By: Arian (arianstarr)
Disclaimer: don't own, don't profit, just like to play
Martha Kent passes away three weeks after they celebrate Clark's 37th birthday. An aneurism, the doctors told him. She didn't suffer. She went in her sleep. That's what they tell him. Clark pretends that it helps, and he really is thankful that she didn't feel the pain he knows his father must have, but that knowledge does nothing to quell the ache in his chest when he stares down at her casket.
The weather is unseasonably warm the day they bury her, and Clark finds himself watching the family friends gathered as they shift in their black clothing and squint against the sun. It suddenly feels incredibly unfair that she won't ever feel the heat the same way they do again.
Bruce is at his side, head bowed, hands clasped in front of him as their shoulders touch. He knows that Bruce feels the loss just as keenly as he does and he reaches to take his hand. Bruce looks up at the touch, and Clark sees his own unshed tears reflected back clear in blue eyes. He squeezes lightly as he turns back to listen as the graveside sermon begins to wind down.
Clark tries not to think of the last time he did this, the act of dropping rich earth onto the top of the polished wood shielding the remains of someone he loves. Bruce mimics the action, then Chloe and Lois each step forward with a red tulip, his mother's favourite, in hand. Clark tracks the vibrant blooms as they tumble down into the ground and that is the last of his reserves. The strength drains out of him and he gives in to the tears as they slip freely down his cheeks. He can count on one hand the number of times he has cried since outgrowing the nightmares that used to send him running to his parent's bed in the middle of the night.
Bruce turns them away from the site, leads them to the waiting limo and follows him inside. Clark lets himself be pushed gently back onto the seat and his shoulders shake as Bruce kneels before him, wrapping him in strong arms.
Neither say anything because there are no words for this kind of grief. They stay that way until the car reaches the farm, Bruce holding his position easily until Clark sighs once and pulls away. He brings his hands up to rest on either side of Bruce's face and looks at him for several quiet seconds before pulling him forward, running his thumbs through matching tear tracks and pressing a soft, closed-mouth kiss against his lips.
Inside the house there are people gathering, and Clark knows he'll have a few hours of hugs and handshakes and <I>I'm sorry's</I> to get though before he can curl up at Bruce's side and let go of the precarious balancing act he's been locked into since he got the news. It's the knowledge that Bruce will be there that keeps him going. Bruce will let him fall apart. Bruce will fall apart with him. Bruce will be there to help him put the pieces back together.