I'm sorry about the wait, but for those of you who wanted to know more at the end of Memento Mori, hopefully this will explain. I have given all the main characters a fairer share of the action in this one, but in the end I hope to have given you all some action, love, drama, angst, fun, and sadness. Bear with me, because I'm swamped at work right now, but in the end I will finish this, and we will find out what happens to everyone! ;)
The new apartment seemed quiet to Clark, even though he could hear the breathing of a mouse as far away as the next block if he so wished. It wasn't the endless silence that bothered him though; it was the thing that was making him feel eternally guilty that played heavily on his mind. It had been six months now since he had asked Chloe to marry him, and over four months since they had actually tied the knot. Now however, things were turning out far differently than he could have imagined.
For a while life had been good. Chloe had continued at the Planet, and he had never faltered in his quest to bring the evil Lucas Luthor to justice. It was when Chloe had brought up the subject of having children just a few short weeks ago, that things had begun to change.
Sighing, Clark gently turned to look at Chloe as she slept by his side. Her beauty never ceased to amaze him, and as she snuggled deeper into her pillow, he softly brushed a stray wisp of hair from her brow. She had lay by his side all night like this, a tiny grin on her sleeping face, totally oblivious to his constant bursts of insomnia. How can I sleep, when with all my gifts, I can't give her the one thing in the world she wants?
Frustrated, the detective peeled away his side of the quilt, and soundlessly padded into the kitchen. It was much more spacious than his last apartment's, but then Chloe had chosen this one. He smiled at the memory of her raised brow, and serious expression as she told the real estate agent she required room for an oversized refrigerator, because her husband hated the word 'shopping', and so she would need to keep in plenty of stock. The man had nodded wisely, probably because he hated the grocery run too.
Opening the refrigerator door, Clark grabbed an ice-cold coke and gazed upon the hoard of food that had been piled within. When his wife shopped, she held nothing back. So, why can't you find a way to repay her for bringing meaning to your life, and for being there when you need her most? There is one way...
The doleful husband looked as the early morning light cascaded through the room's blinds, a stark reminder of how beautiful, but uncertain life could be. Then he made his way back to the bedroom, an expression of sorrow and disappointment on his face. He could still feel Chloe's warmth as he perched delicately on the edge of the bed, not wanting to wake her, but needing deep within to make the decision that would make her world whole again.
Tentatively he sipped his sparkling beverage, and remembered the previous week how he had visited Klein at Star labs. The good doctor knew his secret, and if anyone could help the couple have kids, then he was the man. Even then Clark had held out little hope, but for Chloe he had asked anyway. He could still see the look of sadness as Klein had told him the news deep down he had already guessed.
"I'm sorry Clark, but your D.N.A. is simply not compatible. You have extra chromosomes that help provide your abilities, and alas prevent you from having a child. At least with a human wife..."
The despair in the scientist's voice had been obvious, and then Lex had appeared out of the blue to compound matters. He had made some excuse about just needing to pick up some paperwork, but Clark knew his old-time friend had been curious as to why he had gone anywhere near a lab facility without being hurt, or under duress. In the end Clark had needed to tell someone, and Lex had been a sympathetic ear, just like their days back in Smallville. He had poured out his soul to the millionaire, and if nothing else it had given him some kind of solace.
"Maybe Klein can't help, but that doesn't mean you just give in Clark! I can pay for the best geneticists. I'm sure there's something that can be done...you don't even need to meet them. I can arrange any tests and so on to be conducted through Klein..."
It had been a tempting offer, and one he had since thought of constantly, but the risks to his secret were infinitesimal. It would only take one curious scientist to cause trouble, and even if Lex knew people who could be discreet, how would he explain Clark's D.N.A. in the first place? Not to mention the fact that it would mean I.V.F, and after his last big case he really wasn't fond of that idea. There were too many variables, too many ifs and buts, and yet here he was considering it yet again anyway.
"Clark? What are you doing sitting there?" Chloe rubbed her eyes, and then checked the bedside clock to convince herself it wasn't time to rise. "You might not need sleep, but I sure do..."
Clark smiled, and moving closer wrapped an arm around his still drowsy wife. She looked back up dreamily into his eyes, and then huddled nearer to his stocky frame, somehow expecting he had something to tell her. "You know how I went to see Klein?" He offered up the sentence carefully, not wanting to give false hope at the onset of such a risky endeavor, "when I told you he said he couldn't help?"
Chloe nodded, an unexpected radiance he hadn't seen for a while suddenly reappearing in her eyes. "You said maybe we could adopt later though...have you been checking into it without telling me?" She was sitting up now, the alert reporter, wanting to know more.
Slowly Clark shook his head and took her tiny hand in his, squeezing it reassuringly. "No, but Lex has offered something else..." Meticulously he spilled out every detail of what they would need to do, and just how hazardous it would be if anything ever led back to him.
Chloe listened intently; knowing how hard it must have been for him to even think about letting anyone put his cells under a microscope again. When he at last finished his narrative, she sat silently for a moment absorbing what it all meant, then wrapped her arms around his neck like a love struck koala. "I wanted children Clark, but I won't risk losing you for them. We can still adopt..."
A slight smile appeared, but not the usual ear-to-ear Kent grin. For once he had decided he was going to be the stubborn one, and to prove it he super-sped to the nearby phone, and had dialed before Chloe even perceived any movement.
"Lex? Can I still take you up on that offer of help?" It was still early, but he knew Luthor would be up plotting some business scheme. He always was, legal or not.
Chloe wanted to punch him for being so pig headed, but instead once he hung up the receiver, she slammed her favorite pillow straight at his head. "Don't you ever do as I ask Clark Kent?" She emphasized his last name in mock anger, and then whacked him with the pillow again.
He feigned pain and flinched back, bouncing down on the bed as if in retreat. "Hey! Who says I did this for you? I wanted kids too..."
Chloe giggled and pounced on him like a tiger, pinning him down. "You know what?" She sat peering into his fun filled eyes, waiting for a response.
"I love you..." This time their lips met, and nothing in the world could have stopped them.
Outside the city began to awaken, horns began to blurt, and sirens began to wail. On the street corner a kid began touting the day's edition of The Planet in his every day routine, as early risers started to scurry by him in earnest. Right now though, Clark's finely honed ears detected only the beating of their two hearts, as interminable silence gave way to undying love...
Smallville Bank 10.45pm.
Two Days Later.
The agile figure swung across the wire cable with ease, every practiced movement bringing them closer to their goal. Hand over hand they used their small, but powerful muscles to drag themselves to an area not protected by the security system. With a tiny thud, their dark padded boots hit the bank's rooftop, and they rolled over like some ninja from the dark ages into the gloom.
If a late passerby had looked up fleetingly, they would have thought the silhouette a trick of the light, so rapidly did it move in and out of the shadows. The intruder's actions were almost cat like, slinking from their landing point to an access door that was poorly protected, without even standing upright.
A gloved hand reached to a concealed pocket in the jet-black suit, and swiftly retrieved a tiny tool that would facilitate entry through the lock within seconds. With a pop the lock gave way to technology, and the interloper moved on, keeping their sense of gravity low ready for any unexpected fight. They didn't expect any resistance, but a warrior would never let down their guard nonetheless.
On the stairwell to the vaults below, security systems began to play a larger role in the buildings protection, and the figure paused. It would be a simple task to knock out the antiquated alarm and cameras, but this job required more than that. Luthor had specified quite clearly that no one was to know the bank had been compromised; at least not right away. This part of the mission made things more complex, but certainly not impossible.
Flicking open a second Velcro pocket, the thief glanced around warily, then delicately tugged out a palm sized electronic device, which they rapidly attached to a control panel on the main entry door before them. An LCD display promptly gave out the correct access code, and smiling beneath their mask, the intruder keyed it in. A beep and a hiss as the system went into idle mode, signaled the bank was now well and truly ready for the taking. Only one thing had to be dealt with now, before the assignment could be completed, and he was most probably asleep in his chair...
Alf Wilmore flinched as a stray sound caught his aging ears, and he shuddered. He was too old for any of this, and had he sufficient funds he would have been lapping it up somewhere in the sun now. Instead thanks to the Luthor's, he was forced to work nights in Smallville's bank, just to make ends meet.
As the tapping noise erupted again, he drew his gun and launched himself from the corner seat, where usually he took his nightly nap. The lobby area was quiet, each desk neatly laid out for the next day.
Alf gulped as he swung his torch around the empty chairs and counters. "Anybody there?" It was a stupid question, and one he knew no burglar was likely to answer, but somehow it made him feel better deep in the pit of his stomach.
"That would depend on whom you were seeking..." The darkly clad form appeared as if by magic from the darkness. Each step so delicate Alf was reminded for one brief moment of a ballerina he had once seen perform in Metropolis.
"I...I..." The weapon began to shake in the elderly guard's hand. If he had expected this he would never have taken the darn job, but since the Luthor robbery, or whoever it had been, the bank had been pretty quiet. "Just take what you want..." He finally stammered, letting his back bump into the wall as he subconsciously retreated.
The figure moved with him, their whispery voice mocking his cowardice. "Oh, I intend to, just as soon as I've dealt with you..." Their left hand suddenly opened to reveal something akin to pepper spray, which was summarily squeezed in the quaking man's nostrils.
He coughed as he involuntarily inhaled the substance, then a twisting pain in his chest told him this was more than mace. More agony began to run down his arm like fiery spikes, and he knew then with an almost calm surety that he was having a heart attack. Clasping his chest, he collapsed to the tiled floor, his lips turning blue as less and less oxygen reached his bloodstream.
The intruder watched for a short time, and then strode over his still writhing body towards the vaults. The old man would be found in the morning, after an apparent cardiac arrest, and at his age it wouldn't be considered unnatural. If anyone ever did suspect more, it would be far too late to matter.
With the security system still offline, the thief took only ten more minutes to open the main chamber. Inside lay a multitude of cash, jewelry, and much more, but it was not what they were here for tonight. Running their glove along each deposit box end till they reached the correct number, the masked raider yanked out the metal container with one tug. It felt so light, so innocent, but for Luthor to want what was within, it had to be so much more. Needing to know just what could be worth their high fee, the minion opened the box labeled as the Kents like a mad person. Inside lay one solitary item, an item that had already cost one man his life, and soon would perhaps cost so much more.
"What are you...?" They ran a gloved finger over the metallic object questioningly, letting their hand pause at the indentations that appeared so unfathomable.
It shimmered in the dim light as if answering, its odd shape, and strange markings adding to the intrigue. How did a Kansas farmer come across something that looks like it belongs in a museum, or better still a science lab? And just what the hell did old Lionel see so valuable in it, that ten years after his death Lucas has paid me to acquire it by whatever means necessary?
The solution to the conundrum didn't come readily to mind, but as the ex C.I. A. operative retraced their steps, they vowed to find out, because in fifteen years with 'the company,' they had never seen anything look so alien...