AN: Sorry it's been so long! On the bright side, you are totes receiving updates from Dr. Avalanche now! Here's to an end to graduate school!

AN2: Amanda Waller will never be Pam Grier, though I love Pam Grier with a love that rivals the depths of Galactus' hunger. Amanda Waller is, and will remain, the Amanda Waller of the comic books.

Disclaimer: Mine, it is not.

Chapter 7

If there was anything that Chloe, Lex, Clark, and Oliver had in common in that particular moment across multiple locations, it was their stunned silence. Gabe knew it to be true as surely as he knew the sky was blue. There was practically no other way any of them could feel at the unfolding events. Of course, the cause of their consternation was wildly different, but the reason for it could be traced to him and he knew it and reveled in it. It would shake them. In this moment in time, that was all Gabe wanted, for them to awaken to a new reality that would define them the way that he wanted them defined. Maybe then they would break from their patterns and make something new. Gabe snorted to himself. He doubted it. "Rise to this challenge, Chloe."

"Uncle Gabe!"

Lois' yelled call for him snapped Gabe from his musings. He smiled fondly to himself. Lois was dear to his heart; and one day all that burning energy that threatened to consume her would be channeled into a radiant ball of fire that burned away lies and revealed the truth. She was truly impressive. "But we all go through the growing pains and awkwardness of the business of growing up. Soon, your time will come to break away from all this."

As much as Chloe yearned for what Lois was, she couldn't be that way. She was destined for other, greater things. Gabe wondered idly if Chloe would still be able to use Lois after her transformation. He grinned to himself. It was such a stupid question. Of course Chloe would. The only question was if she would do it with mercy and kindness. "Oh, my light! You will be so great!"

"Lois! I'm in the den with Chloe's nurse!"

Chloe would be leaving the hospital in two days to begin a more stringent physical therapy regiment so he and her personal physical therapist, Joey Scott, was preparing the den. It was an unwelcome reminder of when he and his wife prepared the nursery. They had so many hopes and dreams and never did they think that Chloe would be their only child. They thought they had time to do so many things. The beauty of life was that everyone got to be young and hopeful and then old and content. To take that away from someone was an act of cruelty, but everyone did it to varying degrees and sometimes it was a necessary act to transition one from callow youth to wizened old. At any rate, Gabe knew that Chloe worried over the cost, but his recent activities had left him with considerable money, not to mention the fact that Oliver Queen had set aside a trust for Chloe.

Lois came charging into the room a few moments later and immediately turned on the television. "Have you seen this?"

She was in shocked excitement. Gabe knew what she was excited about, but he glanced at the television anyway. Joey also stopped what he was doing to observe the action on the screen.

Onscreen, a heavy-set, stately black woman stood at a podium, "It was brought to the attention of the United States government that a secret organization was effectively undermining our ability to prosecute threats, both domestic and foreign. Yesterday, charges were brought against Senator Martha Kent in connection with a clandestine operation that was funneling money to oppose a legal, government initiative run by myself and involving multiple other agencies. Further investigation will be brought to bear to ensure that all parties have been rooted out and brought to justice. Let it be known: the United States stands against all terrorism, domestic or foreign. Thank you."

The footage cut away from the press conference as she answered questions to the news anchor. "That was Special Agent Amanda Waller. Senator Martha Kent took over her husband's seat after his untimely death."

The news anchor's voice receded to the background as Lois turned to him. "Can you believe this? Mrs. Kent is just about the nicest person I know. They have to be mistaken, right? I haven't even seen Clark all day!"

Gabe turned his back and rolled his eyes. Lois and her concern for Clark Kent. It was to mock endlessly. He acknowledged to himself that Amanda Waller was an exceedingly impressive woman, someone to give your respect. She would go many places. High places. All he needed to do was give her the resources she needed and she would be perfect.

Joey whistled, "Damn. And I thought Senator Kent was one of the good ones. Just goes to prove that adage power and all. Anyway, Gabe, there are only a few items left and we can do that tomorrow. So I'll leave now and come back tomorrow unless you want to finish everything today."

"Nah, we can finish tomorrow. Go home," Gabe replied as he walked Joey to his car.

When he returned to the den, Lois was in her thinking phase of a situation. She wasn't excited anymore. She was considering the angles, letting her brain take her places. This was Lois at her best. She wasn't good at figuring it all out in one go. Lois was actually good at uninterrupted thinking. She was good at considering the ramifications, but first she had to not be a hot head, which was an odd dichotomy to find in one person. She was strong where Chloe was weak; but given time, both of them would master the skills. Of course, Chloe was progressing quicker and Gabe could only infer that it was due to the fact that Chloe's trials had come by fire.

"So what are we having for lunch?"

Lois must have been deep in thought because she startled at his words. "I was thinking maybe Captain Bill's Burger Barn."

Gabe chuckled. "I have never understood why you and Chloe love that place."

"The burgers are fantastic and it is in a "barn". What is not to love about it?"

Gabe shrugged. "But it can't even commit to fully embracing the alliteration, but ya know what? Fair enough," he paused and changed the subject, "I'm surprised that you haven't tracked down Clark in light of today's events. He might need a friend right about now."

Lois' expression became angry. "Did you know that he and Chloe go into a fight the day he visited her? He hasn't been around much since. And he didn't show up at work today. Besides, it isn't my job to track him down if he doesn't want to be found. He's probably with his mother anyway. I did some checking around and she's in Smallville."

Gabe raised his eyebrows. "Did you hear what they were saying?"

Lois shook her head. "No, their voices were too low, but it sounded intense. I don't think they've spoken since."

There was jealousy in her voice. Chloe and Clark would always be complicated and there was a part of Clark that she would never have. There was resentment there because she just couldn't understand their relationship. The less he thought about Chloe and Oliver's relationship in regards to Lois, the better he would feel about the situation. The two men kept trading off variations of a similar personality type that was really only superficially similar. They did a disservice to themselves and to their objects of affection. He felt a little bad for Lois; and while his primary concern would always be for Chloe, Lois had him too. One of the things he missed most about Chloe's childhood was her relationship with Lois before adolescence changed it. "And now it will change even more."

Gabe saw the exact moment that Lois switched gears, resolved to forget it, and be cheerful. "Let's go eat!"

Waking up to the breaking news that his mother was being charged with obstructing an official U.S. government operation and funneling money to a clandestine operation in opposition to said official U.S. government operation was enough to make Clark Kent panic. There was no way his mother would've kept such information from him if she knew about it, so it had to have been some kind of sudden, trick maneuver.

His gut reaction was that Lex was behind his mother's precipitous downfall. On further thought, however, Clark realized that Lex may have had a long arm and many allies, but his reach wasn't that long, especially in light of current events: both Queen Industries and LuthorCorp were struggling in the markets. Both companies had suffered a dangerous plunge in the stock market. Current Dow projections hadn't been at all kind to either company. Their crisis was spilling over and affecting Wayne Enterprises and other global conglomerates. The problem was that no one could figure out where the trouble was coming. Oliver had explained it to Clark so he could understand the gist of the troubles if not the nuance of the situation.

Between Chloe's accident, Oliver's problems, and by default, the Justice League's uncertainty, Clark was stretched thin. This just added another layer that he had to focus on instead, which meant that everything else had to take a back seat. His mother was more important than any other thing. It was this mindset that Clark rushed to Smallville. Oliver had cautioned him on using his super-speed to reach his mother so he was relegated to using his truck. He thanked Oliver for his caution because his house looked to be surrounded by government agents. Clark's home was under guard and both he and his mother had to be extremely careful.

As Clark carefully walked to his front door, he surveyed the cars and men and women in black suites. Clark felt that he could face anything and mostly that was due to his mother's steadying presence and when times were good, Chloe's unwavering faith in him; but this made him afraid. This was something he might not be able to fix even if he knew the problem. He doubted his mother would even be able to speak to him in their home. It had to be under heavy surveillance.

Martha opened the door and Clark immediately swooped her into a hug. For a moment in time, everything was good, but movement further into his house put lie to the moment.

Clark's eyes searched her face for signs of distress. The concern was evident in his voice, "Are you ok?"

Martha closed her eyes and sighed deeply. She was tired and she had failed. "Yes, I'm fine. I haven't been mistreated."

Clark heard an implied "yet" at the end of her sentence, but he didn't think she meant it. "Let's go for a walk."

A dark-haired, tall woman stepped from the living room. There was a slight sense of menace and distrust around her. "I'm afraid that Senator Kent is under house arrest and may not leave the premises."

He stepped around his mother to place himself between his mother and the agent who spoke to them. Clark gestured outside, "This entire farm is her premises. Are you saying she can't leave the house?"

The agent smiled slightly. From her expression, Clark had the unsettling thought that she knew what he was. "I'm Agent Susan Linden. Your mother can move 50 feet from the house. If she moves beyond 50 feet, she will be immediately transported to minimum security governmental facilities for the duration. If she manages to escape, she will be remitted to a maximum security facility and any who aided and abetted her will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Agent Linden ended with a knowing look on her face. It was a slight taunt. "Impossible! How could she know?"

It was under the watchful eye of Agent Linden that they left his childhood home. He had never been so thankful to leave his home. Clark asked his mother the one question that had been repeating itself over in his mind until he could think about nothing else.

"Mom, what happened?"

His mother sighed again. "We have to be careful, Clark. We don't know what they are doing," at his quizzical look, Martha continued, "They could be lip reading or using technology to hear us. I don't know! They're capable of anything!"

Clark ran his hand through his hair and turned from his mother. He didn't know what to do. He turned to her again when he felt her hands on his shoulders. Her voice was low and her mouth hidden by his bulk.

"They know, Clark. I was trying to protect you and the others, but somehow they found out about it. Agent Waller has been investigating for a few weeks, but she couldn't have the information she has in such a limited time. She has to have help. Could Lex have done this?"

There was no way that Lex was able to out them. If he was interpreting his mother correctly, she knew about the Justice League; but how much beyond that whoever "they" were knew, he didn't know.

He was frustrated. "Lex doesn't know enough to do this. I don't think he could've found out about you. You still haven't explained what you were doing."

Martha's look of annoyance and exasperation was one that he really hadn't ever seen before, at least not directed at him. "I can't go into details. It would be dangerous for me."

Clark nodded. "I'll see what I can do."

The only thing he could do was try to meet Oliver without anyone knowing about it, but Clark didn't really trust that Oliver would be in a place to help. Beyond anything else, one irrefutable fact had repeatedly made itself known over the years: he needed Chloe's help. Clark could only fervently hope that she would be willing and able.

He was the very picture of calm as he walked brusquely to his office. He gave instructions here and there. He greeted his secretary as he normally did. He walked into his office, carefully closed the blinds to hide his office from view, and turned off his computer. He left his office with poise and dignity. From the time he first came into his office to the last five minutes was spent in a board meeting. When he got home, however, his yell was primal and furious and he flung his brief case at the walls of his mansion. Lex Luthor was home early and there was no part of that that he liked. He would make every last one of those smug bastards pay for inflicting this indignity upon him.

Lex may have inherited LuthorCorp, but the board of directors still had more control than he wanted over the company, at least they would for another year. Lionel was petty until the very end. LexCorp also hung in the balance since he tied it to his father's company. The board had found out about his renewed activities with meteor freaks and from there, the situation snowballed. The chairman of the board was contacted by Amanda Waller herself and that was how the government shut him down hard. They held a no confidence vote and that was how he, Lex Luthor, found himself on involuntary leave from his own company.

"A fucking no confidence vote! On me!"

Lex walked to his bar and poured himself a drink. He would solve this problem. In the meantime, he would continue to harass Oliver Queen. After all, Lex had idle time on his hands. He was about to catch up on the news for the day when his phone rang.

"We need to talk. I sent you an email with the details. Be there."

Before he had a chance to utter a word, he heard the dial tone. Lex knocked back another drink and braced himself. No good could possibly come of this.