[A/N: I'm being creative this time and writing the author's notes before I finish the chapter. Actually, I'm only 4 short paragraphs into it. My goal is to finish this before the end of Memorial Day weekend. So here goes.

I was all prepared with the storyline for this one. Well, that's a lie. I knew vaguely what was going to happen, and who was going to be at the door. But that would mean, as Teri pointed out, that the story's ending soon. I sure don't want that to happen, and neither do a lot of you! So, as I decided last night at about midnight, it was time for a plot twist. And I got the perfect one. It'll bring another character or two into this (I originally wanted to avoid using everyone except Clark and Pete, so this is a development), because it's a link to Lex. Well, I can't guarantee an appearance from our favorite bald boy billionaire, but I'm working on it. Kinda. And no, it's not Lex at the door. I'm not sure he fits into this story. Be patient!

Lastly, before I continue writing what you are about to read: I'm upsetting the continuity a bit here. Disregard "Tempest" and all plot developments from it. There is no dance, as it was when I started writing this months ago. Clark and Chloe are not an item; actually I'm avoiding romance at all costs. It gets in the way of this plot, but Chloe does still have her crush on Clark. That kind of affects her reactions here, I think. But, and this is important: "Obscura" is not to be completely ignored. Nixon DID see Clark take the bullet (as it were) for Lana, but he doesn't yet know about the ship. He's simply hot on the trail.

I love my reviews, and my reviewers! More, please!! And Rocketgirl, honey, It was great seeing you this weekend with DJBlurr!!! ::wink::]

7. Chapter 7 (title???)

At the sound of the doorbell, Pete and Chloe's eyes locked. Chloe was sure it was the government, come to interrogate them. Pete was sure it was Clark, come to make sure they didn't tell anybody about him. They both thought the same thing: [I'm too young to die!]

The teens listened intently as Gabe got the door, and unconsciously grabbed each other's hands. A voice that neither of them recognized greeted them.

"Hello, Mr. Sullivan. My name is Roger Nixon and I'm from the Metropolis Inquisitor. Is your lovely daughter at home?"

Chloe stood up slowly, and Pete followed her lead. She smoothed her hair and wiped some stray tears off her face, and became ready to bounce down the stairs in her normal fashion. Pete followed her hesitantly. He didn't want to talk to a reporter now. He felt way too vulnerable; that he might blab out the secret at any moment.

"Mr. Nixon, hi. I'm Chloe Sullivan. Now, what brings a big city reporter such as yourself out to Mayberry?"

Pete, who was standing tentatively behind his friend, watched the elder reporter fumble ever so slightly. He obviously wasn't accustomed to the Snark of Chloe.

"Actually, a couple of things," he continued smoothly. "One of them was your fantastic dedication to journalism and stories that may be ignored by more conventional writers."

Chloe immediately understood. "You-you like my meteor theories?"

"Precisely, Miss Sullivan. Maybe we can discuss the odd events of your little hamlet (to quote one of your stirring articles) over a cup of coffee?"

"Of course, Mr. Nixon. You, Pete, and I are off to the Talon then?"

Nixon's face fell at the mention of the coffee shop. "But isn't that the place that Luthor owns?"

Pete spoke up for the first time. "Well, yes. It's a joint endeavor with a friend of ours. Trust me, I wouldn't go if it was a LuthorCorp operation."

"Nevertheless, I think it's better to stay somewhere private. There are some things that should stay between the two-" he glanced at Pete with mild disgust, "-three of us." Pete smiled proudly. Nixon knew that Pete wouldn't be leaving.

"I'll put a nice, big pot of joe on then," Gabe smiled, oblivious to the tension between the threesome. "Come in, why don't you?"

Nixon followed Chloe to the living room, with Pete close on his heels. She ejected the movie tape and handed it to her father. "Go watch the rest of this upstairs," she instructed, and her father obeyed. He knew that Chloe was intent on her theories, and would not be interrupted be slapstick comedy.

"Now, Mr. Nixon, why be so secretive? It's not like the rest of the town has been ignoring the pyrokinetic coaches and human queen bees running amok."

"On the contrary, Miss Sullivan," Nixon began to protest. "I believe that there are some things, bigger than the occasional homicidal shape-shifter, that are being covered up here, and I have spoken to a man that believes the same."

Pete stifled a laugh at how Chloe sat up straighter than a ruler. "R- really? Like what?"

Nixon contemplated which of his... observations of the town he should bring up first. He had seen this boy and his little girlfriend with the Kent boy, at the Talon as he looked for clues. Though they seemed to be numb to the weirdness surrounding the town, they might be sensitive if any of it involved a good friend of theirs. They had obviously been blind until now. Plus, Nixon had read some of the Sullivan girl's work as he had said, and she was overly immersed in anything related to the meteor shower. Yes, that's what he would bring up. First, anyway.

"I encountered a mysterious man some time ago, a crop duster. Or he was, until October, 1989."

At this, Chloe blinked hard a couple of times. "The meteor shower. What happened?"

"As it were, Mr. Cole had been branded a lunatic by the general populous and driven out of business. You see, he seemed to have spotted-"

"A spaceship. Yeah, we know. Eddie Cole is a raving madman. Not that Chloe here doesn't completely shut him out." Pete couldn't resist jumping into the conversation at that point. Eddie Cole, ex-crop duster, was known around Smallville for his crazy, "X-Files"-esque theories that Chloe had been known to attempt to prove.

"Well, Mr.-"

"Ross," Pete inserted.

"Mr. Ross, then. I believe that I have a lead that may satisfy Miss Sullivan's nose for the news. If, of course, you want to know."

Chloe bounced up and down, those horrid lattes finally catching up with her. Unable to contain her excitement at such a discovery, she couldn't help but squeal out, "Duh! I'm an anxious, caffeine-ridden teen reporter who's been watching a Mel Brooks movie late at night and has her pathetic, platonic life dedicated to a freak accident from a dozen years ago and her freakishly tall, gorgeous friend! Did you think I didn't want to know the dirt you have on the local crackpot that I've been praying was correct for almost all of my conscious life? Or have you been smoking something incredibly illegal? Which I'm sure you can get somewhere around here, by the way, considering there's no obviously sex problem and that our small farming town must abide by the rules of stereotypical America!"

Pete and Nixon made unsteady eye contact, and simultaneously edged back from the hyper teen. The younger was the first to recover from the initial shock of the outburst.

"Okay, no more sugar for you tonight, young lady." Chloe smirked.

"I'm sorry, Miss Sullivan, if this is a bad time, I'll be leaving. Except, um, yeah."

"NO! I mean, no, please don't leave. That whole rant was the long way to say 'Please tell me, please!' So, you said you had some dirt?"

Nixon smoothed his shirt nervously and leaned forward. "Well, I'm not sure how to say this, but I've been watching a friend of yours. Clark Kent, I believe. And, well, I've found some interesting things, and I have a theory."

"Sorry to burst your bubble yet again, Mr. Nixon, but we know that as well. See-" Pete was interrupted by a sharp nudge in the ribs by the feisty blonde next to him.

"Hush up boy. We don't know what he knows." She squinted comically at the man across from her, and Pete stifled a smirk.

"Alright then, Mr. Nixon, if that IS your real name," he paused to shoot Nixon a smile to show that he was joking, "you tell us what you know."

"I can't say I know nearly the entire story," the reporter admitted. "But I have seen him take several bullets as if he were wearing a bullet-proof vest and run as if he were on fast-forward, not to mention tossing a man as if he were weightless with seemingly no effort."

Pete waggled his eyebrows at Chloe to prove that he wasn't delusional. She conceded.

"Enough with the metaphors. What are you going to do with your knowledge of our close friend?"

"Well, I'm sure he could do mankind a great benefit. His invulnerability can possibly be duplicated to prevent fatal diseases and such, and his abilities are crucial to the- how could you put it- never-ending battle for justice."

Pete cringed. He remembered his concerns when he had first discovered Clark's abilities. No matter how much Clark may want to hurt him for telling Chloe, he still didn't want to see his friend in such a dire and inhumane situation. There was only one way to save him: strike a deal.

"Does this knowledge mean a lot to you, Mr. Nixon?" said Pete, suddenly all business.

"Yes sir, Mr. Ross. Myself, and the human race as we know it."

"Well, it can't be both. You're going to have to choose." Chloe shot him a questioning look, and he clarified.

"Chloe and I, we know more things about Clark than he probably knows about himself." Pete knew he was probably exaggerating, but he wanted his proposition to be affective. It needed to be an offer that Nixon couldn't refuse. "We can show you the real secret behind Clark Kent and you keep it to yourself, or you can write all about the bullet-proof boy raised in the town where heat-sucking jocks are the norm."

"Yeah, and if you don't obey, we'll sick Clark on ya!" interjected Chloe.

Pete placed a calming hand on Chloe's shoulder. "No, you dingbat. We'll go to Luthor."

"L-luthor?" Nixon repeated. How did this kid know his connections?

Pete noticed Nixon's reaction, but misinterpreted it. "Yeah, we know he has ways of dealing with things." He tried to crack his knuckles menacingly, but failed horribly. Chloe gave into temptation and cracked up again. Pete rolled his eyes. Chloe got her father and started the movie again. They were going to wait out the storm, and then they were headed back to the Kent's, Nixon in toe.