Chapter 11 – Roosters and Gangsters Matter

Xox

Clark looked over at the little boy surprised to see him sitting up next to him. "Jason, how did you get in here, I thought you were asleep in my old bedroom?"

"I was, but I got scared again Daddy. Mommy and my other Daddy always let me sleep with them when I get scared at night."

"How come you didn't wake me up?"

Jason smiled broadly, "I tiptoed."

"Yes, I guess you did."

Just then the rooster crowed again causing Jason to hug himself to Clark's chest. "What is that Daddy? It sounds real close." He cringed as he buried his face.

Clark barely contained his amusement as he answered, "That is ole Robbie, our rooster. He's just welcoming in a new day. How 'bout we do the same?" He threw the covers aside and got up from the bed carrying the child with him to the window. "See there he is." He motioned to the rooster puffing up its chest getting ready to crow once again from atop the fence.

Jason watched and listened, "But why does he do that Daddy?"

"He's trying to impress the hens."

"Why?"

"Hmmmm, I guess because he wants them to see how loud he can crow so they'll like him."

Jason seemed to consider this then asked, "Do hens like being woke up by roosters?"

Clark answered trying hard to remain serious and not break a grin, "Evidently."

"Mommy hates it when her alarm clock wakes her up. Are roosters the hen's alarm clock?"

"Roosters are like alarm clocks for an entire farm. He woke us up didn't he?" Jason nodded. Sitting the little boy down he asked, "Do you need any help getting dressed?"

Jason shook his head. "No I'm a big boy now, but can you tie my shoes when I'm ready?"

Xox

A short time later Clark was giving Jason a lesson on how to collect eggs without scaring the hens.

"Where do the eggs come from Daddy?"

"The hens lay them." Jason gave him a confused look. Clark was at a loss for just how to explain it further then remembered what his dad had once told him. "The Easter Bunny leaves them here when it's not Easter."

Just as he gave that explanation his mother came within hearing range. "Clark, where on earth did you hear that explanation?"

Clark looked at her shrugging innocently, "That's what Dad told me."

"Figures," she shook her head resigned but smiling at the memories the thought had brought to mind. "Do you have time for breakfast before heading to the office?"

He nodded smiling, "As long as I'm not needed elsewhere."

Xoxo

Lois woke early. Actually she had hardly slept at all between worrying about Jason and thinking about Superman or was it Clark. Then there was Richard.

They had arrived home the prior evening to what felt like an empty house with Jason not there. Richard had wanted to take advantage of the situation but she begged off proclaiming to have a raging headache from the day's activities and all the worry. She was thankful he hadn't pushed it but had allowed her to go straight to bed. She didn't deserve him, or was it that he didn't deserve her lies. Whatever, he didn't deserve it. She had finally fallen asleep with a real headache trying to sort everything out in her head, so much for the quiet times in the night.

Richard had stayed up consoling himself with one of his favorite old classic horror movies and didn't hear her get up, dress and leave the bedroom. Going downstairs she wrote him a quick note while she waited for the water to heat for a cup of instant coffee.

Richard,

I couldn't sleep so I decided to head

on into the office and try to catch up

from being gone all day yesterday.

See you there.

Love, Lois

Lois arrived at the empty office having stopped at the local coffee shop for a 'real' cup of coffee. She sat down at her desk and began looking at the various papers left in her absence while her computer booted up. Her eyes were draw to Clark's desk and she found herself sitting in his chair feeling the desktop as if she could feel his presence. She looked up and smiled at the picture on the shelf of him and his mother from a few years ago. On a whim she picked it up and tried to open the frame wanting to borrow it and have a copy made. She should have a copy of her son's father and grandmother after all.

Breaking a nail she swore under her breath and started to rummage in his desk drawer for a letter opener. Her eyes were almost immediately caught by a picture of Jason carefully placed inside by the drawer wall. Shaking her head she smiled as she found the letter opener and used it to pry the picture frame open so she could remove the picture. Finally able to slip the picture out she was surprised to discover a picture of herself and Jason underneath the top picture. She immediately recognized that it was a copy of one of the pictures on her desk, but it had been enlarged and cropped cutting Richard out. She sat there momentarily forgetting what she had been about to do then jumped up remembering. Thankfully there was a 24 hour drug store on the corner. She wondered if that was where Clark had gone. Hopefully she could go and get back before he arrived for work. If not he will obviously understand, she smirked as that thought came to her.

Lois arrived back at the office a short time later and replaced the picture in the frame. Sitting it back in place she wondered, Can he really control his vision well enough to see the picture of us underneath? Going back to her desk she looked back at the picture of Clark and his mother then at the one in her hand. Where could she put her precious copy? She didn't have x-ray vision, darn it.

Just then she noticed she had left the drug store paper bag on Clark's desk. She quickly placed the picture of Clark and Martha in her drawer up against the wall just as Clark had placed the picture of Jason then went back to his desk to retrieve the bag. Once there she decided to just toss it in his trash. No harm, she thought. In doing so she noticed his trash had not been emptied and curious as ever she pulled the top papers out to see what he had been up to the day before.

She looked the printouts over. "Apartment rental ads, what does he need…oh!" She looked at the date then hearing the elevator ding behind her she threw the papers back into the trash can and ran to her own desk practically falling into place in her chair.

Perry entered the bullpen whistling only to find that once again he was not the first to arrive even though he was a full 20 minutes earlier than usual. He stopped whistling and cleared his throat as he went over to Lois. "Here kind of early aren't you? Yesterday I found Clark asleep at his desk now you're here all bright and early. Is there something going on I need to know about?"

"Oh no, uh…I just couldn't sleep and well I thought I should get here early to catch up."

"So, what did you three uncover yesterday?"

"Us three?...Uncover… yesterday?"

"Yeah, Clark said you three were following up on some leads about Luthor. Do you have anything print worthy yet?"

"Oh, um we're still digging but hopefully soon."

Just then the elevator dinged again and the doors opened. Clark stepped out and headed to his desk. Perry turned to face the tall reporter addressing him he asked, "How did your lead go, were you able to meet up with your source?"

Clark set his briefcase down at his desk and walked over to join Perry by Lois' desk. "I met up with my source but unfortunately the lead was already cold. Luthor was spotted in Grand Cayman clearing out a 'numbered' bank account the day before yesterday."

"The day before yesterday?" Lois confirmed.

Clark nodded sighing. "As I said the lead is already cold but it does give us a better starting point with one major hitch. Luthor is flush with cash so he could have bought his way to just about anywhere most likely in some discrete disguise. I can't help but think he retrieved all that money now because he's cooking up some new plan of attack."

Lois swallowed hard, "So we're basically still at square one?" Clark nodded. "How did you get this information? Can your contact help find him again?"

"I'm sure if he hears anything he'll let me know."

"I thought you three were working on this together?"

Lois and Clark exchanged glances. Lois answered. We are just working from different angles so we can cover more ground. I don't really have anything concrete yet either."

Perry nodded satisfied. Speaking over his shoulder as he headed for his office, "Good work, keep at it and be sure to keep me informed."

As soon as Perry was out of earshot Lois whispered. "So who's your contact?"

"Lois, I can't tell you that! Surely you of all people know that I have to protect my sources."

"Even if the source was …you?" She said rather snobbishly.

"It wasn't." He answered softly.

"Then who was it. This involves keeping Jason safe therefore I have a right to know. What are we going to do if Luthor blabs what he knows about our son?"

"I don't think he will. I'm quite sure that he would want that information for himself. The real problem is his men and his girlfriend. If anyone is going to try and use the information for personal gain it would be one of them. Luthor would only get satisfaction by using it to hurt me."

"How can you be sure?"

"I've never been able to understand how his mind works. But I do know that he would do anything to hurt me and that he prefers to not only be the instigator but also the perpetrator of that pain."

"So what…, you're saying he's going to try and trap you again and you're just going to walk right into it hoping you can get the upper hand?"

Clark frowned, "I'm not just going to blindly walk into another of his traps. This time I'm going in with my eyes wide open with a counter trap of my own. I have a friend who is more than capable and willing to help."

Lois pulled back confused. "You have a friend who can help, how?" Then thinking she added, "Is it your mysterious source?" She immediately got her answer from the surprised but impressed expression on his face. "Hmmm, now you have me really interested." She put her pen in her mouth thinking.

Clark rolled his eyes. "Lois, believe me, Jason couldn't be safer. My source is a trusted friend that I have worked with on several occasions in the past."

Clark turned away and headed back to his desk signaling an end to the conversation. Lois sat back in her chair still biting on her pen. Under her breath she whispered. "Clark's or …" She raised her eyebrows expecting him to turn back to face her sure she could tell from his reaction.

He did turn back smiling as he walked back to her side bending down so he could whisper the answer in her ear. "Both." He straightened up still smiling with his raised eyebrows hidden under his hair. "That's all you get."

"Wait," Lois called after him following him to his desk. "You didn't tell me how Jason is, did he sleep alright? I was worried about him all night."

"He's fine, he had a little trouble falling and staying asleep but he is perfectly fine. We had a wonderful time together." Lois noticed him smile as he glanced over at the picture on his desk as he spoke his eyes just slightly squinted. She no longer had any doubt he was able to see the hidden picture beneath the one of him and his mother.

She blurted out, "We should get a picture made for you Clark, you, your mother, Jason and me." It didn't even occur to her that she was leaving Richard out of the picture entirely.

"What…," he seemed confused and taken aback. "What about Richard?"

Lois blustered, realizing what she had just said. "Oh, of course, I just figured Richard would have to take the picture but I guess we could use a time delay or have someone take if for us." She recovered blushing.

"I guess I had better get back to work." She escaped back to her own desk setting down hard wondering what had made her say such a thing. Then she remembered the rental listing but decided it wasn't the best time to inquire about that. She already had one foot in her mouth, no use trying for two.

Lois had left Clark feeling confused and he had found it difficult to concentrate on anything but her or Jason. He stared at the picture of the two of them in a mood that was lost somewhere between content and melancholy. He was so lost in his thoughts that he almost missed the sirens in the distance. Coming out of his half trance he stood up and quickly made his way to the elevator to find Richard coming out of the elevator along with several others as the doors opened.

"Hey, just who I wanted to see, you got a minute?" Richard inquired.

"Sorry, not right now. I'm in a rush." He answered as he brushed past the other man pushing the close door button as soon as he was in the elevator alone.

Richard sighed then turned to look around the office to find Lois looking back. It appeared that she had been watching the two men interact from her desk. He walked over to her. "Lois, why didn't you just wake me up? You didn't need to take a cab. I would have gotten up and come in with you."

"I know, but I thought you would be tired after staying up so late. No use both of us tired all day just because I couldn't stay asleep."

She stood up as the two kissed. Pulling apart Richard asked. "Did Clark have anything new? I tried to ask him but he was rushing out. I guess to…."

Lois nodded understanding. "He has someone helping but he wouldn't tell me who it is." She grimaced slightly. "He seemed a little too mysterious about it if you ask me. All he would say is that he was a trusted friend that he had worked with in the past."

"Clark's or …" he raised his eyebrows at her then quickly looked around making sure no one was within range to overhear them.

Lois half laughed. "I asked him the same thing and he said 'both'." She raised her own eyebrows as if to punctuate the answer.

"Hmmmm. What about Jason? Did he say anything about Jason?"

"Just that he's fine. Why don't we go into your office and call him? I really missed his cheery little smile and voice this morning."

Richard put his arm around her as the two headed to his office still talking.

Xoxo

Luthor sat in a nearly vacant luxury home. One of his men was busy changing the riders attached to the large FOR SALE sign in the front yard from SHORT SALE and MAKE OFFER to SHOWN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. He had driven by the neighborhood just the day before looking for just such an opportunity. The signs along with the dead yard had told him a lot and taken with the faded flyers he knew the agent never bothered to check up on the listing.

He had called the agent immediately pretending to be interested in possibly buying the house. Once he confirmed the listing had several more months before the bank would foreclose he said he needed to talk it over with his wife. When the agent asked for his name and number Luthor smiled as he gave a name and number where he could best be reached. Not his information but the agent would never really know, would he? Surely people did that all the time. He smirked just thinking about how easy it had been.

The house was just what he needed. Gated and set back from the street he had privacy and lots of room on the large lot. No one would ever know what was going on behind those gates. No one ever knew their neighbors in areas like this. It was perfect. He laughed as another of his men entered closely followed by second man."

The man nodded at him, "It's a go for today. Do you have the down payment?"

Luthor reached into his inside coat pocket and pulled out a thick envelope. "I think you will find this to your satisfaction." He watched the man closely for his reaction as he handed him the envelope.

The man took the envelope looking inside fanning the bills nervously smiling realizing it was even more than he had expected. He looked up as Luthor warned him. "I want him unharmed. Bring him to me directly. No funny business or it will be your last. Got it!"

The man swallowed and nodded. "Got it."

"You'll get the same amount upon delivery but do not touch him he's mine."

The man smiled still nervous. He had heard tales of this man and knew better than to even think of betraying him. This man had stood up to Superman and won. This man was his hero but he was also to be feared. "You more than bought my allegiance Mr. Luthor."

After the man left Luthor snorted, "Yeah, as if a punk like you even knows what the word allegiance means much less how to give it to someone."

Xoxoxoxo

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