Disclaimer: DC Comics owns all rights to the characters within. They are used without permission and not meant to infringe on copyrights or meant to generate income.
Also, if you have not read my other stories, it would be helpful to do so before reading this one. The chronology goes: Brothers in Arms, Where Do We Go From Here, Tragedies of the Past, Betrayal From Within, Future Sins, Reestablishing Bonds, Parents and Children, New Allies, Rivals or Friends, Public Enemy Number One, Double Date, Mind Games, Solar Complications, Mentors and Pupils, Brother Against Brother, Calm Before the Storm, Opening Moves, Isolation, The Great Father and Son Contest, Fugue State, Fallout, Holidays, Confidence and Envy, Betrayal, Mandatory Downtime, The Apprentice, Return to Hawaii, and Who Is Conner Kent?
Location: Smallville, the Kent's farm
It was a quiet dinner in the Kent household. Max was off on some secret mission, and Dan had already returned home.
Conner asked, "Aunt Martha, are you all right? You seem nervous tonight."
Martha gave a little start at this. "It's nothing, I'm sure. Just a little jumpy."
"Why's that?" Conner asked.
"I'm not sure," she admitted. "I didn't do anything unusual today; after some shopping, I had an early afternoon coffee in town before heading back. It was long enough ago that the caffeine shouldn't be affecting me anymore."
"You're sweating a bit, do you want me to take you to the doctor, dear?" Jonathan asked.
"It's probably just the weather. I'll be fine after some sleep. I'll go to bed early tonight."
That night, Conner could hear her tossing and turning. She did not have a restful night and looked very tired the next morning.
"You're staying in bed," Jonathan told her. "I'll drop Conner off at school and run the errands today."
Location: Smallville high
Conner was trying to prevent himself from nodding off during his trigonometry class when the school's counselor came into the room and talked briefly to the teacher.
She approached him. "Conner, can you come with me to the office?"
Conner was fully awake now and growing worried. He followed the counselor to her office.
She gently said, "You might want to sit down for this."
Conner was very nervous now. "What's wrong?"
"Your uncle had a heart attack today. He's in the hospital."
Conner's mouth opened, but no words came out. Eventually, he managed, "Is he going to be okay? Can I see him?"
"I'll take you over to the hospital now."
Location: the hospital
Martha was already there, and Conner gave her a supportive hug. She gave him a grateful smile. She looked like she had been crying.
"How is he?" Conner asked, fearing the worst.
"He had a mild heart attack," she replied. "The doctors say he should make a full recovery."
Conner felt relieved. "That's great news!"
"I called Clark, and Lois told me that he's unavailable. She said that Max couldn't be contacted either. She's going to fly out tomorrow."
Conner held back a grimace; he was hoping either of them would be available since they had more experience in dealing with stuff like this. "I'll do everything I can."
Martha smiled. "I know. You're such a good boy."
Conner sensed that she was holding something back. "What aren't you telling me?"
Martha looked worried, "Our insurance isn't going to cover all of this. I don't know how we're going to get the money."
At that point, a nurse came up to them. "Mrs. Kent? I wanted to give you an update on the insurance situation. The second policy on your husband will cover everything that the one you mentioned doesn't."
Martha looked confused. "What second policy?"
The nurse checked her records. "There's a second health insurance policy that covers you and your husband. It was started six months ago."
"It must be from Clark," Martha said. "He must never have mentioned it because he knows Jonathan would have argued about it."
Conner had his suspicions, but said, "That sounds like something he'd do. Can I see Uncle Jon?"
He was led to his room. On the way, Conner noticed the hospital was very busy.
Jonathan was sleeping, so Conner stood with Martha silently. He could tell that she was still worried for her husband.
When Conner went to get Martha something to drink, he overheard two doctors talking about the day.
"It's never been this busy in my seventeen years at this hospital," the first said.
"The ER is full of people who have a bad reaction to something," the second one said. "It's almost like something's scaring everyone."
When Conner returned, he asked, "Was Uncle Jon running errands in town when it happened?"
"Yes," Martha replied.
"Do we have any idea of where he went?"
Martha thought about it. "I'm sure that Jonathan would have kept the receipts in his wallet."
"I think it would help to see them."
She gave him a quizzical look. "What are you thinking, dear?"
"You and Uncle Jon had a reaction to something while in town. The hospital is full of people, so I think it's connected."
"I'll get his wallet."
Martha found it and took out the receipts.
"Which stores did you both visit?" he asked.
Martha looked at them and shook her head. "We went shopping for completely different errands. I don't see any store we both visited."
Conner frowned. "I was hoping there would be something to narrow it down."
"Oh! I'm so forgetful! We both went to the coffee shop."
"I'll check that out later tonight."
Location: the coffee shop, late that night
Superboy unlocked the side door with his telekinesis and snuck in. It was after the coffee shop had closed, since he didn't want to alarm anyone.
The room he entered was dark, but he had a small flashlight that provided him enough light to look around. He grinned to himself as he wondered what Tim would think about him sneaking around in the dark.
He noticed tanks full of water and the different coffee beans the shop used. Since he knew that Jonathan and Martha had very different tastes in coffee, he looked at the water first.
It looked distressingly normal. It wasn't glowing or some strange color. It smelled fine. He knew better than to taste something he suspected was drugged, so he scanned it with his super vision.
"Jackpot," he muttered to himself as he saw an unusual material mixed into the water.
Unfortunately, he didn't recognize the substance. He also didn't have the chemical analyzer that he had seem Robin use; Batman wasn't fond of sharing his equipment with many others.
The lights suddenly turned on, and he flinched from them.
"Who dares invade the lair of the Scarecrow!" a voice demanded.
'So, that must have been fear toxin,' Kon thought. 'That explains everything!'
Scarecrow was startled to see Superboy and threw some powder at him. Kon vaporized it with his heat vision.
"Give up!" Superboy ordered. "You're out of your league here."
Scarecrow turned and ran instead of answering. Kon reached out with his telekinesis to clutter his path with objects. The self-proclaimed 'Master of Fear' tripped over them and crashed to the ground.
Superboy noted that the villain was clenching something in his right hand, so he used his telekinesis to pin him to the ground. There was no reason to take a face full of fear toxin.
"You should have stuck to Gotham," Superboy told him. "There are many more coffee shops there than in a small town."
Location: the Kent's farm
Conner, the Kents, and Lois were having a quiet dinner. Jonathan had been released from the hospital earlier that day and was in good spirits.
"Does this mean you two will stop drinking coffee?" Conner asked the Kents.
"No, dear," Martha replied. "We'll just be a bit more careful about it."
"What do you have against coffee?" Lois asked.
"Ever since I developed super smell, it just has bothered me," Conner replied. "Clark's at the door."
There was a knock before the door opened and Clark's voice called out, "Ma, Pa, I'm home!"
He came into the room and welcomed everyone.
"Are you all right?" he asked his parents.
"The doctor said I'm fine," Jonathan replied.
Clark looked at his mother, and she nodded.
"You rushed back from your outer space trip," Lois noted.
"Bruce gave me a hard time, but everyone understood. On a related topic, I hear someone had a tangle with one of Bruce's rogue's gallery. Good job, Conner!"
Conner smiled, and the evening passed in pleasant conversation.