Okay, so it's been a while since I posted anything. Sorry, I've been so busy with college. Anyway, this is a new story and I hope you enjoy it. I intend on updating it pretty regularly if you're interested.

Anyway, I do not own Smallville or any of its characters. Yadda, yadda, yadda...

The Intruder

He played this scenario in his head a million times; he knew it was going to work. The Kent family certainly had a soft spot for strays. There was no denying that or they wouldn't have adopted Clark.

Lionel sneered at the thought. "Adopted," he questioned aloud and shook his head menacingly. He paced Lex's office and continued to talk to himself. "Jonathan Kent saved Lex's life, so I owed him one, but why didn't I take the time to find out where the boy really came from? If I had, I wouldn't have all these questions I do today." His thoughts drifted back to that fateful day:

He was sitting at his desk in his Metropolis office when the secretary beeped him on his speakerphone. He hit the button slightly annoyed. "What is it, Maxine," he questioned.

"Sir, a Mr. Jonathan Kent is on the phone. He says he needs to speak with you."

Lionel rubbed his chin thoughtfully and smiled. "So, he's going to take me up on my offer after all," he said softly.

"Sir," questioned Maxine.

Lionel shook himself out of his reverie and said, "That's all, Maxine. I'll take the call." He immediately picked up the phone and cheerfully said, "Mr. Kent! What a pleasant surprise!"

Jonathan swallowed roughly at hearing Lionel's voice. He glanced at his wife who was playing with Clark. He took a quick breath and said, "Hi, Mr. Luthor. I'm sorry to be calling you and bothering you at work."

Lionel smiled because he could already tell Jonathan was setting the conversation up to ask him for that favor...finally. His smile grew sadistic: He would do a favor for Jonathan, and Jonathan would do one for him. That's how business worked, after all. "It's no bother at all," he assured him. "I'm actually glad to speak with you again. I don't think I can tell you enough how grateful I am to you. You saved my son's life."

Jonathan cleared his throat and replied, "I only did what anybody else would do in that situation. I'm just glad I was at the right place at the right time." With those words, he glanced at Clark and smiled. Those words certainly applied to him, too.

Lionel's voice made him turn his intention back to their conversation. "Don't be modest, Mr. Kent. Your fast thinking saved his life. For once in my life, I was paralyzed by shock and fear. For once in my life, I trusted someone else to make decisions for me. I'm glad it was you." As soon as he said the words, he grinned. He had to gain the trust of this farmer if he was ever going to learn what Jonathan wanted. It was essential to him so he could also get what he wanted. Jonathan Kent was, after all, friends with the Ross family. They would trust him as he had that fateful day. They would have the confidence that he wouldn't steer them down the wrong path, and they would sell him the Cream Corn Factory.

Jonathan shrugged off the flattery and asked, "How is your son?"

"Oh, he's doing much better. He's still a little upset that he lost his hair, but he'll pull through. It's a challenge…it'll be a good lesson for him."

Jonathan nodded even though Lionel couldn't see him. "Uh, yeah. Besides, his hair will grow back, right?"

"I'm afraid not. It wasn't pulled or burned off, Mr. Kent. He was so terrified that day that his hair fell out, and the doctors don't see it ever re-growing."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Jonathan said, genuinely feeling sorry for the boy.

There was a slight pause in the conversation. Obviously Jonathan didn't know what to say next, so Lionel took the opportunity to persuade him. "So, Mr. Kent, I loved having this conversation with you. It's always good to hear from a friend. If that's all you wanted to talk about, I need to get back to my work. I promise to keep you informed on how Lex is doing." He almost crossed his fingers and hoped his plan would work.

Jonathan was so tempted to hang up. He knew doing business with the proverbial devil would come back to haunt them, but he needed this favor. If he didn't somehow come up with adoption papers for Clark, one day people would show up on his farm to take his son away. He couldn't allow that to happen. He looked at his son and almost whispered, "Actually, Mr. Luthor, I was wondering if you were serious when you told me to call you if I needed anything."

Lionel stood up, delighted that the farmer finally got around to the point of this phone call. "Yes, Mr. Kent. I told you that at the hospital. I mean it. Why? Is there something I can do for you?"

Never taking his eyes off of Clark, Jonathan answered, "Yes, I need to ask a huge favor of you, but before I ask, you have to promise me you will not tell a soul…even if you don't agree to help me."

This intrigued Lionel greatly. "This sounds big but what could this farmer possibly want that would call for so much secrecy," he thought. Finally, he said, "You have my word."

Jonathan took a deep calming breath and said, "I don't really want to talk about this over the phone. Perhaps, I could meet you…"

Lionel abruptly stopped Jonathan's words and said, "How about I drop by your house tomorrow afternoon? I'm heading over to the Ross' factory tomorrow, anyway."

"Yeah, that would be great," Jonathan said, thankful that so far everything was working out. Hopefully it would stay that way. Jonathan was preparing to end the conversation when Lionel once again stopped him with his words.

"Can I ask you one thing, Mr. Kent?"

"Sure, what's that?"

"This favor…who or what does it concern?"

"My son," Jonathan answered honestly.

Lionel's eyebrows immediately raised in surprise. So, this was going to be good after all. Why would Jonathan Kent need his help with an issue concerning his son? He smiled and said, "Then, I'll definitely see you tomorrow afternoon, Mr. Kent. Good-bye."

Each men hung up the phone and Lionel laughed. He looked over at his map of Smallville and stared at the Ross' factory. "It's as good as mine," he whispered.

Lionel's thoughts were brought back to the present by a young man snapping his fingers in front of his face.

"Yo, man, I don't have all day, so do I have the job or don't I?"

Lionel smiled and said, "You talk big for a young man who is only 13."

The boy nodded and said, "I have survived a lot of hard trials, Mr. Luthor. I may seem like an innocent little kid, but believe me, I'm far from it. Now, do I have the job or don't I?"

Lionel smiled and nodded. "You have the job."

Clark was sitting in his loft working on his first college paper for his English 1101 class. He heard someone walking up the steps and immediately recognized the footsteps as his father's. He paused his hand and waited for his father to address him.

Jonathan walked up the last few steps and knocked on railing beside him.

Clark immediately set his notebook and pencil down on the table in front of him. He turned to face his father and smiled. He could already tell his dad was up here to have a heart-to-heart. Why? He didn't know. There were so many things going on in his life recently that he could never tell nowadays. He just hoped it was a subject he would want to address. He watched as his father's eyes rested on the notebook he just set down.

"Working on homework," Jonathan questioned.

Clark nodded. "Yeah, my English professor wants us to write an essay arguing why or why not smoking should be allowed in public places. She wants to go over the whole 'argumentative essay' structure."

Jonathan nodded and said, "Well, that's good, isn't it?"

Clark stared at his dad and shrugged. "Yeah, I guess. It's just that this teacher gives us so much work. She hasn't given us back a single thing we've written yet. What if she hates my writing style and I find out when it's too late?"

Jonathan laughed. "I doubt seriously that would happen, Clark."

Clark frowned at him and said, "How do you know?"

Jonathan slipped an arm around his son's shoulders and said, "Because you're great at writing. Come on, you used to proofread Chloe's articles for the Torch all the time. If you weren't good at that stuff, I'm sure she wouldn't let you touch her work."

Clark rolled his eyes and said, "Writing and proofreading are two different things, Dad. Trust me."

"But you have to know one to do the other."

Clark finally smiled and said, "Yeah, I guess you're right."

They both sat there in silence for a couple of seconds until Jonathan looked directly into Clark's eyes and questioned, "Are you enjoying college, son? I mean, I know you initially wanted to get away from Smallville when you went to college, and I was just wondering how you feel about staying?"

Clark smiled at his dad. "I'm glad I stayed. I'll admit, even when I did have my heart set on leaving, I felt guilty about leaving you to work on the farm all by yourself."

"I have your mother."

Clark chuckled and said, "I know that, Dad. You know what I mean, though."

Jonathan thought about this for a few seconds and said, "So, the only reason you stayed was for the farm?"

Clark immediately shook his head. "No! I stayed because I wanted to stay close to my family and friends. Running away from my problems and the kryptonite won't solve anything in the long run. Besides, I'd like to think everyone needs me around here."

"And, we do," Jonathan said smiling. "But of course, you could always be here within five minutes no matter where you went to college, son."

"True, but I don't want to hide from people while I stop by to visit. If I'm supposed to be in California, how in the world would I explain my frequent appearances to people?"

"Who said your visits would be frequent?" Jonathan laughed as soon as he asked the question.

The smile that was on Clark's face immediately vanished. "Dad, I know in the past I've expressed my desire to go somewhere to get away from the kryptonite, but in doing that, I'd be leaving my home. I would be leaving you and Mom. I guess I'm not like other kids." As soon as he said those last words, he laughed softly. "Well, aside from the obvious reasons why I'm not like them, I'm different because I don't want to leave you guys. Most kids want to get away from their parents after graduating high school, but I'm just not ready to do that yet."

Jonathan immediately brought his arms around Clark and embraced him as tightly as he could. Clark hugged him back and felt such love and warmth pass between them. When Jonathan finally pulled back, he looked into his son's eyes and said, "I'm glad you decided to stay, and so is your mother. The night you told us you wanted to go to college in California, she went to our room and cried her eyes out."

Clark almost looked guilty for a second but then Jonathan continued, "But don't let that effect you, son. If you built a house next door and moved into it, she'd still cry. It's a mother thing."

Clark immediately nodded and laughed a little.

Jonathan stood up and smiled at his son. "Your mother probably has dinner ready by now. Let's go."

Clark nodded, stood up, and grabbed his notebook. He followed his father down the steps, and as soon as they reached the ground, Clark heard something. It almost sounded like someone or something whimpering. He grabbed his father's shoulder.

Jonathan turned around and saw Clark with an expression of complete concentration. "What is it," he questioned.

Clark listened and then shook his head. "I don't know. I thought I heard something, but maybe it was nothing."

They both took a step forward and this time they both heard the noise. Jonathan looked at his son and mouthed, "X-ray."

Clark immediately used his x-ray vision to look around the barn. Just as he was about to give up, he saw a small figure laying behind a pile of hay. Clark immediately walked over there and said, "Who are you?"

A young boy looked up at him and said, "Please, you have to help me," before he passed out.