Author's Notes: This is the last chapter. I had fun wiritng it. but it's time to move onto something else. I hope you all liked it as mmuch as I did.

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Part 5

(Smallville, Homecoming Week 2002 Continued)

Lex loved pool. With its mathematic and geometric applications--it was all angles and trajectories in practice--it was a scientist's game. He leaned in to the shot, lining his body up like an extension of the custom-made pool cue in his hand. And scratched when the door behind him opened, startling him. The white ball bounced off the table.

Lex straightened up and turned to see an embarrassed Clark Kent hovering in the doorway. He looked nervous, like a deer caught in the headlights of a car, wanting to spring away to safety but ultimately unable to make its legs move. Lex wondered if it was the opulent mansion and the pretentious servants that set his young savior on edge.

"Clark," he greeted, waving the teen in inside. "Do you play?" He nodded to the pool table, and Clark shook his head.

"Never tried it."

Lex simply nodded and walked over to the coffee table under which the ball had rolled. Dropping onto his hands and knees, he reached for it and mentally made note to tell the housekeeper about the dust bunnies who'd taken up residence there. "You should. It's a great game and, as you can see…" He stood up, holding the ball in his hand. "It's great exercise, too." He was pleased when the farm boy smiled, a goofy grin that erased the uncomfortable nervousness of a few moments ago.

"Yeah, okay…" The boy even laughed, and Lex felt a small sense of accomplishment. "My mom said you wanted to talk to me?"

"I wanted to thank you," Lex corrected, motioning for Clark to sit down. Clark sat in an over-stuffed leather chair. Lex perched on the edge of the pool table, the cue still in his hands.

"It was nothing. You would have done the same for me," Clark said, humble in a way Lex found refreshing. He didn't know people that modest still existed.

But it wasn't nothing. Not to him, anyway. He should have died that day, he was sure of it. If it hadn't been for Clark… "Do you believe a man can fly?" he asked, emotion overcoming his friendly bravado. If Clark hadn't been there, both he and Leslie would be dead.

Clark's confusion read on his face like an open book. "Sure. In a plane."

"No. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about soaring through the clouds, with nothing but air beneath you."

"People can't fly, Lex," Clark stated.

"I did. After the accident, when my heart stopped." He hopped down off the pool table, and walked around to the other side of the room, remembering. "It was the most… exhilarating two minutes of my life. I flew over Smallville, and for the first time, I didn't see a dead end. I saw a new beginning." He looked back at Clark, who was watching him closely. "Thanks to you, I have a second chance."

*~*

Lex left the hospital in mixed spirits. Leslie was better, but just barely. Her injuries were serious, and despite his insisting that Metropolis had better facilities, the doctors refused to risk moving her so soon. Much to his surprise and chagrin, his mother had agreed with them.

Leslie was staying and so were they.

His musings on this turn of events stopped short when he took the turn in the road and his headlights flashed on something strange--the figure of a man coming out the cornfield along side the road. Their eyes locked for a moment, and Lex was struck with instant déjà vu. He knew this man, had seen him before. Images of a figure strung to a cross filled his mind and when they faded, the man was gone.

He stopped the car and got out, grabbing a flashlight. A part of him was certain he imagined whatever he'd seen. It was late, he was stressed and Smallville has always held a myriad of bad memories for Lex.

"Help me… " and that was definitely one of them. Gripping the flashlight tightly, he squelched the instinct to run and plunged into the cornfield after the voice. He'd had nightmares like this in the past, but this time, Lex felt compelled to follow the voice. Maybe it was time to stand up to the memory.

"…help me…"

Lex swiveled the beam of light in the direction of the voice and saw Clark tied to a cross. A crude red "S" was painted on his chest and a strange glowing rock hung around his neck. He looked like he was dying.

"Clark?" The boy's pain-filled eyes rose to meet his and Lex felt his bile rise in his throat. He hurried to untie the ropes. "Who did this to you?"

"Doesn't matter," came a mumbled reply. The ropes loosened enough and Clark fell to the ground at Lex's feet. The strange necklace must have fallen off because when Clark stood up, Lex couldn't see it anymore. It was, however, the furthest thing from his mind.

"Clark, you need to see a doctor." His voice was full of concern for the boy who now struggled to get to his feet.

Clark shook his head. "I'll be okay."

"At least let me give you a ride," Lex started to insist, but when he blinked, the boy was gone. He stood there for a few minutes blinking his eyes in disbelief. He wasn't sure what had just happened. Nothing in this town made any sense.

*~*

"Lex, hey!"

The voice behind him stopped him in his tracks. Turning around, he smiled brightly at Clark. "Clark! I thought you didn't want a doctor?"

Clark fidgeted a little, looking at his feet. "I, uh, wanted to thank you for… last night.. the housekeeper said you were here."

"Yeah. Leslie's going to be here for a while, and so am I." Lex's eyes turned to the door he'd just exited. "She's awake if you'd like to…"

"Oh, no, I probably shouldn't," Clark protested nervously.

"Clark, I've told her all about how you saved our lives. She'd love to meet you, I think." He took the teen by the arm and gently pulled him towards the room.

There was something about Clark. Lex couldn't put his finger on it, but he knew the young man who'd saved his life was special. He would, he thought, do great things someday and if Lex could help it, he wanted to be a part of that. He'd already talked to his mother about scholarships for the high school. He doubted people as proud as the Kents would accept money from him freely--Mr. Kent seemed especially put off by his visit to the farm--but if Lex was right about Clark, he'd more than earn it on his own.

Lex hadn't been lying when he told Clark the accident had changed his outlook. He was ready to settle down and ready to prove that he was more than the party-boy the tabloids painted him as in years past.

Smallville, he thought, watching Leslie take Clark's hand and thank him in a weak voice, was just the place to start.