Heartbeats and Other Sounds

By Anonpip <anonpip@gmail.com>

Rated PG

Submitted March 2008

Summary: Just some random thoughts on super hearing.

Author's Note: All characters are the property of Warner Bros, December 3rd Productions, ABC, and anyone else who may have a legal claim on them. The story, however, is mine.

Many thanks to Larissa who GE'ed this for me.

The last scene in this is, quite obviously, I think, taken directly from Lucky Leon. The words and actions there are clearly not mine (although they may not match word for word as I wrote it from memory, having seen the episode last week).


The first time had been confusing...

"Did you see the hickey on Clara Thomas' neck?" Sara Jones asked Gilly McMann snidely. "She's trying to cover it with a scarf, but you can tell."

"Hey," Clark said without raising his head, in an effort to stop the nasty commentary. But the girls did not respond at all.

"Dean Snithers is looking mighty proud of himself today, too," Gilly replied. "I guess they had fun last night." She giggled merrily at her joke.

Clark looked up from the books he was placing in his locker to say something again. But the girls were not there. He glanced down the hallway one way and there was no one there. He glanced down the hallway the other way and no one was there either except Mark Olsen. Clark shook his head in confusion. He was imagining things.

"Well, come on, Gilly," Sara said. "You can't really blame Dean. Clara's easy. It must be a nice change from dating frigid Rachel Harris."

Clark banged his head on the top of his locker at that. It did not hurt, but then things like that almost never did. He had a very high pain threshold. He slammed his locker door shut, certain he would find Sara and Gilly right around the corner. And then he could give them a piece of his mind for their comments about Clara and Rachel.

But they were not around the corner. Clark checked in several classrooms as he passed, but the girls were not in them.

The bell rang, sounding unusually loud and shrill in his ears, and he gave up the search. He was going crazy. No other explanation. It would be best to ignore it and move on.


The second time had been uncomfortable...

Clark banged his fist into his pillow, willing sleep to come. He had a big math test tomorrow and was nervous about it. Mom always said a good night's sleep helps, but Clark just could not seem to settle down tonight.

"Shh... Clark's still awake," he heard his mother whisper as his parents passed his door on the way to their bedroom.

"I'm sure he's asleep," his dad whispered back just before their bedroom door closed.

And then the strangest thing happened. The doors in the old farmhouse had always been thin. Even as a little boy, he had been able to hear his parents in the hallway outside his door. But they were not that thin. Once behind their own door, their voices always faded away. Once or twice when they were fighting, a word or two might make its way to Clark, but for the most part it was quiet.

But not tonight. Tonight he could hear them clearly. And with growing horror, Clark started trying things to block out the sounds. First, he tried moving the pillow on top of his head and pressing it against his ears. "I'll never understand how a grown man doesn't understand the concept behind a hook and eye," his mother giggled.

Then he got up, and moving as quickly as he could, he got his Walkman, and shoving the headphones on his ears, started playing his Bon Jovi album as loud as he could. "I'll figure it out just as soon as you master buttons," his father replied.

Headphones still on, Clark opened the door and ran downstairs. "Oh, Martha," he heard his father say.

Clark turned the television on. "Jonathan," his mother replied, her voice nearly a groan. Clark turned the television off and ran outside.

A nonsense sound from his mother. Clark ran further. He was almost at the Irig's property line when the sounds stopped. He took the headphones off gingerly, but he could no longer hear his parents. What the heck was that?

The next time it was time to tell...

"Well, you heard the forecast for grain this year," Clark heard Mr. Irig say while he ate his breakfast. He looked around. Mr. Irig had not been around a few moments ago.

"I know," his dad replied, "but the Farmer's Almanac says it's going to be a good year."

Clark thought he could see his father and Mr. Irig out the window. But they were little dots on the horizon, not close enough to hear. Maybe that was not them?

"Mom," he asked, "where's Dad?"

"Talking to Mr. Irig. Why?" Martha asked as she started cleaning up the breakfast dishes.

"Where are they?" Clark asked.

Martha turned away from the window to give Clark an exasperated look, but he did not look like he was trying to be difficult. "I would imagine that's them there," she said, pointing out the window towards the dots Clark had seen before.

"Mom?" Clark asked, the strangled quality to his voice causing her to put down the dish she had been washing to look at him quizzically. "Can you hear them?"

Martha laughed, "Of course not, Clark. They are a couple of acres away."

"Because...," Clark stopped and took a deep breath. "Because I can."

Now Martha put down the dishtowel and sat down next her sixteen year old son. "What do you mean, Clark?" she asked as she placed a hand on his forehead, but he did not seem warm.

"I can hear them," Clark said. When his mother still looked confused, he demonstrated. "You and Martha should come over tonight. Molly made strawberry-rhubarb pie yesterday. Maybe I'll sneak away tonight. You know if I bring her along, Martha will never let me have any. Mr. Irig is laughing." Clark narrated the conversation taking place on the other side of the farm in a flat tone.

Martha looked at her son in amazement. "You can hear them?" she asked, incredulous.

Clark nodded his head, looking frightened. "A few weeks ago I heard some girls talking in school, but I couldn't find them anywhere near by. And last week, I heard you and Dad..." Clark felt the blood rush to his cheeks as he tried to think of the words to explain what he had heard to his mother. But when he looked at her, her reddened cheeks indicated she had figured it out. "I had to go clear to Mr. Irig's property line before I couldn't hear you anymore."

Martha said nothing for a moment, and then taking a deep breath, she calmly said, "Go upstairs, Clark. You're not going to school today." She got up and walked out the door, screaming, "JONATHAN!"

Clark went upstairs to put his book bag down. "What?" his father replied a couple of minutes later, his voice loud in Clark's ears.

"The ploughing is going to need to wait," he heard his mother reply.

"Why?" His dad was still shouting.

When he came downstairs, though, his dad was standing in the kitchen.

"Why are you shouting, Dad?" Clark asked, trying not to sound irritated. But the shouting was giving him a headache and he was already on edge.

"What are you talking about, Clark? I'm not shouting."

Clark put his hands over his ears.

"Clark," Martha said softly, putting a hand on his arm. "Do I sound like I'm shouting?"

"No, Mom," Clark replied, starting to understand.

"This is good," Martha replied. "Don't speak," she said to Jonathan. Turning back to Clark she continued, "This means you can tune in and out of things, so I'm sure you can learn to control it. We'll work on that today."


The next time it was noticeable, it was horrifying...

"Superman!" "Help, Superman!" "Please, Superman!" "Superman!"

It was 3 PS as Clark had come to think of the days following his first appearance and Lois' naming of his alter-ego. Things had been quiet the first day Post Superman. There were lots of questions as to who he was, but overall it was quiet.

Then he had shown up at a major pile-up on the freeway and people had started to understand what he was here for. The cries had started slowly sometime during the day yesterday. But now it was early morning, a time when Clark would have liked to be asleep. But he could not block the sounds out of his ears. Nor could he determine who needed his help most urgently. So he had spent most of the night racing around town trying to answer all the calls for help.

It was hard work, though. Not the actual things he was doing, but seeing this side of humanity. The first call had been from a man getting mugged. He had seemed sheepish at having called for help, but the mugger had a knife trained on him. The second had been another car accident, one of the passengers screaming as the driver lost blood from a head wound. Then there was the teenage girl getting off a late shift at a local supermarket who had been approached by three men in a way that made it clear what their intentions had been for her.

And things had gone on like that nearly all night. When it finally seemed to quiet down enough for Clark to head home, he immediately set off for Boston where there was a massive steam pipe explosion in the downtown area that was being covered on LNN.

At this point, Clark was torn between wanting to sleep and wanting to cry. He had not imagined this. He had not had any idea it would be this bad, this hard. That day in his parents' farmhouse, things had seemed so simple.

His mom and dad had been so patient, getting him to concentrate on blocking out some sounds and letting others in. They had been amazing, never showing their fear at what was happening to their boy. And as other powers had developed, they had taken those in stride, too.

But none of them had realized it would come to this. Clark was not sure he could do this every day. He wished he could give the powers to someone else. Someone more deserving. Someone who could handle them better.

But he could not. And he knew he could not. So, he soldiered on.


The next time he noticed them, really noticed them, they were a blessing...

"You slammed the door in my face last night," Clark said softly.

"That was a...mistake," Lois replied, looking up at him in embarrassment.

Clark moved a step closer to her, his voice husky and low, "Just don't let it happen again."

Lois took a small step closer to Clark.

"Fortunately, there are no doors here now," Clark said as he brought his lips down to meet hers.

He lingered for just a moment, before pulling back to gauge Lois' feelings about this. Neither moved, but then slowly Clark became aware of it. The sound of Lois' heart beating, keeping time with his own. And he could tell. The time was finally right.

As he leaned in again, the sound of Lois' heartbeat filled his ears and drowned out everything else.