AU ---- Clark does not lose his powers at the end of season 4. But that's all I'll give away.

When Seduction Refuses to Die

The quest for the stones was over. Clark sighed with relief. Isobel would not resurface; she would not reign over the world with a power too dark to fathom. It was over. He remembered going to China with Lana and the search for the stones. It had been long, and the whole time only one thing had been on his mind…well, two….the safety of Lana, and the safety of the world. Somehow he felt that if the world was destroyed he would feel the guilt of not being able to save it in time.

FLASHBACK: Lana held the stone in her hands. "Something tells me that I'm supposed to give this to you," Lana told Clark. Clark watched Lana stare at the stone. It was almost as if she was reluctant to give it up. As if it held some mysterious, ethereal beauty. But it was just a stone. It held power, yes, but in the end, it was just a stone. In the end, it didn't matter. Of course, if it got into the wrong hands, what would become of this world?

Clark held his held out, and Lana placed the stone in Clark's hand. "Keep it safe," Lana whispered.

"I know," Clark whispered back.

Then Lana started crying. She held onto Clark and said, "I love you so much, Clark…."

"I love you too," Clark said. And it would be a perfect moment, if it wasn't for the meteor shower coming and the impending danger because of the nefarious stones.

(Back to present) Clark sighed. Yes, it was over. Finally, he was with Lana and everything was back to how it used to be….well, almost. In Smallville, nothing could ever really be normal.

Clark went down to the caves. True, the caves had a lot to do with….well, his secret, but also, they were just a place to relax. They were peaceful, and they were also beautiful. He knew that the drawings on the walls were the symbols of the Kryptonian language, but he could understand how someone could see them as mysterious and mesmerizing.

All of a sudden there was a loud noise, and blackish silver light enveloped the cave, encircling all of its puzzles. It shimmered, and Clark found himself being drawn to it. He felt his body being pulled by its current, and somehow, before he could think enough to escape the force, he was swallowed by it.

LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

When Clark opened his eyes he was surrounded by trees. For a second he forgot what happened, but then he remembered the silver light back in the caves. It had taken him somewhere, that much was obvious. Obviously, he wasn't in the caves anymore. He doubted that he was in Smallville, either, because these trees didn't look like anything that existed in Smallville. Or Kansas, for that matter.

He turned around and saw…..Chloe?

FLASHBACK IN CHLOE'S POV: Chloe followed Clark; it looked like he was going to the caves. What was it this time? Anyways, now that she finally knew his secret…his true origins; his true strength…..well, she wanted to be part of whatever his next mission was. Of course, it was also a part of her journalistic curiosity that she just couldn't seem to relinquish. Not that she wanted to. It was a part of her, and always would be.

Okay, he was probably just going to the caves to relax. They were enchanting enough, anyways.

She made sure Clark couldn't see her, which was a pretty daunting task, considering he was, well, Clark.

All of a sudden there was a blinding black light and she felt her body being sucked up. 'Not again!!!!' she mentally screamed, but not out loud. She started kicking her legs in panic but eventually she acquiesced to the great force and let it take her. She crossed her fingers and closed her eyes, secretly hoping that when she awoke, she'd find herself another adventure….or possibly a story?

BACK TO PRESENT….

"Chloe, What are you doing here?" Clark asked.

"I could ask you the same thing," Chloe said, "Except for the fact that I have no idea where we are. You?"

"Nope. No idea," Clark said.

"Come 'on, Clark, I know you know. You have to," Chloe said.

"I don't," Clark said. "Really."

"But that light…..it was some kind of portal, right? That you chose to go through…..some different world…." Chloe's voice trailed off as her tongue tried to find words for what she thought….or feared….had happened.

"Are you crazy, Chloe?" Clark said, and then they both laughed. Chloe always came up with wild ideas about what had happened, and more times than not, she was actually at least in the ball park.

"I didn't choose to go through the light….or portal or whatever you think it was," Clark said. "But we should find other people and maybe that will give us some clue of what happened….and of where we are."

"You're right," Chloe said. "At least there's one advantage….if this is some different world….you know, a different dimension or a different Universe….then there won't be….you know…."

"Yeah," Clark said.

Clark and Chloe walked through the forest, which seemed to have no end. It seemed tight, almost as if the forest was closing in on them. It was almost as if the trees were alive and they really, really did not want them to be there. It was nonsense, but that was what it felt like. There was barely even a path, and the tiny path there was seemed to shift from time to time. The trees seemed almost….treacherous.

Finally, they found a clearing to the forest. "Finally!" Chloe said, breathing a sigh of relief.

"Maybe you're wrong, Chloe," Clark said. "Maybe this isn't a second universe."

Chloe shook her head. The wind blew strands of her short, wavy blond hair and she stared at the muddy ground on which she stood. Chloe Sullivan was not only curious; she was also stubborn. Once a theory (wild as it may be) was imbedded in her head, she would not be rid of it that easily.

Clark stared at Chloe's fair skin and her persistent eyes. Her aura was relentless. Secretly, he feared that she was right. And if she was right….how would they get back? What must they do? Find another portal to get back to their universe? And what if no such portal existed? What if they were stuck here forever….stuck here to their eternal doom or eternal harmony….ecstasy….whichever it may be. And it was not their choice. No, it was not their choice. For once, fate did not really lie in their own hands.

Or did it?

Reluctantly, Clark said, "Well then….if you are right….do you think we were sent here for a purpose?"

Almost too quickly, Chloe responded. "No. That black light….it was an accident. But it seemed…..evil. It could not have been benevolent. It can not have been conjuring the good will of all….creatures. No, it is completely random, I think, that it has brought us….good guys….across the borders of two worlds that are not meant to cross."

"Since when have you been the wise one?" Clark joked, and they both laughed. For a moment, it lightened the atmosphere. But then they had to face the hard truth once again….whether it was completely random or purposely constructed, they were here, in a world that was completely foreign to them, and as far as they knew, there was no going back.

They kept moving forward, and soon they found a road. It wasn't much of a road, but it was a road, nonetheless.

Clark noticed that Chloe looked tired…exhausted. He realized that the portal must have drained a lot of energy from her human body. He looked around and realized that the sky was darkening. Only slightly, but still. "We probably should find someplace to rest," Clark said. "You look tired."

"I'm not tired," Chloe said.

"Still," Clark said, "It's getting dark."

"The sun…if it's called the sun here….has only just started to go down," Chloe said.

"Look," Clark said, pointing ahead. Almost right in front of them was a small hotel. The sign read, 'The Prancing Pony.'

"Fine," Chloe said, sighing. They entered the hotel and found out that they were in a small village called "Bree." They asked for a room, but the person at the desk said that the hotel was full.

They did not, however, leave the hotel.

Clark was drawn to a table where a short boy with dark, bushy hair sitting. He noticed that a man with dark, scraggly eyes and dark eyes was watching the short boy. Something was up. Something that Clark felt he was supposed to play a part in. Maybe he was sent here for a reason, after all.

Suddenly he remembered something from not that long ago….a conversation he had with Lana:

"I love you Clark, but I am not in my true form," Lana said.

"What do you mean?" Clark asked.

"I can not reveal to you who I really am….nor can I tell you my true name….." Lana's voice wavered for a small moment, her tongue lingering in the bittersweet air. "…..nor," she continued, "can I truly be with you."

"What do you mean?" Clark asked.

"Yes, this form; this symbol of my soul exists now as Lana Lang on this Earth. But not for long, for I must go back to my true world soon. I feel the calling. My people need me, desperately. If I do not return, more blood than absolutely necessary will be spilled. I do not know who it is I am charged to save. I only feel it in my blood that I am needed. And if I don't go….only doom can be ensured."

Clark saw the pain in Lana's eyes, but he also saw something else, that he had somehow failed to see before….a strength he could not even fathom; something ethereal that he did not know even existed. And…something else…love for another man….true love, that he feared went back ages deeper than the love they had now on this earth.

And he also feared….that this Lana Lang that he was so in love with, was only a shadow of her true soul; a figment of her true spirit. He had fallen in love with someone he could never really be with. And even from the start, from the very first day he laid his eyes upon her, he knew this. But that didn't stop him from falling in love with her.

And now….it was seductive. But it wasn't only seductive. And that was what mattered. Because he loved her….Because he cared about her…he knew he must let her go. And protect her as if she was still his. He must make sure nothing ever happened to her.

Clark smiled. "Go. Keep your secrets, for I know I keep mine." He paused, his voice dancing in midair. "Maybe…we will meet up again one day. One day….our roles will clash, and our true faces will be unveiled. But not today."

Clark and Lana kissed, one last time, and it was glorious, beautiful….and ethereal. Somehow, it was indicative of times to come….of people they would meet in the maybe- not- too-distant-future. They smiled, unified as one, in trancelike harmony.

"Go," Clark said. Clark smiled, holding back tears.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

Somehow, Clark felt a connection to the man with the dark scraggly hair. Some string that had touched Clark, had also touched this mysterious man. What was it? Why was this happening? More importantly, probably, who was he?

He was too busy staring at the man who was staring at the short man to notice what happened the next moment: but when he looked back, he saw that the short man had disappeared.

Only seconds later, he reappeared. 'Weird,' Clark thought.

After that things happened fast. The man in the corner took the short man off out of the presence of all of the people, and three other short people followed. Clark secretly followed them, making sure he wasn't seen. Chloe, however, saw him, and tagged along. Somehow she always managed to be drawn into whatever adventure or mystery or danger Clark found. And he did not know which this was, but he sensed it would be something different than he had ever experienced before.

"Maybe I was wrong," Chloe whispered, at a decibel level that only Clark could possibly hear.

"Abut the Universe thing? Because I think you were right."

"No," Chloe whispered, "About the purpose thing."