“I should have died today.”
Xander froze, unable to process the words he’d just heard. Usually when he accepted a call from Clark it started with ‘Hello’ and went on to discuss the latest weirdness of their various homes. Sometimes there were just nice conversations about life and work and farming. But this was a new conversation.
Gods, Clark sounded so plaintive. “I… I’m sorry, you’re gonna have to start from the beginning. I think…. You what?”
“School sucked and I was out on the Loeb Bridge—”
Clark snorted down the phoneline. “I was just standing there when….”
“Clark?” This time it was Xander’s turn to sound plaintive.
“This car came out of nowhere. He was going fast, but then there was wire in the road, and it just went out of control and through the rail.” Clark let out a pained choking noise.
“Where… where were you?” Xander asked, already having a bad feeling as to the answer.
“I should have died.” The words were so quiet this time Xander could barely hear them.
“But you didn’t,” Xander said, trying to sound encouraging. Even with the discovery of meteor mutants and demons, Clark was less than comfortable things that pointed out he was anything other than normal. “And I for one am glad.”
“Yeah… I am too. It’s just…”
“One more ‘What the hell.’ I understand.”
“And Dad just showed up and got all pissed off at the driver when it wasn’t his fault at all.”
“The driver… Oh man, is he okay?”
A rustling noise convinced Xander that Clark was nodding. It amused Xander immensely that the younger man never stopped being visually expressive, even when his conversation partner couldn’t see a thing.
“I… I pulled him out.”
“Of the river?”
“Of his car.” Again, the words were almost too soft to hear.
Xander resisted the urge to tell Clark to be careful. Jonathan would cover that in spades, for days, if normal patterns held. Sometimes Xander really wondered if the warnings were doing more harm than good by now. No, he was fairly certain they were. But he could understand the sentiment. “But he’s okay? You’re sure? A crash like that, into a river—”
“Lex is fine. He was sitting up before the sheriff even came across the accident. I was worried at first, he wasn’t breathing when I got him on the bank, but I don’t think I even cracked anything when I resuscitated him.”
“That’s great,” Xander praised, knowing it never hurt to encourage Clark when he succeeded in not hurting someone in a time of stress. Jonathan had him so paranoid sometimes…. “So did you have to give this Lex mouth to mouth?”
“Yeah,” Clark said flippantly. “He started coughing up water pretty fast.”
The flippant tone told Xander that Clark had been more than a little worried in the process, but it also gave a great opening. “So, sounds like you’ve had your first guy on guy kiss. Was he at least cute?”
Ah, that squeak meant Clark had just turned bright red.
“Yeah, well… I guess so?”
“Welcome to the dark side, cuz.”
Clark continued to sputter for several minutes, and the only word Xander could parse from it was “Lana,” which was completely to be expected. Clark was still obsessed with the perfection and normality of the girl next door.
“I’m not….” Clark finally got out cleanly.
“I know, Clark. I know. I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Me too,” Clark said, voice soft, stuttering gone. “Have you heard anything new about Aunt Jessica?”
“Spoke to her just yesterday.” Xander smiled and fell into the usual rhythm of family stories. It was good to have family he could talk to, even if they were adopted and able to survive car accidents that should kill.