By Marnie Rowe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: August 2001
Summary: Young Clark Kent is finding keeping up with the regular teen fashion trends a bit more difficult than his peers, in a mortifying way.
AN: You have my twisted little mind and the input of Missy Gallant on IRC to thank for this one. <g> The characters are all borrowed from you know where.:)
"Clark Jerome Kent!" Martha Kent hollered out the back door of the farmhouse for her conspicuously absent son, "get your butt in here!" Clark winced; she must have found the latest pair of jeans that he had ruined. He knew that he should have just told her about them but it was the fourth pair this week. He knew that the other boys in his class tended to go through their clothes pretty fast, farm living was hard on clothes and when you added in a teenage male you had a very limited lifespan, but he was going through clothes at an absolutely ridiculous rate.
Clark was perched up in his little tree-house, "The Fortress of Solitude". It was where he could think the best. He knew that there was a link to his strangeness to the way that he was going through the clothes; he just had to find out what it was. He really hated to think that he was causing so much trouble for his mom and dad, they had done so much for him and he knew how much they loved him, but lately keeping him decent had been a real challenge.
He would just bend over without hitching his fashionably loose jeans up and they would split up the back, and a lot of the time it wasn't just his jeans! Then there were the loosely tailored dress pants that they would buy him for church, if he forgot and squatted in them the thighs would shred. Or he would reach for the prayer book on the back of the pew in front of theirs and his dress shirt was vented right up the middle of the back. He had learned that if he did not do up his jacket, it would rarely suffer the same fate.
Then there was the most mortifying of them all; he had started to have certain types of dreams at night. The loose and roomy boxers that he favored for sleeping in had not proved to be as loose and roomy as he had supposed, at least not in front. Those he did not even show to his mother, he couldn't, he was just too embarrassed. How could you tell your mother that your adolescent erotic dreams were making you destroy your underwear?
Sighing, he climbed down into the cool October chill from his cozy built up perch in the crotch of the old oak tree, and made his way up to the farm house that glowed cheerily warm in the gathering dusk. He could smell that supper was just about done, and realized that he should start wearing a coat again even though he did not feel the cold. The tight T-shirt that he was wearing with the co-ordinating flannel that he had tossed over was hardly warm enough for the late October weather, and he had better remember that even around the farm. He had to try and remember not to draw too much attention to himself, and his lips twisted as he thought how hard that had been lately with his clothes betraying him at every turn it seemed.
Martha Kent was a small woman with bright strawberry blond hair heavily streaked with grey, still slender with all the work on the farm but you could see that she had a generous nature tempered with fire. She looked up when her adopted son slouched into the kitchen. She had been about to yell at him for just trying to stash the ripped jeans, but she could see that ruining the pants was bothering him more than it was bothering her, so she just walked over to the fridge and got out the jug of buttermilk and held it up, saying only "Clark? Care to talk?" Clark sat down at the table and nodded his assent. Martha ignored the guttural grunt that seemed to be a new teenage affectation.
She poured out a glass of the creamy mixture and sat down at the table and waited for him to start talking, Clark drank down half of the glass in one swallow and then playing with the liquid left in the glass he started to talk, more like babble really but that was fine with Martha.
"Mom, I am so sorry that I tried to hide the new jeans, I guess that I just did not want to show you that I had let you guys down again. It's not that I am not careful, it's just that there are times that I have to do something in a hurry and then well something like this happens and I am costing you guys so much money and I hate to do that and it's not even like I can wear them after they are mended because they rip again so much faster then, I can't even keep a pair of jeans long enough to break them in and so I always look kinda geeky at school and…"
The dam had broken, and Martha soon saw that there were a lot of other things on Clark's mind than just the fact that he could not keep his clothes in good shape. Martha had not even made the connection to his 'differences' to how he kept going through the clothes either and so there at least was something to show her that he had been seriously worried.
She sat back and began to think herself. She had noticed a pattern to the clothing that had been getting the worst of the lot now that she was actually thinking about it. It seemed to be limited to the looser, more fashionable stuff, not really affecting certain staple clothing like the t-shirts he favored. She eyed the t-shirt that he was wearing at the moment and knew that it was at least 3 years old, and it was not showing more than average wear and tear from washing. Martha stopped and thought. There is no wear and tear from wearing, no little rips, no cuts, no worn out spots. She thought to herself, 'Wait a minute, that is flimsy material compared to denim, how on earth is that surviving when jeans aren't?'
Clark had run down by now and Martha felt a bit guilty for having not really listened to him but she supposed that he would forgive her when she started to ask her own questions. As was her style she just leapt in, "Clark, honey, how long have you had that t-shirt that you are wearing?"
He looked down in confusion saying, "my shirt? Umm…I guess three years, why?" Martha said, "Well, son, you have not worn through or torn it, not like I have gone through numerous ones of similar design, there has to be a key in that somewhere. We just have to find it." Clark gave her a tremulous smile and she smiled back. Martha continued to make him feel better by saying, "And that last pair of jeans happened to rip right along the back seam so I can just take them in and they will be able to be worn again, they will just be a mite tighter than is fashionable. I'll have to take in the thighs and calves as well so that they stay balanced looking but that is better than nothing isn't it?" Clark's smile broadened into something more like his usual grin and they were off to his room to find clues.
Up in Clark's room it looked as if a tornado had hit. Clothes were strewn everywhere and sitting right in the middle were Clark and his mom. They had decided that the better division of labour was that Martha would sit and Clark would pile everything within fairly easy reach. The bed was the sorting floor, and there were two piles, unscathed for the most part and mostly mended. The ones that had not survived were long gone into Martha's sewing basket. Sitting back for a bit of a rest they surveyed the unscathed pile, trying to find what they all had in common with each other. They were not all the same color, nor were they even the same types of clothing. There were t- shirts, long johns, shorts, turtle-necks, jogging pants, and there was even a pair of jeans. The jeans were made from a stretchy type of fabric but they were still jeans. On the much mended pile were the clothes that had ripped mostly on seams or places where Martha had been able to repair them without being too obvious, but in the process of repair like with the new pair of jeans she had to take them in to be very tight from what they had started out being.
Clark thought of the clothes that had gone into the sewing bin, the ones that had been entirely unfixable, they had been very loose except for the loosest of tailoring. It seemed that the closer that he wore something the less likely it was to get damaged.
In fact…yeah that might be the ticket.
Like there was that time that he had been helping his dad in the barn with the old wheat thresher, trying to get it set up properly and it had turned on unexpectedly. They had known that it could not hurt him, his invulnerability was already well established at that point, but he had expected that his shirt would have been in total ruins by the time that his dad had managed to get the power cable unhooked. But it hadn't been, it had been dirty and scuffed, but it had not been shredded by the powerful blades at all. He had thought that it might have been something to do with how tightly the fabric had been stretched at the time, but maybe it had been something more than that.
Clark groaned and hung his head, he just knew what it was that needed to be done so that he did not wreck any more clothes, but he also wanted to try to blend in. How on earth was he going to be able to blend in when he was going to have to paint his clothing on? Because he had finally figured out that is what had let the clothing in the unscathed pile survive, that they were tight to his frame. Martha was looking at her son, she guessed that he had figured it out, she too had figured out part of it but she figured that it was not her place to say anything until he had made the connection on his own, he was after all a bright boy. "Clark, honey, I think that I have an idea, you remember James Dean?"
Clark looked at his mother and began to smile again, Yes! He knew that his mother was brilliant but she must have been reading his face like the proverbial open book to come up with such a classy solution to his troubles especially since his hair was getting impossible to cut. It was a very good thing that it grew so slowly. The next school day Clark walked in with his hair combed back severely at the sides the front and back hanging, a loose leather jacket hanging off his shoulders. A tight white t-shirt tucked into some very snug black jeans riding low on his slender hips with a wide belt complete with a huge square buckle securing them completed the ensemble. The tightly buckled motorcycle boots were a very cool finishing touch, and a new rage for retro in Smallville was born. Clark did not stand out at all except from the eyes of the girls as a great catch and from the mother's as a curse for many shopping days that they felt were un-called for.