Saving Efforts

By bakasi <>

Rated G

Submitted: June 2007

Summary: Clark wants to move — again. His only problem: how to explain this to his little daughter, Rebecca? He knows she doesn't exactly like moving around so much. Find out how she will react in this prequel to "Stony Ways."

This is a prequel to the story about Clark's little daughter, Becca. The whole story is set as a rewrite of the Pilot, so this vignette takes place *before* Clark came to Metropolis and met Lois. This story explores events that were mentioned in "Secret Fears", but it doesn't really belong to the arc that I made up. Thanks to Classicalla for beta reading this.

The characters don't belong to me. I only borrowed them to have a little fun.


*Plymouth, England*

It is a bright sunny day in the end of October, one of the year's last days of that kind. Clark and Becca are enjoying themselves. Both know that the weather will soon change and make playing outside more and more difficult. But those days still seem incredibly far away, since the sun is warming their faces. Clark has taken Becca to the bay, where they are now standing on the wharf, watching the waves hitting the quay wall. She loves the seagulls and, even more, she enjoys the ice cream of a persistent and hard-working vender who just ignores the end of summer.

While they are watching the incessant movements of the sea, Becca looks at her father. She knows that something is wrong with him; she can see it in his face and gestures. If she didn't know better, she would swear that he is afraid. But that is impossible. He is strong and invincible. As he meets her gaze, he smiles — a seemingly incomplete smile, but Becca couldn't have explained why. The fact irritates her, worries her, and makes her sad. She has seen those smiles before, and usually they appear on his face shortly before he admits that they have to move again.

But he has been wearing that smile for days now, and that is the really frightening part about it. What is he going to tell her when he finally does it? He tousles her hair softly and sighs. She realizes that he is doing that unconsciously, and that annoys her. He is hardly noticing her and is lost in thought instead of really being *with* her. He stares out onto the sea but doesn't see anything.

"Spit it out, Daddy!" Becca complains. She watches him closely. He flinches at her words, slowly emerging from his daydreams. "What is it?" she says.

"What are you talking about, honey?" he asks, his voice all innocent. "Everything's fine!"

"You're lying!" Becca replies angrily. She is squealing when she would rather growl, and that makes her feel so helpless. Her anger increases. "We're moving again, aren't we?" Becca can see the guilty look on his face and there really isn't anything more to say. "Where to?" she demands.

"My clever little girl, I can't fool you, can I?" Clark says gently and sadly. "I want to go back to the USA."

"No," Becca states simply. She so much wants to shout like her father can when he is really angry, but her girlish voice doesn't let her. She knows that he won't stop her from speaking her mind, but that wouldn't change anything, really. He has already made up his mind. His glance tells her that more than words ever could. This is nothing she still can argue with him about. He has made his decision and she has to follow him.

"Don't look at me like that, Becky, honey," her father kneels down in front of her, looking at her with puppy-dog eyes. "Don't be so sad, Pumpkin. I don't do it to hurt you. And I bet you'll find friends. And we'll be closer to your grandparents," he adds as if this would make it any better. Well, it does, at least a bit. But Becca is already too furious to consider the advantages.

"No," she repeats once more. She is still cursing her inability to have an influence on her father. "No, no, no, no!" Tears appear in her eyes, slowly clouding her vision until the fluid starts running down her cheeks. "No!"

"Becky, honey, please don't do this to me," her father pleads, as if this is something she has done to him. Becca can feel even more anger welling up inside her. Who would have thought that possible?

"Don't do this to *me*, Clark!" she retorts viciously.

For a very brief moment, Becca feels satisfied because she has hurt him. Calling him Clark is the payback for making her move again. Becca wants to say more; she wants to be mean. She looks up to see his face and flinches. She is terrified by her dad's expression. He looks so pale, so scared and, unbelievable as it is — so small. How can he shrink like that in a split second? She knows that he is still kneeling, but that doesn't quite explain it. Suddenly Becca is afraid of herself. She has never seen him like this, and she doesn't know what he will do now. Will he stand up and turn around to leave now that she has called him Clark and not Daddy? Becca knows that she has made a mistake because he really is her daddy. Despite the constant moving around, he is the only dad she knows and the only dad she has ever wanted.

"Oh, Daddy, I'm sorry," she whispers. She looks at him, apologetically. His expression has turned stern now. He gets up and returns her glance so briefly that she is hardly able to see it. She is not sure whether it was really even there.

"It's okay, honey," he replies, mechanically.

Becca cannot know that this has shocked him so deeply that he isn't capable of saying much more. He wants to comfort her but he's paralyzed. All she realizes is that it's not the usual warm tone of his voice. He takes her hand, and Becca follows him. She feels a huge lump in her throat. She cannot easily take back her words. They are said now. And she regrets that more than anything. He doesn't talk to her on their way, and she doesn't dare address him. She wants to know where they are going, but she can't ask, not anymore. It's not the way home, but Becca wishes it was. Usually they would be heading for the playground now. But that can't be it, though their path is the same. If only she could turn back time.

Becca keeps her eyes on the ground as she is following him anxiously. Where will he take her? To the children's home so that she can stay in Plymouth? She would never want that. She wants to be with him. But it's too late; she has said too much. Her heart is beating rapidly, and with every step her fear increases. It's getting harder to breathe. The shadows of the night had been nothing like this. She wants to apologize once more, but her mouth is dry, her tongue seemingly paralyzed. Why has she done this? Why has she been so mean to her daddy? And then suddenly he stops; he lets go of her hand. Becca swallows hard and looks up. The playground.

She looks back at her dad, who, although he is still a bit pale, smiles at her. "Go and play, Becky, honey." His voice sounds encouraging. He surely doesn't mean go and not come back. He gives her a soft push towards the others. Becca isn't sure whether she really wants to go now. She would rather make up with him as soon as possible. But she is afraid and unsure. Some girls that she knows are waving at her to come over. Becca feels torn but slowly goes to her friends. She glances back at her daddy. He smiles at her reassuringly, but his smile is even less bright than it was before.


About half an hour has passed, or at least it seems so. Becca is not absolutely sure. Together with some other girls, she sits in the sand. She knows some of them. A few are really nice friends, others aren't really close to her, and there are a couple that she just hates. They are a bit older than most others on the playground. Gillian and Ambar don't play in the sand because they say that it is only for babies. Becca isn't a baby anymore. Little do they know! Building sandcastles is just fun. Their only problem is that they really don't know how to make huge and beautiful sand castles. Becca watches their envious faces with delight.

While Becca and her friends are setting new standards in sand architecture, they have started discussing Halloween. Most already know what costume they will wear. Becca has decided to become a witch. She had briefly thought about being a princess, but her father had argued that there was nothing scary about a princess. He was right. Who would fear a trick from a cute looking little princess?

A little boy approaches the group of girls. Obviously he has overheard their conversation and is now eager to join them. He smiles, and enthusiastically shouts that he is going to be Batman this year. The girls chuckle because, as he says it, it sounds more like 'Bedman'. But then he is only five and maybe still has problems with some words.

"Batman is cool!" Becca states, and the five year-old is nodding affirmatively.

"You're not going to be 'Bedman'!" Gillian, one of the girls Becca dislikes, says in a very mocking tone. Becca doesn't really know where Gillian came from. If playing in the sand was so childish, then why didn't she stay so far away that she couldn't overhear? But obviously eavesdropping was far less childish. Not to mention mocking little boys.

"I *am* Bedman!" the baby boy protests, angrily. He glances at the taller and older girl, but soon notices that it will be impossible to intimidate her. He is a boy and she a girl, but that doesn't change anything. No matter how angry he tries to look, she continues to grin.

"Sure you are. Go to bed, Bedman," Gillian replies with laughter. It doesn't sound nice. She turns around to call Ambar and maybe a few others. Ambar is staying in the background, though. Gillian opens her mouth, surely to say more things that will hurt the poor boy. Becca doesn't want to see the same expression on the boy's face that she has seen on her father's. She gets up and steps closer to Gillian.

"Leave him alone," Becca says firmly. "He *is* Batman!" Becca gets even closer in attempt to become more intimidating, which is tough, considering the fact that Gillian is a lot taller than her.

"See?" the little boy agrees, smiling at Becca gratefully. He steps closer to her, searching for her protection. He feels safe enough to look at the older girl with daggers in his eyes. Together with Becca, he might be strong enough. The two children encourage each other as they draw close. Maybe this is Becca's chance to punish Gillian a little for always being so nasty. But even the two of them watching Gillian with daggers in their eyes isn't enough to make her run away.

"No, he's just blind as a bat." Gillian points towards his glasses and grins evilly. Obviously, she is ignoring the broad hint that Becca was giving her. Maybe she has to say it a little more explicitly so that even idiots like Gillian are able to understand.

"Blind as a ba-at, blind as a ba-at," Gillian starts singing.

The little boy grows pale. Becca knows exactly why she doesn't like Gillian. Ambar still stands aloof. She's watching them, and the expression on her face conveys that she's totally on Gillian's side. She usually doesn't take part in the mocking; she just enjoys it. In Becca's eyes, this isn't the least bit better. However, Becca won't have to fight both girls if that should be necessary.

"Blind as a ba-at, blind as a ba-at," Gillian continues her little song.

"Stop it!" Becca shouts. She puts her arm around the shoulder of the little boy. She can hear him sobbing. For the second time today, Becca's anger increases to almost unknown degrees. The poor boy is still a baby, and Gillian has no right to hurt him. "Go and tease someone who is as strong as you."

"I'm not blind as a bat…" the boy mutters, mortally offended.

"Don't listen to her. I know you are Batman," Becca whispers softly, trying to soothe him. "And you know you're Batman. That's enough really, isn't it? We don't need that stupid cow, do we?" Becca thinks that her daddy has said something similar to her, once. She isn't quite sure, though. But when it comes to soothing, her daddy seems to be a good teacher. The sobbing sounds are slowly fading. The boy sobs one last time and then cracks a smile. However, Gillian has obviously heard the sobbing.

"Cry baby!" she shouts contemptuously and laughs.

"That's enough!" Becca leaves the boy with her friends and rushes over to Gillian. When she reaches her, she hits her and scratches her. At first Gillian is too startled to really react, but soon she catches up and starts hitting Becca as well. A rush of shouting starts. The girls are yelling at each other simultaneously.

"You are a rotten, mean, little monster. That's what you are. A wicked little hobgoblin," Becca shouts angrily.

Gillian and Becca bicker with each other. They tear at each others hair. They cry and they pinch. Before one of them is able to start biting, Becca feels a firm grip on her body. She wants to continue her fight with Gillian, but her father holds her back. For a brief moment, Becca is afraid again. While she was playing in the sand, she had almost forgotten about their argument. But the memory surfaces now.

"What's going on here?" a female voice asks. Becca is startled. She expected her father to ask that. Becca looks up and sees the angry face of a woman. She can only be Gillian's mother. She is holding her daughter protectively, and Gillian is smiling so sweetly that she looks like an angel. "Won't you have a look at this naughty daughter of yours?" Gillian's mother yells at Clark.

"My 'naughty daughter' doesn't start fighting without a reason!" Clark replies, sounding uncommonly threatening. Becca is quite sure that he knows what their argument has been about. She had told him about Gillian. He doesn't really say that it's Gillian's fault, but he surely means it. He softly squeezes her hand reassuringly. Becca now feels even worse for arguing with her daddy earlier. "Becca, why did you bully that girl?" he asks softly. There is not the slightest hint of anger in his voice as he addresses her.

"Gillian was mocking that little boy," Becca replies.

"My daughter would never…" Gillian's mother says protectively. Despite her former sense of superiority, Gillian blushes now. And her mother sees it. "Gillian, is this true?" she asks, disbelievingly.

"If Becca says it, then it's true. I trust her completely. She doesn't lie to me," Clark says firmly. He pats Becca's shoulders and glances at Gillian's mother. Becca doesn't hear much more of the conversation. She is just enjoying her daddy's touch. She knows that he has already forgotten about their argument. He isn't angry at her anymore. He can't be mad because he is on her side. He risks a conflict with a woman he doesn't even know just to protect her. Usually he avoids every quarrel because he doesn't want to lose control by accident.

Becca shoots glances from one adult to the other. The argument seems endless, but Becca doesn't really care. When Gillian's mother is yelling at her daddy, he just looks down at her and cracks a smile. It's hardly visible, but Becca knows where to look for it. His eyes are twinkling.

"I'm proud of you, Becky, honey," he whispers.

"I'm sorry for being mean, Daddy," she returns in a low voice.

He blows a kiss to her. "I should have told you right away, Pumpkin. You had every right to be mad. I love you, Becca."

"I love you, too, Daddy," Becca replies.

"Clark," he answers dryly as he sweeps her up into his arms and hugs her tightly.

"No, Daddy… Daddy."

The Beginning… ;)