Chronos: Dense
by Creedog VanDrey

Category: Smallville
Genre: Supernatural, Romance
Rating: K+
Language: English
Summery: A post-Lexmas and a Godeerc the Mystic story. Lex takes drastic action after the death of his wife. Some Chlark, but it will not be the main focus of the story.
Spoilers: Lexmas.

A/N: I wanted to get my story out there before anyone else could, so I wouldn't be influenced. Let me point out one thing though. This is not taking place in Lex's head. He did not go into a coma after the operation (a great way to write one of these; hint, hint), and this is not a continuation of his Last Temptation/Amor Fati. This takes place in Godeerc's world of the could-have-but-didn't-happen. By the way, for those not familiar with my work, Godeerc the Mystic, a character loosely based on my writing partner, Godeerc VanDrey, is a "mystic" (loose use of the definition) with the ability to traverse the quantum world. Usually, he takes the angelic role from It's a Wonderful Life on a smaller scale, showing people glimpses of what life would be like given different choices. This story is a novel use of him. I ask my fans in particular to tell me what you think of what you think. This is probably have three chapters. We'll see. The first one's named "Dense." You'll see why.


Chapter 1: Dense

December 25, 2005
12:25 AM

Large snowflakes fluttered past Lex Luthor's hospital room window. This was not Lex's ideal way to celebrate Christmas, in a hospital room in Metropolis, recovering from potentially fatal surgery. Now, he watched as his mother's reflection in the window faded. Disappeared, just like she had eleven years ago.

Lillian watched as her son Lex's reflection faded from the window, along with the rest of the room, leaving her incorporeal body floating in the colorless void of timelessness.

She felt a presence. Or saw it. In this realm, the particularities of one's senses are blurred. Regardless, she knew it was there. She was surer of it than humans are of their own surroundings. They could only trust in what they see and felt, and occasionally, chose to believe in on faith alone. Here, wherever it was, or if it was anywhere, (or whether it was actually a somewhere to actually be at anyway), one's faith in existence is all one had.

The soul that joined her was benign. She knew it on faith. Speaking to it, she said, "Funny how they only listen to us when they're unconscious."

She turned to look at it, in the physically indescribable way that souls turn to look at things. She smiled.

He smiled back, "They think only people like John Edwards can do stuff like that. And he's never talked to a soul in his life."

"So, what's your story? It takes a special person to roam the perimeter of Hell."

"I'm a guide actually."

Lillian raised an eyebrow. "Alive?"

"Yep."

"That's a first."

The man was dressed in warm winter clothes. He put in hands in his overcoat. "Not really, because of the lack of linear time. And, there have been others. We don't visit often."

"'Often'?" she quipped.

"You're allowed to keep your earthly perceptions. The less fortunate are driven insane by instant celestial understanding." A hint of humor could be detected in his voice.

"So why visit me?"

"Your heart's in the right place, Lillian. It always has been and that's why you're here rather than one of the Big Places." He paused for effect, "Don't you find it ironic that Lex's glimpse ended when it did?"

"He woke up. I showed him all I could in the space of time that he was unconscious."

"There's no such thing as time. That means you can take as much of it as you want."

Lillian laughed, "That doesn't make sense."

"Well, there's so such thing rational logic either," he replied flatly.

"It makes my head hurt. I suppose you're going to tell me there's no such thing as pain, right?"

Lillian suddenly found wishing she had the ability to coil up in a fetal position and cover her ears, because she was suddenly subjected to the screams of billions of tormented souls.

"Pain He allows."

Groaning and picking herself up (a motion that occurred only in her imagination), she added, "And, apparently, irony."

"God creates certain things for humankind. He keeps stuff he enjoys for this realm, too. Like humor and irony."

Tiring of the metaphysical discussion, she directed him, "You were telling me about why Lex's dream ended. It had to; he's still limited by linear time, even if I'm not."

"C.S. Lewis dreamt of the prototype for the entire Chronicles of Narnia series in a thirty-minute nap. Well, except for The Magician's Nephew," he added as an aside. "Point being, people dream remarkably fast."

"Why are you telling me this?"

"I'm sorry to say you were wrong about Lex. You didn't let the tape play out."

December 27, 2012

The skies of Smallville had never been grayer. It was overcast; stone-colored clouds carpeted the entire horizon. There was no way to know what time of day it was. And it was cold, bitterly cold: seventeen degrees, with the occasional burst of wind making it feel like eight.

A large crowd huddled around an ash wood coffin. It seemed far too large for the petite woman inside. Lex Luthor, dressed in his best black suit, black overcoat, black leather gloves, and a dark stocking cap, held tightly to his four-year-old son, who cried openly for his lost mother and shivered from the cold. Lex did not cry, but his face showed many emotions: sadness, despair, shock. Frigid tears burned his eyes and he blinked often because of it.

To his immediately left were Senator Jonathan and Martha Kent, in mourning dress. Sen. Kent was visibly sorrowful, but his aura still managed to portray authority and dignity. He stood like a senator; no longer simply a farmer. Martha wept softly, pressing her face into her husband's shoulder when she felt her sobs becoming too loud. She, likewise, was a senator's wife.

Beside them were Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan. Clark wore a black suit, an overcoat, and gloves, but no hat. His eyes watered and his face showed a single tear streak. Chloe held tightly to his arm for warmth, her cheek pressed against his shoulder. She wore heavy winter clothes over her black dress. She was shivering and crying, and wiped all her tears immediately, often on Clark's sleeve.

Standing to Clark's left was Lois Lane. She looked both sad and exhausted. Upon hearing of Lana's death, she made a promise to herself to attend the funeral. And to do it, she had finished her article on Toys for Tots half a day early, which was a mere six hours ago. In the last forty-eight hours, she slept at most six of them and her face showed it. She swore one day, she would kill Editor-in-Chief Paulette Kahn.

To Lex's right was Nell Potter and her husband, Dean. She seemed catatonic, and her husband held her. Her mind reeled of a single thought: that her worst fear had come true. Her sister Laura, petite little Laura, had had a difficult pregnancy with Lana. Her body was not made to sustain the rigors of pregnancy. Luckily, her first child was a girl, a girl who was born only five days early, but was still considered a borderline low birth weight baby. That had been Laura's saving grace.

Potters descendents, especially the smaller-framed ones, were not physically adapted to breed with the six-foot Luthors without consequences. Her newest grandniece, Lillian "Lily" Lana Luthor, was healthy… and compared with her mother at birth, heavy. Like her big brother was. According to the height-weight charts, the little guy could expect to be at least five-ten by the age of sixteen. But love conquers all, right?

Nell cursed her bitter thoughts.

Justice Abigail Ross and Pete Ross were also in attendance. The elder Ross was solemn, presenting dignity that matched Sen. Kent's. Pete, on the other hand, was visibly shaken.

Even the minister at the head of the coffin was unable to recite the Twenty-third Psalm without occasional sighs of grief.

The turn-out was unheard of. A dense crowd of more than a hundred were packed around that grave in the Smallville Cemetery.

December 30, 2012

Clark Kent sat at his small desk inside the twelfth floor of the Daily Planet building in Metropolis. There was a framed picture on his desk, him and four of his best friends in the summer of 2006 at Crater Lake in Smallville. In it, Clark was grinning ear to ear, wearing baggy red swim trunks and a light blue muscle shirt. He had one arm wrapped around a smiling Chloe, in a modest navy blue tankini, and the other around Pete (who had finally been able to visit) in dark green trunks. Lois, wearing a shiny gold two-piece, stood between the trio and Lana, who was in her black and yellow racing suit.

That was after Clark and Lana had broken up. It was a hard breakup, but it seemed inevitable. They were being pulled apart. Lana harbored jealously about him and Chloe. Her womanly intuition had caught on to Clark and Chloe sharing a big secret. There was, of course, nothing beyond platonic going on between them, but it was a wedge nonetheless. Clark's sudden celibacy after being shot and briefly dying didn't help matters. And he saw that she was starting to become uncomfortable around Lex.

The post-surgery Lex had quit the senatorial race and then LuthorCorp, giving up a great deal of money that Lionel managed to siphon away from his son with some dubious business tactics. Lex managed to retain ownership of the Talon, and co-managed it with Martha Kent until he found a job in Granville as a middle manager with a medical supplies company that catered to Wayne Enterprises, one of LuthorCorp's main rivals. Over the course of a year, much of the animosity between Lex and Clark, not to mention the Kents, had dissolved. In fact, Pete even began to warm up to Lex, caused in no small part because of the free business advice Lex offered that put Pete on the favorites list of both the dean of law and the dean of business at Washburn University. Lex also became a community figure. He took the Granville Habitat for Humanity to new level in 2007. Some of his policies were adopted by the Smallville chapter. He streamlined the Lowell Country unemployment agency, and brought the unemployment level below three percent. He personally found foster parents or adoptive parents for more than a hundred orphans in Eastern Kansas.

In actuality, it wasn't Clark who caught onto the attraction between Lex and Lana. It was Chloe who dropped subtle hints at him that something might be going on between them. She finally told him flat out after the breakup. To Clark, it was reminiscent of her keeping his secret to herself for months before the incident in the Arctic. He knew that Lex had at some point developed a crush on Lana, but hadn't thought much of it. Lex had always been one of his biggest supporters in his relationship with Lana. He didn't think much more of it than Chloe's crush on him. Of course, that had been a mistake, a mistake which became history repeating itself. This he realized in hindsight. It was always in hindsight for Clark. He often felt denser than lead.

Clark's eidetic memory progressed to complete total recall by the time he was twenty-one. Though he could go back and analyze each gesture, he still didn't see how he could have realized the situation. All the alien powers in the world couldn't replace a woman's intuition, it seemed.

Clark took the picture and laid it face down. He couldn't deal with seeing her face right now. He had learned to live without her love, but she was still a good friend. It had been a hard road to friendship again, but both swore to savage it. Eventually, they both moved on from the relationship. Lana began to see Lex, platonically at first, but it soon grew to more. Clark briefly dated a girl named Lori he met at school, but the relationship ended when Clark started hastily talking marriage after Lex and Lana announced their engagement after a five-month courtship. He almost didn't agree to be the best man three months later. But his humorous "Third Time's the Charm" speech was the highlight of the reception, even though he later found out his figure was off because of a few legal technicalities. Chloe's being his "date" to the wedding was the last semblance of a date he'd had in years. Ironically, it was Chloe's constant presence with him, and his own self-imposed shyness, that kept him single. He never approached women; they rarely approached him because of the cute blond by his side.

Clark moved the picture from his desk into a drawer. He paused to collect his composure. A single tear stained his assignment about S.T.A.R. Labs. Clark's recent promotion to investigative reporter had not been controversial. It was no secret that he had been Chloe Sullivan's protégé of sorts even before his hiring at the Planet, and he definitely shown a decent portion of the potential that Chloe had. And since Chloe was currently on an eighteen-month sabbatical (reluctantly extended from a twelve-month sabbatical by Chloe and Clark's direct superior, Perry White) to write her book about LuthorCorp, Clark was challenged to fill her shoes. And while Clark still didn't compare to Chloe, he was deemed talented enough to be given what would have been her assignments.

"Hey, Smallville, you're not napping on the job are you?" came Lois's ever-perky voice.

Lois had finally caught Chloe's investigative curiosity… almost. She was not cut out for investigative reporting, or at least not yet. Her biggest problem was with deadlines. Consequently, she currently worked on the infamous eighth floor, where the Planet's Sunday magazine, the Element, was published. She wrote an informal, sarcastic, and often cynical or risqué column about her love-hate relationship with the big city.

Clark looked up at her with his watery eyes, and Lois turned immediately apologetic. She cursed. "Sorry, Clark. I'm not getting enough sleep and it's rendering me tactless."

Clark gave no reply.

Lois relented, "More tactless, yes." She forced a smile, which Clark returned.

She plopped herself in the chair that she stole from an occupied desk, relating to him, "You know humor's my defense mechanism. Like undue guilt for not saving the world single-handedly is yours." She paused, realizing her repeated mistake, "Sorry! But, really, Clark, that's why the big cities have superheroes. The White Knight here. The Batman in Gotham. A whole bunch in New York, and it still isn't fixed!"

Clark smiled. "It's okay, Lois. You've got the right idea. How're things in Neverland?"

The nickname for the eighth floor had a double meaning. Firstly, it represented the attitudes of most of the employees there: one reminiscent of the carefree Lost Boys. And "never" was often when the articles seemed to be turned in. Since Saturday nights were crunch time, it had been years since Lois had been awake before three in the afternoon on a Sunday. It was okay; she wasn't that religious anyway. The lack of free time on weekends had also caused her hair to darken from caramel-colored to a deep mahogany. She never seemed to have time anymore to get it lightened.

"We're actually very busy," she said.

"On a Friday? Seems a little early for you guys to be worrying about a magazine due out on Sunday."

She admitted, "…with chair ball. I tell ya, Eileen has really lost her advantage. Before she could move faster on a rolling chair than Lance Armstrong on a bicycle," Lois commented on the head editor of the Element. Sometimes, Clark didn't understand how their rival magazine, the Star's Galaxy had consistently lower ratings, considering the stronger work ethic. Maybe it was because of the work ethic. You weren't going to find a satirical two-part article about the coming (then passing) Mayan Doomsday in anything owned by the Star. Clark was usually too busy to ponder the popularity gap, even with his abilities. He had destroyed too many keyboards by training to gain an advantage by attempting to type in super-speed. That and super-strength were not a good combination. Even he had to work the old-fashioned way.

"So, farmboy, got lunch plans?"

"Chloe and I are getting soup and sandwiches at Millar's. You're welcome to join us."

"Thanks, but I got plans. I'm meeting with a source."

"A source? Since when you do you have sources?"

"Since one of the personal trainers of one of the gyms I reviewed asked me out. You should see this guy. He's got muscles like you did when you were eighteen."

Clark smiled to himself. His musculature was as toned as ever, but well hidden in the dull suits he wore to work. Truth be told, he looked younger than his twenty-six years, and he intentionally wore suit that were slightly too big to give him a modest and amateur appearance, rather than that of a Greek god, which he guessed must be the typical physique of Kryptonians with their speed-of-light metabolism.

On the other side of the room, Chloe Sullivan uncomfortably watched her cousin and best friend talk happily. It hurt for several reasons. One, there was that crush that still refused to go away even after… God, has it really been thirteen years? Half my life? Plus, only three days had passed after the funeral of one of their closest friends. With a regained composure and attempted cheery smile, she strolled up to Clark's desk.

Clark flashed Chloe the two-thousand watt smile that he reserved specially for her. It made Chloe's stomach lurch. For one, it instantly broke down any barriers she created to keep her feelings submerged. It was also completely unreadable. He smiled at her like that at the Spring Formal, right before the world's closest almost-kiss (tied with Mulder and Scully's in The X-Files movie, Chloe's favorite). Yet he greeted her with that smile even back when he was passionately devoted to Lana.

So, she smiled sweetly, like always, "Hey, Clark! Hi, Lois!" Chloe had no reason to be jealous. She and Clark had the strongest friendship of anyone in their group. The friendship between Clark and Lois, on the other hand, was comparable to a potentially explosive sibling rivalry. He and Lana… well, they'd never been able to get that close after the breakup. She and Lana… they'd been like sisters before, but being roommates taught them to keep their distance; they'd never lived together again after freshman year. Plus, Chloe and Clark shared his secret. As did Pete, but he resided in Topeka, pursuing a career in corporate law. Clark and Chloe, on the other hand, worked side-by-side for years. It was a Mulder and Scully-like relationship. Even more so, when they investigated the "weird" stories, which Clark was a magnet for. Well, Mulder and Scully did fall in love, didn't they? The thought both frightened and gave hope to Chloe.

"Hey, girl, what's up?" her cousin asked with enthusiasm.

Chloe was at a loss for an answer. She was definitely not "up." Lana died five days ago, and all that she could think about was how she was afraid—irrationally—that her cousin would steal the heart of a man that Chloe knew Lois had less than zero interest in.

"Not much, just hungry." That's when she noticed that the picture was missing from his desk. She did her best not to lose it right them. Clark was at her side so quickly, Chloe could have swore he'd use his super-speed. Lois soon joined him.

"It's okay, Chloe," he said, "I just put the picture in my desk. I couldn't bear look at it right now. I miss her, too."

Chloe's face reddened with shame upon realizing her companions felt the same. Of course Lois and her untimely sense of humor was the reason they looked so high-spirited in light of Lana's death. They ought to be doing anything to avoid breaking down with grief like she was doing right now.

"I'm fine. I'm fine. Clark, ready to go to lunch? Chicken noodle's the soup de jour. Lois, you're welcome to join us."

Lois gave Chloe the smile she always gave her cousin when she suspected Chloe was suppressing her feelings for Clark. She had no doubts that Chloe secretly hoped she would say no. One look at the picture now in Clark's middle drawer told Lois immediately that her cousin still felt for Clark. The way she was smiling as she rested her head on Clark's chest in that photograph was blatantly obvious. And that smile was identical to those that Chloe gave to Clark when she thought no one was looking. Clark must be denser than lead to not see that on his desk every day.

"No can do, cuz, I've got a source." With that, she grabbed her purse, and tactfully asked, "You gonna be okay?"

"I told you. I'm fine." She smiled, and the words slipped out her mouth, "I've got Clark. Really, I'm fine."

"Well, between Clark and your white knight protector, aren't you always? Oh, and, Clark, watch out; Chloe's super-bodyguard seems rather attached to her. Wouldn't want to make him jealous."

Clark and Chloe shared a smirk.

"So, Clark…" Chloe baited between sips of her steaming bowl of chicken noodle, "aren't you afraid of making my little bodyguard in white jealous?"

Clark with fake modesty, replied, "No, we definitely have an understanding. Plus, we're buds now. I mean, since you've be gone, I've gotten almost every exclusive with him." They both laughed. "And, uh, 'little bodyguard'?" he teased, "He's like a foot taller than you."

"But really, Clark," Chloe started, leaning in and lowering her voice, "you really ought to look a brighter color scheme. The skintight white jumpsuit with the black House of El symbol on your chest is sexy, but not as photogenic as it could be. You wore more color back in Smallville."

Clark asked in total disregard of her comments, "So, I owe you lunch, right?"

"Clark, you owe me nine lunches for all the times you've zipped out of the restaurant to foil bank robberies."

Sighing, he joked, "Maybe I can get a two-for-one deal if we do dinner instead."

Chloe looked up with a blank face, letting the comment simmer, and allowing him to squirm a bit, before half-humorously replying, "Sure. Hell, take me to La Fleur Bleu, and we'll call it even." She smiled triumphantly.

Clark was speechless. However, he had no time to process the conversation as he suddenly jerked his head to the side, as if to hear better, and adopted a concern expression. He looked up at Chloe with an apologetic gesture.

Chloe commented knowingly, "Go on. World's not gonna save itself."

Standing up, he leaned in and said, "This makes ten."

"Go!"

Clark walked to the restroom, and Chloe pretended not to notice the sudden rush of air in the room or the nearly invisible white blur.

Perry White happened to be passing by Clark's desk when he returned from lunch. "Any chance you caught our favorite man in white saving someone while on break?"

"I followed some police cars to the scene of a convenience store robbery. He was gone by the time I arrived."

Perry looked disappointed, "Eh, can't get 'im every day, champ. It's not your fault. Go ahead and write me fifty words on it. How's the S.T.A.R. assignment coming?"

"Perry, I got that today. I got nothing. I'll give you an update on my progress before I leave."

"Don't disappoint me, Kent."

Clark's phone rang as Perry walked away. "Clark Kent, Daily Planet."

"Hey, Clark," came Chloe's voice.

"Hi, Chloe. Sorry for ditching you. You were gone by the time I got back."

"My publisher called about the premiere party tomorrow night. I had to attend to some last minute details. Which reminds me, I need an escort. Make ya a deal. Do this for me and I'll forgive today's lunch."

"Deal. You don't even need to ask." Clark picked up his assignment, and related, "I got do a report on S.T.A.R labs. Any suggestions?"

"Ask for Marie Battle in R&D. She's a great place to start."

Dropping the paper, he said, "You're amazing, you know that?"

"Well, I don't like to brag… Bye, Clark."

"Bye, Chloe."

Luthor Mansion
Smallville, Kansas

Lex entered the office chamber of the Luthor mansion in Smallville. Lionel Luthor was sitting at Lex's old desk, bathed in an eerie blue light. He couldn't have looked more malicious if the light were red.

Lionel looked up from the computer. "Well, Lex, it seems after seven years of disowning me, you suddenly can't stop paying me frequent visits."

With a stern face, Lex stated flatly, "Dad, you had the ability to save my wife… your daughter-in-law." With a gradually rising temper, he continued, "I don't whether this is some sick continuation of your Machiavellian training, …or whether it's some morbid retaliation for Mom's death—" Lionel leapt to his feet, but Lex continued, "…or whether you just like medical procedures that have a much lower rate of success…"

"Lex!" Lionel hissed through closed teeth.

"…but you're right."

Lionel paused.

"The perverted way that you raised me, if you can call it raising me, taught me that I will only succeed in environments that I have full control over."

"Why are you telling me this, Lex?"

"I want to come back to LuthorCorp."


A/N: The cliffhanger was just too good to not use. Looks like this will be a few chapters. I have immense inspiration for this, so you can expect a new chapter shortly. Right now, I'm fighting a sinus infection and need some rest.

(Wide-Eyed Sonriso) – Holy crape myrtles! Long-hair Chloe is hot!