Toni grinned, and shook his head before walking away to serve other customers, who were getting antsy at the way he kept pouring Kal more shots. It sucks to be them, Kal thought to himself.
He downed the shot, closing his eyes, as the contents spilled down his throat. He groaned, as he heard a familiar voice from behind him. “Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”
One week. He lasted one, long, blissful week before his old life came crashing into his new and improved one.
He slowly spun around, facing none other than, Pete Ross. “Why am I not surprised?” He looked around, looking for other party crashers. “I figured the cavalry would send you, but I am quite shocked not to see the old man himself.” He smirked. “Was he too scared? So, he sent you instead?”
He shook his head, at his friend’s words. He really was different while on this stuff. “Clark, I’ve been looking for you for a week, and what do I find? You, partying it up? Women? Alcohol? Really?”
He smirked, as he looked around the club. “Oh? This? It’s called having fun. You know what fun is right? Oh…wait, you wouldn’t because your too busy being stuck in Nowheresville.” “Nowheresville? Seriously? Smallville is your home.”
He laughed. “Home? Your joking, right? I don’t have a home.” “You’re not acting yourself. You know, deep inside, that Smallville is your home.”
He quirked an eyebrow. “On the contrary, my friend. You see, I’ve never felt more like myself. Smallville is so…small, and pathetic. Just like the people that live there.” He recoiled back from his words, but stood his ground, he knew he was just trying to get under his skin. “And Metropolis?”
He sighed. “Hmm. Metropolis. Metropolis is…great. It’s big, the air is refreshing, and the people mind their own damn business. I can see a future here.” “Your future, huh? Well, it’s a good thing that this is the present because you’re not ready for the big city.”
He growled. “You think you know me? You don’t! No one does!” “Clark, it’s time for you to go back to your life.”
“My life? What? You mean, living on a farm? Doing chores? Going to school? That isn’t a life. This is my new life, and I plan to enjoy every second of it.” “Doing what? Hitting on women? Drinking? That isn’t a life. Having friends, family, and loved ones with you is a life, not this.”
He stood up, clearly trying to ignore him. “Come on, Clark. Just go home to your family. We all miss you.” He scoffed. “Yeah right. I don’t have a family, not anymore, actually I never did.”
“What the hell are you taking about?” “You don’t get it, do you? I’ve never had a family. I had people who took care of the alien they found in a cornfield!” “Clark! What the hell is your problem, man?”
He smirked. “Problem? I don’t have one, but if you don’t stop pestering me than we are definitely going to have a problem.” “Never gonna happen.”
He ignored him, and started walking away, but was stopped by his hand wrapped around his arm. He glared down at his hand. “Get. Your. Hand. Off. Me.” He released him. “Just come home.”
“Yeah, that’s not happening. You see, I love my life now. I love Metropolis. I love the women, oh, the woman, they are sooo exquisite. I’m not going anywhere.” “This isn’t you talking. It’s the red meteor rock. It’s making you say things, do things you would never do.”
He sneered. “But I’ve thought about it, and you know that. You know, the good thing about this is that I can do the things and say the things that I really, really want to say or do.” “Just take the damn ring off! You’ll feel better afterwards, and we can deal with everything…together.”
He lifted his hand, waving the ring on his finger in his face. “You mean this? I put this on myself so, yeah, it’s not going anywhere. It makes me feel alive. It makes me feel like I can have anything I want.” “You mean stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from ATMS?”
He glared. “How do you know about that?” “This is Metropolis, news hits faster that you could blink.” He grinned. “Well, it’s good that I can blink pretty fast. Now, if you excuse me…I was in the middle of something.”
“Oh, were not done yet.” He grabbed his arm, stopping him again. He turned towards him. “Oh I think we are.”
He tightened his hold on his arm, which Kal quickly shook off. “I don’t think your hearing me. I’m not going anywhere! Smallville is my past, it means nothing to me!” He took a step back. “What about your family, your friends, your girl?”
He scoffed. “Like I said they are all part of my past. It’s time I move onto bigger and better things.” “Like what? Women and alcohol?” He smirked. “Damn straight.”
“This is ridiculous!” He reached for the ring, but Kal pulled his hand away. “You didn’t just do that.” He sighed. “Look, I get it, okay? Your blaming yourself for what happened, but it’s time to go home.”
He growled, impatiently. “No.” He started to walk away again, but Pete grabbed him again. He twirled around. “Don’t. Touch. Me.” He leaned in close, “Or do I need to remind you who has the upper hand here?”
“Oh, get over yourself. Yeah, your strong, but you won’t hurt me.”
He smirked, “You sure about that?” He stood tall, not taking his bait. “Clark, just come home. Your parents miss you.” He scoffed. “What parents? My parents died a long time ago on Krypton.” “Clark!”
He looked around. “What? Worried someone might over hear?” He shrugged his shoulders. “Who cares? I’m tired of living in secrets so, if someone finds out, good for them.” He sighed. “What about Chloe? What about me? We miss you!”
“Yeah right. Now that I’m out of the picture, you can have Chloe all to yourself. That’s what you want right?” He smirked. “She is pretty, but she just never did it for me, and never will.” He felt the anger boiling inside of him, but decided to change tactics. “What about Lana?”
He laughed, his head tipping back. “Lana? Seriously? Did you think that was going to work? She’s a tease. You know, we kissed, right? Then she backpaddled. That girl messes with a guy’s head so, no, not even she will make me come back.”
“Clark this isn’t like you. Please, please, just come with me.” “No.” “Cl—” “Kal! My name is Kal! Clark Kent is dead!”
He sighed. “I’m done arguing with you. You’re coming with me whether you want to or not.” He stepped towards him, looming over him. “Yeah? You and what army?”
He touched the lead case in his pocket. He really hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but it seemed to be the only way. He opened the box in his pocket.
Kal felt his stomach churning in immediate pain. He crumpled over in agony. He knew what that was. Kryptonite. “P-Pete! What are you-you doing?”
He took the rock out of his pocket, and shoved it into Clark’s. “What I have to.”
The pain ripped through his body. He could feel his insides churning, his heart hammered in his chest, and his body felt weak.
He fell to the ground, groaning. Pete pulled him up, dragging him outside, and tossed him to the ground.
Kal rolled onto his back, holding his stomach. He looked up at Pete, pleading in his eyes. “P-pl-please! Please, d-d-don’t do this!” He knelt down beside him, and took the lead case from his pocket. “I have to do this. It’s the only way.”
“Pl-please. S-s-st-stop!” He continued to plead. He closed his eyes, hating hearing his friend in so much pain. He grabbed his hand, and placed it on the ground.
Kal watched, in horror, as he lifted the lead case high above his head, and knew what he was going to do. “N-No! P-please! I’m beg…begging you! Y-you d-don’t under…understand! I-I ca-can’t go…go back. P-Pete, please! S-s-stop! D-don’t do this!”
He ignored his pleading. He knew that once the ring was gone, everything would be okay.
He would get his best friend back, and he would come home. “I’m sorry, Clark.” He slammed the lead case down onto Clark’s hand, shattering the red rock into millions of pieces.
“NOOOO!” He screamed, as he felt the red kryptonite leave his veins, and his world came crashing down around him. “No. No. NOOO!” He screamed, as memories of everything came rushing back to him.
His pain. His guilt. Everything he has done. It all come rushing to him, wave after wave, and he felt like he couldn’t breathe.
Pete grabbed the kryptonite from his pocket, and put it away. He lifted Clark up, and started walking him towards his truck. Clark felt the strength return to his body, and forcefully pushed him away. “No.”
Pete stared at him, “Clark?” He took a few steps back. He stared at the ground, everything was hitting him at once, and it was so, so painful.
How could he do those things? Why did he have to destroy the ship? He killed his unborn baby brother or sister! He remembered everything he did while on red kryptonite, and wished he could just go back under that protection.
It made him feel better. It made him forget. Why did Pete do this to him? “What have you done?” He whispered. “What?”
He looked up, venom laced in his voice, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” He staggered back. He was not expecting this. He knew he would feel pain, but anger?
That was unexpected. “Clark, it’s going to be okay.” “Okay?” He laughed, coldness in his tone. “No. No, it’s not. Why didn’t you listen to me, Pete? Why couldn’t you just leave well enough alone?” He stared at him, dumfounded, “What are you talking about?”
He glared at him. “I begged you. I begged you not to do that, but you didn’t listen. I was fine. I was doing just fine. Why? Why did you do this?”
“If you’re talking about destroying the red meteor rock, then that was the best thing I have ever done! It controls you! You need to be with your friends and family, not that stupid rock!”
He glared at him. He had nothing. At least with the rock, he felt alive, and now he was dead. He was dead inside. He was miserable.
He was in pain. He felt guilty. He felt like nothing mattered anymore. “I’m taking you home.” He stepped away from him. “No.”
“No?” “You don’t get it. I don’t have a home.” He looked up at him. “Why? Why did you do this to me?” “I did it to save you. You weren’t yourself. You need to come with me.”
He stepped back. “No.” “What?” “I’m not going anywhere.” Pete sighed, “Look, man, your upset, I get it, but now that, that rock is gone, you can come back to your family.”
He looked up at him with pure menace in his eyes. “I WANTED THIS! I NEEDED THIS! YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING!” His heart was pounding, the tears rolled down his face, and his breathing was harsh and rapid.
He stumbled back, at the pure menace in his voice. It was like he was still on red kryptonite, but he knew that wasn’t true.
He knew he was in pain, but he didn’t think it was this bad. “Clark, please, your family and friends miss you. I did this so, you would come home.” He shook his head, “They don’t need me. I’m a disgrace. My parents, Chloe, Lana, you, you’re all better off without me.”
He started to walk away. Pete quickly followed him. “Clark! Wait! Please, don’t do this. Just come home.” He crawled onto his motorcycle, and revved the engine. “No. I’m not going back. I’m never coming back. It’s too painful.”
Pete saw there was no convincing him otherwise. “Where are you going to go?” He looked up at his best friend, one last time. “I-I don’t know. I’m leaving Metropolis. I’m leaving Kansas, and I won’t be coming back.” “Please! Please don’t do this! We need you! I need you!”
He softly smiled, strained, but a smile. “You’ll be okay. Tell Chloe that I’m sorry.” He took a deep breath, closing his eyes. “T-tell my parents—tell them that I-I love them, okay?” He nodded. “What about Lana?”
He shook his head, thoughts of her consuming his mind. Kal was right about one thing, she really was a tease. He liked her, of course, who wouldn’t like a pretty slender brunette? But did he love her?
He didn’t know, and he really didn’t care. “Tell her whatever you want. I really don’t care.” He shook his head. “You don’t mean that.”
“I do. I just don’t care anymore. I ca-can’t. It’s too painful to think about. My parents, Chloe, Lana…you. I just can’t, okay?” Pete didn’t want to believe those words, but knew he meant every single one of them. His best friend was gone.
The pain and guilt consuming him changed him, and he wasn’t sure he would ever get him back. “Please! Please, think about this!” “I have. This is best for everyone. I just ca-can’t—I can’t go back. I’m sorry.”
The hot, sticky tears poured down his cheeks. “Goodbye, Pete.” And with that he drove away. He didn’t know where he was going, but he needed to get as far away from Metropolis—from Kansas as he could.
Pete watched him, solemnly, as he drove off into the night, disappearing from his sight. What the hell was he supposed to do now? He promised Mr. Kent that he would bring his son home, but he only managed to push him even further away.
He supposed, that he could try again—try to convince him to come home, but what was the point? He would only be hurting himself and Clark even more. It was obvious that he was suffering.
His once, happy and loving best friend was now lost and broken, how was he supposed to fix that? He couldn’t. Clark would heal, on his own, and he hoped that one day he would come home.
How could he tell the Kent’s that Clark, even free from the kryptonite refused to come home to his family? To his friends? They were in so much pain, especially now, and now they would be in even more.
He didn’t know what he was supposed to do, but he knew one thing for sure, life would never be the same without his best friend.
To be continued...