R for language/violence (mostly language… could probably fit in as a hard pg-13 but better to play it safe). Events take place post "Crush", and for those who want such things rated it can be firmly considered Chloe/Clark but it's NOT a sap-fic. Romance isn't the primary focus ;)

No I don't own the characters yada yada yada… however I DID write it so if you want to re-post it, email me and ask.

As to a classification… umm… I'm not sure. Probably adventure/romance with priority on the first? Who knows… I'll see where it ends up. (Assuming I make it to the end that is.)

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Shadows: Prologue

It was the unpleasant squeal from the bus's engines that startled him awake. Slowly climbing out of shadow filled dreams he groggily noted the quiet murmur of conversation issuing from the other passengers. The driver was pulling over to the side of the highway, slowly letting the mammoth vehicle roll to a halt.

This couldn't be good.

Gabriel scowled as he registered the bright sun glaring at him even through the tinted windows. He turned his back to it in a futile effort to protect himself, he hated the way it made him feel. Trapped, restrained, vulnerable, all combining to form an unpleasant lump in his stomach that he did his best to keep down. Meanwhile the steam rising at the front of the bus and the perplexed look on the driver's mulish face told him that they probably wouldn't be making it to Metropolis that night. He found that almost as annoying as the sunlight.

As far as he could tell they were smack dab in the middle of nowhere on an apparently empty highway. On either side of the road extended what looked like fields of wheat as far as the eye could see, though having never spent any time in the country he wasn't even sure of that. Was that really what wheat looked like? Farm country. Maybe not quite the middle of nowhere, but close enough.

He withdrew a dark pair of sunglasses from his trench coat and briefly debated whether or not to kill the bus driver. It was childish of course, but the toad obviously couldn't even keep a damned bus running. He would just walk up to him and tap him on the shoulder as if he had a question about the damage, and when the perplexed fool turned to answer he would simply rip his throat out…

Gabriel was already rising from his seat before common sense pointed out the thirty or forty inconvenient witnesses in the form of other passengers. He then briefly considered killing them to. It was all a very bad sign and he had to be careful, always careful. Sitting back in his seat and pulling his collar up he tried to stay calm, forget about the disgustingly bright sun, and wait to see what happened next.

The driver climbed back into the bus and waved his hands in the air to get everyone's attention. "Alright folks, sorry to say it but it looks like we won't be making it to Metropolis tonight." A collective groan seemed to issue from the passengers punctuated by the occasional curse or loudly uttered complaint. Gabriel just grimaced and contained himself while the bus driver continued. "I've already radioed in about the problem and we're going to get towed into Smallville. Either the bus will get fixed by tomorrow morning or you can take the Monday afternoon bus from Smallville to Metropolis. Either way your hotel bill for the night will of course be taken care of."

The last concession helped to quiet the passengers, obviously appreciative enough of anything that resembled "free" or "gift" to forget the accompanying inconvenience. A brainwashed rabble. Gabriel on the other hand just scowled and hunched even farther into his seat.

"Smallville… just fucking great."