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Thread: Episode 6 - "Family" (PG)

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    NS Senior Member Senior Member sydsvaughn's Avatar
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    04 Mar 2003

    Episode 6 - "Family" (PG)

    Title: Family
    Written by: SaraC & Impress

    Notes, disclaimers, and other important information in Episode 1. A special note though...remember, these are episodes written as if it were a season, which means we alternate between stand alones and mytharcs ... and we set out to try and redeem some characters a bit. And we deepen the Chlex slowly along the way. So enjoy!


    Martha Kent paused as she wipe down the counter, taking a moment to observe the gleaming bald head bent over a set of ledger books in a back both of the Talon. With everything that had happened in the past few weeks, she had to admit it felt good to see Lex interacting a bit more with the people of Smallville. While looking over the Talon’s books certainly couldn’t be considered a major social feat, she couldn’t help but feel that Lex needed some grounding especially after what Clark had told her had been going on with LuthorCorp. The young man needed something to remind him that the business world, no matter how cutthroat, did not have to be approached with a Lionel Luthor mentality.

    For one fleeting moment, she wondered, as she had more times than she’d cared to admit in the past four years, how the troubled young man who was so diligently checking the finances, would have fared had he been her son. In that moment she pictured him, a true brother to Clark, raised with all the nurturing and love that had been missing from his youth.

    Martha Kent was not one to kid herself. After working for Lionel Luthor for nearly a year, she was more familiar with the Luthor way of doing things, like the showing of emotion, than she wanted to be. Her job as Lionel’s assistant had been challenging and oddly fulfilling. Even after finding out about his investigations into the kryptonite and the file he kept on her son a part of Martha had enjoyed the challenge working for the Luthor patriarch presented. Conversations with the man had frequently been stimulating and he had always treated her with respect.

    But Martha was under no illusions about Lionel. She was well aware that under that suave façade lurked a dangerous man. A man who could and would stop at nothing to get what he wanted no matter what the cost to what little remained of his family.

    Despite everything he’d done, actions she damned Lionel Luthor to hell for, she knew, without a doubt that Lionel loved Lex. It might be a twisted, unhealthy love, but it was there. What truly saddened her was that Lex seemed to crave it. She’d seen the way he’d look resigned yet hopeful going into a meeting with Lionel and the look in his eyes after defeated and harder subject to a harsh degrading by his father. She wanted to hug him many times, slap him at others. What she’d never quite accustomed herself to were those few unguarded moments of which Lionel thought no one was aware, when pride and sometimes pain would appear for a moment in his eyes as he turned in the direction Lex exited.

    Talk about a dysfunctional family.

    The constant rejections were bound to be hell on Lex, and no doubt influenced some of his more recent actions. And while some part of her worried what he might do if he ever found out about Clark, she clung to the hope that the two young men’s friendship, if they could get it back to what it had been over a year ago, would pull Lex back from the brink.

    The melancholy thought was stopped as a sudden sensation of dizziness overcame her. Closing her eyes, she leaned lightly against the counter, taking a deep breath, noting her heart was racing. Soothing breaths seemed to help calm her heartbeat but it took a little longer for the dizziness to fade. She quickly looked around to make sure no one had noticed her moment of weakness, relaxing as she realized business was light and there was no one really paying attention to her.

    “Excuse me, could I order, please?”

    Jumping at the low voice, she turned towards the two teenagers who had just settled themselves at the counter. Smiling, she reached for the tray of mugs she’d been meaning to put back under the counter.

    “Of course. What can I--”

    Anything else she might have said was cut off by the overpowering wave of dizziness that struck as she lifted the tray. The sound of a feminine scream was the last thing she heard as she felt the floor rise up to meet her before everything went black.


    Lex Luthor smiled as he noted the precise, neat rows of figures. He wasn’t sure why but it seemed so completely Martha Kent. Looking over to where she stood leaning lightly on the counter, he couldn’t help but marvel at the power the small woman packed. Not only had she managed a healthy, happy marriage, and raised an honorable son, but now was currently running a business while still making a happy home.

    He felt melancholy strike as he wondered if his life would have turned out differently if his mother had lived or if his father was not the competitive bastard he’d always been. Despite everything he’d done, despite the things he’d contemplated doing, despite his history with Clark, he knew full well that part of what was keeping him from becoming his father, was the small, red-headed woman chatting with customers behind the counter.

    She might not have realized it, but several times, when things had seemed at their lowest in the past few years, it was the thought of her soothing touch, her kind words, her mothering that had gotten him through. Pangs of jealousy at seeing how close Clark was to his parents still hit but in those first few years before his father and his own obsessions had taken over, he’d flattered himself an extension of that family, despite Jonathan Kent’s inherent dislike of his last name. After being kicked out during the Lucas fiasco, he thought they’d come to a better understanding. The compass the man had given him before his disastrous wedding to Helen seemed to affirm that. That compass had been the only thing to survive the plane crash and to this day, he refused to travel without it. Not that he’d be telling anyone that.

    Still, he knew how much his recent actions, especially his investigating Clark, had hurt the people he wished he could truly call family. But that was the Luthor gene he’d come to realize bitterly. It seemed they were incapable of truly loving, of living life in a way that did not involve some type of obsession. His father had committed insane acts, unbothered by the means used or who got hurt in the process, all to get ahead and later to find a cure for his illness. His own recent struggle of how to deal with business matters, even the growing piles of folders in his safe were testament to the fact that despite his desire to be a normal, caring person, like Clark, there was something drawing him towards the darker side of his nature. He held out a fragile hope that his rebuilding relations with Clark and Lana, as well as his growing, though still undefined relationship with Chloe, would ward off the shadows he could feel lurking, waiting to envelope him.

    Giving into a moment of whimsy he allowed himself to imagine what life might have been like with Martha Kent as a mother, Clark as a brother, and Jonathan Kent as his father. Without conscious thought the picture shifted to include Lucas and Julian, the brothers he had never truly had the chance to know. Once more the picture shifted and Jonathan was replaced by the man whose love, support, and pride he had for so long coveted.

    But, you couldn’t help genetics. He was stuck with his and all he could do now was hope he had enough strength to avoid the pitfalls that had plagued his father.

    His ruminations were cut short by the sound of a sharp scream, and his heart leapt to his throat as he heard the crash of a tray and watched Martha’s body fall to the ground as if in slow motion. He was out of his chair and running before he could think.


    "Damn it! The phone at the Kent farm continued to ring, long, agonizing tones as Lex paced the hallways of Smallville General. Obviously, Jonathan Kent was out on the farm and away from the phone. Punching the end button, he hit the keys for information. At least he knew where Clark was, although he’d have to call the school office to get the boy a message. Cell phones were not a must in the Kent family. As he paced, waiting to be connected to the High School, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease. Finally after what felt like forever, Lex was connected to the school. After leaving a message for the lady at the office to pass along, Lex disconnected to call. Now all he could do was wait.


    “Lex, where’s my mom?”

    Clark skidded to a halt as Lex rose from the chair his face pale and worried. Clark’s heart nearly stopped as he wondered if the worst had happened … if his mother …

    “She’s being examined now.” Lex’s calm, soothing voice should have annoyed him, but for some reason, in this moment, it gave him a sense that things would be okay. It was a feeling Clark hadn’t felt from Lex in a long time.

    “Lex, what happened?” Jonathan Kent’s hands were shaking, a fact he tried to conceal by stuffing them in the pockets of his jacket. When Clark had appeared mid-field and told him Martha had collapsed and been taken to the hospital, he swore his heart had stopped. As he and Clark had driven frantically to the hospital, all he could think about was the last time she’d been there – of the child they’d lost and how close to losing her he’d come. To think it might happen again—

    “Mr. Kent. She collapsed at the Talon. I don’t know why. The doctors haven’t said anything yet. Actually they should be evaluating her now.”

    Jonathan sank into a chair, running a hand through his head. He barely heard Lex’s words. Listening to the younger Luthor as he filled them in on the events at the Talon, he thought his heart would stop again.

    “Lex, thanks.” Clark’s voice was strained as he sank into a chair next to his father. He could see the sympathy, the worry in his friend’s eyes and he realized anew just how much of an impact his mother had had on everyone she knew.

    “Whatever’s wrong, I promise you, we’ll get the doctors, and the best care available. You have my word.”

    Clark nodded, unable to fully comprehend that something could be seriously wrong. He barely noticed when Lex murmured something about making a phone call and walked off down the hall.

    Left alone with his father, Clark closed his eyes, trying to believe his mother would pull through. He couldn’t lose her. Not now, not ever. He’d already lost one mother, he couldn’t lose another.

    A sudden image of a sad eyed woman, a brief touch of a hand on his forehead, a blinding smile invaded his memory and he stiffened.

    “What is it son?” Jonathan, despite being lost in his own worries, felt Clark’s body tense.

    “I – can’t lose my Mom, Dad. Not again.” Clark’s voice shook as he felt his father’s arm come to rest around his shoulders.

    “We’re not going to lose her. She loves us too much to leave us.” Jonathan heard the waver in his voice and could only pray he was right. They’d come through so much in the past few years, it wouldn’t be fair if they lost the rock of their family. It couldn’t happen, he wouldn’t let it.

    Lex watched the scene between the two Kent men unfold. He was too far away to hear what they were saying, but taking in the look on Jonathan Kent’s face, and the arm he wrapped around his son’s shoulder, Lex could surmise that the elder Kent was making an attempt to comfort his son.

    For a moment jealousy flared within him.

    It was inappropriate he knew. Yet he couldn’t help remembering that his father had never done that for him when his mother was hospitalized. Nor could he recall any words of support or reassurance as one of the only two women he’d ever really loved faded away before his eyes.

    Why? Why couldn’t his father have offered a comforting word; a touch on the shoulder even. The smallest, simplest sign of sympathy. Something to show he cared about his wife and about their only remaining son, grieving her inevitable loss. Why?

    Because it’s not the Luthor way.

    The answer popped into his head and Lex knew it was true. Still it did not satisfy him. Observing the way Clark drew strength from his father’s presence, the way Jonathan leaned heavily on Clark in return, jealousy tore through him again.

    Lex stood riveted for a moment unsure whether to rejoin the two men. Loathe to disturb them, hesitant of how he might be received, he turned, compelled by some unknown impulse and made his way out of the hospital.


    Chloe’s heart went out to the two Kent men, sitting so forlornly on the uncomfortable hospital chairs. She and Clark had been in their English class when the call had come and Clark had gone rushing out. Curious, wondering what had happened, she found a message from Lex on her cell when she’d gotten back to her locker, explaining what had happened and asking if she would ask Lana to stop in at the Talon after school to make sure things were running smoothly, since he had been unable to reach her or leave her a message.

    Her own heart aching at the thought of losing the woman who had been the closest thing to a mother she had had growing up, she’d managed to make it through the rest of the day, but when the final bell had rung, she’d headed immediately for the hospital. She’d alerted Lana to the situation as well, and despite the brunette’s burning desire to head for the hospital, Lana had quietly agreed to stop by the Talon first after Chloe had relayed Lex’s message.

    Chloe was glad there had been no argument. She and Lana had been getting along better since their talk, although there were still tense moments. However, knowing that Lana was willing to meet her efforts made their growing friendship much easier to navigate. They would probably never be ‘best friends’ … and there were quite a number of things they silently agreed not to talk about, but they could, she was discovering, be friends.


    She jumped at Clark’s welcome voice, drawing her out of her thoughts as she walked over to the two Kent males.

    “Hey, Clark. How’s she doing?” She wanted to hug Clark, comfort him in some way, but wasn’t sure of what to do.

    “The doctors say its exhaustion, and a bit of dehydration. But they want to run a few more tests to be certain.” Clark’s voice shook and Chloe carefully sat next to him, resting her hand lightly on his arm.

    “Clark, you know if there’s anything I can do-”

    “I know, Chloe. Just being here means a lot.” Clark swallowed around the lump in his throat, unconsciously breathing in Chloe’s calming presence. For some reason, the usually hyperactive young woman seemed to have a soothing effect on him today, quite like Lex’s calm attitude had earlier. Unsure of why he suddenly felt the need to speak, he went with his instinct.

    “We could have lost her. I could have lost my mother.”

    The pain in the words sent an answering ache through Chloe’s heart and she squeezed his arm gently. For a moment, her mind was filled with memories of her own mother, the smile she couldn’t seem to forget, the comforting touches, and the laughter. The bitterness that usually followed those memories for some reason did not seem as harsh. Perhaps it was seeing how devastated Clark and Mr. Kent looked, perhaps it was the recent thoughts of her mother that had been plaguing her, but she suddenly she was struck with a strong desire to know where Erin Sullivan was now.

    “Your mom won’t leave you, Clark. She loves you too much to do that.”

    Clark looked over at his friend, hearing the sadness in her tone, noting the wistful look on her face. A pang hit as he suddenly realized what she must have been thinking about.

    “Chloe, I’m sorry. I didn’t think-”

    “Clark, it’s okay.” She smiled lightly at him, although her heart wasn’t in it. She sensed he wanted to say something more, but thankfully, was distracted by the sight of Lana entering through the double doors. “I hate to run, but I’ve got to finish up a few things at the Torch. You’ll call me if there’s any change?”

    Clark nodded, leaning over and giving her a quick hug. Squeezing him tightly for a moment, she rose, nodding as Lana approached.

    “Clark, Mr. Kent, is everything okay?”

    Chloe nodded to Lana, making her good-byes to Mr. Kent before heading back into the parking lot. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered where Lex was hiding. After all, he’d been the one to get Mrs. Kent to the hospital, and she assumed, alert Clark and Mr. Kent. Then again, this was a hospital and she knew full well that Lex and hospitals did not mix well. Sighing, she unlocked her car and pulled out her cell phone to call Gabe and notify him of the situation, knowing he’d want to know what was going on.


    Lana settled onto the chair next to Clark, noting her friend looked pale and worried. It wasn’t an expression she was used to seeing on Clark Kent’s face. Usually, he was the one saving everyone.

    “Lana, thanks for coming.”

    Clark offered a small smile. Normally he would have been ecstatic to have Lana sitting beside him, offering support in a quiet way that was just as calming as Chloe had been earlier. But right now, all he could feel was worry.

    “Clark,” Lana reached over, sensing his preoccupation and taking his hand gently. “She’s going to pull through. She’s a very, very strong woman with a lot to live for. Trust me.”
    She hoped her words were true, sensing that they were what Clark needed to hear.

    “I’ll be okay when they say we can take her home.” Clark muttered the words, sinking back into silence. Lana sighed, relaxing back against the chair, offering her presence as support as her mind began to wander.

    The idea of losing Mrs. Kent, who had been as much a mother to her as her Aunt Nell, was unbearable. She couldn’t imagine the grief it would cause her son, and her husband, both of whom looked so lost and unhappy. Feeling her heart ache for the Kents, she found herself wondering if she would one day have the same type of family, the same sense of closeness the three Kents displayed daily.

    Obviously, it wouldn’t be with Jason. The thought made her frown sadly, realizing it had been several days since they’d mutually broken things off. To her surprise, Jason hadn’t left Smallville yet. And although he was avoiding the Talon when she was working, they’d exchanged a few words here and there when they’d meet on the street, and thankfully, they were not bitter. It was more, much to her relief, and uncomfortable sadness at knowing that she wasn’t able to feel more than friendship for the young man who watched her with regret in his eyes.

    Then there was Clark. Yes, she couldn’t deny her heart jumped at seeing him, but lately, and after her soul searching over her relationship with Jason, she was beginning to wonder if that was enough. There were still secrets between her and Clark, things that she’d come to realize he could never tell her, for whatever reason he deemed. It still hurt to think he couldn’t trust her, but she’d come to accept it.

    But she’d also come to accept that it meant she needed to think twice about entering any kind of relationship with Clark again. Those secrets, along with her own fears and insecurities had pulled them apart and she wasn’t sure that wouldn’t happen again. Not that she’d talked to Clark about this, but it was an issue she knew they’d have to talk about if they did decide to move beyond friendship again.

    “Mr. Kent?"

    She came out of her reverie as a tall doctor in a white lab coat approached. She stood as both Clark and Jonathan rose.

    “Doctor, what’s wrong with my wife?”

    Clark laid a hand on his father’s arm, just as tense as the older man, but needing to reassure his father that he was there.

    The doctor smiled slightly. “Your wife is going to be fine.”

    Both Clark and Jonathan seemed to sigh at the news and Lana felt her own palpable relief. Looking at the relieved expression on the faces of the Kent men, she couldn’t help but smile. Martha Kent had more to live for than most people could ever dream or hope for.

    “What caused her collapse?” Jonathan refused to think about something more serious, having enough worries with his own health. The last thing he needed was to have to worry about Martha’s, but he’d do whatever the doctor deemed necessary to help his wife.

    “As we thought, stress and exhaustion were the main factors. To put it simply, she’s been overworking herself, not drinking enough fluids and not getting enough sleep.”

    Clark closed his eyes, thanking whomever that it was nothing more serious. Opening them as he heard his father ask several more questions, he felt Lana’s hand on his arm.

    “See, I told you it would be okay.”

    Clark could only smile, squeezing her hand lightly as he listened to the doctor tell them when they could bring his mother home.



    One of the purported seven deadly sins. The very one he was guilty of even now, as he waited in the prison visiting room for his father to grace him with his presence. He knew without question Lionel would consider him weak for experiencing such an emotion. Knew his father would add it to the seemingly endless list of faults to be found with him.

    That is if Lex allowed him to see what he was feeling. Something he was determined not to do. Which meant he would have to come up with a logical excuse for this visit since he could not tell Lionel the truth.


    The sound of his father’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts. He watched his sire walk to the table, taking a seat on the folding chair with a grace and presence that should have seemed out of place on a man wearing a bright orange jumpsuit.

    No ‘good to see you,’ no hug, not one single crumb of affection. Just a bland acknowledgement of his name. Typical Lionel. Unaffected, unassuming, calm and controlled.

    The hollow feeling caught him by surprise and with a start Lex realized he had actually expected some gesture or word of warmth from the man whose genes he shared. Despite their history, or what they’d done to each other over the years, he’d actually allowed himself, somewhere deep inside, to hope for something more than the lackluster acknowledgement of his existence.

    Were he not in the company of the man who had an uncanny ability to exploit even the tiniest of weaknesses, Lex might have given in to the anger that was beginning to spread through him. However, years of inborn Luthor training prevailed and he kept his expression neutral, giving away nothing of his tumultuous emotions.

    “Why are you here son?” Lionel was curious. His expression remained unchanged, but he knew his father well enough to read his body language. The slight lines that appeared around his eyes, the way his hand rested against the table; signs that Lionel sensed something was up and was looking for a way to turn it to his advantage.

    “I don’t know.”

    And he didn’t. Not anymore. Sitting here, staring across the table at the man who had given him life, the man who had trained him to be a replica of himself, the man who had killed his parents and poisoned his own son, he was completely at a loss for words.

    On the way here, he knew. Watching Clark with his father at the hospital had made him yearn, somewhere deep inside in a part of him he usually ignored, for that kind of closeness with his own father. The scene between the Kent men also had him wondering why he and the Luthor Patriarch had never had the relationship that Jonathan and Clark shared so easily. His jealousy of the Kents’ bond had driven him here to seek an answer to a question he wasn’t even sure he really understood.

    Now, as he sat staring at his father, seeing the cold expression on the slightly jaundiced face, he realized that it hadn’t been Lex the man that was envious; it had been Lex the lost little boy.

    Regardless of everything his father had done, the isolated 12 year old within him that struggled to heard once every so often, still craved even the smallest hint of love from his idol. Some part of him still clung to the memory of his pathetic birthday party and his father giving him the special box for his fears. The knowledge made him angry, but he revealed none of that, calling on years of Luthor training, learned from the master, to meet and keep a steady gaze locked on his father.

    “Son, I have better things to do than sit here and stare at you. If there is no purpose for this visit, other than for you to taunt or remind me that you are in control of my empire, then this meeting is over.”

    The child-Lex, not ready to leave the presence of his father spoke before he could think.

    “Martha Kent is in the hospital.”

    He had no idea what to label the brief glimpse of emotion that crossed Lionel’s face.
    Anxiety, concern, disbelief. More sentiment the Lex could ever recall seeing on his father’s visage was revealed in that short moment. A flash that spoke volumes about something Lex had wondered about countless times since Clark’s mother had come to work for him for that brief time a few years ago.

    “Thank you for telling me son.”

    Lionel was glad he was sitting down as a wave of something akin to distress passed through him. The last time he had felt emotion so intense had been standing on the other side of a one-way glass wall, staring into the glazed, vacant eyes of his son. Were he a lesser man Lionel was certain the power of the emotion he had felt at seeing his son so weak and helpless would have forced him to his knees. Even if it had been his own machinations, his need for self-preservation, that had put Lex there in the first place.

    Lex watched as his father remained silent, various expressions crossing his face, possibly unaware or unconscious actions that Lionel had no clue he was revealing. Obviously, the news had gotten a reaction, and the jealous child in him felt envious for a moment that it was Martha Kent who finally created a crack in the shell his father had always kept around him. But knowing such thoughts were weak, he concentrated on keeping his voice steady, curious as to what his father might say if given the opportunity.

    “I know how fond you are of Mrs. Kent.” Lex had never been able to figure out what to feel about his father’s interest in her. He knew the woman held a fascination for Lionel that very few women ever had. Even, he hated to admit it, his mother. Then again, Lex couldn’t fault his father for that emotion. He felt it too, though not in the way his father did, for the woman who several times in the past few years had filled a role that he’d almost forgotten. That of a caring mother.

    “She is a remarkable woman.” Lionel refrained from saying or asking more. To do so would show weakness in front of his son and he was not about to give Lex more ammunition against him. Even if something inside him ached a little to think of anything happening to the bright, beautiful woman who cared so much for everything and everyone. The woman who, he liked to believe, might have even cared for him in some strange, special way at one time.

    “She collapsed at the Talon. When I left the hospital the doctors were still running tests to determine what was wrong with her.” Lex wasn’t sure why he was volunteering the information other than to see if he could once again get some sort of emotional rise out of his father. Unfortunately the man in question kept his mask in place.

    “Well Lex, we aren’t all fortunate enough to have your resiliency to illness.”

    Lex wasn’t certain what to make of that statement. He and his father had never mentioned his strange condition although he knew, from several conversations with Chloe over the summer that one of the reasons Lionel had taken the Torch computers was because they’d had information on Lex. Information that included his health records. He’d never thought it prudent or necessary to discuss his immunity to sickness with Lionel, figuring his father must have known. After all, a child who never got sick had to make some impression.

    Of course, this was Lionel Luthor he was talking about, so nothing was impossible.

    Still, his inner radar blipped for a moment. The fact that Lionel had mentioned his immunity, being so sick himself, bore more thought. Much more thought. Although, looking at the jaundiced complexion, noting the once strong arms seemed thin and much more frail, he had to wonder if Lionel was implying something, asking something, perhaps something he didn’t even know himself.

    A part of him, the rational, sane, adult part, wanted to point out that if his father hadn’t brought him along on his trip to Smallville over a decade ago, he wouldn’t have the heightened immune system. On the other hand, child Lex wanted to shout take it, if it helps you it’s yours. In spite of everything, it was not easy to see his father so changed.

    Lex chose neither option. Instead he rose and offered his father a terse goodbye, not bothering to wait for a response as he strode towards the door, far too anxious to escape the enclosed confines of the prison visiting room that seemed to be growing smaller around him.

    Had he stayed a moment longer, he might have witnessed a look of sadness and longing in his father’s usually dark and unreadable eyes.


    Chloe closed her cell phone, a smile lighting up her face. The news that Mrs. Kent was going to be okay was welcome and lifted a burden that she’d been carrying for the past few hours as she’d tried to lose herself in perusing the files she’d downloaded from Modell a few weeks ago.

    So far, she’d been able to access quite a few interesting, not exactly illegal experiments that Dr. Carlton had been working on, with the liver research being the most extensive. Several strange formulas had confounded her and she’d decided to mark those for later exploration. At the moment, she was more interested in finding out what the rest of the files contained.


    Startled by the voice, she looked up to find herself caught in Jason’s gaze. A bright smile bloomed on her face as she motioned to the seat next to her.

    “Jason, it’s good to see you.” She watched as he hesitated, then smiled slightly before settling himself into the seat next to her. He’d been keeping his distance from them since the breakup, and Chloe couldn’t blame him. Nevertheless she was curious as to why he’d remained.

    “How are you doing, Chloe?” Jason felt slightly awkward as he tried to strike up a conversation. He’d found it rather easy to talk to Chloe when he’d been dating Lana, but right now, there was a sense of awkwardness between them. He smiled as quick as a flash, Chloe dispelled it.

    “Actually, better now. Although I might not be much longer if the looks those three brunette are sending me because you choose to sit with me instead of them mean anything.” She grinned, motioning to the three cheerleaders eyeing Jason with predatory gazes.

    Jason swallowed, shuddering lightly. Chloe noted this and laughed. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.”

    Jason turned to look at her and couldn’t help but smile. Chloe Sullivan was an intriguing young woman, both in looks and personality. Her brash nature had surprised him at first, but he’d found it refreshing once he’d gotten to know her a little better. Plus she could make him smile, and smiling was what he needed at the moment.

    “So, what are you up to? Writing the next great story?” He motioned to her computer and was surprised to hear her laugh.

    “Not really. I just got word from the hospital that Mrs. Kent is going to be okay, so my brain isn’t quite focused--”

    “Mrs. Kent was hospitalized?” Jason was surprised and a little concerned. He didn’t know the woman that well, but she’d always gone out of her way to smile and talk to him, and she made the best coffee he’d ever tasted.

    Chloe nodded. “She collapsed, apparently from exhaustion and dehydration. She’s going to be fine, Clark and his dad are taking her home this afternoon.” She noted Jason tensed slightly at the mention of Clark and sighed. A usual reaction for most of the men who’d dated Lana and knew of the strange connection/relationship that was Clark Kent and Lana Lang.

    “I’m glad to hear that. Please give her my best if you see her before I do.”

    Chloe looked at him curiously, seeing the perfect opening to ask what she’d been wondering about for the past few days. “Forgive me if I seem rude, but, why are you hanging around now that you and Lana are through?”

    Jason smiled almost bitterly at her words, yet finding the bluntness of the question refreshing for a change. It was so unlike many others who in the past few days had sought his reasons for staying using thinly veiled hints.

    “You don’t have to answer, I just thought, you know, you might need to talk?” Chloe wasn’t sure what made her offer, but something in his eyes told her that maybe he needed a friend.

    Jason hesitated for a moment and then sighed. “I’m not sure. I gave up my apartment in Paris when I came after Lana.” He laughed lightly, almost ironically. “I’m not sure why I did that, burned those bridges, but I suppose what’s done is done. I thought I’d be starting over again, here.”

    Chloe noted the wistful tone to his words and bit her lip. Obviously, he would tell his story in his own time and she would let him. She’d learned the benefits of patience thanks to her long, stressful summer.

    “So, you don’t want to go home to Metropolis?” She prodded gently, knowing he was sensitive to issues about his family. Expectedly, she saw him tense, but then relax his shoulders.

    “I’m not exactly welcome with my family right now, and as for moving to Metropolis, the second they discovered I’d moved back, they’d start in on me again.” Jason took a sip of the coffee the waitress had deposited during his conversation, contemplating how much to say. Chloe’s concerned, interested expression was going a long way to alleviate his unease.

    “They didn’t like Lana, or rather they didn’t like the fact that I left Paris to follow her here, leaving school and everything behind. Of course, they said the same when I left high school and went to Paris. I just can’t please them, no matter what I do.”

    Chloe nodded sympathetically. Having always had her father’s unfailing, if sometimes frustrating support, she couldn’t imagine what having no family support whatsoever could do to a person.

    “So, you figure staying in Smallville, despite the Lana proximity, gives you some time to figure things out?”

    Jason looked at her for a few moments, contemplating a reply. Finally he nodded. “I guess it’s as good a place as any. At least Lana and I can stand the sight of each other.” He noted the melancholy tone in his voice and tried hard to curb it. His head had realized the other night that Lana and he were not meant to be. Now he just had to get his heart to accept it.

    Chloe sighed, wondering what he was thinking, figuring it had something to do with Lana. “You know, Lana’s in a confused place right now, there’s always hope-”

    “No.” The finality of the word surprised Chloe as she looked at him curiously. He smiled wryly. “I think I knew from the start that things would turn out like this. I enjoyed my time with Lana, perhaps I even loved her, but despite the pain of losing her, I think it was for the best.”

    Chloe remained silent, hoping he would sense her sympathy, realizing he did when he gave her a grateful look and continued.

    “So that leaves me unemployed, without a place to call home at the moment, and no support system to fall back on. At least I’ve got some money put away to allow me some time to think.”

    Chloe laughed. “Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but, if it’s not too presumptuous of me, I’d like to think you have a friend here, and I’ve been told I make a pretty good support system of one.”

    Jason looked at her in surprise, wondering if she were sincere. The look in her eyes told him she was and for the first time since coming to Smallville, he felt a little more secure of himself and where he was headed in life.

    “I’d like to be your friend, Chloe. If you can put up with the fact that I’m suffering through an apparent early life crisis.” He smiled at her laughter, relaxing back into his seat and sipping his coffee.

    Chloe was surprised to find how easy it became to talk to Jason, and before she knew it, an hour had passed. It was only the ringing of his cell phone that interrupted their conversation. Waiting quietly as Jason took the call, she took a moment to absorb his features, realizing he really was one of the nicest looking men she’d seen in a while.

    When he finished the call, he gave her an apologetic smile. “I hate to run, but I’ve got to take care of something.” He rose, smiling as he donned his coat. “But I’ve really enjoyed talking to you – perhaps we can do it again soon?”

    Chloe beamed. “I’m usually here or at the Torch after school most days, feel free to stop by. I’ll give you an in-depth look at the meteors and their history if you’d like?”

    Jason smiled, thinking how pretty her eyes were, before making his goodbyes and disappearing out the door.

    Chloe watched him go, feeling better than she had in a while. She wasn’t sure what had passed between them, but she did feel as if she’d found a friend. Smiling, she turned back to the computer and began to click through the files, trying to focus on her work.

    As she skimmed through the folders, one suddenly caught her eye. Pausing the mouse over the file labeled “Goldilocks” she was hit with a powerful memory.

    “I don’t want to brush my hair mommy, I hurts!”

    Young Chloe pouted at the mirror, brush in hand. The willowy woman behind her only sighed and settled herself on the bed.

    “You know you have to, Chloe. All young ladies need to learn to brush their hair.”

    Chloe frowned. “I don’t wanna be lady. Wanna be Chloe.”

    Her mother’s laughter made her own frown falter. It disappeared totally as Erin Sullivan walked over and pulled her daughter into a hug.

    “Ok, Goldilocks, I’ll brush your hair today but you do it yourself tomorrow, okay?”

    Smiling at the familiar term of endearment, Chloe settled onto the stool in front of the mirror and allowed the gentle touch of her mother’s hands too sooth the tangles from her locks.

    Coming back to herself, Chloe was surprised to find a lump in her throat. Quickly forcing it down, trying to push the memories aside, she skipped over the file, moving on and hoping she could forget.


    “Jonathan Kent, I’m perfectly capable of walking into my own home.”

    Ignoring his wife’s words, Jonathan lifted her out of the pickup truck and carried her in his arms up the steps to the front porch.

    “Jonathan, your heart--”

    “It’s fine, Martha.” Feeling a giddy relief at having her home, he looked down into her eyes and smiled. “Besides, you remember the last time I carried you over the threshold?”

    Clark couldn’t help but feel embarrassed at the looks his parents were exchanging. Then again, he should have been used to it after nearly 18 years.

    “You both remember your son is standing here, don’t you?” He was pleased when his gentle teasing drew laughter from them both as Jonathan carried Martha into the house and set her lightly down on the sofa.

    “Now, Jonathan, I’m not going to break-”

    “Humor me, Martha. You’re always taking care of us, it’s our turn to take care of you.”

    Jonathan leaned down and sealed his words with a kiss, making Martha sigh when he broke away and Clark groan good-naturedly.

    “If that display of affection is done, Mom, can I get you anything? Coffee? Soda? Milk?”

    Clark knew he sounded anxious, but he wasn’t quite ready to believe his mother was healthy and well, giving him a familiar look of exasperated love.

    “I’m fine, Clark. But thanks.”

    “Get her some water, the doctor said she’s still dehydrated.” Jonathan’s words brooked no delay and Clark immediately took off to get the water, ignoring the protests he could hear from behind him.

    “Martha, please, we almost lost you.” Jonathan’s voice nearly broke and seeing the tears filling his eyes, Martha felt her own heart ache. Reaching up, she pulled his face down to hers, kissing him lightly before pulling him down next to her on the sofa.

    “You’re never going to lose me, you or Clark.”

    Closing his eyes, Jonathan rested his forehead against hers, breathing her in. As Clark
    returned with the water, settling himself on Martha’s other side, he allowed himself a sigh of relief at having his family home safe and sound.

    Clark couldn’t help the childish need to lean against his mother, glad when her arm came around his strong shoulders, pulling him against her side.

    “My boys. Do you know how much I love you?” Martha’s voice was choked with tears as she held the two men close to her, glad beyond belief that she had them both. She also made a mental promise to take better care of them, and herself, to avoid the worry they’d all felt today.

    Clark finally pulled back, smiling as his mother brushed the hair from his eyes. “So, since you aren’t supposed to work for at least a week, what are you gonna do, Mom?”

    Martha sighed, sinking back into her husband’s arms. “I think I’m going to-”

    “Rest and let us wait on you hand and foot,” Jonathan cut in with a smile, ignoring the swat she took at his arm.

    “Dad’s right, we’re going to take care of you.” Clark grinned. “And if I know them at all, plenty of people will be stopping by, including Chloe and Lana, who both say to get well soon. Lana said also to not worry about the Talon. She and Sarah are going to be fine until you get back.”

    Martha breathed a sigh of relief, glad to know her second in command would have help.

    Cathy Siddlle was a very capable assistant manager and with Lana to help, things should run smoothly. Although she might have to prevail upon Jonathan and Clark to take her in one day, just to see.

    “Oh, and um, Lex said he’d be by, to make sure you were okay.”

    She turned at Clark’s almost hesitant words. Seeing his expression, she smiled. “It’s okay. I heard he got me to the hospital and called you.”

    “As usual, offering to have the best surgeons sent in if needed. Probably worried about us suing the Talon.” Jonathan’s voice was only slightly ironic, tinged, she noted, with a slightly warmer expression. Despite his suspicion and dislike of the younger Luthor, she knew her husband was glad he’d been there to take charge of the situation.

    “Well, I’ll be glad to see him, since I suspect I won’t be going anywhere with you two guard dogs watching over me.” She was glad her attempt to lighten the mood went over well. Now, what she really needed was a little sleep. The exhaustion was catching up, and she really didn’t feel up to doing more than slumber. However, expressing this would most likely only cause both men to hover more.

    “I know today’s events disrupted your putting in the new fence, Jonathan, so why don’t you both go finish while I relax.”

    Her husband looked as if he wanted to object, but she was having none of it. “I won’t break for being alone, and I promise, I won’t move from the couch. But you have a farm to run and I won’t let your worry over me distract you.”

    Clark looked at his mother and smiled, at her determination and strength. “I think that’s her way of saying she needs some alone time, Dad.”

    Jonathan laughed, kissing her lightly once more before rising, helping her settle onto the couch, pulling a blanket over her.

    “Okay, but if you need anything, call. Clark,” he winked at their son, “will hear you.”

    “Okay, I love you both, be careful and don’t work too hard.” She winked at them. “After all, since I can’t do anything, someone’s going to have to have the strength to make dinner.”

    She laughed at the looks on their faces as she shooed them with her hands out the door. When they’d gone, grumbling good-naturedly all the way, she smiled, relaxing onto the sofa and giving into her body’s need to sleep. She was home, everything was right in her world, she could finally sleep.


    Clark, his father noticed, was extremely quiet as they worked on putting in the new fence. Usually, Clark would be talking non-stop, about Lana, Chloe, even Lex. But today, he worked silently, a distant look on his face. It was a look that Jonathan knew from experience meant Clark was thinking about his time with Jor El, and most likely, his vague memories of his birth mother.

    “Son, you want to tell me what’s bothering you?” He knew Clark would have to open up, wasn’t sure if he would however. He knew his son had talked to Pete a little about his experience with Jor-El, but so far, hadn’t mentioned much to either him or Martha. Part of him was still hurt by that, but a larger part understood, having had his own dealings with Jor-El and not wanting to talk about them either.

    Clark sighed, pounding another post into the ground with a single swing. He knew his father was bothered with his silence, but he wasn’t sure what to say. He still didn’t feel that comfortable talking to his Dad about Jor-El, but right now, he had to say something before the doubts ate him alive.

    “When Lex called, all I could think about was what would happen to us if we lost Mom.”
    Clark swallowed, remembering his fear at the idea. “I knew that we couldn’t survive without her, that she’s the reason both you and I are still alive. Regardless of whatever the intentions of my birth father might be.”

    Jonathan remained silent, knowing Clark needed time to speak, although he couldn’t help but agree, a pang in his own heart at the unbearable thought of living without Martha.

    “I know I don’t talk much about what Jor-El showed me, but his words still ring in my head.” He looked at his father, realizing he finally felt ready to share that bit of

    “What did he tell you?” Jonathan held his breath, wondering what was about to be said, sensing it held the key to everything his son had been going through for years.

    “He told me that I still had a mission to accomplish. It’s, um, it’s why he said he sent me back.” Clark felt better at saying it out loud, although he waited a moment before looking over to see how the words would be taken.

    “Did he tell you what this mission was?” Jonathan suspected he knew the answer, but wanted to hear it from Clark.

    Clark shook his head, turning back to stare down at the fence post. “No. He just said I wasn’t done here yet. And I don’t know what he meant.” The worry in his son’s voice nearly broke Jonathan’s heart and he felt the need, once more, to strangle Jor-El for all he’d put them through.

    “You’re worried because you still think he means for you to ‘rule’ here on Earth, aren’t you?” He sighed as Clark tensed, then relaxed as he remained silent.

    Clark looked up at the yellow sun, wondering again what Jor-El might have meant. “I don’t know dad. But I can’t help think that it doesn’t mean anything good. And the thought of how disappointed Mom would be if I ever did something like that – I couldn’t bear the look in her eyes--”

    “Son,” Jonathan deliberately made sure Clark was looking directly into his eyes, “your mother may sometimes get disappointed by the choices you make, but she will never be disappointed in you.”

    Clark swallowed hard, thinking back to some of the rather stupid things he’d done over the years, the censure in his mother’s eyes, quickly replaced by love as he’d explained and asked forgiveness. He knew his father was right, but the fear of disappointing anyone, especially his parents, scared him more than he knew.

    “I just don’t want to do something that would make you, make everyone, hate me- or at least consider me no better than you both do Jor-El.” The words were hard, but as he spoke them, he realized they were the heart of the matter, of what had been bothering him for weeks, if not months.

    Jonathan sighed, knowing Clark had a valid worry. His own experiences with Jor-El led him to believe that his son’s birth father might not have Clark’s best interests at heart. But again, Jonathan Kent was a firm believer in making your own destiny and he knew his son would do the same.

    “I know you’re worried son, I don’t blame you. But I do know that every man makes his own path. You choose who you are and what you’ll become.” He paused, walking over and placing his hand on Clark’s shoulder. “You have a choice Clark. I know it’s not an easy one, I know you have doubts, but you’ll make the right decision when the time is right.”

    Clark looked at his father, his eyes filled with pain and confusion. “But how do you know that? You’ve seen who I become when I get near Red Kryptonite, you’ve seen what it does to me and those around me. Having that in me, knowing it’s there, waiting to come out, I can’t help but wonder if I will make the right choice.”

    Jonathan sighed again, knowing his son spoke the truth. But he refused to let that ruin or destroy the strong young man he’d raised his entire life. Clark was a fighter, like his father and grandfather before him – and smart, like his mother. There was no doubt in his mind that Clark would make them all proud – and figure out where and who he was – when the time was right.

    “Clark, your mother and I have raised you the best we can, and we both know, without a doubt, that you’re meant to do great things. You might not know how, or when, but you will. Just trust in yourself – and know we’ll always be here for you.”

    “Thanks, dad.” Clark swallowed the lump in his throat, leaning slightly into his father’s touch. He wanted to believe the words, but the memory of Jor-El; of what had been done to his home world; of his own genetic birth parents…he just wasn’t sure.

    Still, the feel of his father’s warm hand, the determination and strength of conviction in his words, made him feel just a little better about the road that lay ahead of him. Managing a small smile, he turned back to the post, deciding it was time to lighten the mood. He really didn’t want to think about Jor-El any more.

    “So, first one to get twenty posts into the ground avoids making dinner tonight?”

    Jonathan laughed. “Now that son, is a sucker’s bet if I ever heard one.”

    Father and son smiled at each other before turning and getting back to work.


    Willy had seen a lot in his day.

    Before migrating to Metropolis, he’d run a bar in California that catered to a special kind of clientele. During that time, he’d been roughed up, and intimidated more times than he cared to count. So when a careless mistake had landed him in one of Metropolis’ finest accommodations, Willy was more than prepared to deal with the various creatures contained within. It wasn’t long after his incarceration that he’d begun working in the prison library, delivering the inmates requested reading materials. During his initial trial period, he had been subject to various taunts and threats, but he’d quickly established that he wasn’t easily intimidated. And that he was also very, very good at acquiring things. New inmates came in on a semi-regular basis and each had tried to coerce Willy into being at their beck and call. None had succeeded.

    None that is till Lionel Luthor had arrived in the Metropolis Penitentiary.

    Willy delivered the newspaper to Lionel on his second day in residence. The location of his cell had put the stop towards the end of Willy’s route. But one look from those steely eyes, and a calmly uttered, “Just so you are aware, I prefer to have my newspaper delivered in a timely manner,” had the former bar owner changing his route the very next day. It wasn’t long after that that Willy began attaining requested items and information for the man.

    Lionel Luthor was a powerful force, even behind bars. A man that Willy knew would make a safer friend and a deadlier enemy. If there was one thing he’d learned from his last job, it was that it always paid to ally yourself with the most powerful side. Good or evil.

    Stopping his cart in front of the man is question’s cell, Willy gathered his thoughts as he took a moment to pull Lionel’s requested newspaper out of the cart before carefully folding it up and sliding it between the bars.

    “Here’s your paper Mr. Luthor.”

    Willy waited patiently for the man to acknowledge him. He watched the older man close the book he was reading and rise from the small desk in his cell with unhurried grace.

    “Thank you, Willy.”

    Nodding at the expected reply, Willy waited until Lionel had taken the paper from him, and turned around in an obvious sign of dismissal. He then took off to finish the rest of his route knowing he would be expected to return when he was finished.


    Lionel was not a man given to introspection. Second guesses and regrets were not luxuries he allowed himself to indulge in, as they tended to expend energies and time best used elsewhere. But there were occasions, such as now, when the conscience no one believed he possessed choose to make itself heard forcing him to question whether the path he was walking was indeed the correct one.

    Slowly, he lay down the newspaper on the desk attached to one of the walls in his, as he liked to believe, temporary abode, watching as it unrolled itself, flopping ungracefully flat on the hard surface. Flipping to the business section, he removed the manila envelope contained within and retreated to his bed, staring at the parcel with a hesitation that would have surprised his son had Lex been in the room.

    He was unable to silence the rarely used voice in his head, so instead he tried to ignore it, taking a deep breath before opening the envelope. A folder and a sheaf of paper slid out. Tossing aside the envelope, he made no move towards either of the objects for a few moments. Cursing his hesitation, his weakness, he picked up the folder, momentarily ignoring the piece of paper.

    Patient’s name: Luthor, Alexander J.

    Opening the folder, he began to peruse its contents. Much of it he was already familiar with. Lex’s childhood illness, his miraculous recovery after the meteor shower, his lack of illness since then. There was information on Lex’s elevated white cell count, and additional notes on various tests conducted using samples Lionel had acquired of Lex’s blood. Placing the folder open across his lap, he reached for the previously ignored note.

    Mr. Luthor,

    As this file details, I am close to discovering a cure for your disease. However, in order to finish my work, I am in need of more samples from your son. It would be preferable to have his bone marrow as that contains stem cells, as well as white and red cells, and I feel the combination of the three would be much more beneficial to my research. The procedure for extraction would take anywhere from 45-90 minutes and there are some risks involved but nothing that would cause major damage. I await your decision.


    Lionel placed the note aside and once more picked up the file. Flipping through the carefully detailed notes, he found the description of the procedure and read the concise, flowing handwriting.

    Serious complications are rare but could include anesthesia reactions, infection, transfusion reactions, or injuries at the needle insertion sites.

    The risk of infection or reaction did not concern him. He was certain Lex’s immunity would protect him. It had before, without question. The risk of injury however, was cause for concern.

    Despite what everyone, Lex included, believed, Lionel truly did love his son. The obstacles, challenges, and words he had thrown at his heir were done to make him stronger. He rationalized that even his decision to poison his son, which had only come after much deliberation and emotional wrestling, was another test for Lex. He had not only proven what his son’s immune system was capable of, but also proven he had a strong will. Like Lionel, Lex had faced death, and not only survived, but emerged stronger for it. Like any good father Lionel wanted to ensure his son would not only survive but also thrive in the world and without his help, Lex would have remained weak, in both mind and spirit.

    The decision to investigate Lex’s enhanced immunity as a possible cure for his illness hadn’t come easy. In fact, it wasn’t until all other avenues had been exhausted that Lionel seriously considered it as a real possibility. In retrospect he realized given the wasted time and effort in finding a cure, he should have given this avenue of research much more consideration. Perhaps if he had done so before things with Lex had blown up in his face, his son might have been willing to help him. As it was, Lionel was doubtful Lex would consent to providing any assistance whatsoever.

    Still Lionel Luthor was not ready to depart this world. He had much to teach his son before going to meet his maker, or assuming his rightful place in hell as was widely believed. He needed to make sure Lex was capable of taking on the world and coming out on top.

    In order to do that he needed to live.

    In order to live he needed the secrets that his son’s blood contained, no matter what he had to do to get them.

    For a moment, he found himself thinking of the disapproving gaze Martha Kent would surely bestow on him if she knew of his plans for his son. The thought brought with it a wave of not completely unexpected anxiety at what might have happened to her, picturing her lying still and frail in a hospital bed.

    He made a mental note to see if Willy couldn’t find a way to provide him with more information than Lex had. He refused, at the moment, to analyze why.

    Pushing aside lingering pangs of conscience, Lionel stood and walked over to the small desk. Grabbing a sheet of paper, he quickly wrote a short note on it in his neat script. Folding it, he slipped it into the book he had been reading earlier and waited for the familiar sound of squeaking wheels echoing down the long corridor.

    A few moments later, Willy and his cart appeared in front of his cell.

    “I forgot to ask if you were through with the book you borrowed the other day, Mr. Luthor.”

    Lionel slowly approached the weasly looking man. Pushing the book between the bars he kept his gaze even, his tone cool as he replied.

    “You might enjoy this one Willy, chapter 12 is particularly interesting.”

    Lionel watched as the little man nodded, tucking the book safely into the top of his cart. “I’ll keep that in mind. Have a good afternoon, Mr. Luthor.”

    Watching until the man was out of sight, he quietly returned to his small, thin bed and picked up the file. His decision made, the plan he had roughly outlined in his note began to take shape.

    He chose to ignore the pangs he felt in the region of his heart.


    Clark wasn’t certain what had drawn him to the caves tonight. As he stared at the spot that not so very long ago had lead him to his biological father, his adoptive father’s words rang in his head.

    “You have a choice Clark. I know it’s not an easy one, I know you have doubts, but you’ll make the right decision when the time is right.”

    Would he? Or maybe the better question was could he? Could he make the choice to be his own person? Could he fight Jor-El’s chosen destiny for him and carve out his own?
    He sighed wishing desperately for a sign that maybe, just maybe it was possible not to be what someone else wanted you to be.


    The sound of Lex’s voice brought him up short. He whipped around as his friend approached, acknowledging his arrival with a half smile. Once Lex had reached his side, he turned to stare at the decorated walls, his eyes drawn immediately to the drawing of Naman and Segeeth. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Lex’s gaze was focused on the same picture.

    Conqueror or hero? Who was he? Who was Lex? The entwined drawing of the prophesized enemies made it impossible to determine the true villain. A conversation he’d once had with Lex flitted through his mind.

    “I've been thinking about that prophecy. I've got a new interpretation. Want to hear it?”


    “This Naman guy is supposed to come from the stars, have the power of ten men, and shoot fire from his eyes, right?”

    “It's just an allegory, Lex.”

    “I know. But if one person could do all that, he'd be a formidable enemy. He could conquer the world. He could become a tyrant if no one kept him in check. So I've been thinking...anybody who'd be willing to fight him would have to be pretty brave. Clark, did it ever occur to you that the hero of the story...is Segeeth?”

    For the first time Clark truly wondered if Lex’s interpretation was the correct one.

    “I’ve informed the guard that no one is allowed down here without my permission. No one but Clark Kent that is.” Lex kept his voice even, wondering if Clark would remember the words.

    Clark turned towards Lex and blinked at the sudden words. “Thanks.” He wasn’t sure what else to say, and suddenly, a memory stirred. “You know this seems eerily familiar.”

    Lex smirked. “I seem to recall saying something similar at one point.”

    Clark nodded, his gaze returning for a moment to the picture on the wall before focusing on Lex again.

    “So what brings you down to the caves Lex?” He tried to keep his voice normal, but his curiosity, and his suspicions were aroused. He knew Lex knew there were more to the caves, but he couldn’t be sure how much more. Lionel had been the one excavating them last year – but that didn’t mean Lex had not been aware of the progress or the excavation.

    “I haven’t had the chance to come down here since taking back control of the preservation project. I had some free time so I figured I would visit. Can’t say I’m surprised to find you here though.”

    Lex watched the play of emotion on his young friend's face. Confusion seemed to be the dominant expression and he found himself wondering, once again, what secrets Clark Kent was keeping from him. Pushing the thoughts aside, knowing they would not help the friendship they were tentatively trying to restore, he opted for asking something less incendiary.

    “Want to talk about it?”

    Clark turned back towards the wall, not surprised that Lex had picked up on his confusion. Still, he made a mental note to try and be a bit more guarded with his emotions. Lex still knew too much to risk learning more.

    That knowledge, perhaps in spite of it, however, did not stop him from asking the next question.

    “You told me once that you’ve fought your destiny your whole life. Do you ever wonder if that fight is hopeless? That maybe you really are meant to be what someone else wants you to be?”

    Lex paused, unsure of what had brought on such a deep thought from the younger man, but he took a moment to consider his reply, sensing this was important to Clark.

    “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

    Clark turned his head and raised a questioning eyebrow at Lex.

    “William Jennings Bryan.” Lex offered in explanation. When Clark still looked confused, he tried for a more direct answer.

    “I suppose the answer to your question is no.” He stopped a moment, considering the rest of his reply, his mind going once more back to the vision of Lionel, jaundiced and pale in a bright orange jumpsuit, yet still wielding a power that Lex knew even prison could not curb.

    “It would be easy to follow in my father’s footsteps, to give into the darkness I think all
    Luthors carry within. But if I were to do that, then I would be giving up any say in my life. I would lose any likelihood I may have of ever being Lex, and would continue to be just Lionel Luthor’s son.”

    He was more than a little surprised to find he truly meant the words. Even if he had no idea if he could live up to them.

    “So you think there is hope then? That you don’t have to become your father?”

    Lex caught the desperation in the younger man’s voice. Wondering about it, but certain Clark would not say more, he slowly replied.

    “I think most parents, father’s especially, have an idea, a plan if you will, of how their child’s life is supposed to be. For some that plan involves bigger and better things than they themselves had. For others, it’s a way to ensure just a little immortality; a way to make certain that their legacy lives on.” He wondered at the thought, wondered just how far his father might be willing to go to make sure his legacy lived on – through himself or his son. The thought was not a pleasant one and he pushed it aside, focusing instead on the more hopeful idea he wanted to believe was true.

    “But ultimately it is for the child to decided where his path in life will take him.”

    Clark nodded absorbing the words. By silent agreement they turned back towards the drawing. For several minutes the two remained quiet, contemplating the conversation and wondering how much control they really had over their destinies.

    Clark wanted to believe Lex’s words. Wanted to believe that he would be the one to decide his path, regardless of his biological father’s demands. Wanted to believe Lex could do the same. But staring at the two intertwined forms on the wall before him – he wasn’t sure of anything.

    Lex too was contemplating the figures, wondering if he could truly separate himself from the legacy Lionel had left to him. Wondering who truly was the hero … or the villain.

    Suddenly, he found himself remembering the conversation he’d had with Ryan after bringing the dying boy the rare first edition of Warrior Angel #66.

    Weren't they best friends?

    Once upon a time.

    Well, what happened to them?

    Well, they, uh, ruled the Guardian Realm together until Devilicus told Warrior Angel that they should join forces and conquer humanity. Together, no one would be able to stop them.

    What did Warrior Angel say?

    He refused. He believed it was a hero's sacred duty to protect those weaker than himself. Devilicus thought he was naive and vowed to destroy him and everything he stood for.

    Why do you think Devilicus went bad?

    I'm not sure. Probably wasn't aware of it. You see, Ryan, in life, the road to darkness is a journey, not a light switch.

    You should remember that, Lex.

    Finally, Clark broke the silence, startling Lex out of his memories.

    "I should go. I need to check on my mom.”

    Glad for the reprieve, Lex offered Clark a small smile as the two began moving towards the cave’s entrance.

    “I heard she was out of the hospital. How is she doing?” Lex was genuinely curious and concerned. Something in his heart eased at Clark’s genuine smile.

    “Good. My dad and I were driving her crazy earlier with our hovering. She finally kicked us out of the house.”

    Lex smiled at the image. If anyone could order two strong men like Clark and Jonathan about, it was Martha Kent. Once more, he wondered how his life might have been different if he had had someone like her in it, to counterbalance Lionel.

    The two had taken only a couple of steps when Lex felt compelled to stop Clark by placing a hand on his arm.

    Clark halted, a curious look on his face as he turned towards Lex.

    “Clark, I know something is still bothering you, but I’m not going to press you for details,” Lex didn’t miss the look of relief on the young man’s face. “I will tell you though that if you are concerned with becoming your father, there are worse men to emulate than Jonathan Kent.”

    Clark opened his mouth to reply but found no words. He needed none as Lex continued, “I told you once Clark, my father may try to rule the earth, but yours will inherit it.”

    Lex offered a wry, slightly bitter smile before turning and walking away.

    Clark watched him until he disappeared. Turning once again to the spot that had lead him to Jor-El, he couldn’t help hearing the echo of Lex’s words – and his own resounding answer.

    That’s what I’m afraid of.

    End of Episode 6

  2. #2
    An Accused Heretic Senior Member Kit Merlot's Avatar
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    12 May 2003
    Penn's Woods

    Re: Episode 6 - "Family" (PG)

    Lionel's still hatching evil plans, but it does look as though Lex and Clark are on the way to mending fences.

    And I like that Jason is noticing how pretty Chloe is--I don't want Chloe to be his rebound but some male appreciation would be nice

    "Don't quote me to me!" Detective Danny "Danno" WIlliams, Hawaii Five-0, episode 1.8 Mana'o

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  3. #3
    Just a Guest!

    Re: Episode 6 - "Family" (PG)

    Willy had seen a lot in his day.

    Before migrating to Metropolis, he’d run a bar in California that catered to a special kind of clientele. During that time, he’d been roughed up, and intimidated more times than he cared to count.
    Is this the Willy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by any chance?

    Despite what everyone, Lex included, believed, Lionel truly did love his son. The obstacles, challenges, and words he had thrown at his heir were done to make him stronger. He rationalized that even his decision to poison his son, which had only come after much deliberation and emotional wrestling, was another test for Lex.
    Gee, Lionel truly is a sociopath. Absolutely irredeemable. He will justify and find excuses for anything.

    Conqueror or hero? Who was he? Who was Lex? The entwined drawing of the prophesized enemies made it impossible to determine the true villain.
    This is one of the most infuriating things about Clark. Why does he think he has to live his life according to some prophecy? Maybe it doesn't really matter what those ancient Kawatchi dudes thought of his "fate"? Maybe it is ridiculous to condemn Lex as his future enemy basing it on the scribblings on a cave wall? Maybe the trust in the people he loves is more important than the trust in prophecies? Jonathan and Lex are right - we should make our own fate. Clark, on the other hand, comes across as a superstitious simpleton who cannot be bothered to really give his supposed friend Lex the benefit of the doubt. In fact, it looks like he barely tolerates him, despite his resolve to resume their friendship. But then again, he was exactly like that in canon.
    Last edited by Raelis; 28th May 2010 at 14:43.

  4. #4
    NS Full Member kcsgirl82's Avatar
    Join Date
    30 May 2005

    Re: Episode 6 - "Family" (PG)

    I'm glad Chloe and Jason are going to try to be friends, I always thought he should have hooked up with Chloe after his and Lana's relationship ended. Thanks for the update!!!!!

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