Davis has a recurring nightmare, one where he has no parents, no friends, no life. He's in a cornfield, like that little kid from the Twilight Zone wished him away from the Kent Farm. He sees himself from the outside, different, like a funhouse mirror so finely skewed that you can't pinpoint what's changed. Then there are men, aliens that are human somehow. They put the other him in a cage and take him away.
As he gets older, Davis realizes that the him in the cage never went away at all.
Lex is exploring the mansion when he sees the man in white. Biohazard. He's not surprised that his father brings his work home. It's the most Lex sees of him since the meteor shower, his cowardice. Like his mom's died all over again, only instead of well-wishers and silence, the castle hums with some ubiquitous activity that seems to have made a point of excluding him.
Lex goes back the way the man in the biosuit had come. It leads down to the wine cellar, where the clean, slightly perfumed scent of the castle heeds to the fetid smell of the underground, wet soil filled with worms and the bones of buried men and women. Lex does not like the wine cellar. It reminds him of funerals.
One of the doors has a keypad, like a tumor of the cancer invading his home, taking his father away. He knows the code is either Mom's birthday or Julian's, and it turns out to be Julian's. Inside is a disappointment. There's a cage and a baby. It's odd, but his boyish mind had given him images of space aliens and mythological beasts, a slimy creature that has replaced or is controlling his real father. Something he can kill.
The toddler is crying. It, he, stops for a moment to notice Lex, his blue eyes like some rare mineral unearthed in this mine. Turquoise or sapphire. He's jolted out of his attempt to reconcile his fantasies of intrigue with this mild creature when the toddler starts crying at the top of his lungs. Lex runs and doesn't stop until he's in his room, pulling back the dust cover on his bed as if he'll hide under it. Like a child. Like a weak child.
Instead he digs into his closet, tears burning his eyes as he shunts away his mother's things, his precious hoard of memories, to get to the preschool toys. Bright colors, rounded edges. No wonder he outgrew them.
Lex gathers them up in a backpack, smuggles them down to the toddler. He wastes a good hour seeing how the thing responds to each toy. The toddler seems to figure them out quickly, boring of some and arranging the others in a shape that evolves from an S to an hourglass to an 8. The toddler's joy is infectious too, his eyes so pure and unjudgmental. Lex tries to convince himself he's not having fun playing Sesame Street games with a baby. He fails.
"And that's Warrior Angel," Lex says, turning the page for the toddler, then leaning forward until all he can see is those blue eyes. "I'm gonna be just like him when I grow up."
"Is that so?" His father's voice is warm, but Lex can guess that's more for the toddler's benefit than his. He knows with his father, warmth is just an absence of cold, something to dazzle the press. Something that died with Mom. "What are you doing down here, Lex?"
"The door was open."
"The door was open." His father's eyes are as cold and indignant as glass. "If you're going to lie, son, at least show me the courtesy of doing it well." His hand bites into Lex's arm. There. There's the fury hidden in his voice, lurking beneath the surface, buried under the ground. Lex nearly cries out, but doesn't. He doesn't want to scare the toddler. "I am your father, after all."
He drags Lex out of the wine cellar, so fast, so powerful, and Lex's feet pedal to keep up. When his father lets him go he lands on all fours, skinning his knees. "Lex, you are never to be with Clark unless an employee is present. Am I understood? Never be alone with Clark."
Fixating on the new information is enough to trick his body into not crying. "Clark?"
"Clark Lucien Luthor," his father says off-handedly. "He's your new brother."
It's his first day of school and Davey is going to be confident. He's not going to have a black-out. He put his entire allowance in the collection plate last Sunday and then he had a long talk with God outlining all the reasons he can't have a blackout on his first day of school. He even went to the Sunday school teacher about it and she told him God worked in mysterious ways. That was fine; he'd spend all Saturday morning on a blackout if it just meant none of the other kids saw him as a freak.
He's on the bus and it's so far so good. He's getting off the bus and he can feel it, he's not going to lose a single second.
Then, on the way to class, a little blonde girl sneaks next to him and asks if he believes in UFOs.
Davey Kent faints dead away.
The four minutes of Davey's blackout are the longest four minutes of Chloe's life. Lana is crying and screaming that Chloe killed him, she saw it, and Pete is telling her to shut up, and Chloe is bent over Davey, trying to see what's wrong. Narcolepsy? Food poisoning? Voodoo curse?
Finally, she remembers the story her mother told her last night. The story of Sleeping Beauty.
She gathers her courage, then reminds herself that cooties aren't like ghosts, they're not real. It's really more of a headbutt where only their lips touch than a kiss, but when she opens her eyes, Davey is looking up at her.
"What's a UFO?"
The teacher arrives and takes Davey to the school nurse and Chloe is in for weeks of mockery, but the important thing is Davey.
When he opened his eyes, Chloe could've sworn they were a deep, blood red.
Chloe sits down across from Davey at lunch. She's smiling at him and looking at him… Davey protectively pulls his juicebox closer to him. She probably thinks they're married now. Awful of a girl to marry a guy while he's sleeping. He'll have to ask Dad if he had to marry Mom because they slept together.
Chloe leans close to him, like she's giving him the answer to a test. "You're weird."
"Am not! Shut up!"
"It's okay. I think weird's cool. Did'ya know there's a lizard that can shoot blood out its eyeballs?"
Davey's face screwed up, like he was carefully considering this prospect. "Nah! No way!"
Chloe takes one of about a million books out of her backpack and shows him a picture. It's the grossest thing he's ever seen. Awesome.
He doesn't let her drink from his juicebox, but he does carry her million books for her.
"And she knows about dinosaurs and UFOs (that's aliens) and all sorts of Indian stuff! There were Indians in Smallville a hundred years ago, she said."
"Sounds like a smart cookie," Mom says.
"She's the smartest girl in school!"
"Well, you just stick close to her then," Dad said. "I married the smart girl and look where it got me." He grabbed a slice of Davey's first-day-of-school pizza pie. "Looks like our boy's gonna grow up to be quite the ladykiller."
"I think it's a bit too soon to start on that."
"Just remember to ask yourself one important question." Dad's slice of pizza flopped around as he gestured at Davey. "Is she cute?"
Mom blew a soda straw wrapper at Dad. "Say grace."
As Dad made a quick prayer, Davey made his own. Well, God, you didn't keep me from blacking out. He thought of Chloe and the taste of her chapstick on his tongue. But whatever works.
Just so long as she knew he was never gonna marry her.
Clark was ten years old when his father pushed him down the stairs. He remembered it because last night Lex had read The Little Prince to him and when Clark had asked why the Prince let himself be bitten, Lex had said it was because he was alone. That didn't seem right to Clark. After all, the Prince had the pilot to keep him company.
It bothered him so much that he'd explained the situation to Lionel. And then, as they'd gone down a flight of stairs, Clark had felt Lionel's hands pressing into his back.
Oh, later Lionel would tell him he'd imagined it, that it was natural for children to irrationally blame something for painful accidents, Clark remembered the exact force and position of those hands. He had fallen, scared out of his wits, then he'd stopped with his head smacking against a carpet. He'd sniffled.
"Don't cry." Lionel came down the stairs in a rush, but never breaking stride. "You have great power, my son. It's lain dormant long enough."
Then the testing started. Once a week, every week, six hours at a time. They determined how hot he could be heated before feeling pain, how cold he could get before losing consciousness, a million different facts carved out of him. He was strong. He was fast. He was tough. He could breathe ice, hear for miles, see through walls. And every week for six years they tested how his powers had grown. Once, Lex asked where Clark went. For five hours, Clark thought Lex was worried. When they started testing how sharp a blade had to be to cut his skin, he realized Lex was just jealous Lionel was spending time with him.
And at the end of each session, Lionel would take him by the hand to the adult kitchen, where Chef Laurence would fix them hot chocolate or banana splits or pancakes in the middle of the day. Lionel would rub his back and tell him how brave he was, how he was fulfilling his destiny. He'd call Clark his little traveler.