Here you go, the final chapter!
Clark snapped the phone he'd taken from the driver shut with an exerted sigh. He'd called Chloe as well as the police to tell her which number to call if there was an emergency, not taking any chances this time.
"Clark?" he turned around. Maddie stood, leaning against the truck looking very pale.
"What's wrong?" he came over and knelt down in front of her.
"Why -" she choked a little and swallowed hard before trusting herself to speak again. "Why did they want me?"
She correctly read his tone and cut him off. "Please tell me the truth."
He licked his lips uncomfortably. "They just… they were interested in you because you're…special."
"I think I knew that," she nodded and looked down at her shoes for a minute. The rain was still falling and they were both soaking wet. But Clark wasn't about to force Maddie to be inside the truck with the two unconscious men tied up in there. Anytime now, he knew the police whom he'd called, would come and take them away and then he could take Maddie home. Until then, they'd stay away from the inside of the truck entirely. At last, she looked up again and said, "Are you special, Clark?"
He shifted his weight a little and looked away with what he hoped (and knew wasn't) his most bemused smile. "What makes you say that?"
She shrugged. "Because… anyone can be a father but it takes someone very special to make a dad," she quoted, smiling herself. "And I think it has to take someone really special to make a brother, too."
Clark looked at her again, the nervous smile turning into a reassuring nod. "Then I'll do my best."
All at once, the phone went off. He flipped it open. "Hey, Chloe."
"Clark, Liam just called me from the Planet, Swinford is headed your way, have you called the police yet?"
"Yeah, they should be here any time."
"Okay, but Clark, he left about fifteen minutes ago, he could be there anytime."
"Got it, thanks Chloe." he ended the call and snapped the phone shut into his jacket pocket. The rain was still falling but not as hard and in the distance, Clark caught sight of the Ninth Pier lighthouse. "Hey, what do you say we go up there? Out of the rain and everything."
Glad for a distraction, Maddie smiled and nodded twice. She followed him down the road towards the sparkling water.
They climbed the lighthouse steps and Clark heard her counting each one and at the top of fifty-seven, the winding staircase opened into a circular room with windows all around and an enormous light which was not currently lit since the rain hadn't caused much fog.
"Wow…" Maddie sighed. "You can almost see Metropolis from here."
"Yeah," Clark said absently as he walked from one window to the next, probing the darkness outside, searching for a car as well as listening and x-raying for one. At last, he spotted a car in the far-off distance, coming closer. It drove slowly past the van and then suddenly stopped and a man clambered out, running towards the pier. Now if only the police would come before he noticed the two people in the lighthouse… "Maddie," he whispered. "Get down."
"What's wrong?" she asked quietly as she slid down against one of the windows. Clark listened as they sat for a long time, silent as the dead. For a while they could hear Swinford down below, searching around. Then for a long time there was silence and Clark began to wonder if he'd gone, when just then, there were the sounds of footsteps fast on the stairs. "Clark!" she whispered in a panicked voice.
"Just stay there, it's be fine," he replied firmly. He was just about to go down and confront the man on the stairs when he began climbing the last few. That's when Clark felt it. The all-too familiar twisting of his blood rushing, his chest burning, his muscles weakening.
When Swinford came into the top floor of the lighthouse, his pocket glowed green. Clark felt the last of his energy leaving him and he fell on his knees, one hand on his chest, the other clawing the floor underneath him.
"Clark, what's wrong?!" Maddie half screamed, half sobbed from over by the window.
Swinford took in the scene with one sweep of his eyes and shrugged, taking the Kryptonite out of his pocket. "Well, well. Turn's out Edge wasn't insane after all." he smiled as he squatted down next to Clark, waving the meteor rock tauntingly in his face. "And it looks like I've landed the most high-value freak on the market."
Maddie stood, frozen against the window, watching Swinford through wide eyes that were rimmed red around the edges. "Clark…"
"Fortunately, I think I've also got what I came for. They call it killing to freaks with one stone." and he tossed and caught the rock in his hand pointedly.
Clark's arm (which had be the only thing holding him up) gave way and he fell to the floor completely, the pain tearing at his insides ruthlessly.
"Clark!" Maddie screamed, still too disoriented and afraid to move. But as she screamed, the windows began to shake and rattle and the huge light bulb inside the glass case at the center of the room shattered.
The first signs of uncertainty crossed Swinford's face and he stood up straight, the hand holding the rock falling limply at his side. "Maddie…" Clark groaned from the floor. "Don't -"
He could see her trying. Her face tightened and her jaw set but the more the windows shook and Clark writhed on the floor, the more her panic level rose. She raised her hand's to her head and squeezed her eyes shut. Cracks began forming on the windows all around them. They spread like growing plants, creeping along all through the glass.
Swinford backed away a little and shouted over the noise of the shaking glass. "What are you doing!"
"Maddie…" Clark gasped. "No… you've got to fix it -"
"I can't…" she barely managed to say through her teeth. "I can't I - Clark…" one of the window shattered and glass flew everywhere.
One shard spun past Maddie and cut her across the face, another put a thin gash in Clark's arm. But most of it caught Swinford full on. He reeled back as three or four pieces stabbed into him in different places. He screamed and stumbled a few paces left and then right and then backward.
The back of his leg caught the window frame and he fell back, out of the window. They didn't hear him hit the ground from the noise of the still-shaking windows.
But already, Clark felt the cut on his arm start to heal and the wrenching pain ebb away.
But as Swinford fell, Maddie screamed and another window shattered near Clark. But by now the affects of the Kryptonite had worn off and he stumbled mostly upright, the shards of glass bouncing off him, the only thing they cut being his jacket.
Maddie barely stood where she was and the cracks on the windows grew farther as a drop of blood from her cheek dripped on the floor.
"Maddie!" Clark ran over to her and her eyes opened for a moment.
"Clark, I - I can't -" she choked on her words and screamed again, clutching her head in both hands. A third window cracked some more before shattering. Clark quickly used his heat vision to shoot a piece away that flew at Maddie.
"You can, you can do it!" he put his hands on both sides of her face, causing her to open her eyes again. "You can do it, Maddie."
She looked him in the face. A tear slid unchecked down her cheek and mixed with the blood there. Her tangled wet hair hung about her head in a disordered mess.
She bit her lip and some of the pressure on her head from her hands seemed to ease off a little and she moved her hands over his on her face.
She closed her eyes again, but this time, not tight shut but more soft. The relaxed expression had the look of a forced one but it was there nonetheless.
Over her shoulder, Clark saw some of the cracks in the windows reseed. The shaking quieted a little and then the cracks disappeared altogether.
He smiled and when he looked back at her face, he saw she was doing the same. She looked like she was concentrating hard.
All at once, pieces of glass flew from all over the room and started placing themselves back in their frames, welding the edges together. Even the windows from which pieces were outside were lifted off the ground below and flew back to their places.
"You're doing it," Clark whispered to her. The last few pieces came together, including the light bulb, with exception of the pieces that had caught Swinford. These left four conspicuous jagged empty places in one window.
Then the shaking stopped completely and it was very quiet again. Maddie's eyes opened and she wavered a moment and then fell on her knees, putting both hands over her face.
Clark put both arms around her and hugged her close, one arm around her shoulders, holding her against his chest as he soothed, "You did it, Maddie."
"Clark..." she sobbed into his jacket. "…I was…I was so scared -" she hiccupped a little, her hand holding onto a fistful of his shirt.
"Shh…" he whispered. "It's okay, I'm here."
Outside, the sound of sirens was clear and close and the blue and red lights flashed, reflecting on the windows as the police arrived.
Clark scooped up about four bales of hay in two hands and carried them from the truck into the barn. Chloe followed him, talking animatedly. "So in the end Neil got his job back but Liam may be facing some hard questions from the police about his involvement. But it shouldn't be too bad if he tells the truth." she read Clark's alarmed expression and added quickly, "Not anything about Maddie! Just that he didn't know what Swinford was having him do. Speaking of whom, looks like we'll be needing a new editor and chief at the Planet. Gerard Swinford didn't survive the fall or the stab wounds and the police are still curious how four extremely large pieces of glass managed to wrench themselves free, stab Swinford, and send him flying out an otherwise intact window." she smiled knowingly. "So I guess Maddie figured out the "fixing" part of her power, huh?"
"Yeah," Clark smiled back, dropping the hay bales on the floor with a loud foom!
"Speaking of Maddie," said Chloe, becoming serious again. "How's she doing?"
"She's a little shook up but I think she'll be fine."
"Well, when you have a Super Hero watching out for you, there's not much to worry about," she said with a meaningful smile. "And you? Any more nightmares?"
Clark shook his head, brushing his hands against his jeans. "No."
Her smile grew with a sparkling tinge and she skipped a little in her next step as she followed him back to the truck. "So with a Daily Planet van-driver, and a kidnapping Editor and Chief with a vicious crony, I have enough for a front page article!" she twitched a little, jokingly. "However I may have to settle for fourteenth page…maybe sixteenth."
Clark laughed. "I don't know, with your violent reporter instincts, they may have no choice but to give you the front page… maybe even the job as new editor."
She laughed, too. "Yeah, that's so not going to happen. I hear the new editor is going to be a meat-grinder."
"Sounds wonderful," Clark mused, humorously.
There was a brief silence and then Chloe said slowly, "What about Maddie's grandmother?"
"I think she's a little freaked out…" Clark answered.
"Well, that's understandable…"
"But Maddie's safe and I think it helps."
Just then, Lois ran up, looking flushed and excited. "Okay, you'll never guess!"
"I believe you," said Chloe. "Do tell."
"Alright," she said, tossing her hair out of her face and holding the papers she carried firmly between her hands. "The financing trader's corporation is a done deal!" blank expressions followed this statement making Lois sigh irritably. "Am I the only one who cares to have a say in interstate commerce?"
"Yeah," Chloe returned. "I think you are, Lois." Clark shrugged with a smirk. "Well, look. I really need to get back to the Planet but I'll see you guys later, we can go for coffee at the Talon."
"Yeah, sounds good," said Clark and she nodded with another smile and wave and strode off towards the house.
"So, Smallville," Lois said tantalizingly. "Care telling me what exactly happened at the ninth pier in Edge City night before last?"
"No, not really," Clark shrugged again.
"Oh c'mon, you know I'm just gonna get it from Chloe later."
"Go ahead, I'm not stopping you." he turned with an annoying grin and picked up only one bale of hay this time and carried it into the barn with Lois following behind with a spitfire of questions he had a little too much fun not answering.
The wind blew strong against her face and she kept her eyes closed, letting it blow her two braids out behind her. It was a long time before she sensed another's presents beside her.
She looked up and smiled her brightest smile. "Clark! Hey, what are you doing here?"
"Just coming to check on you," he answered, sitting down beside her. "So how are you enjoying summer vacation so far?" he joked. Then he cleared his throat. "Hey Maddie… how are you doing?"
She nodded and closed her eyes again, feeling the warm breeze as she rested against the trunk of the tree. "This is where I was when I saw the man. I'm not scared to be here anymore… and I think it's because… because you made me feel safe again. When I really needed you, you were right there and you saved my life." she opened her eyes and looked at him. He was watching her, an ever-present concern on his face. "You always do," she finished. They heard a barking and she sat up and called, "C'mere, Jonathan! C'mon!"
The dog came padding around the corner and came to sit beside her, looking as though it were trying to be a bodyguard as it stared fixedly out at the road, it's ears raised, it's nose twitching.
"Looks like someone is taking his job very seriously."
"Yeah… Chloe found a picture of my mom." she reached into her jacket pocket and produced a newly printed photograph.
It showed a young women who looked very much like Maddie, with hazel blonde hair and a sparkling smile. She was standing on what looked to be a balcony on the beach, leaning against the rail as the wind blew her hair around. Whoever had taken the picture had obviously snuck up when she wasn't looking and when she'd turned to face the camera, she was laughing.
"She looks just like you," Clark said with a smile.
Maddie nodded, looking down at the picture with an odd look in her eyes. "I don't miss her. I can't really, because I barely remember her. But I think I would miss her if I didn't have so much now."
"I feel the same way about my birth mother. If I didn't have such great friends and wonderful parents… I might miss her too, even though I hardly remember her."
Maddie looked up at him with a spark of the mysterious child-like perceptiveness showing on her face. "I think you're special, Clark. I know you are. You're special like me. And it's okay if you don't tell people. Sometimes I wish people didn't know about me and things I can do. But…" she trailed off, petting Jonathan on the head and making his tail wag.
"It's good to tell people sometimes. When they know your secrets they understand you more… I guess. I think Chloe knows you pretty good. And you guys are really good friends now, right?"
"Yeah… yeah, we are." Clark fell deep in thought and there was silence for a long time. The dog lay down with his head between his paws and the sun started setting. Their shadows fell long across the grass and Maddie leaned her head against the tree trunk and sighed.
"Thanks again." she pushed a few stray hairs out of her face and her smile seemed a little different. It was deep. It was soft and sure. It was safe. "You've been the best brother in the world."
Clark could only smile. The two of them watched the sun go down and after a while, Maddie fell asleep with her head on Clark's shoulder and most peaceful expression on her face that had there for years.
And so ends my first shot at posting stories. Thank you so much for reading, everyone! Tell me what you thought if you have a moment.