first. Jonathan swallowed hard. "Do we need to go to the hospital?"

Clark wiped his eyes, though his wince was as deep as ever. "Okay."

"Uh . . . okay." Jonathan scooped Clark up into his arms. Even as they walked, he had no idea what he was going to tell a doctor. But if Clark really was dying, it was no use trying to keep his secret.

Jonathan's entire perspective on Clark shifted in his mind. His son could be hurt. He could get sick, and he could bleed. Jonathan had hoped that there might come a day when he wouldn't have to worry about anyone finding out his secret, a day when he would become strong and invulnerable enough that no one could hurt him. Now, they could never be sure.

They loaded Clark up into the truck. Jonathan got into the driver's seat and placed Clark beside him. Clark wiped his eyes as Martha climbed into the passenger side and helped with his seatbelt.

"How are you feeling?"

"All better!" He grinned.

Jonathan blinked. "All better?"

"Yes!" He reached down and peeled off the bandaid. "See?"

Jonathan glanced down and did a double take. Clark's knee was completely healed. No sign of any injury, other than a little dried blood.

Martha's jaw dropped, and she looked up at Jonathan. "What just happened?"

"I have no idea." There was no way for them to find out, either. Jonathan let out his breath. "Let's go inside."

"Mommy, can we have cookies?" Clark asked.

She laughed and unbuckled his seatbelt, taking him into her arms. "As many as you want, sweetie."

A/N: I've received 3 requests here and 2 on AO3, so this story will get to at least chapter 11. Feel free to leave further requests as comments on chapter 6, but I'm still just going to do one per user.