disclaimers in teaser.

I've given up ever getting the formatting to work properly.

"Dust"

Act III

**

BRUCE helps CLARK to his feet and tries to pull him away from the pile of Kryptonite, and to the door of the Talon. He doesn't know what it's doing, but he knows it's bad.

The Talon is dark, and no one appears to be home, so BRUCE breaks the plate glass door with his foot, unlocks the door and opens the doorframe to drag CLARK through, who is now unconscious. A second later the alarm starts. He throws open the door to the janitor's closet, tosses CLARK in the sink on the floor, and begins turning on the water, both valves, full blast. he takes the cut off piece of hose attached to the faucet and begins rinsing the remaining glowing pieces off of CLARK. He gets CLARK'S shirt off, and his shoes, and tosses them into the dining room of the Talon. 

                                                                        BRUCE

                                    Just haveta get your nose in where it doesn't belong.

After a few seconds, BRUCE doesn't see any more glowing flecks. He shuts the water off, leaves an unconscious CLARK inside the closet, and exits, stepping through a lot of puddles from splashed water along the way.

He goes out to the street and picks up the card. It reads:

"Lowell Hardware and Electrical Repair/ 1750 Rt. 90"

It also contains a phone number, which BRUCE dials on his cell phone as he gets into the car, which is disconnected.

CUT TO: Inside the barn. CHLOE is tied up. LARRY and his BOSS aren't paying any attention to her. She's working her cell phone out of her pocket.

                                                            LARRY

He is obviously anxious after his last encounter.

                                    Why're we messing with this guy anyways?

                                                            BOSS

Do you think he's going to just go away? No. He's  rich brat looking for thrills, and I wanna cash in on that. If we do this on MY terms, we get stuff we want and need. We wait for him to catch up to us, we end up licking his shoes. Which side of THAT do you want to be on?

                                                            LARRY

                                    What if we called it wrong?

                                                            BOSS

The first sight of cop lights, get rid of her. The truck's out back. We lose a couple days' worth of stuff, but we're free and clear.

                                                            LARRY

He won't do it. He doesn't want to have to explain to the police how Ten ended up in a coma.

Notices CHLOE struggling.

                                    Which is what's going to happen to you, if you don't stop SQUIRMING!

He smacks her.

CUT TO: CLARK wakes up wet and alone to the sound of the alarm going off.

CUT TO: Interior; LEX'S ballroom. Several students are setting up. It's tactful, no streamers, etc. LEX enters talking on his cell phone, he heads straight for LANA.

                                                            LEX

Shutting off the cell phone.

                                    Lana.

LANA stops what she's doing and walks over.

                                    That was the security company… There's been a break-in at the Talon.

                                                            LANA
Concerned:

Clark was supposed to meet Chloe there… she didn't know about the venue change, and we couldn't get her on her cell.

                        LEX

Come on.

LEX picks up her coat and hands it to her.

CUT TO: Interior of barn. CHLOE is now being watched by BILL. She's fidgeting again.

                                                            BILL

                                    Do you see that window?

CHLOE looks behind her at the open window that comes all the way to the floor.

                                    If ya don't wanna see it while you're going THROUGH it, I'd stop.

                                                            CHLOE

Well… you're cutting off the circulation to my arms. AND my legs… AND it's hard to breathe…

                        BILL

You probably gotta take a leak, too.

                        CHLOE

I wouldn't know. My torso's gone numb. I don't know what you have going with Bruce, and the chloroforming and abducting thing aside, I have nothing against you… so could you like loosen up the rope?

BILL realizes he's not going to hear the end of her whining until he does something. He adjusts the rope.

                                                            BILL

                                    Better?

                                                            CHLOE

Notices she can reach her pocket.

                                    MUCH.

She pauses.

                                    Can I like… get a glass of water?

                                                            BILL

                                    I liked you better when you were unconscious.

CHLOE bats her eyes innocently until he leaves. As soon as he has his back turned, she gets out her cell phone. Her movement is still restricted, and all she can do is press 1 and send.

CUT TO: BRUCE pulls up outside an old barn with a single light illuminating the words "Lowell Hardwa--" in faded paint above the barn door.

                                                            BRUCE

                                    Great, another abandoned warehouse.

CUT TO: Kent farm. CLARK speeds into the house, then stops going at super speed when he notices everything in the house shaking because of air movement. His mother is concerned when she sees him in just his boxers, soaking wet.

                                                            CLARK

These drug dealers have Chloe... and that Bruce guy's involved with them. Lex was right, the guy's… 

                        MARTHA

Slow down, just a second. Where are your CLOTHES?

                        CLARK

I gotta go. But I don't know where they are…

                        MARTHA

Your father said there was a break-in at the Talon?

                        CLARK

That was me—us. I don't remember what happened. I was covered in Kryptonite dust, and then the next thing I know, I'm in the Janitor's closet.

The telephone rings. CLARK doesn't seem to notice it.

                        MARTHA

                                    How do you think you got there?

The telephone rings again.

                                                            CLARK

Doesn't have an answer.

                                    I… I gotta get some clothes and get out of here.

The answering machine picks up.

                                                            VO: JONATHAN

                                    This is the Kents…

CLARK speeds upstairs for clothes, but comes back down, dressed, when he hears CHLOE'S  voice.

                                                            VO: CHLOE

So, uh… how long have you guys been holed up in there… um… abandoned barn, repair shop, thingy?

                                                            MOM

                                    Lowell Hardware? That place has been closed for years—

                                                            VO: BILL

                                    What're you doing with that pho—


There's the sound of the phone breaking and going dead.

CUT TO: The Talon. LANA and LEX are looking at the damage. The police are there, red and blue lights are still flashing. 

                                                            SHERRIF

Mr. Luthor. I'm surprised to see you here. I heard there was a black sports car doing 80 on Old Smallville road, out of town.

                                                            LANA

                                    It doesn't LOOK like anything's missing.

                                                            LEX

                                    But it looks like they LEFT something.

SHERRIF walks over to the clothes.

                        LEX

Whispers to LANA

You're the business manager. You should be able to handle this. I'm going out there.

CUT TO: BRUCE snooping inside the barn. There's old abandoned equipment up front, but in the back there are a few work tables with lights, and the tables are piled high with baggies filled with a white powder with sparkling green flecks in it. There are two people at the table filling the bag whom he is about to sneak up on, then he hears the sounds of struggle.

He dashes up a makeshift set of narrow steps leading up to the loft when he hears CHLOE scream.

When he gets up there, BILL is dragging CHLOE towards the window and LARRY is kicking what's left of the cell phone out of the way.

CHLOE tries to dig her heels into the floor boards as BRUCE dispatches LARRY

CUT TO: CLARK coming out of super-speed right outside the barn, seeing the struggle through the window upstairs. He throws open the barn door, but is stopped in his tracks by the glow of Kryptonite. The two men putting the stuff into bags notice him and come after him with guns. He takes a few steps outside of the barn and the effects dissipate.

CUT TO: Loft. BOSS pulls a gun on BRUCE. BRUCE knocks it away with a broom that breaks instantly, and it fires wildly into the ceiling. CHLOE is still struggling with BILL and bites him.

                                                            BILL

                                    AAGH! You Bi—

CUT TO: Outside the barn. CLARK winces when he hears the gun fire, but he can't get close to his two assailants. The men have Kryptonite dust on them, so CLARK has to  keep his distance. They fire twice at him. The first he dodges, the second he bats away with his hand. ]

CUT TO: Loft.

CHLOE gets her feet on other side of the window frame and keeps struggling with LARRY. She finally  manages to push herself away, and the chair lands on top of LARRY

                                                            CHLOE

The wind is knocked out of her,

                                    UGH. Bruce…

The quarters are tight, so BRUCE is  having a hard time with boss. He gets BOSS up against a wall, but gets hit in the side with the other part of the broom handle, the snapped edge clipping BRUCE in the ribs when BRUCE gets temporarily distracted with CHLOE falling to the floor and screaming in pain.

CUT TO: Outside. CLARK uses his heat vision to make the first guy drop his gun. The second sees this and charges CLARK. CLARK dodges, then grabs a rusty barrel and throws it at the man, bowling him into the second.

CUT TO: Loft. CHLOE is struggling to get to her feet while still being tied to the broken chair. She's scratched and bruised.

BRUCE gasps and yanks the bloody piece of wood out of his side. Meanwhile, BOSS is grabbing a wrench off of a work bench to have another go at BRUCE.

                                                            BRUCE

                                    This is OVER.

He pulls the wrench out of BOSS'S hand and throws it on the ground. He's holding BOSS by the throat when he looks over his shoulder at BILL and CHLOE. He does not notice LARRY regaining consciousness and reaching towards the wrench.

                                    Get away from her.

                                                            BILL

He's very close to CHLOE and when he turns towards BRUCE, it's obvious that he has a gun to her head.

                                    I don't think I will.

CUT TO: outside. CLARK grabs the rusty abandoned tractor along the side of the building, and drags it over to the front, climbing on top of it, he reaches for the window.

From CLARK'S POV. He's about three feet away from the man with the gun to CHLOE's head. It is evident that all he has to do is hoist himself up and he'll be able to stop the man who has CHLOE. Just as he pulls himself upward, one of the men he was fighting grabs his heels, getting Kryptonite dust into his shoes. He loses strength and it's suddenly a chore to hang on. He sees BRUCE bleeding, holding on to BOSS and LARRY sneaking up behind him. He's about to warn BRUCE, but the man tugs and he comes falling down, and onto the hood of the tractor. The man wraps his hands around CLARK'S neck. The Kryptonite makes his neck discolor and he struggles to breathe.

CUT TO: Loft.

                                                            BRUCE

                                    What exactly is it that you people want?

                                                            BILL

                                    Lets start with letting him go.  Then we can talk about this all civilized.

                                                            BRUCE

Not letting up his grip.

                                    Right.

CUT TO: CLARK has his hands in the stooge's face, trying to push him away, but he's weakening. Finally, he manages to roll to one side, dumping his assailant off of the hood of the tractor. He wipes his neck with his jacket and takes that off, then begins kicking his shoes off.

BILL looks behind BRUCE at LARRY, who is about to strike. BRUCE sees this, and kicks behind him, knocking LARRY in the head. His elbow slams into BOSS'S head, knocking him unconscious. BILL is about to pull the trigger on CHLOE, who tries to push herself away. BRUCE dives for her chair, knocking it out of the way, and completely breaking it. BILL tries to train the gun on BRUCE, and lets off a shot just as BRUCE leaps at BILL, landing him and swatting the gun away before knocking BILL unconscious.

                                                            BRUCE

                                    Chloe, I'm going to—

He turns around and sees her laying on her side, blood spurting out of her shoulder.


CLARK lifts himself into the window.

                                                            CLARK

                                    Chloe?

                                                            CHLOE

                                    It's not too bad. Right?

                                                            BRUCE

                                    It's not bad at all.

CHLOE passes out.

Very seriously to CLARK

                                    Get her to a hospital. Now.

He gets up and starts to leave.

                                                            CLARK

                                    Wait. Where're you going?

                                                            BRUCE

                                    You don't need me for this. I've done no good here.

He heads for the steps as CLARK picks CHLOE up.

                                    When she wakes up, tell her…

Unable to express himself, he just leaves.

CUT TO: LEX pulling up. BRUCE is about to get in his car. He looks over his shoulder as a blur of red and blue flashes out the top of the barn and around the back. LEX gets out. He sees the two unconscious goons in the gravel driveway. He also sees CLARK'S shoes and jacket.

                                                            LEX

                                    What the hell do you think—

                                                            BRUCE

                                    Your friend Kent can fill you in on the details.

                                                            LEX

                                    Where IS Clark?

                                                            BRUCE

                                    Smallville Medical, is my guess.

                                                            LEX

                                    And how might you have come by THIS information?

                                                            BRUCE

                                    I'm sorry about Excelsior. You are right.

                                                            LEX

                                    About what?

                                                            BRUCE

Gets into the car

                                    I AM aimlessly grasping at the dark.

CUT TO: CHLOE wakes up in her hospital room just as CLARK enters.

                                                            CLARK

                                    Oh… hey. Look who's back with the rest of us.

                                                            CHLOE

                                    What happened? Where's Bruce? Is he OK? I saw that guy…

                                                            CLARK

Wow. I can see the morphine hasn't dulled your reporting edge. One thing at a time…

                        CHLOE

Slower this time

                                    What happened after I blacked out? What happened to Bruce?

                                                            CLARK

                                    I think he left Smallville.

Trying to be gentle about it.

I… I guess he didn't want to stick around and answer questions. The Sheriff has already been told to filter everything through his high-priced Gotham City lawyers.

Sees Chloe's disappointment.

                                    I'm sorry. I know you guys kind of got a long.

                                                            CHLOE

Putting on a brave face.

Hey. It's ok. It's not like he's the first guy who's ever not turned out the way I thought he was.

CUT TO: BRUCE sitting at a desk in a very dark office. Only the desk lamp is lit. He picks up the phone on his desk and presses a button for an internal number in the house.

                                                            BRUCE

                                    I'm leaving again, Alfred.

He pinches the bridge of his nose. 

                                    I don't know when I'll be home. Tibet.

He begins rubbing his eyes. 

                                    I think I need the silence.

He picks up the stack of papers in front of him, they appear to be reports from Dr. Swann. Removing the last page from the pile, he tosses it all into the shredder. He takes a hard look at the last page, the article torn from the magazine. First he touches the photo of the Kent barn, then CHLOE'S last name in the photo credits. After a moment's hesitation, he tosses it into the shredder too. He gets up, picking up the coat from the back of his chair. He shuts off the light and leaves.

CUT TO: The Luthor Ballroom, Dance night. CLARK is taking tickets and CHLOE is trying to help. She's sitting in a chair with one arm in a sling, frustrated with her inability to tear. Her face is still scratched and bruised.

                                                            CHLOE

                                    I am the worst ticket-taker in the world.

                                                            CLARK

Trying to cheer her up.

Look at it this way. Instead of being a one-armed gimp, you could be a no-armed gimp.

                        CHLOE

This sling doesn't match my dress.

PETE comes over with some punch.

                                                            PETE

                                    Anybody thirsty?

                                                            CLARK

                                    Dying.

He takes a cup from Pete.

                                                            PETE

We haveta let the Morris twins plan this stuff more often—they got these little sandwich things over there…

                        CHLOE

She gets up.

                                    I think I need a little air.

Moving carefully past some dance guests, she goes out into a court yard. Leaning against a wall and resting, she looks up at the stars.

                                                            BRUCE

From the shadows

                                    I'm sorry I didn't stick around.

                                                            CHLOE

Hey, who wants to explain why they're hanging out with a bunch of drug dealers?

                        BRUCE

I don't blame you for being angry.

                        CHLOE

Good.

He steps out of the shadow wearing a very conservative tuxedo.

                                    What's this?

                                                            BRUCE

                                    I don't know. Penance?

                                                            CHLOE

                                    Why're you here?

                                                            BRUCE

I wanted to apologize. I know you're mad. The only person more angry at me than you… is me. I miscalculated… a lot of things. It's why I'm… I'm going away.

                        CHLOE

And why'd you leave the first time?

                        BRUCE

His honesty is very stiff and restrained.

I… I'm not ready. I thought I was ready.

                        CHLOE

Where are you going?

                        BRUCE

I'm… I'm not ready… I've been studying. I thought I was done, that it was time to come back… It's not. There's a lot I still have to learn. I'm leaving tonight. I just want to…

                        CHLOE

Assuage your guilt?

                        BRUCE

Tell you something. Besides that I'm sorry. I know I can't make up for… I just wanted to say… if I could stop what I'm doing. If I could just… put the breaks on my life. Maybe turn it back a little, before I started down on this path…

If only things were simpler. More direct.

He touches her cheek. CHLOE closes her eyes, trying to ignore the significance of what he's saying.

For a few minutes… I thought I could have both. I don't deserve… you deserve better. 

He looks down at the ground again.

                                    If things were different.

                                                            CHLOE

Shows something besides anger for the first time.

                                    I'd be meeting your butler?

                                                            BRUCE
Looks very guilty and uncomfortable.

                                    I—

He hesitates.

                                    Alfred would have approved of you.

He looks behind her at CLARK, who's coming outside to meet up with her.

                                    You don't need to drop a barn on him. Just a paperweight or two.

CHLOE turns around to see who BRUCE is referring to. She gives a wave to CLARK, then turns back to BRUCE, who is gone. She searches the shadows for him but to no avail. CLARK meets up with her, and when she turns to face him, there are tears welling in her eyes.

                                                            CLARK

                                    Are you ok?

                                                            CHLOE

                                    I wish things were simpler. 

                                                            CLARK

Looking into the shadows.

                                    I think we all do. 

He puts an arm around her gently, and turns her back towards inside.

PAN UP to the roof, and BRUCE watching them go back inside together.

PAN UP to the stars and the full moon.

END CREDITS.