TITLE: Emissary
AUTHOR: Crimson Myst pen name – A mysterious girl comes into Clark and Lex's lives. Each feel a connection to her but is she who she claims to be?
RATING: Pg-15
CLASSIFIED: Drama/Romance
DISCLAIMER: None of the characters mentioned in this piece of fiction belong to me. They belong to the cast and crew of Smallville, WB and DC Comics
DISTRIBUTION: Permission granted to Fanfiction Net. If anyone else wants to archive it, please let me know.
APPROXIMATE WORD COUNT: 17,800+
FEEDBACK: Very much appreciated as long as it is constructive.
DEDICATION: To Owen McClellan, who always encouraged me to write.
AUTHOR's NOTES: This story takes place shortly after 'Rosetta' but Lex and Dr. Bryce have broken their engagement. I am still working on this story a bit since I feel the plot moves too quickly, partcularly the romance between two of the characters. For those interested there will also be an adult version of this story.

Emissary

13 years ago...

The day had promised to be one of those warm spring days where the breeze gently caressed the landscape. People strolled carefree about the downtown area of Smallville enjoying the warm kiss of sunshine after a bleak week of constant rain.

Neighbour greeted neighbour with a smile, a wave, or a friendly hello. A young mother smiled adoringly down at her four year old son holding her hand. His other hand was clutching by the arm, a tattered teddy bear that probably should have made it to the dustbin some time ago.

A little girl dressed as a fairy princess stopped to smell a colourful bouquet of flowers outside the flower shop her aunt worked. She was excitedly looking forward to seeing her parents.

An elderly couple sat on a nearby bench holding hands and watched the dark haired little beauty. They smiled lovingly at each other on what was their 50th anniversary.

Life was good and peaceful in this small close-knit community where everyone knew everyone and no one thought twice about leaving their doors unlocked.

But this peaceful air was suddenly shattered as the side of a building unexpectedly exploded sending debris flying for several blocks. The ground began to shake ferociously as chunks of rock came tearing down from the sky in streaks of red, pelting buildings, cars and even people. Fires began burning uncontrollably as screams of panic, pain and despair filled the air. Thick billows of black smoke rose from various points of impact and wreckage.

A car skidded out of control and slammed into a fire hydrant sending a burst of water into the air. The people ran trying to get indoors and away from the unfolding horror only to have the buildings blasted away right in front of them.

A young man, newly married, lay in the street with a thick steel post protruding from his chest. His eye were open but glazed over seeing nothing as his blood tricked into the flow of water and down into the sewer.

A few miles away from the carnage, one particular object soared through the atmosphere turning a shade of orange as it became heated from the gasses. It broke through the clouds heading toward a dense area of trees. It tumbled end over end but seemed to slow down somewhat as it headed straight towards an ancient willow. It missed by inches but hit the dirt with enough force to create a blackened crater five meters deep.

For a brief moment there was absolute silence, not even the animals of the surrounding wood made a sound. Then there was a slight humming sound and a flash of bright lights. From the crater emerged a small figure, dazed and confused, but miraculously unhurt.

Present Day...

The distant stars shone clearly in the tranquil ebony sky and the crickets sounded their plangent symphony as Clark ran across the moonlit field towards home. The yellow farm house had been his home for the last 13 years and while it was not the only home he had ever known but it was regrettably the only one he could remember.

The frost covered, knee high grass crunched noisily under his quick step. He didn't use his powers to enhance his speed, instead enjoying the chilled air after his emotionally turbulent encounter with Lana at the cemetery in which her parents were buried.

He always felt a twinge of guilt seeing those granite markers as no matter how much his adoptive parents told him it wasn't his fault, he felt somehow responsible for their deaths and Lana's subsequent suffering. The feeling didn't end there, burdening him was also the suffering of the countless other Smallville citizens whose lives were detrimentally affected by the meteor shower accompanying Clark's unearthly arrival.

The moon was full and bright but did little to penetrate the tree line to his right. As he was about to hurdle the carcass of a fallen tree a distinctive noise caught his attention. It was the soft sobbing of a young female.

Clark stopped in his tracks and glanced around looking for the source of the distressful sound. He spotted a silhouette emerging from the darkened woods. The shape seemed to indicate it was a female. She had her arms wrapped around herself and her head bowed as she stepped around a broken fence rail not noticing Clark's presence.

He didn't want to intrude on her misery but she was heading in his direction and would notice him any second.

"Are you alright?" He asked hoping not to startle her but curious just the same as to why she would be out here in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.

With the light of the harvest moon coming from behind her he couldn't make out any features, he could only tell she was a couple of inches taller than Lana with longer hair.

She stopped abruptly about ten feet away, tense and frightened, seemingly ready to bolt but didn't say anything.

"I'm sorry," he added quickly, his voice conveying his sincerity, "I didn't mean to alarm you, I was just on my way home and overheard. I don't want to intrude but is there something I can do to help?"

The breeze picked up a bit stirring her hair and ankle length dress. He caught the subtle yet intoxicating scent of vanilla coming from her direction. Her lack of response was even more curious but a sudden burning sensation in the palm of his hand distracted him momentarily.

The white hot pain was searing as he tried to prevent a strangled grunt of pain from escaping. He held out his hand to examine it for some unknown injury and was surprised to see a symbol glowing faintly red in the soft skin. It was shaped like a spiral galaxy and pulsed a few times before fading and disappearing along with the pain. He glanced back up quickly trying to think up some excuse to explain his strange behaviour, but the girl, whoever she was, was gone. He felt bad, thinking he must have frightened her off.

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The next morning over breakfast, Clark told his parents about his strange encounter and the odd appearance of the mark.

"Did she see it?" Jonathan Kent asked with concern. He and his wife Martha were always very protective of their son and feared everyday the wrong person finding out his secret.

"I don't think so, it was pretty dark and she was gone by the time I looked up." The dark haired teen replied.

"You don't know who she was?" Martha asked echoing her husband's concern.

"No, she didn't say anything and I couldn't see her face. It actually seemed kind of surreal." He answered unable to keep the sound of his intrigue out of his voice.

"Well, at least you weren't using your powers or anything. Just be careful son, we've all learned the hard way that anybody could be watching at anytime." His father said relieved.

"I know dad." Clark said with a small sigh.

He had heard this warning many times throughout his complicated life but he knew it was only because his parents cared so much for him. Their limitless support and love made it at least a little easier to hide his true nature from those around him, even his closest friends. He had to admit though that letting Pete in on the secret helped, and gave him someone else other than his parents to talk to about the difficulties and challenges he faced on a daily basis.

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"Wow. Clark you attract mystery like honey attracts bees." Pete said smiling to his friend as they both walked down the school hall toward their first class. "Too bad you didn't get a look at her, she might have been hot and you could have pulled the knight in shining armour routine."

Clark grinned in amusement at his friends' one-track mind. "The girl might have been hurt or lost or something and that's all you can think about?" he asked teasing, his soft grey eyes twinkling.

"Hey, a man's gotta do, what a man's gotta do." Pete answered with a shrug. "The way things are going or rather not going with Lana and Chloe, some fresh blood might be just what you need."

"Pete!" Clark exclaimed in mock astonishment. In a way his friend was right but he didn't even know who this mystery girl was or how to find her.

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She watched him from the stairwell leading to the music room on the second floor. In the field last night she had recognized Clark Kent. The son of a local farmer, he was also a student at her high school.

They had never actually met and didn't share any classes but his reputation indicated that he was kind, sincere and loyal to his friends. She had always thought there was something familiar about him but never pursued the matter. Not that she had any choice. Kyle would have gone off on one of his rants if he found out she so much as talked to another guy.

She did everything she could to avoid those kind of confrontations. Frankly, her life depended on it.

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"Get your coat, we're going out." he said gruffly.

"But I just got off school and I haven't eaten yet." Makayla Farris said to her boyfriend of three years and set her worn backpack down on a kitchen chair.

"Here." He said grabbing a box of saltines off the counter and shoving them in her hands, "Eat them in the truck, but don't get crumbs all over, you know how I hate that."

"Where are we going?" She asked wincing as he grabbed her by the arm painfully and pulled her out the front door of their cramped but tidy apartment.

"Metropolis." Was all he answered before slamming the door shut behind them.

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She wasn't the beautiful doe-eyed girl next door or the buxom blond cheerleader type but Makayla was very attractive with pale green eyes and dark auburn hair similar in shade to cherrywood. The thick mass of which cascaded in a gentle wave midway down her back. Her lithe figure did not betray her underlying strength and her pale skin was in contrast with the tanned faces that surrounded her in Smallville High everyday.

Wearing the red leather mini skirt and black silk halter top she had changed into on the way, Makayla made her way through the crowded night club to a table near the back. She hated outfits like this, preferring instead the long cotton summer dresses or comfortable jeans she would wear to school. She thought the make up made her look like a hooker but that was what Kyle had wanted. It gave her an aura of European trashy sophistication and it was all part of the plan.

He had used her to pull this scam at least a dozen times. She hated him for it and hated herself even more for doing it but if she didn't her life would be over before she knew it and he would be rich beyond his wildest dreams. She had often wondered why he didn't just turn her in and collect the millions that certainly awaited him but had come to the conclusion that what he really wanted was the power he had over her. Knowing that if he said jump, she would, she had to.

Her target was sitting nonchalantly at a table accompanied by two rather attractive women. Both appeared to be of Asian-American descent and had the appearance of hanging onto his every word. The one with short black hair whispered something in his ear that made him grin in a charming yet thoroughly seduced type of fashion. Makayla appeared to stroll by casually and tossed him a seductive look of her own with heavy lidded eyes and a sly welcoming smile. She sensed his interest but knew it would take more than that to break his interest away from those two.

Taking a small table nearby facing his, she sat on the stool, legs crossed and ordered an expensive glass of imported red wine. It was a brand that she knew was of impeccable quality but avoided ordering one of his favourites. Doing that would have given her intentions away immediately and she knew without doubt that Lex Luthor was neither a gullible nor stupid man.

When the drink arrived she sipped it slowly appearing to savour the bouquet as she waited for someone in particular to arrive. Five minutes later, Kyle made his entrance and began his part of the performance.

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Lex's attention momentarily drifted from Keiko to the striking woman that had taken a table nearby. He was immediately suspicious however as he always was whenever someone of the opposite sex sent those kinds of signals his way. Being a Luthor had the drawback of always seeming to draw the conniving gold-digging type and he always had to work harder at finding out people's true intentions. Well at least he had the financial resources to do so.

The appearance of a denim clad, scruffy looking, farm hand type at her side was an unusual addition to the mix though. The backwater hick themed figure grabbed the girl roughly by the wrist and spoke heatedly in a low tone to her.

"Just what the hell do you think you're doing here?" he hissed.

She let out a strangled whimper as he twisted her arm a little further, "I'm sorry, I was thirsty, I just needed out from that hotel room. I've been cooped up in there for four days." she replied pleadingly.

Lex saw her eyes widen slightly with fear of what they both knew was to come.

The brutish fellow yanked her up off her seat knocking over her glass of wine in the process. The thin delicate glass smashed leaving an ominous pool of red liquid on the parquet floor. He then looked up and spotted Lex staring at the scene.

"What the hell are you looking at baldy?" Her companion challenged but before waiting for an answer he dragged the girl away, across the dance floor and out the back entrance.

The incident really wasn't any of his business but he had the urge to involve himself. He had been spoiling for a fight all evening anyway after stewing over the breakup of his engagement to Dr. Helen Bryce two weeks ago.

He excused himself from his company and put a hand up to stop one of his aides from following him. "I'll call you if I need you."

"Yes Mr. Luthor." Came the reply.

"Just make sure these lovely ladies have a good time while I am gone." Lex ordered grinning at his companions who giggled in return.

Loosening his jacket and tie, he followed the mismatched couple out into the alleyway. As he stepped through the steel door ready for a confrontation he witnessed the back of a thick hand strike the soft skin of her cheek. She tumbled to the damp asphalt with enough force to cause her to cry out in the pain she was trying to mask inside. Her boyfriend pulled her up roughly by the arm and lifted a hand to strike her again but his wrist was caught suddenly midair.

He spun around with fire in his eyes, measuring Lex up and down.

"This ain't none of your business daddy's boy." Kyle barked at Lex.

"It is when you cause an unpleasant scene at my place of business." Lex answered calmly.

The girl with tears streaming down her face pleaded, "Don't, just leave please, he'll hurt you."

Her lip was split and Lex could see her eyes were filled with years of pent up misery. He knew if he didn't do something that misery would likely end in tragedy tonight.

'Redneck', shoved the girl away who tripped on a sewer grate landing again forcefully on the pavement. There was an echoing smacking sound as her skull made contact. She moaned, rolled over and then lay motionless.

The thug sauntered over to Lex, coming nose to nose and inflating his chest, "And just what are you going to do about it Luthor?" he questioned challengingly, spitting out that last word. "Yeah, I know who you are. What, is daddy going to rush in, in his fancy helicopter to scrape you out of trouble?" He walked in a circle around the young billionaire playboy and added, "Mind your own business, freak!"

"You made this my business." Lex answered evenly and without hesitating he threw a well trained punch into the guy's chest. It sent the thug stumbling backwards nearly tripping on an overturned garbage can.

His opponent let out a howl of rage and rushed him, bent over, shoulder out like a linebacker's tackle. Lex performed a perfect roundhouse kick that caught him square in the jaw and sent him sprawling on the ground. Slowly getting up, Kyle glared at Lex murderously. He wiped his nose and glanced at the blood now streaked across his fist.

"You're going to regret that!" Kyle roared and charged again.

Lex easily stepped aside and kicked with the heel of his expensive shoes into the middle of the guy's back. The impact dispatched him headfirst into one of the heavy duty garbage dumpsters lining the alleyway. There was a ring of bone on metal but his body dropped into an unconscious pile on the ground like the discarded rubbish around it.

Waiting a brief moment to make sure his opponent didn't get up again, Lex then turned to the prone figure of the girl. He carefully picked up her light frame and carried her around the front of the club to his waiting limo. She moaned pitifully as he lay her down on the white leather seat but did not wake up.

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"How is she doctor?" Lex inquired of the attending physician at Metropolis General Hospital.

"She has a mild concussion but she will be alright. I recommend bed rest for a couple of days at least." was the answer.

"Thank you, I have arranged for a place she can stay until she fully recovers." Lex stated and entered the hospital room where the young woman lay on crisp white sheets. He had already gotten some of the pertinent information on the girl such as her name, address and who the animal was that had slapped her around.

Her eyes opened at the sound of the door closing and looked at Lex with a deeply troubled expression.

"I don't know how to thank you Mr. Luthor. Kyle isn't usually violent like that in public. I'm sorry you were dragged into our little domestic dispute." She said in apology.

"But he is that violent when not in public?" he asked rhetorically catching the underlying meaning to her words, "And you can call me Lex."

She flushed in apparent shame and shifted her gaze away from his. "It wasn't always like this. He used to bring me flowers and we would go on picnics and long walks. All the things couples normally do."

"What happened to change that?" he asked softly hoping she wouldn't shut down on him with his deeply personal questions.

"First he lost his job, then the bills started piling up, we lost our house and had to move into the cheapest apartment we could find. One night he said he felt like he couldn't be a man if he couldn't provide for his family and then...well, that was the first time." She answered her eyes unfocused as though recalling the memory.

"But he apologized. He cried at what he had done and bought me a beautiful arrangement of flowers, just like he used to." She added quickly as though that made up for his actions.

"That's no excuse; there is never an excuse to hit a woman." Lex replied gently taking her hand in his.

"I know," she answered with a sigh, "I knew it at the time but I thought I owed him just one more chance, after all he did provide me with a home, otherwise I would have had no place to live."

A small tear trailed its way down her cheek to the corner of her lips. Lex wiped it gently away with his thumb and cupped her cheek.

"You don't have to go back to that. I have a place you can stay for as long as you need." He offered.

"I..I don't know." she said hesitating. "Kyle will come looking for me and this time, I have no idea what he will do. You have been very kind but I don't want you to get involved, I couldn't stand it if he hurt someone else or worse because of me."

"Let me worry about that." Lex answered determinedly. On the spur of the moment he leaned over and kissed her briefly on her forehead before standing up. "I'll make all the arrangements today."

Trying very hard to control the flood of tears she looked up at him and whispered an emotional, "Thank you."

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The trip to Smallville was a mostly quiet one as Makayla leaned with her forehead touching the cool Plexiglas window of the helicopter. She watched the landscape below slide past feeling pangs of regret over what was to come next.

Lex seemed genuinely concerned about her welfare, unlike all the other targets Kyle had picked out who feigned interest in order to get one thing from her. Those others made her feel as much of a victim as Kyle did. It was the reason she had been wandering the woods crying the other night. She hoped that the Kent boy hadn't recognized her but since he didn't approach her in school she thought it was unlikely. The last thing she needed was someone else finding out her secret and trying to control her life.

She spotted a huge property surrounding what seemed like a castle just as Lex spoke up, "We're almost there. I've had a room prepared that I hope you will feel comfortable and safe in."

She turned away from the view and looked him deep in the eyes, "Are you sure about this?" In a way she hoped he would take the out she was offering him. She would just find a way to deal with Kyle later if Lex changed his mind about harbouring her.

"Definitely." He replied with characteristic conviction.

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Sitting in the Talon with a cold cup of coffee, Clark Kent was lost in thought. He had let Lana down again the other night not showing up for their first official date. He couldn't explain to her that he had been busy stopping an armed robbery at the feed store where the Kent farm purchased some of their supplies.

When he found her later in the cemetery her eyes were red and puffy. He tried explaining that something important had come up but couldn't offer any more detail, she had declared "Something always comes up Clark."

She had shaken her head in dismay and bewilderment which caused him no small amount of guilt and anguish. He cared about her so deeply but it seemed his 'destiny' was always getting in the way of his friendships and potential relationships.

"When you decide what is really important to you, let me know." She had said dismissing him to suffer in her heartbreak alone.

'Would it always be this impossible?' he wondered to himself 'Would he ever be able to tell her the truth and would she be able to accept it unconditionally?'. He knew now was not the time though, she had been through so much recently especially the death of her ex-boyfriend Whitney. He couldn't add to her burden.

"Maybe Lex can think of something to help me make it up to her." He said to himself getting up and grabbing his jean jacket off the arm of the chair.

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Clark arrived at the mansion in superhuman time and was let in by one of Lex's servants. Without knocking he entered the library office that Lex usually occupied only to find his friend embracing a woman Clark had never met before. One hand was on her shoulder and the other tenderly cupping her face as he said, "He won't bother you here, I promise. I've added to the security and have some of my men out looking for him to make sure he doesn't come within two counties of you."

The two then noticed Clark's sudden presence and broke apart. She blushed embarrassed to have been caught in such an intimate moment.

One hand on her back Lex guided her towards Clark and introduced them. "Clark, this is a nice surprise. I'd like you to meet Makayla Farris; she will be staying here at the mansion for a while."

Makayla lifted her head, her eyes meeting with Clark's about to offer some trivial greeting and Clark's hand raised midway to offer a handshake when they both froze. There was something very familiar about her; he couldn't place it being quite sure he had never met her before, until he caught the faint scent of vanilla. He was stunned, not by her attractive features but by the immense unexplainable connection he felt with her. It pulled at his gut making it spasm and the oxygen in the room seemed suddenly thinner. His breathing grew shallow and he felt a touch dizzy as the room seemed to melt away around them.

She looked shyly away as though embarrassed by the focused attention. Clark shook his head and grinned with embarrassment. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude; you just seem familiar. Have we met before?" He asked pretty sure she was the mystery girl in the field from the other night.

"No, I don't think so. I don't get out much." she answered in a trembling voice.

For the second time, Clark felt an intense burning sensation in the palm of his hand. He winced slightly but managed not to verbalize the pain. He turned and walked toward the pool table casually as a cover up and glanced down at his hand. The same symbol glowed making his skin an angry shade of red. He shoved it quickly in his pocket and turned around again.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, I can come back later." He said quickly hoping to make an escape before anything else unusual happened.

Observing them both carefully Lex said to Makayla, "Why don't you go get some rest and I will see what I can do for Clark." He rubbed her arm supportively as she nodded in agreement. He felt that her flesh was bumpy with goose-flesh and saw her face was flushed. "Are you okay? Is your head bothering you again?" he asked concerned.

"I'm fine." she answered with a wave of her hand, offering a weak smile, "just tired from... well everything. Thanks again Lex, this means a lot." she added and gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek before exiting the room.

Clark watched her go feeling confused and overwhelmed at the same time.

"Now Clark, what can I do for you?" Lex asked still watching his friend carefully.

Forcing his attention back to his reason for coming Clark replied, "I was hoping you could help me with something."

"Would this something have anything to do with the beautiful Miss Lang?" Lex asked perceptively raising an eyebrow.

Clark grinned sheepishly and answered. "Yeah, we kind of had a disagreement and I'd like to make it up to her only I don't know how."

Putting an arm around Clark's shoulder in a brotherly way Lex said guiding him towards the office door, "Well, I might have a few suggestions..."

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Makayla leaned heavily against the door of her new room, her breath coming in short gasps. She could see her reflection in the full length mirror across the room. She noticed the beads of sweat forming across her forehead and felt them trickling down her spine.

It had been the same the other night when she had encountered Clark in the field but she had chalked it up to a reaction the cold weather and her emotional state.

Striding over to her doppelganger she turned slightly pushing down the sleeve of the new cotton dress Lex had given her. There it was. Her birthmark right where it had always been, on her shoulder blade, except this time it was glowing a fierce shade of red. The spiral formation mark had always been a mystery to her but she knew it was just another thing she would never likely to have an answer to.

"Who is Clark Kent?" she asked her twin who mutely stared right back at her with questioning eyes.

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"It must have been her." Clark declared to Pete a few hours later back at the Talon.

"So now mystery woman is shacking up with Lex? Boy Clark, you sure know how to pick 'em." Pete answered with an amused chuckle.

"I don't understand, my skin felt like it was on fire and that weird symbol. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Who is she?" he asked perplexed.

"Well if you want to find out more about this girl, you know exactly who to ask." Pete suggested.

"Chloe." Clark answered. He was hesitant to ask his friend to do this fact finding mission since he didn't know how she would react to his sudden interest in another girl. He knew though that if he really wanted answers he didn't have much choice.

"Have you told your parents yet?"

"No, not yet." Clark replied with a guilty expression. "They would only freak out and tell me to stay away from her."

"Maybe they would be right." Pete said unconvincingly.

"I can't. I've never felt this before and I have to know why." Clark said, his face taking on a look of stubborn determination.

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Kyle looked at her with seething rage. "I told you what to do." He bellowed.

"I can't, please Kyle I don't want to do this." She whimpered holding an arm up bracing for the impact that was sure to follow.

The 6 foot 4 inch, broad shouldered, ex-football player picked up a crowbar off the kitchen table.

"If you don't, you know what will happen, and no one will blame me one bit." He answered, taking a step towards her menacingly.

"Oh god Kyle, don't, Lex doesn't deserve this and he is a nice person, not like the others." she pleaded.

"Oh 'Lex' now is it? He's a Luthor, and all Luthor's are evil." Kyle spat back tapping the curved end of the instrument on his other hand. "Let's see if Lexy boy can save you from this!" He yelled bringing the steel bar down as hard as he could striking her across the forearm. She felt the bone shatter, bent over in pain, and then felt it come crashing again as he struck her across the back. She screamed as loud as she could, screamed in unimaginable agony, screamed for her life.

"Makayla!"

She heard someone calling her. Someone was shaking her.

"Makayla wake up!" commanded a panicked voice.

Opening her eyes she realized it was the middle of the night and she was safe at Lex's mansion. She was sitting up in bed and Lex was sitting on the edge of it holding her by the arms, looking at her with panicked concern. Kyle was nowhere near her and it had all been a terrible nightmare.

"Oh god Lex." she cried, finally breaking down and sobbing without restraint.

"It's okay, shhhh, you're here with me." He said pulling her into his arms, holding her tight. Wearing only silk sleep pants, his bare chest was smooth and strong against her. He stroked her hair as he whispered words of comfort. She clung to him, crying into his shoulder allowing herself this moment of weakness.

"Oh my god, what did he do to you?" Lex asked softly, more to himself than anything.

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Chloe seemed forcefully perky as she handed Clark a folder with a few sheets of paper in it. "So, here is everything I could find out about one, Makayla Fallis."

Clark took it from her burning with curiosity and yet almost afraid to open it.

"It's funny that you never noticed her before, she's a student here." Chloe stated in a restrained voice that wavered slightly.

Clark looked up at her in surprise. She was right; it was odd, especially considering the strange reaction he had to her presence.

Shifting into investigative reporter mode she rambled off the few facts she had managed to dig up. "She was found sitting in the waiting room of a police station when she was about four, a few days after the meteor shower actually. She grew up right here in Smallville, bouncing from foster home to foster home until she moved in with the Harris family at the age of 14. The Harris' son Kyle was 19 at the time and a member of the Smallville High football team. Not exactly one of the intellectual elite since he failed several grades in elementary school. Anyway, he dropped out of school a year later when his parents died in a car accident making him her legal guardian and that's about it."

"She was adopted, just like me." He said in wonder.

"Not really, the Harris family never officially adopted Makayla, they just took her in and accepted checks from good old Uncle Sam." Chloe answered.

"Thanks for doing this for me Chloe." Clark said sincerely offering one of his broad charming smiles.

"So, ummm.. what's so special about this girl that you had me do the super sleuth thing?" She asked trying to sound casual.

"Nothing," Clark replied already distracted with this new information, "She just seems familiar somehow."

"Oh." Chloe replied not believing him one bit.

"And I want to make sure Lex isn't being taken in again." Clark added with a little bit of truth.

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Across town Lex was reviewing the same information in his office. He closed the sparse folder, folding his hands on top and tried mentally analyzing what he knew.

The big mystery here was her sudden appearance in Smallville as a child, right around the same time that Clark Kent was adopted. Was it possible they were related somehow and that was the explanation for the mutual reactions he had observed yesterday? Clark did say she seemed familiar. Could there be some childhood memories of each other buried deep in their minds?

Somehow, someway, he intended to find out.

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Makayla hurried down the hall from last period toward the front exit. Lex would be waiting for her in one of his fancy cars, making sure Kyle didn't make an appearance. She was grateful for his protection but knew it couldn't last forever. Her temporary freedom from Kyle's torment was just that, temporary.

Lost in thought she didn't notice the body heading in her direction until she crashed right into it. Nearly tripping backwards she felt a strong hand grab her arm to steady her.

"Makayla!" Clark said just as surprised to see her.

"Oh, Clark, I'm sorry I should have been paying more attention to where I was going." she replied breathlessly feeling a familiar sensation starting to creep up her spine.

"Actually I'm glad I ran into you, I was hoping we could talk for a minute." He asked, flashing the most charming smile he could to try and persude her.

"Ummm...I'm in kind of a hurry, Lex is waiting for me outside and he might worry if I don't come out right away." She answered clearly trying to avoid him.

"It will only take a minute, I promise." He pleaded sweetly.

Knowing she couldn't avoid him forever seeing as he was Lex's best friend she reluctantly agreed, "Alright but just for a minute."

Clark glanced quickly around to see if they were being watched before guiding her into the empty office of the Torch. He shut the door behind them and turned to face her. She had her arms wrapped around herself protectively just like he had seen her that night in the field. She was obviously trying to avoid his gaze and seemed quite nervous.

Experimentally he approached her and she backed up into one of the desks.

Appearing to be interested in Chloe's 'wall of weird' she cleared her throat, still avoiding looking at him and asked, "What did you want to talk about Clark? Is this about Lex? I know you two are friends and I want you to know I don't have any bad intentions towards him. I'll probably be leaving the mansion soon anyway."

It felt like the temperature in the room had risen a few degrees and Clark noticed her forehead becoming moist. Her face became flush from the sudden increase in heat.

"It's not about Lex." He answered, studying her. Without really thinking he reached up with a shaking hand and using a bent forefinger under her chin, he turned her face to look at him directly. "It's about...umm..." he said forgetting what it was he was trying to say. He ignored the burning sensation in his hand and looked deep into her pale green eyes mesmerized. She finally returned his stare and they both gasped at the same moment.

It was like staring into an endless universe, deep and full of mystery. They both literally saw stars. Everything became still and silent as the room melted away around them. Impulsively, as though someone else were in control of his body, he slowly leaned in and kissed her. Using his own to lightly caress her full lips he slid a hand behind her neck pulling her in closer. The kiss deepened, became more passionate, more urgent. He felt out of control, like he couldn't stop himself and didn't want to.

He gently tugged on her hair exposing her neck as he applied his lips there, leaving a fiery trail of kisses down to her shoulder. He brushed aside the sleeve of her dress exposing the ivory skin beneath and spotted the same red mark that graced his palm.

Using all of her mental and physical strength Makayla pushed Clark away. Replacing her sleeve to its place she breathlessly said, "Clark, I can't do this. Please understand, you have to stay away."

"Why?" he asked, gulping for air and confused by all that had happened and the new emotions he was experiencing.

"I just can't and I don't want to come between you and Lex." She answered.

"Don't worry, you won't." Said a steely voice from the doorway.

Their heads spun towards the source of the words.

"Lex!" Makayla exclaimed in guilty surprise.

Clark closed his eyes unable to look at his friend. It wasn't like Lex and Makayla were together or anything but he felt guilty and ashamed nonetheless.

Without taking his eyes off of Clark Lex said, "We'd better get home, one of my men spotted a truck that matched the description of Kyle's."

"Lex, I'm sorry.." she began to apologize but he cut her off with a surprisingly gentle voice and shifted his gaze to her.

"Don't. It's not your fault. We can talk about it back at the mansion, why don't you go wait in the car for a minute."

"Yes Lex." she said used to doing as she was told and after one last look at Clark she exited the room.

After a pause Lex exploded, "Just what the hell did you think you were doing Clark?"

Clark looked at him with a deeply pained look in his grey eyes, "I don't know, I'm sorry Lex, I didn't mean for it to happen."

Lex took a moment to reign in his anger before stating evenly, "You have no idea what she has been through. That kind of forceful behaviour is the last thing she needs. She's been traumatized enough and is waking up screaming in the night because of it."

"I'm sorry Lex, I didn't know." Clark said feeling worse by the second.

"I'm not the one you should be apologizing to, but you heard the lady, stay away from her." Lex responded.

"I'm not sure I can." Clark replied honestly.

"Take my advice Clark, don't pursue this. You might be making a bigger mistake than you realize." Lex responded and left Clark alone in the now empty office.

-------------------------------------------

Looking through his microscope up at the stars Clark replayed in his mind the scene in the Torch office again and again. He didn't understand what had occurred any better now than he did when it was happening. He could still smell her vanilla scent and it made him start to feel warm again just thinking about it.

These sensations were new to him. They scared him and exhilarated him all at the same time, like racing down the steep hill of a roller coaster at blinding speed.

He heard footfalls on the wooden steps leading up to the landing and knew it was Lana before she greeted him with a timorous, "Hello Clark."

Her voice was like satin and the sight of her brown eyes and heart shaped face made his heart speed up. He nodded hello and gave her a wide smile which she returned.

"Chloe tells me you are starting your own private investigator business." She joked half-heartedly obviously looking for an explanation. "Do you know this girl?"

"No, I thought I did but it turns out she's staying at Lex's. I was worried about him, you know, after some of his disastrous choices in women I wanted to make sure she was who she said she was."

"And is she?" Lana queried.

"I'm not sure, Chloe didn't really find out much about her, but she does seem sincere." He replied flushing slightly as he remembered their heated kiss. He wondered if kissing Lana would feel the same way. Would they have that same uncontrollable passion?

"Well, Lex probably has a full report on her by now. I think he's being a lot more cautious these days."

"That may end up hurting him more in the end." Clark said thinking of the fight Lex had had with his former fiancée Helen about his invasion of her privacy.

Lana seemed to want to say more but appeared to be stalling.

"What is it Lana?" Clark probed.

She laughed like it was a silly thought but answered anyway, "Chloe had one of her off the wall theories again. I told her it was impossible but she insisted it wasn't all that farfetched."

"What wasn't?"

"Well she thought it was an odd coincidence that the two of you both arrived in Smallville without parents just after the meteor shower."

"And?" he asked not sure where she was going with this line of thought.

"Well…well, what if you two are related? Like brother and sister or something?" she answered tossing the question out there.

"Related?" Clark said stunned. The possibility hadn't occurred to him. After thinking about it he wondered if it had occurred to Lex. Was that what he was trying to say about Clark making a bigger mistake than he realized?

"I know, it's so silly." Lana said sheepishly and laughed nervously.

"Related.." Clark said again with wonder.

-------------------------------------------

"Lex, I'm sorry, I'm not even sure what happened." Makayla apologized again once they were home and sitting by a warm fire in the library.

"Don't be sorry Makayla, I saw what happened, he cornered you. Admittedly it isn't like Clark Kent at all, but stranger things have happened in Smallville." He replied absent mindedly tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

"Yes but I could have stopped it before it happened." She said glancing down.

"I don't see how you could have known what he was about to do, unless you're psychic or something." He said with a comforting grin before growing serious again. Using the same move Clark had, he lifted her chin to look in her eyes, "Look, try to forget about it. I'll make sure it doesn't happen again."

He found himself entranced by her humble, timid nature and had to remind himself that her file revealed she was only seventeen. Clearing his throat he stood up and poured himself a drink from the bar by the wall.

"What's this about you leaving the mansion soon, I heard you mention it to Clark." He asked trying to sound casual.

"Lex you have been immensely generous and I will always be grateful but I can't hide out here forever." She answered.

She didn't want to leave but she had decided she couldn't pull Lex into Kyle's deception no matter what the consequences. It seemed impossible given the very brief amount of time they had known each other but she realized then that she was developing feelings for her rescuer. Feelings she needed to squash now before she ended up hurting him.

"Just give me a few more days to see if my men can find Kyle and put him behind bars even though he deserves much worse." Lex asked knowing that the vile man would indeed get 'worse' and would never spend a day in jail. "Besides this place is so empty, I could really use the company." He coaxed.

Searching his face for sincerity she reluctantly agreed, "Alright, just a few days though."

He sat down beside her again on the Italian leather sofa, putting an arm around her shoulders as they both watched the fire in comfortable silence.

-------------------------------------------

"Makayla!"

She woke to the sound of a loud whisper calling her name. Reaching over to the night stand she tuned on the lamp sure she must have been imagining it. The soft glow lit up the sleeping area of her generous suite.

A figure stepped into the light that she immediately recognized.

"Clark? What are you doing here? How did you get in?" She asked still half awake.

"I'm really sorry about earlier." He said earnestly. "But I meant it when I said we needed to talk."

Realizing she was only wearing a knee length silk nightgown with spaghetti straps she pulled the covers up higher and replied, "I can't, we don't have anything to say to each other. If Lex catches you in here it could ruin your friendship. I don't want to be responsible for that."

Sitting down beside her the bed sank slightly under his weight.

"I saw the mark on your shoulder." He stated.

"That? It's a birthmark, I've always had it." She said confused, unsure where he was gong with this.

"I haven't" he said and held up his palm for her to see. Sure enough the same spiral galaxy shaped icon was clearly visible on his palm, pulsing brightly. "At least I don't think I have." He clarified.

She was at a loss for words, finding it once again getting warm in his company.

"There's something I need to show you."

"What is it?" she asked mystified.

"Not here, it's at our farm."

"Clark, it's the middle of the night, can't it wait until tomorrow."

"It can't." He answered, "Really, it can't."

"How are we going to get there?"

"I have my truck parked at the end of the laneway."

"How are we going to leave without being seen?"

"The same way I got in." He answered scooping her up in his arms. For a moment he was light headed from her closeness and alluring scent but forcefully shook it off. He crossed to the window, sat on the ledge and swung his legs over the sill without letting go of her. He was afraid if he did she would run off.

"Clark, you can't jump, you'll get yourself killed!" she exclaimed.

"Just trust me, please." He requested seriously.

She nodded and he pushed off from the wall.

Holding her hand he guided her down the stone steps. This might be a huge mistake but his gut told him he was right.

The only light was the light of the moon coming through the storm cellar door. Using his heat vision he lit a kerosene lamp on a nearby shelf. It cast eerie, flickering shadows on the walls.

She hadn't said a word to him the whole journey there and sat as far away from him as she could in the small cab of his father's truck.

"What are we doing here?" she asked, finally speaking up.

Crossing swiftly to the object of their clandestine visit he pulled back the tarp covering the secret he and his parents had been fighting to keep hidden. The spaceship that had carried him as an infant, billions of miles from a far away world he had just learned was named Krypton.

Her jaw dropped in astonishment. She looked from the ship to Clark and back to the ship again. Her heart began to race as her mind fought to wrap itself around what it was she was seeing. She felt faint and overwhelmed. Memories flooded her senses and a volcano of emotions spilled its way into her brain that she couldn't deal with.

Without a word she bolted up the steps, not caring in which direction she ran. As she entered the first floor of the barn she felt strong arms wrap themselves around her. The world spun as she looked up into Clark's dove grey eyes. She knew he felt it too.

She also knew she should run, get away from Clark, as far away as she could but she couldn't. Her legs felt paralyzed and buckled underneath her. Clark caught her up and carried her upstairs to the area his father had always referred to as Clark's fortress of solitude.

He set her gently down on the makeshift sofa unable to tear his eyes away from her and took a seat beside her.

"Kalel?" She whispered quizzically.

His shock at the use of his true name was evident in his expression. "You know who I am?"

"I didn't think you were real. I thought you were just a dream or a half forgotten memory."

"Then Chloe was right, we are related." He said feeling surprisingly disappointed. He should be overjoyed at finally finding family after all these years of feeling utterly alone in the universe.

"No, not related." She said quickly, seeing his dejected look.

"I don't understand."

"I don't think I'm from your world." She explained without really revealing anything.

Impulsively he hugged her close, tears welling up in his eyes. After all these years of hiding, of feeling abandoned and alone suddenly he wasn't anymore. He buried his face in her hair afraid that if he let go she would disappear and he would realize it had all been a dream.

Pulling away from him reluctantly she held his handsome face in both her hands and said, "You still have to stay away from me Clark, now more than ever, it's too dangerous."

He couldn't fathom why she would think that, but rather than demand an explanation he let his impulse take control. He pulled her to him again and locked her lips in a deep kiss like the one they shared at the Torch. At first she tried to resist but the heat built up between them like a raging forest fire. Soon she was kissing him back with just as much passion.

This time he didn't hear the light tread on the stairs announcing one of Lana's unexpected visits. Clark was too lost in the fervour of what was happening to notice.

The girl he had dreamed about, been in love with for countless years, spun around fleeing the scene with silent tears streaming down her face. She had come to tell him the truth of her feelings hoping that if she were open with him then he finally would be too. Instead of the happy event she had imagined she fled the Kent farm, her heart breaking and hurting more than she could possibly imagine.

-------------------------------------------

They woke shortly before dawn their limbs tangled, her head on his bare chest. It took them each a moment to realize where they were and what had happened.

"Oh god Clark!" Makayla exclaimed realizing in the afterglow of morning the enormous impact their impulsiveness could have. She jumped up, grabbed her night gown from the floor where he had tossed it carelessly. "You have to get me back to the mansion before Lex wakes up!" She cried out panicking.

His anxiety levels skyrocketed just like hers knowing his dad would but up anytime now to begin the days' chores on the farm. He quickly pulled his own clothes on but tried his best to reassure her.

"Don't worry, I'll get you there." He said scooping her up in his arms once more. Using his ability of speed it took only minutes to reach the ground beneath the bedroom window they had jumped from the night before.

"Makayla.." he began softly but she cut him off.

"Clark, you are amazing and I care about you but last night was a mistake and we can't let it happen again. You have to stay away from me. I meant it when I said it was too dangerous."

"Why? I don't understand." He questioned.

"I can't explain, you just have to trust me. I'm sorry, I have to go." She said. He knew he wouldn't let this thing go but for now he would do as she asked. He leapt upwards landing gracefully on the second story window ledge and set her down inside.

Leaving him with a tender kiss on the cheek she said in what she hoped was a tone of finality, "Goodbye Clark." and shut the window before he could reply.

-------------------------------------------

"Miss Fallis has returned Mr. Luthor." The security man reported.

"Thank you Gil." Lex replied already calculating what his next move would be.

Gil bowed respectfully and left Lex to his thoughts exiting the library.

-------------------------------------------

It was Saturday morning when Makayla joined Lex for breakfast at the table in the formal dining hall. She was thankful that at least there was no school today and she wouldn't have to face Clark. He had given up too easy last night and she figured he would only wait a short while before pressing her for more answers.

"Did you sleep well last night?" Lex asked breezily, buttering a freshly baked roll.

Makayla paused, playing the moment knowing from Lex's profile that he more than likely knew she hadn't slept in her bed at all.

"Lex, I'll be honest with you but please promise not to be angry."

"Why would I be angry?" he asked trying to keep the sarcasm out of his voice.

"Clark came to my room last night." she stated.

"Clark?" Lex replied feigning surprise, "What was he doing here in the middle of the night and what is his fascination with you?"

"He just wanted to talk, apparently his friend Chloe put the idea in his head that he and I might be related."

"As what, kissing cousins?" Lex asked pointedly referring to the scene he had walked in on in the Torch office.

"No, I'm not sure what that was about but I think this related idea happened after that."

"And what did you tell him?"

"That it wasn't true and that it was best if he stayed away because it was too dangerous." she answered truthfully. One thing she had learned from Kyle's manipulations was that it was always best to hide the truth in plain sight.

"Danger does have a way of finding Clark." Lex mused aloud.

"Who knows what Kyle would do to Clark if he saw him with me. I feel bad enough for involving you but he isn't as protected as you are." She said with a wave of her hand at the large insulated room.

"Clark has an uncanny way of protecting himself but you did the right thing." he replied and placing a hand on hers added, "Thank you for being honest with me, people aren't usually that way with me."

"He's a good friend Lex, he was worried about you. He wanted to make sure I wasn't some gold-digging vixen trying to get her clutches into your wallet." She said with a chuckle to lighten the mood.

"And are you?" Lex asked with a disarming smile.

"I'll admit this temporary escape from reality has been wonderful but I don't want your money Lex." she answered honestly before breaking eye contact and getting up from the table.

"Makayla." He called her in a tender voice, "What do you want?"

Turning her back to him she crossed to the tall window overlooking the expansive gardens. Placing a flat hand on the glass surface was somewhat symbolic of her life's desire being just out of reach.

"Something all the money in the world can't buy." She said with a deep sigh, "Freedom."

-------------------------------------------

"Just what the hell did you think you were doing Clark?" Jonathan Kent exclaimed using exactly the same words Lex had the day before. He paused from their work tossing bales of hay into the back of the truck before continuing. "You don't know who this girl is!"

Clark had told his dad about showing Makayla the spaceship but omitted the more intimate details of her visit last night.

"She knew my name, my real name dad." Clark protested.

"She could have learned that from that Dr. Swan fellow, who I don't trust by the way, or any other number of sources." Jonathan said, worry lines etching his tanned face.

"Dr. Swan, that's it." Clark said, chastizing himself for not thinking of it sooner.

"Clark please tell me you aren't thinking of seeing that quack again." his father pleaded knowing it was useless.

"I have to dad. He might have some idea who she is. She doesn't even seem to know herself."

With a sigh of defeat the farmer warned his son, "Just be careful Clark she might not be who she seems or who you want her to be."

"Thanks dad, I will." Clark answered flashing his father a reassuring smile before disappearing in a streak of light.

-------------------------------------------

"Dr. Swan!" Clark called out in the cluttered back office of the Metropolis Planetarium. "Dr. Swan, are you here?"

"Back here Clark." Came the once commanding voice that was now weakened requiring assistance from a breathing apparatus.

Walking around a number of metal shelves hosting a variety of objects whose purpose Clark couldn't even possibly guess at, the young farm boy spotted the once famous scientist.

"How did you know it was me?" Clark asked curious.

"I knew you would come back." the other answered simply.

"I need some answers." Clark blurted out.

"I already told you what I know about you son." Dr. Swan answered slowly. The accident that had left him a quadriplegic didn't allow him to speak rapidly. He now relied on tanks of oxygen and a highly equipped wheelchair to conduct his work or to carry on a a simple conversation. At least it hadn't impaired his brain function at all. The man was still an astounding genius.

"This isn't about me," Clark replied, "It's about someone else. Now you said thirteen years ago you got only one signal from Krypton, is it possible your equipment missed a second one." He asked, anxiety clearly written all over his face.

"No Clark, there was only one signal from Krypton." came the answer dashing Clark's hopes, "But.."

"But what?" he demanded his eyes wide with anticipation.

"But there was another signal from a nearby planet."

"What?" Clark said stunned by this revelation.

"Third screen." Dr. Swan commanded and a display of familiar symbols glowed, swimming across a large screen behind his desk.

Clark concentrated on what he saw and read the celestial language aloud, "This is Kestral of Omiryyl betrothed of Kalel of Krypton. She is the Emissary of our galaxy and our infant daughter."

His mind reeled trying to absorb this new information. He gulped deeply for air feeling overwhelmed and shaken.

"Why didn't you tell me this before?" he demanded now wondering if his father was right and Dr. Swan wasn't someone they could trust. The only problem was he was the only one with answers.

"I was hoping to find this Kestral and share the message with her first. I wanted her to have the choice as to whether to share it with you or not." Dr. Swan answered simply. "I take it however from your visit, that you found her before I did."

"I don't think she knows who she is or if she even is this Kestral." Clark replied honestly.

"You must find out Clark, your destiny lies together."

"My destiny?" Clark asked puzzled.

"She is your betrothed, you were destined to be married, or whatever qualifies as such where you are from." the scientist explained.

"But I love Lana." Clark blurted out.

"You can't fight this Clark, it's who you are, who you are meant to be."

-------------------------------------------

Chloe hugged her friend and roommate who was crying and sniffling with her face buried in her hands.

"Lana what happened? What did Clark do this time?"

"I..I saw..." the beautiful former cheerleader choked out trying to deny what she saw with her own eyes. "I saw Clark, in his barn, kissing that girl."

"What? There's gotta be some mistake." Chloe replied her heart sinking. "Maybe she was kissing him and was trying to seduce him or something. Maybe he was trying to fight her off." she suggested hopefully both for Lana's sake and her own. It was no secret that the blond haired, perky, editor in chief of the Torch was in love with her best friend Clark. Something that had caused her a vast amount of heartache as for years she watched him watch Lana with a look of adoration she secretly wished was for herself.

Wiping her face for the dozenth time with the back of her hand Lana shook her head, "No, he had his arms around her and the look on his face.." she croaked out not daring to finish the sentence before breaking into another round of sobs.

"There has to be some other explanation, Clark has had feelings for you since...well for as long as I've known him. Why would he suddenly do an about face and play kissy face with someone he just met?"

With a sniffle Lana shrugged her shoulders and said in a grief stricken voice, "I've been pushing him away for so long; maybe he just got tired of waiting."

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In the library a few days later Makayla was reading a first edition copy of A Tale of Two Cities when Lex walked into the library with a large grin on his face. "You've been cooped up here for too long, how does a day of shopping in Metropolis sound?"

His enthusiasm was infectious as Makayla carefully put down the book, grinning back, "Planning on buying another fancy car to add to your collection?" she teased.

"Actually I was thinking of a new wardrobe for you." he answered playfully, plopping down on the couch beside her. "And dinner afterwards at the fanciest restaurant Metropolis has to offer."

"Lex," she replied trying to reason, "You don't have to do this. I'm fine, I have what I need."

"Awww come on, this is actually for me. I have one of the most beautiful girls in Smallville in my very own home and I can't even show her off."

His smile was very disarming and she felt herself melting under his steady gaze. "Lex, really, I'm fine." she replied offering a rare open smile of her own.

"Don't make a grown billionaire playboy beg." He teased getting down on his knees in front of her and taking both her hands in his. He went further by kissing the back of her hand in a mock gallant manner.

She laughed freely and kissed him on the forehead. "Alright, alright, but only because looking so pathetic isn't your style." she said giving in.

Pulling her up from the couch and wrapping her hand around his arm he led her out. It was difficult for him to keep in mind that this mature young woman who had faced so much tragedy in her short life was only seventeen.

"I promise to be gentle." He joked with a grin.

-------------------------------------------

The limo had a dozen bags and packages from as many boutiques and would have had two or three times that if Makayla hadn't put her foot down.

"Lex, thank you. Today has been incredible and I enjoyed spending it with you but if I have to try on one more dress I'm going to faint from exhaustion." She said poking him teasingly in the ribs.

Putting his hands up in mock surrender he acquiesced, "Okay, okay but I am still taking you to dinner."

"I'd love it." She answered leaning into him in the back seat, resting her head on his shoulder. This day had been like a fairy-tale to her and as much as she protested she really didn't want it to end. It seemed like nothing could possibly ruin this moment.

-------------------------------------------

"Just what the hell did you think you were doing Clark?" Clark heard for the third time. At least this time it was from Pete who wasn't yelling at him for his brazen impulsiveness. Admittedly, his best friend was in amused shock over what had been revealed to him. He was the only one that Clark had told 'everything' to about his encounter with Makayla.

"Man, what if Chloe finds out or worse yet Lana?" Pete questioned sipping his double latte as they sat face to face in a more secluded corner of the Talon.

"They won't, besides it was a one time thing and at least now I know why it happened." Clark responded.

"Let's for a moment forget about they why, and focus on the what, as in what was it like?" Pete asked grinning devilishly.

"It was amazing." Clark said flushing as he thought about his making love for the first time. "It was like soaring through space and seeing exploding stars. Whole galaxies rushed passed with lights blazing in every colour imaginable." He began to feel warm again recalling the sensations they had experienced together.

"Wow, if that is what hot alien sex is like, can I have her number?" Pete asked teasing.

"Pete!" Clark exclaimed blushing.

"Hey just kidding Clark." his friend protested in pretend defense.

Turning serious for a moment Clark added in a dismayed tone, "What if Dr. Swan is right though, what if Makayla is my destiny, then what do I do about Lana?"

Just as seriously Pete answered, "At the risk of sounding like your dad for a moment. Clark you make your own destiny, forget this guy, do what you feel is right."

-------------------------------------------

The restaurant was exquisite. The many white clothed tables were lit only by candle light creating an intimate atmosphere. One hand on her back Lex guided her gently to a private table reserved only for him.

"Wow, this is beautiful Lex." She said impressed at his choice of locale.

"Not as beautiful as the woman sitting across from me." Lex replied in a suave, sophisticated manner again forcefully reminding himself she was still in high school.

"Could you excuse me for a moment while I use the ladies room." she asked hoping she didn't make some grand error in table manners. She wasn't accustomed to such lavishness and for some reason felt intensely nervous. She was worried her inadequacies would soon become very apparent and Lex would look at her with disdain.

"Hurry back." He said, his eyes twinkling mischievously.

The washroom facilities here were larger than the entire apartment she occupied with Kyle. She glanced at her reflection in the mirror making sure her makeup didn't need a touch up before washing her hands. The evening had been one she would treasure forever. Lex had a way of making her feel like a princess and it was the closet she had ever felt to being free.

She was about to dry them on the white linen towel nearby when a hand clamped over her mouth and a bulky arm grabbed her around the waist. She tried to scream but the noise was inaudible. Her attacker dragged her into one of the large stalls where she could feel his hot breath on the back of her neck. He sniffed her hair deeply and squeezed tighter around her waist making her struggle for air as she began to grow light headed from the lack of oxygen.

"Who do you think you are? Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman?" The voice hissed. She recognized it as Kyle's and wondered how on earth he had found her here of all places.

She couldn't make a sound so she shook her head slightly instead. She tried to struggle out of his grasp but felt weak and nauseated.

"Yeah, don't think I've forgotten." he growled and letting go of her waist for a moment he held up a large chuck of green meteor rock on a chain. He slipped it around her neck roughly. His hand travelled slowly down her body brushing against the side of her breast causing her to shudder in revulsion.

"Did you do it yet?" he demanded holding her up as her legs buckled beneath her. She shook her head no as tears began welling from her eyes caused both by the physical pain he was inflicting and the reminder that her life was not her own.

Kyle knew her secret, that she wasn't from Earth but he had also discovered her weakness, the green rocks scattered about Smallville from the meteor shower. He used them to control her and prevent her from overpowering him.

Heat vision and speed were some of her abilities and normally she had strength similar to Clark's where being struck by a steel crowbar would shatter the tool and not break any bones. Unlike him, however, it would leave very painful welts or bruises for days as evidenced by the signs of violence reflected on her body over the years.

With this knowledge he had devised a scam and used her to carry it out. If she didn't do as she was told he would reveal her secret to the world and while he sat back collecting millions she would become some laboratory experiment or worse.

The plan was for her to attract some rich sleazy businessman, bring him to his home or a hotel room. She would then drug him and set him up to look like he was conducting a sordid affair with a minor which would ruin his reputation and land him in jail. Kyle made sure there was photographic evidence and blackmailed the victims for large sums of money.

She never actually slept with the targets but she felt just as dirty all the same.

"Did you do it yet?" he repeated viciously. She shook her head no, her fear growing as her strength continued to weaken. He spun her around, slamming her back into the steel door of the stall and gripped her by the throat, squeezing.

"If you don't, I will kill him, do you understand me?" he threatened meaning every word of it.

She nodded vigorously. "You have two days!" he warned.

Ripping open the door he pushed her out and backhanded her a few times wearing a set of brass knuckles.

The last blow sent her flying toward the sinks where her skull made contact with the marble counter top with a sickening thud. Everything went black as she fell unconscious to the floor.

A few moments later the scream of another patron made Lex's heart leap into his throat. He bolted from their table, pushing his way into the ladies room.

"Call an ambulance!" he screamed at a waiter who had followed him. There was blood all over her face and clothes, staining the brand new white evening gown he had just bought Makayla. He ran to her side, dropped to his knees and cradled her head in his lap while he waited for help to arrive.

-------------------------------------------

"Lex I just heard, is she alright!" Clark cried out as he burst into the hospital room Makayla lay in still unconscious from the attack.

"I don't know Clark." Lex replied, his dismay and sadness clearly evident in his expression. He looked tired and like he was under a tremendous amount of strain. He sat by her bedside in an uncomfortable green chair where he had been all night. Her injuries were at least not life threatening so he had had her flown to the Smallville Medical Centre.

"What happened?" Clark asked softly putting a comforting hand on his friends' shoulder.

"The police have no solid evidence but believe it was Kyle again." he answered.

Their conversation was cut short when a moan escaped Makayla's lips and she weakly called out a name, "Kalel!"

"Kalel?" Lex repeated perplexed, "Who is Kalel?"

"Maybe it's not a who, but a what?" Clark suggested trying to redirect Lex.

Her eyes fluttered for a moment and then opened squinting at the harsh overhead light. Turning her head she noticed her two visitors. "Lex? What happened?"

Brushing aside her question for the moment he stood taking her hand and asked, "Who is Kalel?"

Her eyes flicked in Clark's direction but quickly returned to Lex as she responded, "I don't know, I must have been dreaming." She attempted a wan smile while struggling to sit up. Lex assisted her and brushed her hair out of her face with uncharacteristic tenderness.

"The police are going to want to talk to you but what do you remember?" Lex coaxed gently.

The images flashed in her mind in a cascade of pictures, "Oh god, Kyle!" she gasped.

"I knew it!" he declared his temper boiling beneath the surface.

Swallowing hard she made a very tough decision, "Lex I have to tell you something, something you aren't going to like and you will probably hate me for." With that she revealed everything only leaving out the extraterrestrial parts.

Lex didn't know how to feel about what she had just revealed to him but he had one burning question, "Why did you tell me?"

"I couldn't do it; you are nothing like those other sleaze balls. I..I.." she stuttered.

"You what?" he pressed her.

"I developed these feelings." She answered avoiding his gaze. She was terrified he wouldn't believe her but knew if he decided he wanted nothing more to do with her it was probably for the best. It would help to keep him safe from Kyle anyway. She could tell Kyle that Lex somehow found out and threw her out of the mansion threatening to expose their scam if they didn't leave him alone.

His reaction caught her off guard when he lifted her chin and kissed her full on the lips. It was a soft connection, gentle and undemanding. The few seconds of their contact seemed like forever and filled her with an unaccustomed sense of tranquility.

He pulled back slowly as a look of determination entered his eyes and he declared, "I'm going to kill him."

"Clark.." He was going to ask Clark to stay and watch over her but when he straightened up the young man was gone.

"Lex, no. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you. Let the police deal with it, just take me home please." She begged.

He was torn between hunting down the bastard and making sure she was truly alright. He looked down into her watery pleading eyes and gave in. He would have his men search for Kyle but do nothing when they found him. Lex would take care of this personally. "Alright."

-------------------------------------------

Lex insisted in carrying her up the two fights of stairs to her room and gently laid her back in the plush, down filled comforter. He sat down beside her and asked, "Can I get you something? Tea? Water?"

She bit her lip tremulously and requested, "Just hold me Lex, don't ever let go."

He did as requested, resting his chin lightly on the top of her head. She closed her eyes snuggling closer to his chest. After the chill had left her body she leaned back, searching his face for some indication of what was going through his mind and said, "Lex, I know I'm only seventeen but I can't help the way I feel. I don't deserve your forgiveness so I won't ask for it but I do hope you understand."

He knew he should offer her some simple assurances that everything was alright and leave her room but he couldn't. Instead he slowly leaned in and brushed his lips across hers. They felt like rose petals, smooth and lush. Her scent filled him with hunger as he kissed first her eyelids, then her nose before capturing their fullness with his.

"Makayla." He murmured, his whisper betraying all of the pent up desire coursing through his body. Her lips opened welcoming him to explore the depths of her mouth which he did so eagerly.

Grabbing him by the lapels of his suit jacket she pulled him backwards to lie on top of her.

"Lex." She murmured breathlessly back, "Make love to me."

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Clark had searched all over last night for Kyle to no avail. He probably hadn't gotten back to Smallville by then anyway. Getting up early, he completed his chores in record time preparing to continue his search.

The sun had just started creeping over the horizon when Clark came within a few block of the apartment building Makayla had shared with that brute. He saw a few of Lex's guys watching from a parked car across the street and stayed out of their view. Front their vantage point they could see both the door to the building and the fire escape on the side.

Focusing his attention Clark used his x-ray vision to scan the third floor apartment that had been in the information Chloe dug up. It was empty as he figured it would be.

He decided to scan the rest of the building just in case and hit pay dirt. He saw movement in a piping tunnel in the basement area. Kyle must have been sneaking through the water drainage system into the building and up to his apartment.

After pulling the same manoeuvre Clark stood outside the apartment door, listening for movement inside. Deciding he couldn't wait any longer Clark burst in the door ready to clobber the slimeball. He managed to surprise Kyle but when thug turned around he was holding a gun in one hand and a metal collar in the other decorated with bits of meteor rock.

Without hesitating Kyle opened fire. Clark raised his hand but began to feel the effects of the Kryptonite. The bullets slammed harmlessly into his upraised palm which caught Kyle off guard but he quickly recovered.

Makayla's guardian took the advantage and strode over to Clark who had fallen to his hands and knees gasping. "So, you're a freak just like her, are you spaceboy?" he said menacingly, "Well I know exactly how to deal with your kind."

With that, he kicked Clark in the ribcage as hard as he could with his steel-toed work boots. The impact sent Clark flying into a wall cracking the drywall. He landed with a thud on the dusty wooden floor and struggled to get up. Kyle grabbed one of the kitchen chairs and smashed it over Clark's back making him collapse uselessly. The solid wooden chair broke apart into a dozen pieces.

The sounds of footsteps pounding up the wooden stairs stopped him from beating up the farm boy anymore. He figured someone must have heard the shots.

"I'd love to stick this thing on you and see you writhing in agony but I have better plans." he said shaking the collar at Clark before fleeing out the door. Half a minute later Lex and his two guys from the car outside burst into the room guns drawn.

Lex exasperated that once more Clark somehow managed to get somewhere before he did helped the young man up and quizzed him, "Clark, what are you doing here and how did you get in? I said I would take care of this."

With a groan and rubbing his sore rib cage he replied, "The same way he did, through a tunnel in the basement."

"Clark, please, let me deal with this before you get yourself killed." Lex admonished.

Reluctantly Clark agreed but only because Kyle clearly had access to a supply of Kryptonite "Okay, but be careful he had a gun." He warned his friend.

-------------------------------------------

A few hours later and fully recovered Clark entered the Talon hoping to see Lana. She was just cleaning up after the lunch rush. Fortunately the place was empty so they could speak freely.

"Lana, hi!" He called happy to see her.

"Clark." she replied emotionlessly, brushing past him to remove the dirty cups from one of the tables.

"Lana, what's wrong?" he asked following in her wake.

She straightened up, put a fist on her hip and stared at him. She was trying to keep her emotions under control as she replied sarcastically, "What could possibly be wrong Clark?"

"I don't know, tell me." He shrugged bewildered.

Tapping her foot and refusing to look at him she blurted out, "Oh I don't know Clark, how about I came over to visit the other night to talk about things and I saw..."

Her lip began to tremble and her brown eyes glistened with tears she promised herself she wouldn't shed, "I saw you kissing that girl."

"Oh." Was all Clark could think of to reply.

"Oh? oh? Is that all you have to say to me?" She yelled, threw down the cloth in her hand and sank down into a nearby chair. She buried her face in her hands not wanting him to see her breaking her promise to herself.

From a crack in the doorway of the kitchen someone watched as Clark got down on his knee in front of Lana. "It didn't mean anything; I'm not even sure what that was." He tried to explain.

"How could you do this Clark?" she said finally raising her head to meet his intent look. Her makeup was smudged and her eyes were red and puffy but she was still the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. His heart swelled to be near her and he felt angry with himself for causing her yet more pain.

"Lana, I'm sorry. All I can say is, it wasn't really me. I can't explain what happened."

Wiping her tears away vigorously Lana answered flippantly, "Of course not Clark, you can never explain."

"I.." was all he could manage at a loss for words.

"Just go Clark, please." she asked.

Very reluctantly he got up and did as she wanted. When this was all over he hoped he could find some way to make it up to her. To make her understand that it was her that filled his thoughts all day, her that he dreamed about even in the middle of the day.

-------------------------------------------

Clark had a meeting with Chloe about an article for the Talon. He didn't really feel like going but he didn't want to let her down too.

They met at the Beanery a rival coffee shop to the Talon but he had little choice at the moment.

"So if we each take three of these functions over the next two weeks we can have the column ready by the first." Chloe was saying. When Clark didn't respond she added, "And then the aliens beamed me up to their spaceship and made me listen to Britney Spears for hours."

"What? Oh, sorry Chloe, I was just thinking." Clark said dejectedly.

"Let me guess, about the beautiful yet unreachable Lana Lang."

He grinned ruefully which told her she had guessed correctly. It was like a knife in her heart.

"Look Clark, I'm not sure why I am sharing this but just give Lana time."

"But I made a terrible mistake and I don't think she will ever forgive me, not that I can blame her." he exclaimed full of misery.

"I know, she told me. But she blames herself as much as you." Chloe said hesitantly putting a hand on his arm in comfort.

"Why would she blame herself, I'm the one who kissed another girl." He declared.

Chloe winced at this with a pang of jealousy. It was hard for her to do this but she knew it was the right thing to do. "Clark, really, just give her some time and things will work out."

"Promise?" He asked with a half-hearted grin. It was something no one could promise but he hoped she was right.

-------------------------------------------

Lex had updated her on what had happened at her former apartment. Somehow she needed to convince Clark to stay out of it so while Lex was in his office making some business calls he had neglected over the past few days, Makayla left heading for the Kent farm.

When she got there she was greeted by Martha Kent at the door. "I'm sorry but Clark isn't here, he had to meet Chloe in town, but come in and wait he should be back soon."

"Thank you Mrs. Kent." Makayla replied politely following her into the kitchen. It was a warm, cozy room that gave the distinct aura that a happy family lived here.

Jonathan seeing one of Lex's cars in the driveway came to the house to see what his son's friend wanted. He glanced from the strange girl and then to Martha with a questioning look in his eyes.

Not needing to see his face to know what he was thinking Makayla said, "Look Mr. and Mrs. Kent, I know you are worried that I am going tell someone, everyone, about your son's secret but I'm not."

"No offense but how can we believe you, we don't even know who you are." Jonathan declared.

Looking him steady in the eye she answered, "Because I share the same secret."

The meaning of that statement was clear and definitely not lost on the two.

"Are you sure?" he asked still unwilling to believe.

"Most definitely." she answered. Opening her purse she pulled out a thick heavy pipe and then proceeded to bend it in half with ease right in front of them. She had brought it knowing a demonstration of her powers was the only thing that might convince them that she meant no harm to their son. She handed it gingerly to Jonathan to examine which he did even trying unsuccessfully to pull it back into its original shape.

"What is it you want with Clark?" Martha asked, getting to the point of their trepidation.

"Nothing, actually I came here to convince Clark to stay away from me."

The couple both looked at her perplexed having thought she was here to try and convince Clark to go off with her.

"Why?" Martha managed to speak up.

"Because something odd happens when we get near each other." she said and then blushed as she spotted the barn out the kitchen window. Quickly recovering she added, "He's also in danger from my ex-boyfriend."

"What kind of danger?"

"Kyle knows my secret and he's been using it and me to his advantage. I don't want the same thing to happen to Clark." She said sombrely.

"Kyle? That's this ex-boyfriend?" Jonathan questioned still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that there was someone else like Clark out there and in Smallville no less.

Before she could answer Makayla felt a sudden sharp stabbing pain in her stomach. She grabbed her belly and bent slightly over with the pain. She winced as another wave hit her.

"Makayla?" Martha called alarmed.

"I'm okay, it's just.." she replied trying to catch her breath and fell to her knees when the pain then moved to her head. "Oh god!" she cried out in agony clutching her head.

Martha rushed to her side "Jonathan, call a doctor!" the red haired woman called panicky.

"We can't! Just like we can't for Clark!" Makayla heard Jonathan call back just before everything went black and she sunk to the floor.

-------------------------------------------

It was about an hour later when Makayla came to on the Kent's couch. A pretty dark haired woman stood over her wearing a white physician's jacket and a stethoscope.

"Thank you Helen." Martha said, "We wouldn't have called you but we didn't know what else to do."

Makayla sat up feeling a lot better than before, "What's going on?" she asked recognizing the woman from pictures Lex had in his office.

"This is Dr. Bryce; she's a friend, someone we trust." Martha answered.

"Yes I know who she is, but why is she here?"

"Oh, I forgot, you're staying at Lex's, of course you know who Helen is." She replied.

"I'm sorry, I'm being rude." Makayla said offering her hand to the doctor and Lex's former fiance. "I'm Makayla Farris."

"Yes, the Kent's have filled me in with the basics. I had to take a blood sample for testing, I hope that is okay." Helen said cautiously.

Makayla glanced up at Martha who nodded and then answered, "Yes, that's fine. Will you let me know what you find out right away please?"

"Of course." Dr. Bryce answered and packed up her things. She pocketed the vial and left hurriedly.

A voice sounded form the kitchen, "Mom, dad, I'm home!"

"I know I shouldn't ask you to keep this from your son, but don't tell Clark please. I don't want him to worry."

"We won't." Jonathan agreed.

"In the living room Clark!" Martha called.

Makayla was just standing up and brushing down her skirt when Clark entered. Their eyes met and she could feel the fireworks between them ready to spark. Clearing her throat she smiled uneasily and trying to sound casual she said, "This is a bit of a reversal, but we need to talk."

"Ummm..sure." he said, nervously wondering what she might have revealed to his parents. "Let's go for a walk."

They left through the kitchen door and without either realizing it headed towards the barn. It should have felt much cooler in the shade of the big red building but instead it seemed to be sweltering.

Stopping in front of one of the stall doors she turned to face him. "Lex told me about this morning. I thought I asked you to stay out of it?" she queried trying not to sound harsh.

"I want to help." he replied naturally stepping closer to try and comfort her.

"You would help better if you let the police handle things."

"This will sound selfish, but I don't want to lose you. All my life I have wondered, wished there was someone like me out there and now I've found you." He protested.

She realized that the only way to keep him safe was to be cruel in order to be kind. "Clark, I don't want you. I don't want you near me. I don't want to see you. I don't even want to hear your name." She said trying to sound as hurtful as possible.

She thought it had worked until he grabbed her by the arm yanking her close and replying sarcastically, "What name? Kalel?"

Trying to wrest her arm free she continued, "Clark, Kalel, any name."

She could see the anger growing in his eyes as they literally turned red and his grip tightened.

"Clark, you're hurting me. Let me go!" she demanded.

A firm grip on his shoulder made his head spin coming face to face with his horrified father.

Fighting to regain control, his eyes slowly returned to their natural shade of blue grey. Remorse and devastation filled his soul as he struggled with these alien emotions.

"Clark, let go." His father said firmly.

He did so and watched helplessly as Makayla fled without a word.

"She's right dad, I have to stay away. I don't know what happened, what came over me but it was ugly and hateful."

"It's okay son, she seems like a smart girl, I'm sure she knows it wasn't really you."

"What if it was dad? Everything I've done lately has caused everyone I care about nothing but grief and pain."

Jonathan Kent pulled his son into an embrace, hurting for his confused son.

-------------------------------------------

Makayla tried to calm herself down and regain her composure before returning to the mansion otherwise Lex would demand to know what had happened. She decided to grab a cup of hot chocolate at a nearby café.

A girl her own age was working the counter when she placed her order. It took her a moment, but she realized it was Lana Lang. She put on a smile pretending nothing was amiss but received a cold stare in return and forced politeness when Lana filled gave her, her drink.

"Did I miss something here? Have we met or something?" Makayla asked curious as to why the girl was acting this way. From everything she had ever heard, the former cheerleader was the kind compassionate type.

"No, not at all." Came the chilly reply.

"Okay." She answered not believing it for a moment and decided it was better just to let it go. Grabbing her take-out cup off the counter she turned to leave.

"Wait, yes there is." Lana called out impulsively.

Slowly, running things through her mind trying to figure out how she could possibly have pissed off someone she had never met, she turned around again. After a moment she thought she had the answer.

"Does this have something to do with Clark Kent?" she asked.

"Yes." Lana replied taken aback for a second and then blurted out the question that had been plaguing her thoughts, "Did you sleep with him?"

"What would make you think that?" Makayla asked hoping for more information before answering.

"I saw you two in his loft. Kissing."

"Just kissing?" Makayla probed further.

"Well yes but it was the way he was kissing you." Glancing down and blushing Lana's voice dropped as she added, "I've never seen Clark that way before."

"Did you ask Clark about it?" the auburn haired girl asked.

"That's none of your business." Lana declared heatedly.

Makayla was tired of this cat and mouse game with Lana and snapped, "Then what happened between Clark and I is none of your business."

"So what, you shack up with Lex and then sleep with his best friend?" Lana exclaimed.

"Again, none of this is your business." Makayla replied evenly eager to leave.

"Tramp!" Lana spit out and shocked even herself with her behaviour.

Makayla was about to retort when suddenly all the lights went out, plunging the café into darkness.

-------------------------------------------

Lana came to with a headache and tied to a chair. She could hear someone else in the room with her somewhere behind her.

"Ah, so Kent's little princess awakes." A gravely voice said and laughed.

A large thickset man stepped out from behind her wearing painter's coveralls, carrying a can and a paint roller.

He walked over to a paint tray and poured the contents from the can in. It had a green grey tinge to it and had a funny smell.

"What do you want with me?" She demanded unable to keep the fear out of her voice.

"You? Nothing, you're just part of the bait." He replied and began coating the walls with the thick mixture.

"What's that?" she asked searching the room for an escape route in case she managed to free herself from the ropes binding her.

"Lead based paint with a little additive for your sweetheart." He answered sarcastically and laughed raucously again.

It took him half an hour to finish the room during which time he ignored Lana's questions and pleading with him to let her go.

"Don't worry; you'll have company in a second." He said grinning.

Taking his supplies he left the room leaving the door open. Lana struggled with her bonds but he returned shortly pushing Makayla into the room. The girl collapsed moaning in pain and rolled onto her back, eyes closed as their captor left slamming the door shut behind him.

Lana inhaled sharply at the site of the bruises and welts all over the girl. There was a thick metal collar around her throat with a six foot chain attached.

"Oh god, what did he do to you?" Lana cried out.

"What do you care?" Makayla replied without opening her eyes.

"Look, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said what I did, it was horrible." Lana apologized honestly. She truly did feel bad for the things she said and only said them out of hurt which was no excuse.

After a long pause Makayla replied gently, "He loves you, you know."

"Who? Clark?" Lana asked knowing he was the only person she could have meant.

"Of course Clark." Then after another long pause where Lana could hear her breathing was laboured Makayla added, "Don't give up on him. He's a very special person."

"I know." Lana answered managing a smile despite their current situation.

The door banged open as their captor returned. "Ladies, it looks like we will be having some company soon."

They watched with their fear mounting as Kyle loaded some green coloured bullets into his handgun and laughed maniacally.

-------------------------------------------

"A package just arrived for you Mr. Luthor." A servant announced from the entranceway to Lex's office.

"Thanks, just set it down on my desk please." Lex replied and dismissed him.

He figured he would open it later but the words 'Urgent' and 'Important' inscribed on the small nondescript box piqued his curiosity. Using a crystal letter opener to cut through the tape Lex extracted a sheet of paper and an envelope. Opening the envelope first his heart sank as he pulled out a familiar, vanilla scented lock of hair. Somehow Kyle had managed to get to her.

His temper boiled as he read the note demanding five million dollars in small, nonsequential bills. It provided a location, a time, and instructed him not to contact the police or else. At the bottom it said, "Don't forget to bring your pal Clark, I have something he wants as well."

"I'm going to kill him." Lex declared venomously to the empty room.

-------------------------------------------

Outside the warehouse property Lex checked both his guns again. One he placed in a holster on his waist the other in one strapped to his ankle.

"Just stay behind me Clark." Lex ordered picking up the heavy briefcases. True to the instructions he hadn't contacted the police but his own well-trained security team were situated in several nearby buildings each equipped with night vision goggles and a semi-automatic.

Clark used his x-ray vision to scan the building and was surprised to see a large black spot the size of an office that his eyes couldn't penetrate.

They crossed the open gravel lot towards the dilapidated building checking over their shoulders repeatedly in case of a surprise attack from the rear but none came.

"Inside!" A voice called out gruffly echoing in the still night air.

"Where are the girls?" Lex demanded forcefully, his voice choked with anger.

"You heard me, inside!" the voice bellowed.

They passed through the entrance into a cavernous space that used to be a storage facility for large amounts of cargo.

"I think we should check the offices in the back." Clark suggested.

"Why?" Lex asked.

Clark shrugged and answered, "Instinct."

"Fine, let's go." And they headed towards the far end of the building.

A short scream shattered the silence.

"Lana!" Clark called recognizing the sound. His heart leapt into his throat and he sweated with anxiety. Without waiting for Lex he ran towards the room he knew the two girls were being held captive in. He easily broke down the door but instantly felt a wave of nausea.

Kyle slammed the butt of his gun into Clark's temple knocking him off his feet. Lex arrived a second later and dropping the briefcases grabbed for Kyle's weapon but received a rib cracking kick in the chest.

Both of them were winded and struggled to get up. Lana cried out Clark's name and he could see she was tied to a chair. Makayla was chained to the wall by a collar encircling her throat.

"Now, looky here ladies, I told you we'd have company. Well my love," he said looking at Makayla, "who do I kill first? The girl?" He quizzed aiming the gun at Lana's chest. "The superhero?" He said now pointing it at Clark who had only managed to get to his hands and knees, "Or the sleazeball?" He added finally and pointed it at Lex.

"Go on, I'll let you pick." He said yanking her up by the chain.

It took all off Clark's focus as he used his weakened powers, but he stared intently at the point where the chain was fastened to the wall. His heat vision worked as he melted the metal and it broke free unnoticed by Kyle.

Receiving a hateful glare in answer Kyle shoved Makayla against the wall and shrugged his shoulders, "Loverboy it is." He declared taking a step towards Lex who had just managed to regain his footing sporting several broken ribs and possibly a punctured lung.

"Nooooo!" Makayla screamed as Kyle pulled the trigger. Using her lightening fast reflexes and whatever strength remained in her weakened body, Makayla ran in front of Lex and grabbed the gun before the bullet exited the chamber in an explosion of sound.

Lex could see her from behind as she brought her fist crashing down on Kyle's forearm breaking it and dislodging the gun from his grasp.

Lex whipped his weapon from its holder on his waist and repeatedly fired over her shoulder catching Kyle four times in the chest before the bastard collapsed to the floor.

He felt momentarily elated knowing that this ordeal was now behind them but then Makayla fell backwards into his arms.

Soul shattering grief he hadn't known since the death of his mother overwhelmed him when he saw her blood spreading rapidly from a wound in her chest. She had jumped in front of the bullet, sacrificing herself to save him.

"Nooo!" He howled out in agony and gently lay her down. He ripped off his shirt and pressed it to the wound trying to staunch the massive amount of blood. A puddle of the deep red fluid had collected on the dirty cement floor.

"Lex." She croaked opening her eyes half way.

"No." he cried cradling her body and rocking back and forth. "Please no!"

"Lex." She repeated as a spasm gripped her body. When it passed she simply whispered, "I love you Lex."

-------------------------------------------

The funeral was set for the following Saturday. By then the police had finished their investigation and Lex was never charged for the killing of Kyle Harris.

He sat alone in his office with the lights turned off drinking his fifth glass of straight scotch.

The slightest breath burned both from his bandaged ribs and other, more intangible things.

He became aware of a presence at the door.

"What do you want Clark?" Lex asked pinching the bridge of his nose trying to stave off a migraine.

"Can I come in?" Clark asked unsure of what to expect.

"May as well." Lex answered knowing he was quite intoxicated at this point and was tired of being alone anyway.

"I just wanted to see how you're holding up." Clark said feeling inadequate.

"I don't know how she did it. How she managed to move faster than a speeding bullet to stop that bastard from killing me. Frankly, I don't care, I just want her back." Lex said knowing the futility of this desire.

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Standing outside the doors of the hospital morgue Lionel Luthor pulled on his leather driving gloves with great care before speaking.

"Is it done?" he asked expecting only one answer.

"Yes sir." Was the reply.

"And the body?"

"Already back at level three."

"Good. Good." Lionel said pleased. "Make sure her umm.. 'replacement' is as similar as possible.

"Already taken care of sir."

"Excellent" he said grinning. "No don't forget our other little project." He added walking away. The sound of his heels echoed like gunfire down the empty hallway.

-------------------------------------------

Returning home from the cemetery the Kent family walked up the front steps of their yellow farm house sombrely.

Jonathan slung an arm around his son's shoulder, "I'm so sorry son. I know how much it meant to you that you finally found someone like you."

"I know dad." Clark replied not knowing what else to say. His loss was something his parents could never truly understand no matter how much they tried.

"What's this?" Martha said removing a manila envelope from the frame of the front door.

"It's got your name on it Clark." Jonathan said immediately suspicious.

Clark ripped it open and pulled out a couple of photographs. He glanced up looking swiftly around to see if whoever had left it was still around.

"What is it son?" Mr. Kent asked.

Clark passed the photos to his father who flipped through them quickly. They were all of Clark the day he encountered Kyle at his apartment. They showed Kyle shooting at Clark and Clark stopping the bullets with his bare hand.

"Someone knows dad, and they have proof."

-------------------------------------------

Two hours after the service Lex was once again drowning his sorrows in alcohol only this time he was drinking straight from the bottle.

He paused when he reached his desk spying a large envelope with his name on it in typed letters.

He was tempted to throw it into the fire knowing whenever he got a mysterious package like this it was always bad news. His need to know however found him ripping it open impatiently.

Inside he found a photograph and a folder. The photo was of Makayla and Clark. Her hair spread around her like a fiery halo sleeping contentedly on Clark's bare chest. A sheet covered them from the waist down but her back was bare reminding him of how it felt to touch that smooth silky skin.

It was like a bullet to the stomach and he wished now more than ever that it had been him rather instead Kyle had shot in cold blood.

Tossing the picture face down on the desk he flipped open the folder that held a medical report. It had Helen's signature and had no doubt been stolen out of her files. He read her neat scrawl not knowing when she had ever seen Makayla.

"Patient Makayla Farris with symptoms of nausea, headache and severe cramps has tested positive for pregnancy." He read aloud noting the date of the test was two days after she and Lex had made love.

The final cruel twist of fate was that he would never know if the baby had been his or Clark's. Doing what he should have done before he opened the envelope, he tossed it along with the photo into the fire and watched them burn with the flames reflecting in his eyes.