Unknown Location- 3 a.m.
"It has been a long time Natasha." The man said as he slid into the booth opposite her. The former KGB operative didn't respond, choosing instead to take a sip of her vodka before speaking.
"The favor you owe me. I'm calling it in." She said, pulling a folder from underneath the table and sliding it across to her companion.
The man opened the folder, seeing Clark's picture staring back at him. He laughed softly, favoring Natasha with a grin.
"You help children now? I thought the great Black Widow served no one but herself. Or were the rumor's of you working for those dog's in SHIELD true after all?"
Natasha's face darkened, and when she spoke it was in a low, measured tone.
"I serve my own interest's. Which are none of your concern. All that matter's is what I need done."
He smiled, accepting the fact that the subject was now closed. He flipped through the folder, nodding here and there, letting out a laugh as he came to the final page.
"Jason Bourne? You want me to forge identification for a Jason Bourne?" He asked, and she shook her head.
"No. I want you to create a trail. A trail that links Jason Bourne to this man."
She slid another folder across the table, her contact's eyes widening as he beheld the name.
"Why would you want me to link someone named Jason Bourne to- No. NO! I will not do this! You are mad! If he suspects-"
"If you do it right, then he will never suspect you. Besides, he'll be too preoccupied trying to find Jason, and making more kills to keep up his reputation." She replied easily, but the man shook his head.
"No. We may work in shadow, but there has always been honor. Allowing another to take credit for-"
"You owe me. If it wasn't for me you would be lying dead in a Russian Gulag. Or an Iranian prison. A German-"
The man held up his hand, nodding once.
"Very well. You have made your point. But if I do this...If I put this Bourne in play, if I allow him to take credit for another's kills then any debt I owe you has been repaid."
"As long at it is done to your usual standards. And I need one more thing." She said, handing him a final folder. The man opened it, holding it away from him as though it contained a bomb. Not that Natasha could blame him. What Natasha was asking was tantamount to signing his own death warrant. But she knew he would do as she asked. Partly because he owed her. But his larger motive would be much more selfish. He valued his life. And he knew that the only thing spies and professional killers truly hated were those that couldn't keep their mouths shut.
He opened the last file, nodding after a moment.
"I will have this done within two weeks. As for Jason Bourne...I hope you are prepared for the war that is coming."
Natasha nodded, shaking his hand before departing, the man following suit a moment later.
Smallville- 8 a.m.
"How's Whitney doing?" Clark asked as he, Lana and Skye rode their horses through the woods outside of town.
"His dad's still in the hospital, and I can tell it's eating away at him. His mom never leaves, so he's stuck managing the store on his own. I think he wants his dad to sell the place so he dosen't have to deal with it for the rest of his life." She said, and Clark nodded.
"Running a family business isn't easy. I can't say I want to spend the rest of my life on a farm."
"So what do you want to do?"
Clark sighed. If he was honest with himself, he could think of a few things. But that wasn't a conversation he wanted to have with Lana. He wanted to talk to Natasha first. Because he knew that no matter what he did, he wanted her to be part of his life. So he just smiled and shook his head.
"I don't know. I just know that I don't want it to involve putting on a suit and flying around all the time."
Lana laughed, stopping as the two heard Skye mutter a curse as she almost got hit by a tree branch.
"Somebody remind me why I decided to tag along on this little excursion?"
"Because Chloe's busy looking into the death of that EPA representative." Clark supplied with a grin and Skye chuckled.
"That's right. She also seems to think these woods are the Bermuda Triangle of Smallville." She said with a roll of her eyes.
Skye had seen some weird stuff when she was with SHIELD, but she thought that Chloe sometimes saw connections where none existed. Like her idea that Bob Rickman, some scumbag CEO according to Chloe, was responsible for the suicide of a Kansas EPA representative in Metropolis.
Skye was so lost in thought that she actually did hit a tree branch a minute later, the camera flying from her hand.
"Crap." She muttered. That was Chloe's new camera. If it was ruined, Skye was so dead.
"I'll get it." Lana said, turning her horse around and heading just down the trail to where the camera had dropped.
"So she can join SHIELD, but she can't ride a horse to save her life." Clark said quietly, and Skye punched him in the arm.
Clark just grinned in response.
"Lana!" Clark said as he heard her scream. In an instant he had jumped from his horse and raced away from where Skye was, leaving nothing but dust and a shocked Skye in his wake.
Clark arrived just in time to see Lana on the ground, being shaken by someone.
"Hey. What are you doing?" Clark called, the other man running away at his words. Disregarding the man for the moment, Clark ran over just as Lana came to.
"Hey. Are you okay?" He asked, helping her stand up.
"Yeah. I'm fine. Who was that guy?" She asked, and Clark shook his head.
"I don't know. But I think I know a way to find out." He said, spying the camera a few feet from where they stood. The red light indicated that it was still recording.
Kent Farm- 4 p.m.
"That looks like Kyle Tippet." Jonathan said as he, Martha and Clark watched the tape of the man shaking Lana.
"The guy who sells those old statues in town?" Clark asked, and Jonathan nodded.
"Well I think Nell is going to have a field day with that one. She just called. She wants you to go tell the Sheriff that you saw Kyle spook Lana's horse and attack her." Martha said as she walked into the room.
"But that's not what I saw. It looked like Kyle was just trying to make sure she's okay."
"Well I have a feeling she's not going to let this go easily." Martha replied, and Clark sighed, standing up and grabbing his coat.
"I'm going to go talk to Kyle, see what he has to say."
"Clark are you sure-"
"Dad, it's not like he can hurt me. Besides, I know what it's like to be cut off from the rest of the world." He replied, and Jonathan nodded.
"Okay. You know where he lives?"
"I'll just follow the trail of old statues." He replied before walking out the door. He would go talk to Kyle. But he needed to make a stop first.
Natasha's Apartment- 4:15 p.m.
"What's going on?" Natasha asked as she walked into the room.
Skye jumped at the sound of the other woman's voice, fighting to keep her expression blank as she met Natasha's gaze.
"Not much. How was your trip?"
"Productive. Now what's going on?"
"Skye." Natasha said quietly, walking over to her.
"When I went riding with Lana and Chloe this morning my camera fell. Lana went to get it and then she screamed. And Clark-"
"Raced after her?" Natasha asked, and Skye nodded.
"You don't seem surprised. Or worried that I know his secret." She said, and Natasha smiled. Skye only knew part of Clark's secret.
"Well for one, I already knew. And two, if I thought you were going to tell the whole world, I would have already killed you."
"Good to know." Skye replied, just as Clark walked through the door.
"Are you okay?" He asked as he walked over to her.
"I'm fine." She replied, kissing him softly.
"Everything's going according to plan?" He asked, and she nodded.
"Somebody wanna fill me in?"
"Nothing important." Natasha said, and Skye nodded.
"Okay then. I'm just going to head out and grab a cup of coffee. Anybody want anything?"
"No thanks." Clark said, and Natasha shook her head.
Skye walked out, leaving the two alone.
"Anything interesting happen while I was gone?" Natasha asked, and Clark told her what had happened that morning.
"Let's go." She said and Clark nodded, not moving.
"Was there something else?" Natasha asked.
"Lana knows about us."
"For a spy and an alien, we aren't very good at keeping our relationship secret are we?" She asked, and he chuckled.
"I guess not. But Lana agreed to keep it quiet, and she's going to help me play up my 'attraction' to her." He said, and she nodded.
"Good. Now let's go talk to Kyle."
"You know that this is private property." Kyle said as he walked out of his trailer.
"We know. I'm-"
"Clark Kent. Jonathan and Maratha's son."
"You're well informed for a guy who lives in the woods." Natasha said, and the man grinned.
"I live in the woods, not a cave. Or haven't you two heard of crazy Kyle? Apparently I'm a cross between Bigfoot and the Wicked Witch of the West."
"Look, we're not here to harass you. We just want to know what happened between you and Lana."
"The girl from this morning. The horse got spooked, and I saw it happen. I just checked to make sure she was okay. That's it." He said, and Natasha nodded.
"Okay. Thank you for your time Kyle."
He nodded, and the two left, both thinking the same thing. Kyle Tippet may be a loner, but he wasn't lying.
The Beanery- 7 p.m.
Clark walked into the coffee shop, seeing Lana at a table.
"Lana. Are you okay?" He asked, and she nodded, taking a sip of her coffee.
"I'm okay. My Aunt told me that you went and talked to the police?"
"No. I actually went to talk to Kyle."
"You went to talk to that lunatic?" Whitney asked, having come over just in time to hear what Clark had said.
"Yeah, I did. He told me he didn't do anything except try and make sure you were okay." Clark said to Lana, acting as though the Quarterback wasn't even there.
"Sure. Well if I had been there I would have done something." Whitney interjected, and Clark just sighed before standing up.
"I'm glad you're okay Lana." He said, and she smiled.
Clark got up and walked out of the coffee shop, seeing Kyle Tippet walking out of Bob Rickman's campaign office.
"Kyle! Everything alright?" He asked, and Kyle nodded.
"Just fine." He replied, but Clark wasn't convinced.
"What were you doing in Bob Rickman's campaign office?"
"Let's just say we don't see eye to eye." He replied, and Clark nodded.
"I'm surprised that you even know about Rickman." He said, and Kyle rolled his eyes.
"I live in a trailer in the woods, not under a rock. I had to come get some groceries."
"Let me give you a ride."
"Why are you being so nice to me?" He asked, and Clark grinned.
"I figure you're not a bad guy. You just don't like people."
"I appreciate it. Where's the truck?"
Clark led Kyle over to the truck, not seeing Whitney talking to Bob Rickman.
Kyle's Trailer- 7:30 p.m.
"Thanks for the lift Clark. And tell your friend I'm sorry for scaring her."
"I'll do that. See you around?" He asked, making them both laugh.
A few minutes later Clark left, barely taking note of the truck going the opposite direction. However, a minute later he stopped as he realized that he knew the owner of that other vehicle. That was Whitney's truck, and given that it was after dark, Clark kind of doubted the other teen was just out for a drive. He stopped the car and got out, racing back to Kyle's just in time to see Kyle dodge a pipe that Whitney swung at him. Clark ran over and caught Kyle's next punch, knocking him to the ground even as he headbutted Whitney, causing the other boy to drop the pipe.
"Kent? Where am I? What's going on?"
"You mean you don't remember?" Clark asked, and Whitney shook his head.
"No. Last thing I remember is talking to that Rickman guy."
Rickman's Campaign Office- Same Time
"Lex. This is a surprise." Bob Rickman said as Lex walked into his office. The billionaire just favored the other man with a glare before he spoke.
"I hear you're trying to expand your toxic waste dump into my town."
"What's the matter Lex? Scared of a little competition?"
"Hardly. Smallville is my home now."
Rickman chuckled at his words.
"That's right. Lionel mentioned he had exiled you when we had dinner last week."
"How did that happen? Did someone more important cancel on him?" Lex shot back, and Rickman laughed.
"Careful Lex. You'll never go back to Metropolis if you can't keep your emotions in check. Come look at where I'm going to build my factory." Rickman said, unrolling a map.
"The Kent farm? You'll never get it. Jonathan Kent would die before he would sell that farm."
"We'll see." Rickman replied, and Lex just smiled.
"The Kent's are my friend's. Stay away from them." He said, walking out before Rickman could respond.
Kent Farm- 9:00 p.m.
"So Kyle gets booked for aggravated assault, Whitney gets a warning and I am stuck here for the night." Clark said as he finished telling Lex what had happened.
"You know, most guys would just call their girlfriend."
"Most guys don't have parents who would like nothing better than to see their son's girlfriend run out of town. Besides, they don't know that Natasha and I are dating."
"Probably smart. I can't see Jonathan Kent being okay with his son dating a teacher. No matter how attractive she may be."
"Relax Clark. I'm not going to try anything. Besides, something tells me I'd get shot down. No pun intended."
Clark just laughed, not doubting for a second that Natasha would shoot Lex if she believed it necessary.
"Anyway, I did come by for a reason. What do you know about Bob Rickman?"
"The guy that just moved into town? Not much, except for the fact that he wants to build some kind of chemical plant. Oh, and Chloe thinks he's involved with some suicide that happened in Metropolis."
"You don't buy it?"
"I think Chloe sometimes sees things that aren't there. Anyway, why did you want to talk about Rickman?" He asked, and Lex glared.
"I stopped by his campaign office today. He wants to buy your farm and use it as the site of his new plant." Lex said, and Clark laughed.
"C'mon Lex. You and I both know that there is no way my dad would ever sell. I mean if he's not going to take your help, then there's no way he'll sell to Rickman."
Lex just nodded before heading out of the barn. He hoped his friend was right.
Natasha and Skye's Apartment- 12:30 a.m.
"You know, most guys come to see their girlfriend at a normal hour." Skye said as she opened the door.
"I'm not a normal guy. In fact, none of the three of us are exactly normal are we?" He asked, walking inside.
"Oh by all means, please come right in." Skye said sarcastically.
"Thanks. Hi beautiful." He said, walking over and kissing Natasha.
"Hi yourself handsome. Now, not that I mind our late night chats, but I get the feeling this is more than wanting to get over a nightmare."
Despite himself, Clark couldn't help but smile as he remembered what happened when Natasha helped him get over his nightmares. The conversation was helpful, there was no doubt about it, but being able to wake up with her in his arms...well if that wasn't the best feeling in the world, Clark didn't know what was. Natasha smiled in return, knowing what was going through his mind, and also knowing that his presence kept her own demons at bay.
Unfortunately Skye was unaware of what they were thinking, and flushed bright red as she thought about how Natasha must help Clark get over a nightmare.
"So you two..."
"No. No." Clark said, and Natasha raised an eyebrow.
"So the idea of sex with me-"
"Is absolutely fabulous, but nothing either of us are ready for." He said, and Natasha laughed.
"I know. I'm just teasing you."
"Wait, so when Gonzalez told your folks that you were sleeping with Natasha..." Skye said, and Clark laughed.
"I was. Just sleeping."
"As fun as it is to correct Skye's misconception's of our relationship, I'm assuming that's not the reason you came by?" Natasha asked, and Clark shook his head.
"Not exactly. Has Bob Rickman ever popped up on your radar?"
"No. Should he have?"
"Probably not. But after we talked to Rickman, I talked to Whitney and Lana at the Beanery. Told them that I went and talked to Kyle."
"Bet Fordman loved that." Skye muttered.
"Not really. But that's beside the point. When I left the Beanery, I ran into Kyle, gave him a ride back to his trailer. I was heading back towards town when Whitney passed me. So I got out, and when I got back to Kyle's, Whitney was trying to brain him with a pipe. It took them both down. But the strange thing is, I don't think Whitney was in his right mind. He had no idea where he was, and the last thing he remembers was talking to Bob Rickman."
"Let me guess...He only stopped attacking Kyle once you took him down?" Natasha asked.
"Yeah. How'd you guess?"
"Because when Loki invaded New York, he took control of Clint's mind. The only thing that snapped him out of it was when I knocked him out."
"Do you think he might have a way to make sure Rickman can't do this to anyone else?" Skye asked, and Natasha nodded.
"He told me he was working on something before HYDRA almost took out SHIELD."
"How soon could he have it ready?" Clark asked, and Natasha raised an eyebrow.
"Depends on how far he's gotten. Why? Did Rickman threaten you?" She asked, and he shook his head.
"No. I've never met the guy. But he wants to build a chemical plant in Smallville. And he wants my farm to be ground zero."
"Your father would invite me to move in before he sold your farm."
"Ignoring how nice that idea sounds, you're right. And I don't want Bob Rickman to get the chance to use his abilities on my father."
Natasha nodded, pulling out her phone.
"Clint, we need to see you. Now."
"Is he close?" Skye asked, and Clark chuckled.
"Yeah, Clark Kent. Have you met me? Anywhere's close."
"You're cocky." Natasha said with a grin.
"You say that like it's a bad thing." He replied with a smirk before kissing her.
"Did I say that?" She asked when she broke the kiss.
"Can we please get to the part where we stop the suspected bad guy from getting his hands on your farm?" Skye interjected.
"Yeah. We'll be back in a few." Clark said before picking up Natasha and running out of the house.
Barton Farm- 12:45 a.m.
"You can put her down now." Clint said from where he stood on the porch, coffee cup in hand.
"I'm glad that you can recognize my ability to do something so simple." Clark replied, and Natasha laughed with Clint joining in a moment later.
"Now what's going on? You just committed coitus interupptes, and Laura was wearing this great-"
"We didn't come to hear about your sex life Barton." Natasha interrupted.
"What's going on?" He asked again, all playfulness gone from his tone.
"There's a guy in town that wants to build his chemical plant on our farm. Now, my dad would never sell, but I think this guy has a way to make him."
"Blackmail?" Clint asked, and Natasha shook her head.
"More like mind control." She replied, and Clint's eyes darkened at the thought of what Loki had done to him.
"Natasha said you were working on something. Something that could stop what happened to you."
"Well, it's more Stark's design then mine, but I've got something." He said, and Clark nodded.
"Good. Saves us from having to go talk to Tony Stark."
"What's wrong with Tony?"
"You mean besides being an egotistical jerk?" Natasha asked.
"Yes. Besides that." Clint deadpanned.
"I don't like his attitude towards women." Clark said, and Clint grinned.
"You told him about Natalie Rushman didn't you?"
"Yes I did."
"Did she show you the photos?" He asked.
"I offered. He declined. Some people understand how to be a gentleman." She replied, and Clint gave his sister a mock-glare.
"I can be a gentleman. How do you think I got Laura to marry me?"
"She was drunk?" Clark offered, and Natasha laughed while Clint just glared.
"Real funny kid. Now come on before I change my mind about helping you."
Clark just grinned, taking Natasha's hand before following the archer to his barn. As they walked, Clark couldn't help but think that this was what he wanted. To be free to hold Natasha's hand without caring if other people saw. To be able to kiss her and not worry about what his parents might say. And the young man promised that one day he would be able to.
"So, this is it." Clint said, walking to the far corner of the barn and pulling out a few arrows.
"I'm not much of an archer." Clark said.
"How are you with a gun?"
"He's a specialist." Natasha replied, and Clint just looked at her.
"You're not serious."
Twelve seconds later he found himself flat on his back with Clark's boot on his throat.
"Like I said, he's a specialist." Natasha said even as Clark stepped back and helped Clint to his feet.
"I'm impressed. Care for a rematch?"
"Not tonight. Now what good is an arrow if I can't fire it?"
"It's not the arrow. It's what's inside." Clint said, pulling off the arrowhead. Inside was a small chip.
"This delivers an electronic charge. Supposedly it hurts like the Dickens and knocks the person hit with it right on their rear."
"But it's never been tested." Clark surmised, and Clint shrugged.
"There's a reason it's called a field test."
"How do I put it inside of a bullet?"
"You don't." Clint said, reaching over and grabbing a box of ammo.
"I made these for you, just in case." He told Natasha, who nodded. She hated the idea of having to shoot Clint, but if she had to, she could.
"Thank you. I owe you one." Clark said, and Clint shook his head.
"My sister is happier than I've ever seen her. You never owe me a thing." He replied, shaking Clark's hand. Not a word was said about the fact that they had shown up mere moments after he and Natasha had hung up. And as far as Clint Barton was concerned, that was the way it would stay.
Natasha and Skye's Apartment- 1:10 a.m.
"Did you get it?" Skye asked after Clark had set Natasha down.
"Yeah. We got it." Natasha said, holding up the case of ammo.
"Good. Now I am going to get some sleep." Skye said before heading off to her room.
"I should let you get some rest too." Clark said, and Natasha smiled.
"I sleep better when you're with me."
Not five minutes later, the two were asleep in Natasha's room.
Bob Rickman's Campaign Office- The Next Evening
Natasha walked quietly into the office, seeing that Rickman hadn't even noticed she'd entered. Good. That would make things easier. She pushed all thoughts of Clark from her mind, choosing instead to double-check that the silencer was attached to her gun. It wouldn't do for her to think about how nice it felt to wake up in his arms, or how he had wanted to be the one to shoot Rickman. However, she had pointed out that someone needed to stay at the farm in case Rickman showed up, and seeing as Jonathan Kent basically hated her guts, there was only one choice.
She walked up quietly behind the man, placing her gun in the small of his back. He flinched, and she smacked him upside the head.
"Don't turn around. Just shut up and listen. Stay away from Jonathan Kent. Otherwise, I'll come back. And you will die."
She shot him in the foot, smiling as he seized up and then fell unconscious. The message had been delivered. It was up to Rickman to decide what happened next.
Luthor Mansion- 9 p.m.
"Bob. I wasn't aware we had a meeting." Lex said as Rickman walked into the room.
"We don't. I just wanted you to give your friend Clark a message for me."
"You could always give it to him yourself." Lex replied, and Rickman smirked.
"I could. But I received a message of my own last night." He said, indicating his bandaged foot.
"Someone shot you? Shame they didn't shoot you in the head." Lex said, and Rickman just glared.
"The point is that whoever it was that held me at gunpoint made it perfectly clear what would happen if I went after the Kent farm. So just tell Clark that I'm moving on."
"I never thought I'd see the day Bob Rickman admitted defeat."
"Well it's here. I'll be gone tomorrow." He said, walking over and extending his hand.
Lex just looked at it, as though worried he would catch some sort of incurable disease.
"Come on Lex. It's just a handshake."
Lex shook his hand, not seeing the grin on Rickman's face. His powers had been on the fritz ever since that mystery woman showed up and shot him, but now it looked like he was back in business.
"Lex, I want you to find Clark Kent and kill him. And then I want you to tell Jonathan that this is what happens when someone defies me. Then kill him, and last but certainly not least...kill yourself."
Kent Farm- 10 p.m.
"Lex." Jonathan said when Lex knocked on the door.
"Mr. Kent. Is Clark home?" He asked, just as Clark came down the stairs.
"Lex. What's going on?"
"Not much." He replied before pulling out a gun.
Jonathan's words were cut off as Lex moved the weapon towards Clark and pulled the trigger. The young man watched as the bullet moved toward him, catching it in his left hand and throwing it into Lex's head. The billionaire fell to the ground, unconscious.
"Clark, what the devil-"
"I'll explain in a minute." He said, pulling out his phone.
"He didn't get the message."
Two Days Later- Natasha's Apartment
"So Rickman's in jail, and Kyle is meeting with Colson. Sounds like a win all around." Clark said, and Natasha nodded absentmindedly.
"I guess. How did your parents take the news?"
"Well after yelling at me for like ten minutes, and telling me never to keep things from them again they told me to tell you thanks."
"Really?" She asked, and he nodded.
Natasha grinned. It might not be much, but she would take it. Clark was right. It was most definitely a win all around.
"We have a problem."
The man looked up at his associate, simply waiting for him to speak.
"Someone has been taking credit for your work."
"Who?" The assassin asked coldly.
"All I have is a name. Jason Bourne."
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! Please read and review, and the next chapter will be up soon!