Author's note: Thanks for the reviews on the last chapter, autumngold, val, Shanthi, Callista NicTeryn, Pineapple1, Pilar, Z, & bansh. It means so much. And big love to Kris and Sabby who emailed me during my recent crisis of confidence. You guys will never know how much those kinds words meant.

I know it's been a wait for this chapter. And I'm sorry about that. I can only hope that the quality will make up for that. Events kinda conspired against me writing it. I got some very nasty flames (which I've left up) and then real life got in my way. Well, it actually got in my way, pushed me down on the ground, then stomped on my face. You know hoe it is

Also, I really really hate the current summary for this fic. If anyone can write a better one, I'll gladly use it and give you full credit.

This chapter is dedicated to Julie, a great beta and professional hand-holder (which can occasionally be the same thing). She's the girl behind the scenes, and she makes this fic work.

PDA 15: Leave the Legalities for the Lawyers

Gabe Sullivan sat in his office at home. He was tired. Tired of feeling helpless, tired of lying awake at night wondering about Chloe, and tired of waiting for Lex Luthor's next attack. Gabe decided to go on the offensive. He opened his address book and flipped to the "S" section. When he found the right number, he picked up the phone and started dialing.

"Hello?" said the voice that answered.

"Hi, um, my name is Gabe Sullivan. I... I need your help."

"What can I do for you, Mr. Sullivan?"

"I know your history with the Luthors."

"I'm sorry, I don't think I can help you."

"Wait! Please! Lex... Lex Luthor has my daughter. I don't know how he's done it, but somehow, he has custody of her. Her cell phone's been deactivated. I can't even see her. Lex's security team follows me every time I leave the house. I called the Sheriff, but she said there was nothing she could do. Please, I don't... I don't know what to do."

"Mr. Sullivan, why don't you come by my office in the morning. I'll see what I can do."

"Thank you."

"I'll see you tomorrow. Nine o'clock. Good-bye, Mr. Sullivan."

"Good-bye, Mr. Small."


Lex Luthor rubbed his eyes tiredly. He has been staring at the same quarterly projections for an hour now and the numbers were starting to blur together. He had checked and rechecked the figures and there was no doubt about it- profits were down. It was understandable. Lex's mind had certainly been preoccupied these past couple of weeks. Combine that with the loss of the best plant manager he'd ever had, it's bound to effect the work force, and thereby effecting the plant's output. It was only a slight dip. More in some departments, less in others. Six percent overall. But it was big enough that his father would notice and wonder why. Big enough to draw Lionel's attention and focus it squarely on Lex. Something Lex fervently wanted to avoid.

Lex glanced down at his watch. Ten o'clock. These figures were due on his father's desk by the end of the day. That meant Lex only had slightly less than seven hours to adjust these figures before his father's perusal. He didn't need to make the dip disappear entirely, he just needed to fill it in a bit. Small fluctuations could be explained by supplies of raw material, or the market, or local economic slumps. I just need to take profits up three percent. He won't notice if they only drop three percent, Lex thought to himself. He pulled up a report on the output of one of the local dairy farms and got to work.


Henry Small was sitting on the floor, sifting through various case files in his tiny office. When he heard the knock at the door, he looked over the various colored mountains and valleys he'd created and said, "Come in."

Gabe Sullivan stepped gingerly in and walked around the stacks of files. "Mr. Small?" Gabe confirmed.

"What?" said Henry distractedly. Then he looked up from his haphazard crouch at his visitor. "Oh, yes. That's... I'm Henry Small. And you're, I presume, Mr. Sullivan."

"Yes, Gabe Sullivan. It's a pleasure to meet you," Gabe said as he extended his hand in the familiar greeting.

Henry stared at the outstretched arm for a moment, before standing to shake it. "It's a pleasure. Please have a seat..." Henry trailed off as he glanced at the only other chair in the room which happened to have a stack of red files two feet high sitting on it. "You can just put those on the floor with the others," he said apologetically to Gabe. "I don't know why I had them separated out... And I'm sorry about the disaster and my obvious bewilderment. When you mentioned the Luthor's on the phone, I decided to pull every file that involved them in some way. It turned out to be quite a lot. And in an office this small, pardon the pun."

Gabe waved the apology away. "I understand completely."

"My wife calls it cozy," Henry continued. "The office that is. She doesn't have to work out of it. So, you're here about the Luthors? Something about your daughter?"

The sudden shift of topic caught Gabe a little off guard. "Uh, yes. Chloe. She's... I guess she's been dating Lex Luthor for awhile, though I only found out about it recently. I'll admit, I reacted badly. Said some things I shouldn't have. I didn't mean them, I just... she didn't give me a lot of time to prepare a response.

At Henry's understanding nod, Gabe continued. "Well, Chloe stormed out of the house. Next thing I know, I'm getting a call from the police. Chloe totaled her car. But by the time I get the hospital, I'm not allowed to see her. Some of Lex's security goons escort me out, and they've been tailing me ever since."

"Did they follow you here?"

"God, I don't know," Gabe groaned, frustrated. "If they did, what was I supposed to do? Circle the block every two miles? Lose them? I'm not secret-agent man. I'm just a guy."

"Okay, calm down," Henry placated. "You said you called the Sheriff?"

"That was the next day. But the Sheriff's office told me there was nothing I could do. Lex said he had some kind of custody papers, and they were just waiting for them to be faxed over. The day after that they had them. I went to the county court house and requested a copy." Gabe reached into his jacket and removed a long, thin, envelope. "Here they are." He handed the envelope to Henry.

Henry took the envelope and opened it. "Not filed locally?"

"No," Gabe responded. "In Metropolis. I had Judge Ross look them over. She said that as far as she could tell, they were real."

"And you haven't tried to approach your daughter since then?"

"No. Judge Ross told me not to. She said that Lex could show cause to get a restraining order against me, and if we ever went to court, it wouldn't look good."

"She's right. I honestly don't know what to tell you, Gabe," said Henry. "I don't really think I can help you. I'm an environmental lawyer. These cases," he said gesturing around the office, "they're all pollution cases. Some class-action suits, but they're mostly settlements."

"But you've studied family law, right? And criminal law?"

"Law School was a long time ago. I don't feel confident enough to represent you. I'm sorry."

"You're the only one who didn't turn me away the minute I said the name 'Luthor'. I need you."

"No, you need a lawyer who knows what the hell he's doing."

"But you hate the Luthors. This is your big opportunity."

"I don't hate 'the Luthors'. I hate Lionel Luthor. I think he's a duplicitous, conniving, amoral bastard. But I don't know a thing about Lex. Other than he seems to have inherited his father's penchant for strong-arm tactics." At seeing the despondent look on Gabe's face, Henry backpedaled a little. "Look. I'll check around. See if I can find anyone who will take your case. Someone who isn't one hundred percent guaranteed to lose."

Gabe smiled. "Thank you.

The two men shook hands once more, and Gabe left. Henry Small sat staring at the ruins of his office. A twenty-year career lay at his feet. A practice he built by himself through hard work and determination. Clients, everyone one of them friends. And he had just risked it all.

To be Continued...