Chapter 23

John Hart walked into his apartment and tossed his brown overcoat onto the hall table next to the door. He was tired after a full day of classes and shagging a couple of his teaching assistants. He walked the few feet towards the kitchen and didn't bother to turn on the light. John opened the fridge and grabbed a Guinness beer. He shuddered at the thought of drinking something brewed in this country. He opened the top and took a long swallow. "Do you have another one of those for me?" a familiar female voice said from his small living room.

"Shit!" John swore. In one smooth motion he put the bottle of beer on the counter (you don't waste a good beer), drew his hold-out blaster from his ankle holster, and rolled for cover behind the counter separating the living room from the kitchen. There were people who could scare John Hart, but very few who could actually terrify him. The woman in his living room made him want to wet his pants. John glanced longingly up at the far counter and wished he had gotten a chance to finish his beer before he died.

"Johnny, I asked you a question. Do you have another Guinness?" the woman asked. Her voice held a hint of merriment.

John swallowed. He had heard the same merriment in her voice when she had ordered 10 men to die. She had always had that upbeat attitude, right up until the moment the Time Agency had been overrun by the Legion. John hadn't known that she had been one of the ones to escape. "What do you want, Director?" he asked, not daring to show his head above the counter.

"Johnny, I think we have established this. I want you to give your old boss a beer so we can discuss some things over a drink. I promise not to kill you or hurt you," the woman said. She paused before speaking again in a flirty voice, "Unless you ask me to, of course. You always were a little kinky." Her voice took on a serious tone. "Johnny, this concerns Jack and why he came back to this time and place, now get your scrawny ass from behind that counter and get me a beer," she ordered.

He knew as soon as she mentioned his name, she had him. John would do anything to protect his friend. John made a decision. He tucked the hold-out blaster into the waist band of his pants so he could reach it faster. John wasn't sure if he could out draw the Director, but he would die trying. John Hart, ex-scout for the Time Agency stood and kept his back to the living room. He opened the fridge and grabbed another beer. With the same hand he grabbed the neck of his bottle. He walked to the entry way and turned on the living room lights.

Director River Song, head of the Time Agency was lounging in his armchair. She was wearing a white leather outfit with matching top and pants. She had a standard issue combat belt (standard issue in the 35th century) around her waist. An empty holster hung off of the belt. Her blaster was on the table, just out of arm's reach for her. A white box was next to the gun. River pointed to the gun. "I don't want to fight, Johnny," she said.

John pulled out his small gun and pointed it at her head. "Good, that will make this quick!" he spat. "I should draw this out after what you did to Jack, but he doesn't believe in torture anymore. The bloody git would probably forgive you if he could remember you at all," John said with pure venom.

"There was one thing I could always count on in the agency. Do you know what that was? …Right or wrong I could always count on you to take Jack's side. It's why I had him wiped while you were off station. It's why I'm here now. And for your information, he will forgive me," River said confidently.

"Are you insane? After what you did to him? I was just making a speech." John said. His anger was boiling. He saw the confident look that was always on River's face turn to one of sadness for a brief moment.

"Jack won't remember me now, but eventually he does get his memories back. We have a talk in the future. He will forgive me. I know you don't believe me, but a lot has happened to me since the agency dissolved. I've changed. I work for the same side as Jack. Well as much as I work for anyone's side other my own," River admitted.

"So what caused this miraculous rebirth, huh? You get religion? Head to a murder rehab, because I don't remember seeing you at any of the meetings," John said. His disbelief was written all over his face.

"I met the most wonderful man in the Universe and fell in love," River said simply. John lowered his gun. "Jack was even the best man at our wedding or maybe he was the maid the honor?" she said turning the statement into a rhetorical question, her brows knitting in confusion. "It was kind of an odd wedding, what with all of the dignitaries and such," River said, smiling at the memory.

John put his gun back in his waist band. He handed River her beer. "I'm not saying I believe a word you're saying. You did teach me everything I know about the con," John said. He sat on the couch opposite of River. "Now let's just suppose that I lost my mind and did believe you, why are you here other than to raid my beer supplies?" John asked.

River took a long drink before answering. "The super heroes," she answered. "Especially big blue," River said using the nickname she had come up with the first time John had showed her a picture of Superman.

"I knew it! You or the Time Agency, which of course means you eventually, were the ones behind the timeshift that delayed the rise of the super heroes!" John said in anger.

River shook her head in frustration. "It would have been a good plan when I was running the Agency, but like I said, I play for the other team now," River said. She saw the schoolboy smirk on John's face. "You know what I mean, Johnny. Actually, my husband was finally able to track where the shift came from and who caused it," she said. River waited patiently, letting John know who was in control.

John broke and asked, "Ok, who did it?"

"Superman did it, on a rural road five years ago," River said.

"What? You want me to believe that Superman changed his own destiny to stop the rise of superheroes? Now I know you've gone mad," John said. He rose from the couch, ready to toss his old boss out.

"We don't think he had any idea of what the later ramifications of his actions would be. The young man who later became Superman used time travel to save the life of a girl named Lana Lang," River said.

John sat back down. "Never mind, that makes perfect sense now. Having that stupid bint in the Universe could easily ruin a timeline," John said. "If the big, dumb farm boy (who was thinking with his little Kryptonian at the time) is at fault, why are you here?" he asked, still confused.

"Someone else has gotten involved and that has allowed our side to send in a little help, not that you boys actually need it. You two were always my favorites," River said, her eyes alight with malicious glee. John motioned impatiently for her to continue. She sighed. "You always were the impatient one. The Master has teamed up with the Luthors," River said matter of factly.

John jumped up from the couch yelling, "NO! I won't let him take him again. I'll nuke this f***ing planet before I let him fall into that bastard's hands again!" John swore. He started to move off to his bedroom to change into his work clothes when he was stopped by a hand on his arm.

"He does love you in his own way, John. Never forget that." River paused. "Before you go, I have to give you something," River said indicating the box. "You'll know who it is for."

John picked up the box and opened the lid. He looked down and took in a deep breath. "Is this real?" John asked in a quiet voice. River Song nodded her head. "Where the hell did you get this?" John asked.

"The same place I get most things," River said. "I stole it from a museum."

John changed his clothes and ran the two blocks to the Watchtower building. He had moved apartments when Jack moved to Metropolis. John had wanted to be closer to his old lover. He had the box River Song had given him tucked under one arm. John slammed the lobby doors open when he got to the Watchtower building. He immediately saw something wasn't right. Spent shell casing littered the floor. His best friend lay in a pool of blood in the center of the floor. At least Jack had thrown "the Coat" far enough away that it was spared any bullet holes. John did get tired of listening to Jack whine about repairing the thing. John walked over to the coat and picked it up. He dusted it off, sat down on a bench in the lobby, and waited. After a few moments, Jack began breathing and sat up. He looked over to where he had thrown his coat. "It's over here, blue eyes," John told him, lifting up the coat so he could see it.

"Thanks," Jack said as he stood up. He looked at John in his combat clothes. "Good, you're dressed. We have problems," Jack said.

"You don't know the half of it," John muttered.

"John, Lana kidnapped Chloe and Lois. She is planning on using them to get to Clark," Jack said as he walked to the elevator. John stood and tossed him his coat.

"Bad news, friend. The Master probably gave them the idea," John informed him. Jack stopped in mid-stride. He slowly turned to face John. John made the mistake of looking in his eyes. John had heard the legends of the Untempered Schism. The break in reality where the Time Lords forced their children to gaze upon the whole of creation. It was said that the children were either inspired, went mad, or ran away. Looking into the fury of Jack's eyes was like looking into the Untempered Schism. John had the distinct urge to run like hell. The moment ended when Jack turned away and continued to walk to the elevator. "Wait up! Whatever you're going to do, I'm coming with you, and we're going to need this," John said opening the lid of the box.

Jack looked inside the box and his whole demeanor changed. He smiled and said, "They're not going to know what hit them." They stepped into the elevator and Jack pulled out his cell-phone. He dialed the number that called Clark from the Watchtower line. "Boy-Scout, this is the Captain. We've been set up. Return to the tower immediately and meet me in my apartment. I'll explain everything," Jack said tersely and then hung up before Clark could ask any questions. He looked over at John. "I don't want him going off half-cocked. This is a team rescue mission, something the Luthors and Saxon never understood," Jack explained. Jack dialed the emergency number on his phone that linked him to Chloe's computer in the command center. He sent the recall code alerting all JLA members to return to the Watchtower. He put the phone back in his pocket. He hummed a showtune as the lift sped them upwards towards the floor that housed the apartment he shared with Chloe.

John and Jack got off the lift and found an impatient Clark waiting in the living room. Clark took in the state of Jack's bloody shirt and rushed over to his friend. "Jack, are you ok?" he said on instinct. Clark caught himself and remembered who he was talking to. "Who killed you this time?" he asked.

"Before I tell you, you must promise me you won't rush off without us and the rest of the team," Jack said.

"Jack what is going on?" Clark asked. Jack stood still with his arms folded across his bloody shirt. Clark knew that he would never be able to out wait the immortal. "Ok, I promise," Clark said. Jack looked into the young man's eyes, was satisfied in what he saw there, and quickly filled Clark in on what had happened. "Lana did this?" Clark asked, not wanting to believe that the woman he once thought he loved was capable of such atrocities. "Are you sure?"

"Clark, she had was standing in the lobby and ordered my death. She has a sick obsession with controlling you. She took Chloe and Lois and plans on using them to force you to submit to whatever she has planned. If she is working with Harold Saxon now, then we can assume they know about your weakness to Kryptonite," Jack said. John noticed how Jack refused to call the Master by the name he had chosen as a Time Lord. He realized it was an act of defiance against the man who had tortured him and demanded he be called Master. John doubted the words ever passed Jack's lip the entire year that never was. "We are going to have to work as a team and bring in the JLA as backup," Jack said. He grabbed the young man's shoulder. "I promise you, we will get the girls back alive, and we will make Saxon and the Luthors sorry they got up this morning. Especially the Luthors," Jack said with a wide grin. "John has something for you."

John handed Clark the box he had been carrying. "Before you even ask, I don't know what museum this was stolen from, but it is a Kryptonian artifact and therefore it belongs to you," John said. He actually had a really good idea of which museum it came from. He had visited it when he had been researching the origins of the Legion. "This artifact originally belonged to a Kryptonian warrior who united your people. He stood for peace and hope, just like you do. He was also the founder of your line. The first El," John said.

Clark reverently opened the lid expecting a weapon of some sort. What he saw was a large yellow pentagon bordered in red facing him. The Kryptonian symbol for hope he had been using was in the center of the pentagon. The "S" was touching each of the five sides. The pentagon was emblazoned on a blue cloth like material. Jack felt the timeline shift ever so slightly back to where it was supposed to be.

Dinah Lance was standing in the command center with the rest of the assembled JLA. She had received the emergency recall code from the Watchtower and now there was no sign of Chloe, Jack, or Clark. She was about to try Chloe's cell-phone again when she saw the other members stop in their tracks. They all stood motionless and stared down the hallway to the stairs leading to Chloe and Jack's apartment. Dinah turned around and froze. Chills ran down her spine and it seemed like time slowed down. Clark was walking down the center of the hallway flanked on his left by Captain Jack Harkness and John Hart on his right. Clark was finally wearing a costume. "And oh what a costume," Dinah thought. Clark was dressed in a blue one piece suit made out of a material that shimmered slightly. He wore red boots and a red bikini thing to hide his nether region considering how tight the suit was. Around Clark's waist was a yellow belt. He had a red cape attached to the blue suit. Dinah watched them in her perceived slow motion. Clark's cape billowed behind him as he walked. John was cracking his knuckles and flexing his neck, getting ready for a fight. He was dressed in his red Napoleonic Officer's jacket and black leather pants like when she first met him. His sword was buckled more tightly at side, ready for action. Jack, well Jack wore the same coat he always did. Jack had somehow transformed his sexy walk into a walk that spoke of wisdom and cunning beyond anything mere mortals could ever achieve. Dinah realized that had she been born 1,000 years ago she would have accepted these three visitors from the stars as gods. Jack was the god of the Hunt. John was the god of war, and Clark was clearly the god of Justice. Someone's mortal ass was about to get kicked.

Clark walked into the room and slowly looked at his assembled friends. He felt uncomfortable at the looks of awe they were giving him. He knew that wearing this suit would only get him more of the same as time passed. The only people who would never look at him that way were his mother,Lois, and Jack. The thought of Lois caused him to clench his teeth. "Thank you all for all for responding to the emergency recall," Clark said. "We have a situation on our hands that will require the entire team. Lois Lane and Watchtower have been kidnapped by the Luthors and an alien who calls himself the Master," Clark explained. He waited for the gasps and shouts of indignation to die down. "The Master is a time traveler like Jack. He knows my weaknesses. In fact, he probably knows all of our weaknesses, which is why we will attack as a team," Clark said.

Jack punched up the schematics for the new LexCorp II building. A 3-D model sprang to life over the conference table. "We are guessing they are holding the girls somewhere in there," he said. "We are going in with the assumption that the building was altered since the blue prints were submitted to city hall. What we can rely on is that the primary load bearing structures will have to have remained the same as well as the locations of the lifts," Jack said. "The plan is for the main group of the JLA to strike here at the back," he said as he pointed to a loading dock at the back of the building. "That should pull the majority of Lex's troops away giving John and me a chance at getting inside," Jack said. "Once we're inside, we'll clear the building of any Kryptonite and signal for Clark to come on in."

Oliver Queen studied the floating blueprints. "So Jack, how are you John planning on getting inside?" he asked.

John answered that question, "Well since we're professional agents, highly trained in covert and tactical entries, we figured we try knocking on the front door for once." Oliver gave him a dirty look. "I'm serious. Jack and I are going in through the front lobby while you lot make a ruckus out back," John explained. "One of the principals of dynamic entry is called 'the shock of violence'. We figure after all the violence Lana did to Jack's body; having him show up at the front door saying he has an appointment will have quite the shock value."

Oliver was familiar with all of the principals of dynamic entries and knew that what John and Jack had planned wasn't exactly what "shock of violence" meant, but he smiled anyway at the thought of Lana's face when she saw Jack in the building. He tapped the communicator placed in his ear. "Roll-call everyone," Oliver said quietly.

"Cyborg here and in position," Victor said. Victor took up his position next to Dinah at the end of an alley that faced the rear of the LexCorp II.

"Black Canary here, I'm in position," Dinah said. Her part during this mission was to provide support for Victor while he attempted to hack into the security system if they made it into the loading dock.

"Impulse ready and willing," Bart said from a couple of blocks away. He would come running in once a large enough group of guards came out into the open. He tapped his foam covered baton in his hand. At the speed he would be moving, a tap from the baton would leave a person unconscious. The foam covering helped keep him from breaking any of their bones…usually.

"All right people, Green Arrow is in position as well. Let's get their attention," Oliver said from his perch on the four story building across the street from the rear of the building. He pulled out one of the arrows he had recently made. He had adapted the tip to hold one of John's EMP grenades. Oliver pulled back the bowstring and let the arrow fly. The arrow sped across the street and then slammed into the wall, just below a camera covering the loading docks. The blast radius of the grenade also covered several of the roll up doors, locking them in place.

Victor and Dinah ran to the loading dock and got there just as three guards made it out of the man sized door on the far wall. The second man out fell over as a sedative tipped arrow sprouted from his shoulder. The first guard had his gun out, but he never got a chance to fire it. He was knocked out by the trash can Victor had thrown from 20 yards away. The third guard shot at Dinah who shattered the bullet with a blast of sonic waves. The guard quickly ducked back inside. Dinah tapped her communicator, "Green Arrow, if this is the resistance we can expect we'll beat the Captain and Vengeance to the target." The roll-up door farthest away from her exploded and a squad of men wearing black combat armor rolled out of the smoking frame.

The security guard in the front lobby sat at his desk and watched the indicator lights for the loading dock go from green to red. He was glad he had pulled the cushy job at the front rather than have to face whatever was going on back there. The sound of the front doors opening, even though he had locked them himself, drew his attention away from his adult magazine. Two men were casually walking into the lobby. The shorter one dressed in a red jacket, wearing a sword was putting a small black box into his pocket. "That was embarrassingly easy," John said. "I have half a mind to relock those doors and try picking them by hand, just to have some sort of challenge." The men reached the desk and the taller one wearing the gray / blue coat pointed a revolver at the security guard's head.

"I need you to do me a favor," Jack told the guard. "Actually, a couple of them. First one is I need you to hand my partner here your sidearm," he said calmly with his charming smile. The guard complied and handed John his gun. John rolled his eyes at the primitive firearm at tossed it over his shoulder. "The second favor I need you to do for me is to hand over your handcuffs," Jack said sweetly.

"Bugger this!" John said. He reached over and punched the guard squarely across the jaw, knocking him out. John shrugged, "I was getting bored." John hopped over the desk and examined the security panels. "It's not like the movies, there aren't any buttons that control anything back here," he complained. Jack wasn't paying any attention to John. He was staring up at a security camera that had suddenly swiveled to face them. Jack gave the camera his million watt smile and then shot it.

"We should have visitors soon," Jack guessed.

Lex and Lana Luthor were in his office when the first alarm sounded. Lex pressed a button under his desk and the wall nearest him slid away, revealing a wall of monitors. Lex immediately saw one of the loading dock cameras was down. He sent a strike team to the dock in case it was another of the JLA's attacks. He also activated his latest 33.1 experiments in case the strike team wasn't enough. Lana was watching the other monitors and yelled out, "No! That's impossible! I saw him die!" Lex slowly turned his head away, angry his wife had just yelled in his ear. He looked at the monitor she was looking at and he quickly forgave her. Had he not watched the operation from one of her team's helmet-cams, Lex would have just assumed Lana had botched the job. Instead he was now looking at the man he had watched be shredded by bullets calmly take the front lobby guard hostage. To make sure it was him, Lana took control of the camera and panned it over to him. She zoomed in on his face. The smug bastard looked at the camera and his smile sent chills down her spine. Harkness pointed a gun at the camera and the video feed ended.

"I'm beginning to see why Mr. Saxon is so interested in our friend down there," Lex said. "Let's put him through his paces shall we. I'm going to redirect the latest 33.1 batch to him and that Renaissance Park reject," Lex said eagerly. He typed a new set of commands into his terminal and watched the remaining lobby cameras. The two men were simply standing next to the desk, chatting.

Jack had put his revolver away and both men had their wrists outs, their vortex manipulators set to scan. John was scanning for signs of Kryptonite while Jack's more damaged manipulator scanned for life readings. "Jack, I'm getting low level readings throughout the whole building. It's like it's in the frame work or something," John said.

"It can't be. There isn't enough Kryptonite on this planet to line the frame of a building this big," Jack responded.

"Ok," John paused while he thought and then asked, "Can it be made into some form of an alloy?"

"Nope, it's a crystal, remember," Jack reminded him. Jack snapped his fingers. "But crystals can be crushed and suspended in a fluid. Mix it in the right ratio and pump it through the pipes and you get a Kryptonite building. Look for the largest concentration of Kryptonite and that's where the pump will be," Jack said. His vortex manipulator started beeping loudly. John looked over at the display.

"Wow, yours really is buggered. It says all those folks coming towards us have no life signs. I'll take a look at it when we get done," John offered. The stairs at either end of the lobby slammed open and "people" starting flowing through them. They're dead eyes filmy white. Each one had a rectangular gray box inserted into the side of their head.

"John, remember when I told you Green Arrow and Co. took out a 33.1 with nothing but cadavers?" Jack asked his old friend.

John drew his gun with one hand and his sword with the other. "I'm guessing this is what he was up to," John finished Jack's thought.

Jack pulled out the two sonic blasters John had given him. "Just so we're clear about things. Since they're all ready dead, it doesn't count as falling off the wagon," Jack said reassuringly.

Cupping Jack's head with the hand he had his gun in, John pulled him in for a quick kiss. "I love this man!" he exclaimed before jumping into the battle. John swung his mono-molecular edged blade through one neck while he shot the head off of another target. Jack held his arms out at his sides and fired both guns over and over again, destroying enemies on either side of them. When one of the 33.1 zombies would get to close to Jack its limbs were quickly severed and kicked away by the time scout who had adopted the hero name of Vengeance. When John's life was threatened by a zombie, it's head was turned into a gory mist by a well placed shot from the immortal Captain. Both of them were laughing like children at Christmas. Lexcorp ran out zombies well before the two friends had gotten remotely tired.

Lex shut down the monitors and stepped away from his desk. He got turned on by power and what he had just witnessed had given him a raging hard-on. He wanted to take Lana right there on his desk, but there were other matters to take care of. Their hostages needed to be brought to them for the Luthor's protection. Lex picked up the phone and made the call.

Jack and John ran to the facility maintenance room. John's scans showed the pump to be behind a wall with no door. They looked at each other and both drew their guns, firing simultaneously. The wall now had a large rectangular hole in it, the signature blast mark of their sonic weapons. Jack stepped in a examined the pump. There were two large containers fixed to the far wall.

"Glad we didn't come in that way," John quipped. Jack ignored him and figured out how to reverse the pumps and fill up the tanks.

Jack tapped his communicator in his ear, "Captain to Boy-Scout, ETA for building decon is 10 minutes. See you soon."

Jack and John left the pump room and rematerialized the wall, sealing it off. They walked to the elevators and got in one. John pressed the top floor. The doors shut and the elevator made its slow journey upwards. Soft music played in the background. Jack and John stood in the center as if they were headed up for another day at the office. "So, you and Chloe going out to eat after this all over. I figure neither one of you will want to cook," John said making small talk.

"Hadn't really thought about it, but you're right. I should take her out. She's had a rough day. How about you?" Jack asked politely. Anyone looking would see two friends who couldn't be any calmer.

"Thought about asking that AC fellow out for a few drinks. He's pretty hot and we've all ready made out once in the janitor's closet," John admitted.

"Good luck. AC is a sweet guy and has great abs," Jack said.

"Yeah, the only problem is he smells like fish," John complained. The elevator stopped and the doors opened. John bowed and gestured out the door, "Shall we?"

The ex-time scouts made their way carefully down the corridor. Midway down, a door was opening and shutting automatically on a person's leg. A gaping hole in the wall was next to the door and a TV monitor was embedded in the wall opposite of the hole. Jack put his hand on the door and pulled it open all the way. The leg was all that remained of who ever had been guarding this room. The room was completely white except for a message written in what was probably the guard's blood:

Naughty Jack! You brought friends and I was so hoping to get to play with you one on one. Oh well, I'll "catch" you next time.

Yours Forever,

The Master

John swallowed his disgust. "I was just going to kill the bastard slowly, but now, I think I'll hand him over to Director Song to play with. She'll have a field day with him," he said.

"Who?" Jack asked.

"Never mind, let's go find your woman and get out of here. I don't like their décor," John said haughtily. They finished walking down the hall and came to a large door with the LuthorCorp symbol on it.

"Stay here and watch my back," Jack ordered.

"I'd rather watch your ass, but all right," John said, "Don't be too long."

Captain Jack Harkness opened the door and confidently walked into the lion's den. Lois and Chloe were tied to chairs with gags in their mouths. Lana was standing next to Lois with a gun pointed at her head. Lex was sitting on the edge of desk. His hands folded in his lap. "I'm glad I finally get to meet you, Captain Harkness," Lex said warmly. "You're quite the individual. You come back from the dead. You rain hell down on my latest batch of experiments. I'm guessing you were the one who put the JLA up to attacking my loading docks as a diversion. Very well played strategy. There's just something that's bothering me. Now that you're here in my office, what were you planning on doing? Clark can't help you, and you left your other friend behind."

Jack's vortex manipulator silently vibrated, telling him ten minutes was almost up. "You got me there, Lex. You know I won't do anything rash that would jeopardize the women. I was hoping as businessmen we could work out some kind of deal," Jack improvised, buying time. He looked around for an empty chair and chose one on a wall adjacent to the large windows overlooking Metropolis. "Do you mind if I sit?" he asked Lex. Knowing a sitting man was an easier target to shoot than a moving one, Lex agreed with a wave of his hand.

"I didn't know you were a business man, Captain. I've never heard of you before," Lex challenged. Jack palmed the small drone out of his pocket and leaned forward, as if he was interested in what Lex was saying. In reality he was placing the drone on the floor, behind his leg. Jack oriented it towards the window and pressed the delay button.

Jack stood again and walked towards Lex. "I used to run one of the most powerful organizations in the world, of course you never heard of me," he said as is if it should have been obvious. The drone began its slow trek towards the wall containing the windows. Jack looked down at Lois and caught her eyes. "My portfolio is dynamic and my entry into the business world would be too violent for most people to handle," he said. Lois blinked twice to tell him she understood. The drone encountered the wall, set off a painful high pitch whine, and then exploded; taking most of the wall with it.

Lois had been expecting something, Lana had not. When the high pitch whine started, Lana raised both of her hands to cover her ears. Lois shifted her weight and toppled into her. When the wall ripped apart, Lex jumped off his desk; right into the path of Captain Jack Harkness. Jack punched him across the jaw, sending him spinning into his desk. Lex was lying across his desk staring out the gaping hole in his wall when he saw him. The image would haunt his nightmares for the rest of his life. Lex saw Clark's black hair blowing in wind as he slowly rose into view. He was now dressed in a blue and red costume. The red cape was flapping behind him. As Clark rose into view, Lex saw he had his arms crossed; looking very annoyed. Eventually Clark was fully in view and clearly hovering.

Lana had pushed Lois off of her and regained her gun. She was unaware of what was going on at the open wall. Lana pointed the gun at Lois' head. "He's mine. He always was and he always will be; you blue collar whore!" The gun suddenly became too hot to hold as Clark's heat vision melted the barrel.

"You really are a bitch," Clark said, finally believing it. Lana wasn't sure what burned more, her hand or his words. She ran to the adjoining room. "Let her go, Jack," Clark said, "We're done here." Clark floated into the room glaring at Lex, daring him to make a move. Jack untied Lois and Chloe. "We're leaving now, Lex. Don't try to stop us," Clark warned.

"Wouldn't dream of it, old buddy," Lex said. He knew he had lost this skirmish, but there were bound to be more in the future. His knowledge of Clark's abilities and weaknesses made it an uneven playing field. Lex looked at Jack and swore not to underestimate this man again.

"Come on, Lois. Let's go home," Clark suggested as he took Lois in his arms. They flew out of the window.

"Sorry, Chloe. We have to walk and ride the elevator," Jack sighed. Jack turned on Lex and glared at him. "Now that Clark's gone, let me make something clear, Lex. People who threaten those who I love don't end well. Either that or they never end at all," he said cryptically. He took Chloe by the hand and they walked out of the office to join John.

When the three of them finally left the building and crossed the street, Chloe let out a sigh of relief. She playfully slapped Jack's arm. "Took you long enough," she teased him. Jack hugged her close. "What are we going to do about the Luthor's? They know both Clark and your secrets now," Chloe said glumly.

John turned around and walked backwards as he talked to Chloe and Jack. "Don't worry your cute little blonde head one bit. Uncle John already has a plan," he said confidently. He looked at John simply said, "The Titan operation."

Jack stopped and let go of Chloe. He put both hands on either side of John's face and kissed him. "You're brilliant!" he yelled.

"Yeah, that's why you love me," John said.

Later that evening Lana Luthor was making her way to her bedroom, not the one she shared with Lex. She was furious at how he had mismanaged things and let Clark get away. Lana was certain she was going to have to do something to remove Lex so she could take over LexCorp and focus more resources on regaining control of Clark. She made it to her door and heard people having extremely loud sex on the other side. Lana threw open the door and caught her husband in the act with Prof. Milton Fine.

"Oops, looks like we're caught," Lex giggled, clearly drunk.

"Guess so, mate," Prof. Fine said. He got out of Lana's bed stark nude and went over to a black bag on the night stand. He pulled out a yellow, glowing vial of cologne. John sprayed himself and slid up to Lana. The combination of alien and 55th century pheromones overwhelmed Lana.

Lana ripped off her clothes saying, "I have to have you now!"

"He's mine, I saw him first," Lex whined. He tried to get of bed but was having trouble moving.

"There's plenty of me to share, loves. Lana why don't you go crawl into bed and I'll pour us a drink," John suggested in a husky voice. Lana rushed to the bed and waited for him. John poured a drink for Lana and him. He dropped a quick dissolving pill in hers. John handed her the drink, "Bottoms up." Lana drained her glass and rolled over, taking his statement at face value.

"Take me," Lana begged.

"Before we go any further there are some things I should tell you," John said. "Due to a misunderstanding, I once spent an entire week having sex with a poodle," he told her.

"I don't care, I need you now," Lana said. Her arms were getting heavy. She found it hard to move.

"I just wanted you to know the depths I've sunk," John said as he leaned down to her. He stopped inches from her face. "Because as low as I've sunk, not even I'm twisted enough to have sex with something like you," John snarled. He put one finger on her forehead and pushed her down. Lana slipped into unconsciousness. John had slipped Lana and Lex the original version of Retcon he and Jack had developed for the agency. Unlike its current version, the original wiped an entire week's worth of memory and left the recipient paralyzed for 12 hours. John kissed Lex one last time and got dressed. He whistled a jaunty tune as he left the mansion. As the Retcon worked, Jack Harkness felt time finally heal itself.


Chloe sat at her terminal checking her various monitors. It had been two weeks since John had wiped the Luthor's memory. Victor had hacked the LuthorCorp mainframe and erased all references to both of them. She was relieved to know that Clark and Jack's secrets were safe for now. Chloe looked over her shoulder at her lover who was standing next to the conference table. She smiled at him. Jack grinned and waved. He stopped waving and looked ill. Jack doubled over and grabbed the table. Chloe thought she saw a slight shimmer around him. She rushed over to him, but was stopped by his pained voice, "Get back! Everyone get back!" Jack tried to stand but he doubled over in pain again.

"Jack, what's going on?" Chloe pleaded.

"Time storm," he gasped, "I absorbed a bolt of energy that came out of the vortex a couple years ago. I guess it has finally decided to discharge," he said through gritted teeth. Jack closed his eyes as small sparks began flying off of him. A huge blast of energy lanced from Jack's chest and struck the center of the room with an explosive concussion. Jack was thrown across the room to land in a heap. Chloe and Oliver ran to him to find his shirt smoking.

Oliver put his hand on Jack's chest. "He's not breathing. Leave it to Jack to come up with a new way to get himself killed," he joked. Chloe gave him a dirty look.

"Uh, guys," Dinah said quietly. Oliver and Chloe didn't hear her. "Hey, GUYS!" she said louder. "Jack may not be breathing, but there is a naked guy over here who is," Dinah said. Chloe ran over to Dinah. A black haired man who was even taller than Jack was waking up. He had a handsome, rectangular face. He shook his head and tried to stand. Only then did he notice his lack of clothes.

"Excuse, but where are my clothes?" he asked politely in a smooth Welsh accent. He looked over to his left at the prone form on the ground. "Jack!" he yelled and ran to him, not caring he was naked.

Chloe stared at the naked man hovering over her lover. "Jack was right, he does have a nice ass," Chloe thought. She had no idea what set of cosmic circumstances had brought this supposedly dead man into the Watchtower. Chloe recognized him from the photos Jack had shown her. She walked over to the chair where Jack had thrown his coat and picked it up. She draped it around the nude man's shoulders to give him some privacy. She gave his shoulders a comforting squeeze. "Ianto Jones, we have a lot to talk about," Chloe told him.