Kara's Wish

Kara Zor-El Kent walked a human's pace into the barn where she found her cousin Clark grooming the riding horses. He spoke softly and reassuringly to the four-legged beasts. The animals on Earth were so strange in Kara's eyes. They looked like fantasy monsters from an unknown world. Ironically, she and Clark were the fantasy creatures. They didn't really belong on Earth. Clark left Krypton when he was a baby and had no memory of it, but she remembered her planet-with its glorious painted sky, shaded spectacularly with red, blue and white. Krypton was her home and Earth was their asylum.

She tried to tell Clark last night about how poor the sunsets were here. How Earth's tiny little moon looked pathetic. "Imagine Kal-El, the sky filled with twelve satellites, each unique, reflecting light from a red sun. One moon blue another yellow; together casting a green shadow on the horizon. I can't even begin to explain… That's our home-not this orangey-purple haze before you. It's nice, but not breathtaking."

"Kara, it sounds wonderful."

Kara heard the pity in his voice. "You should try to find beauty here now. Earth is your home. Krypton is gone."

"The plants are nice" Kara considered. "Much nicer than ice and crystal" Kara turned around to face Clark. "If Earth had Krypton's sky Kal-El, it would be the most beautiful planet in all twenty-eight galaxies."

"It's Clark."

"Sorry." She frowned at her cousin.

"No, I guess I should be more understanding. Losing everyone like you did-when Krypton exploded. I'd fall apart if I lost my friends and family. I'm not… that strong." Clark timidly touched her shoulder, which broke her posture. "No one is. Not even a Kryptonian."

Kara nodded, as a tear broke free from her eye. When she first emerged from her ship, she was so focused on the mission her father set out for her. She was angry and impatient. She offended people with quick conclusions. She was softening as she slowly accepted her reality.

As the horizon's edge tucked under the yellow sun, she realized that she missed Krypton and Kandor. She missed her friends, her betrothed, and her lover. She had spent a few months trying to show Clark human emotions were a waste, but, here she was, succumbing to an unknown beauty. That's when Clark left her in peace for the night. He knew she wouldn't cry in his presence, and she needed to cry. When he was out of sight, Kara produced tears so large she thought they'd flood this world. "So this is mourning," she thought, as the night began.

She had no one from her past to cling to. It was all starting to sink in. She wanted a friend of her own, someone that she could trust, someone that would put her first-and not Clark.

She clung to her wish night after night. If only she could talk to someone about her loss. Someone not so closely tied to Clark. She needed a different perspective. Clark had offered his friends to her-Lana, his lover, and Chloe, his best friend. They were very supportive of him-and, naturally, of her-but they seemed wary too-especially Chloe.

Kara liked Chloe's cousin, Lois, more. Lois was funny and wasn't so serious about things. Chloe and Lana expected her to be like Clark, and Clark inspired high expectations. He was, after all, their personal hero. He had used his alien talents to help Lana and Chloe so many times he'd lost count. Lana and Chloe idolized Clark because of his powers. That put enormous pressure on her, to live up to the same Kryptonian standards. As for Lois, she just tried to accept the people around her. Kara thought that if Lois had found her in tears, she'd learn everything about her.

Lois would understand what it's like to be uprooted and left in a place where you never intended to stay. She grew up in the military, shuttled around from base to base. Not able to make permanent friends, she became a quick and accurate judge of character. Lois could handle her secret, that she's an alien. Plus, she would have Chloe to help her adjust. Surely, Clark would be able to see that Lois is trustworthy and loyal to Chloe. Clark puts so much trust in Chloe. Why can't Lois be her Chloe? There was something reassuring in the idea that the alien cousins would trust the human ones. It could work.

But first, she had to prepare Clark for her decision. It was their ritual, to go to the barn and watch the sun go down. Their Kryptonian bodies needed the last extra feeding from the yellow sun, before the nightly fast. Afterword, Clark usually read a book or attended to something that needed mending in the barn. Sometimes Chloe would come over and they would talk in the loft, but her visits stopped once Lana returned. Tonight, Clark was grooming Buttercup because Lana had noticed a slight limp on her gait.

Bravely, Kara came closer to the horse Clark groomed. She mustered up her courage and pushed through her hesitation.

"Um, Clark? Can you show me how to do that? I want to learn-to help." Kara tried to sound bright. "The other night, we talked, I moped. You're a bad influence."

"There's nothing wrong with a little moping." Clark said. He was actually glad Kara mourned for Krypton. He smiled at her, before super-speeding to the north workbench to trade the currying-comb for another one. "I'm almost done with Buttercup." Clark finished brushing the beast and pulled the hoof pick from his apron's pocket. He lifted up her front right foot, pulled the thrush out, and inspected the sole. "Lana's pretty picky about Storm. I'd need to talk to her first about letting you groom him. Besides, you don't have to do chores. Lois lived her for a year and never did chores."

Clark hushed Buttercup as the horse tried to back away from him. "Whoa girl… How'd did you get this puncture wound?" Clark asked the horse. In his distraction, Kara thought now was a good time to bring up the idea of telling Lois to her stubborn, thickheaded cousin.

"Why is it that Lois doesn't know-about you?"

Clark sighed, and continued to inspect the injury for bruises. He squinted and Kara knew he was using x-ray vision to look for a deeper wound or infection. Satisfied with the healing in place, he gave Buttercup her foot back and went to the next hoof to look at it. He answered Kara's question, to the sound of gentle scratches, as he used the hoof pick.

"The Secret is on a 'need to know' basis." Clark said. "Lois… Chloe and I once chatted about telling her. We don't think she needs to know. She's sort of oblivious to me, and her rationale for some of the things I do are actually pretty helpful and inventive at times. I use them."

Clark stood up to his full height and rested his arms over the yellow mare. The horse snorted and shook her head. Kara jumped a bit and Clark laughed. "You're not afraid of Buttercup are you? She's about as docile as they come."

Clark super-sped to the workbench and put the tools away. He then led Buttercup out of the stall by slapping her rear and tugging slightly at her mane. Buttercup didn't have a bridle on, but, really, a horse wasn't a match for a super-powered person like Clark. He stopped Cuppie next to Kara, and she reached up and touched the short hair that Clark had just cleaned.

Clark handed Kara some carrots. "Cup likes carrots; she'll stand for you if you feed her."

Kara slowly offered the old horse the carrots as Clark cleaned out the stall using super-speed.

Kara's focus was now on the horse, and that's not quite what she had planned. "Your real talent is your ability to change the subject, Clark. What makes you not tell Lois?"

Clark slowed down to answer her. He started to spread out new hay on the floor of the stall. "Lois is in Smallville because of Chloe, not me. She worries about Chloe." Clark said. He almost said "We" and not "She". He wasn't sure if Kara knew that Chloe had a meteor-infection.

"I've noticed that," Kara said. "She's a real mother hen to Chloe. I think that's why I like her so much. Out of all your friends, the ones that don't know you're an alien are the ones I like-Lois and Jimmy- I like Jimmy a lot too."

"Yeah, I could see that." Clark said. "How's that heat vision now?" Clark stopped, and pointed his gloved hand to his eyes. "You've got it under control now, right?" Clark indicated to Buttercup that her stall was now clean, and there was new feed in her manger. Clark took the carrots away from Kara and placed them on oats. Understanding, the horse went into the stall. Clark started to work with Storm.

"It's not that hard to control, once you know how it works." Kara said. "It's weird how it's tied to desire though, isn't it? I had a lot of pent up energy. I miss Aago."

"Aago?" Clark leaned on the sink as he dried his hands.

"He was my lover. I was trapped in that spaceship for 18 years or so. Let's just say…"

"T. M. I." Clark held up his hands, as if he could block the sounds reaching his ears. He didn't need details. However, something Kara said didn't make sense. "I thought you said on Krypton, marriages were arranged. That, often, you didn't even know who you were going to marry until the bracelet ceremony."

"Not always." Kara smiled. "Most Kryptonians have a spouse, and a lover. It's like that here too. You just have different words." Kara shrugged as she allowed her weight to rest on one of the wooden pillars supporting the loft. Clark stopped working and pinched his eyebrows together, reviewing Kara, examining her for deception. He thought he knew where this might be going.

"Why would you think that?" Clark asked.

"I watch you and how you interact with your friends, what you tell me, and what you don't." Kara explained. "Lana is your girlfriend, and you have a great relationship with her, but, you have a very strong connection with Chloe." Kara started to stammer a bit. Should she tell Clark that his relationship with Chloe mirrors the husband-wife relationship on Krypton? Marriages back home aren't always about love or sex, but living in a strong partnership that united houses and educated offspring. Kara knew she was pushing herself into a part of Clark's psyche he fiercely protected, probably because he did know-and just didn't want to deal with it.

"I just… well, you didn't tell me about Chloe's relationship with Jimmy. I feel like an ass now. You let me flirt with Jimmy, and I can't help but wonder why. Were you trying to break Jimmy from Chloe?"

"Chloe's a good friend; an excellent friend. I wouldn't do that to her." Clark shut the gate to Storm's stall. He walked to the utility sink. The last four months had been hard on Chloe. She's meteor-infected and buried under worry. The snap had left her writing. She's losing weight from all the stress. He sighed as he started to wash his hands.

The gloves helped Clark keep his hands clean, but he always washed his hands after handling the animals. The running water from the utility sink jogged his memory of finding Lois with the kid, and a still, apparently dead, Chloe. He remembered how his heart left him, how he pushed Chloe's bangs from her brow and whispered her name. That was his current nightmare. Losing his best friend-someone that loved him more than he could ever return-the feeling burned him. Chloe had branded him in her own style.

It took everything inside of him not to reveal his powers in front of Lois. He wanted to take Chloe and run her away from Reeves Dam and the flood waters. He needed to talk to Chloe about what happened to her, but Chloe didn't want to talk about her meteor powers with him. He wished that she would. He confided everything about his powers into her. She wouldn't reciprocate. All that he knew was that she had healed Lois from a stab wound, and that he rescued her from the hospital morgue. He hated that she had this secret she wouldn't share. Maybe it was payback for the years she wondered about him, before he trusted her with his alien nature.

"Between you and me, it's not fair to call Chloe just a friend." Clark said drying his hands. "But, we're not hooked up either. She likes Jimmy, but I don't have to like how he pulls her away. She's my confidante, and I rely on her."

"Clark, you do understand. That's what I want. Ultimate trust means ultimate friendship." Kara said. "I'm telling Lois that I'm an alien."

"Lois?" Clark frowned. "Oh, please, not Lois. I don't need her trouble."

"What about Jimmy then?" Kara asked.

"Why not just confide in Lana, Chloe or me?" Clark asked. "I'm an alien too. I think am uniquely suited to understand."

"As great as you and your friends are, they're your friends. I need someone for me. How will I ever be happy if I have to lie all the time? That's not friendship, that's deception. Do you think you'd be as close with Chloe if you hadn't told her?"

"With Chloe, the Secret doesn't matter anymore. We were friends long before that. We're not friends because of the Secret, but in spite of it. It doesn't necessarily make the friendship stronger, it makes it harder."

"What do you mean?" Kara asked. "Chloe told me that when you told her, it was the most important moment in her life. She felt like her life had purpose, to be best friends with an alien."

"That does sound like something Chloe would say," Clark thought. He answered, "It's not easy for humans to know the Secret. Have you thought of that?" Clark took the towel, and wiped down the edges of the sink as he continued to talk. "The first person I told my secret to left Smallville because it was too much for him. The FBI, trying to find out more information about me, had beaten him up. Telling others sometimes hurts them more than it helps you. And it's something you can't undo."

"So, why did you tell him?" Kara said. "Why did you do it?"

"I was younger and he found my spaceship." Clark said. "I didn't have a choice. He was talking about press conferences… I panicked, but even today, I'm not certain if I would have done it any other way. I really didn't feel like I had an option. Telling Pete was the lesser of two evils."

"And Lana?"

"I guess I told her because, I thought it would draw her back to me. It didn't change our relationship. She acted still on her own volition. Luckily, her plan worked and now… Now we can be honest, after years and years of trying to make us work, we can finally be completely honest."

Maybe Kara was right. She had the same right to seek an honest relationship with a friend. Clark knew better than anyone did how confining this alienation was. Glumness overpowered him. He turned his attention back to his cousin.

"Kara" Clark started. "I understand why you want to do this. I do."

"So, you're okay with me telling Lois? We get along great, and I need someone else. Lois is a good friend to me."

Kara and Lois discovered they had a lot of common. Lois was the former resident at the Kent farm and Kara was the current one. Lois even helped Kara at her job at the Talon. Moreover, of course, one of their favorite topics was Chloe and Clark's not-so-platonic relationship. Actually, that topic was a popular one throughout Smallville Township. Lois filled her in on the details of Chloe's pining-for-Clark history. Kara felt that if she could only explain this alien aspect to Lois, Chloe's commitment to Clark would make much more sense. In that regard, Kara also felt Jimmy needed a better context. Chloe was not a good girlfriend to him, as she would always go to Clark's side first, whenever he needed her.

"Kara, let's just find your crystal first, then, if you still want to tell Lois, I guess I can understand. I've been close to telling her myself. I hate the lies as well." Clark allowed Kara to catch up with him as they stepped on to the wrap around porch. "It's just… keeping a lid on the Secret protects the people you care about. Keep that in mind."

"You're too cautious, Clark." Kara decided.

Clark went into the house and Kara followed. They took turns in the bathroom in the nighttime ritual before watching the news. Lana served herb tea before she took her spot next to Clark on the love seat with a book. Neither watched television – instead, they were contemplating their earlier conversation. Kara thought briefly about Clark and his need to protect everything-and everyone-around him. It had to be terrible to know that a friend was hurt because of the Secret. Was she selfish? Would the Secret hurt Lois? Kara could see his point. Still, she wanted to share herself with someone.

Clark, on the other hand, thought more about how sharing his secret affected Pete, Chloe and now Lana. Kara was right. The secret had made his relationships more meaningful, even if they were harder. Sharing the secret improved his relationship with Chloe; she was a lighthouse to him. Lana should have followed in Chloe's footsteps too. That wasn't happening though. She wasn't quite herself, although, he doubted it was about the secret. It felt like something else. He wondered what this could be, as she flipped through the pages of the book.

To Be Continued