Catherine65: Thank you so very much for your amazingly kind words! Your review was quite appreciated, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the beginning! It truly means a lot to me! I hope you will keep reading and will continue to enjoy the series. :) And yes, I understand how that could be confusing considering Michael and Tom's eyes in Smallville. However, you see, I do things a bit differently in my fan fictions, since in the Superman comics-Lex's eyes are green and Clark's eyes are blue. So despite Michael and Tom having opposite eyes, I try to keep them the way the comics would. :D I hope that clears up any confusion you may or may not have had regarding why I did that. But once again, thank you for the kind words! You rock!
The next morning, Clark slowly rose from his desk in physics as the Smallville High bell chimed loudly, indicating the end of the school day. Politely pushing his chair back as he flung his pack over his shoulder, he kindly offered his teacher a friendly smile before walking out of the classroom. Closing the door quietly behind him—as he very often did, since he was almost always the last one to leave—he uncomfortably started to push his way through the oncoming crowd of students as they ran to their lockers. Opening them up and excitedly reaching for their notebooks and backpacks and doing whatever possible to assure that they got home as quickly as they could.
But while his fellow high school student's minds were currently in the process of going over plans of how they were going to spend their weekends relaxing or being with friends, Clark's mind was still heavy with the events that happened the night before. Someone out there in Smallville sought to end his best friend's life. And while he didn't know who she was, or why she would do such a thing, he knew that there was one person in the school that could help him find the answers he needed.
Descending down the stairs to the bottom floor, Clark smiled to himself as he stopped in front of The Torch's main office door. If there was anyone that could help him get to the bottom of this issue, Clark knew that it was her and her alone. He reached forward and opened the door, but as he did, he ended up colliding into his friend Chloe.
With a shriek of a surprise as she slammed headfirst into his chest, she stumbled backwards and tried to regain her balance before she fell completely to the floor. Standing back up with a slight wobble in her step, she brushed the locks of blond out of her eyes, and slowly became aware of just whom exactly she had run into to; and almost instantly her green gaze turned cold.
There were many things in Clark's life that made him feel afraid. Even more that caused made him question his life choices. But not a single thing on his list of fears and regrets compared to how utterly unnerving it was to stand in the presence of an angry Chloe Sullivan.
As they stared at each other in awkward silence, and Chloe's arms came to fold at her chest and she began to tap her foot impatiently at him, a nervous smile crossed Clark's face; and, almost instantly, he tried to piece together the most genuine sounding apology that he could. Hoping that somehow, he could explain to her that he felt incredibly guilty for not showing up at her house when he had promised, and while doing so, somehow tell her the exact reason why that was…without managing to alarm her with the entire truth.
But before he had a chance to say anything, Chloe walked forward and poked his chest.
"You better have a darn good explanation as to where you were last night, mister," She said with a frown, emphasizing every other word with a jab of her finger. "Because of your vanishing act, I was left alone to work on the most infuriating, completely headache inducing story line for the Torch yet!"
Clark watched with wide eyes as she quickly moved away from his side and walked over to her desk. She picked up the newest issue of the student newspaper and held it out in front of her, pointing at the main headline; the very same one that the both of them were supposed to work on together.
With a sheepish laugh, Clark tried to speak, but once more he was interrupted. "But don't you worry your pretty little head, Kent. Because, by some miracle I was able to handle it all by myself," She grumbled annoyed as she settled into her green office chair. "…I'm pretty sure that I also managed to run The Talon completely dry in the process, but I guess, to accomplish certain tasks on your own, that's the price you gotta pay…"
"Chloe—" Clark began to say, trying to get her attention as he walked into the room and stood beside her desk; but, for a third time, he was cut off and he sighed deeply in frustration.
"Although – and I curse my journalistic curiosity for this – I still wonder why you ended up ditching me in the first place. What was the reason, Clark?"
When a temporary silence filled the room after Chloe finished speaking, allowing her words to sink in and giving Clark enough time to explain. He quickly took his chance; hoping to at least get something more than her name into his side of the conversation before his friend found another reason to say something else. There was no denying it, Clark loved Chloe as much as he did his own family, but sometimes when she started to speak…there was no stopping her until she stopped herself.
"Chloe, that's kinda what I've been trying to tell you since I got here." Clark told her with a frown, holding his head in one of his hands. Sideways glancing over to where she sat, he noticed her face suddenly flush with embarrassment; obviously realizing that she had, once again, allowed her words to take full control.
With a shake of his head, Clark dropped his hands away and continued in a soft, more apologetic, tone. "Chloe, I'm sorry I didn't show up last night, but…" He let his voice trail off, thinking of the best way to tell her exactly what had happened. After a moment of consideration, he simply settled on the truth. "Lex was almost killed last night."
Almost as if a reflex, Chloe's aggravation towards Clark's broken promise disappeared and was replaced with sheer panic.
"Oh, my God," She whispered in a frightened voice, her eyes widening as she looked up at his face. "Is he all right?"
Clark nodded and leaned against the desk. "He's pretty banged up, but he'll be okay."
Chloe fell back against her chair and placed a hand over her chest; breathing deeply in relief. And as Clark watched her, he smiled softly. Ever since his family's Christmas party, Clark couldn't help but notice that there was something quite…different about Chloe and Lex's relationship.
He had always considered them to be on good enough terms with one another, but as the cold December's night wore on at the farmhouse and Clark had been forced into spending the night with the dear Lana Lang – something that he had graciously thanked Lex for Christmas morning, even despite his original outburst towards the insane idea – he couldn't help but notice the two of them sitting beside the fire. Talking, laughing, and simply enjoying one another's company.
He wondered if perhaps that was where the change in their relationship originally came from. Or, as he continued to think back, maybe it was during that rather terrible snowstorm before New Year's Eve. Where she had run into some nasty luck, and, due to the cold weather and the slippery roads…she had wound up almost crashing her car on the way back into town. And, having no one else to turn to, and upon his kind request, ended up spending the rest of the night at Lex's mansion until the snowstorm passed and it was safe for her to travel again.
Whatever the reason, Clark knew that – if it was indeed heading into the direction that it seemed – there was no one else in Smallville that deserved each other more than two of the most brilliant people that he had ever had the pleasure to know.
"Actually, that's what I came to talk to you about," Clark said eventually, shaking the thoughts of Lex and Chloe's relationship out of his mind and focusing back on the attempt at his friend's life. "The woman who did this to him…she's still out there, and I just – I just don't feel comfortable letting him handle this by himself. And Chloe…I knew that, if there was anyone in Smallville that help me get to the bottom of all this…it was you."
Hearing the amount of faith that Clark had for her abilities, Chloe looked up from where she had been staring off into space, and smiled widely; touched by his words. But, not even a second later, her smile faded, as the conversation suddenly seemed all too familiar for her liking.
"Clark, I know that the loyalty you have towards Lex is nothing short of amazing, and don't get me wrong when I say that I've always admired your ability to look out for your friends no matter the issue, but…" She shifted her eyes away from Clark's gaze and bit her lip, stiffening slightly. "…You remember what happened last time."
It was more of a statement than a question that she wanted answered, and Clark sighed once again. Rubbing a hand over his arm unconsciously as he realized exactly what she meant. With his eyes closed, he nodded his head.
"Yeah, I know, I know," He murmured quietly. What happened months ago with himself, Lex, and the young William Barnes was not something that the teenager had forgotten quite so easily; as the subject was often something that he had rather complicated issues upon speaking of. But, even despite the unsettling memories, Clark pushed himself forward, a serious tone suddenly in his voice.
"But even with what happened with William, I couldn't just stand by and watch Lex get himself killed, Chloe. I had to do something. And now, with it basically happening all over again, do you honestly expect me to sit on the sidelines and do nothing? When you and I could possibly find some way of stopping it?"
Chloe blinked up at him in surprise, her lips parting slightly from what he was saying.
"No – No, you're right, I don't." Chloe replied timidly, never once looking away from his face as Clark hovered over the front of her chair with a rather displeased expression over it. Clearing her throat, she spun around to her computer screen and flipped a switch; turning it on. As she logged in her password, a playful smile spread out over her lips.
"God, Clark, you know you can be so stubborn sometimes."
Clark grinned in response and thrust his hands deeply in his pants pockets, shrugging lightly. "I consider it to be one of my finest qualities."
"Lex is going to be furious with you once he realizes what you're doing." Chloe warned him teasingly.
"He doesn't have to know just yet."
"Why, Clark Kent, you sneaky devil, you…" She replied with an amused shake of the head. Pulling up the main screen of her computer, she turned her chair towards him and held both palms out in front of her. "So, where do we start?"
Pulling his backpack off of his shoulder, Clark carefully put it on the top of Chloe's desk and began ruffling around inside it; doing all but dumping it out on the desk as he pulled out and placed several items on the surface. After a moment of searching for what he wanted, he pulled out a small red notepad from one of the piles he had on the desk, and flipped over the cover and to a page that he had previously marked. And, with a look of satisfaction, he handed it over to Chloe.
Looking at what was written on the page, Chloe noticed several names that had been crossed out, crudely rewritten, and one in particular that was near the very bottom of the page. It had several exclamation points sketched beside it and she could make out, even with Clark's interesting style of handwriting, that it said, "The Wild Coyote".
Wondering why Clark had the name of one of the only bars in Smallville marked down in his notepad; Chloe gave him a strange, quizzical look.
Catching her bemused gaze, Clark raised a hand, cutting off the oncoming misunderstanding. "I have reason to believe that what happened to Lex is directly linked to that bar on the outskirts of Smallville."
Chloe raised an eyebrow. "How do you figure?"
Clark bent over the desk and pointed towards the paper and the words he had marked out with blue ink. "Last night when Lex was at the farm recuperating, him and I got to talking," He started to explain. "And well, it's not surprising that he refused to tell me hardly anything about what happened. But, as he was trying to avoid the subject, he let slip that he got in over his head at a bar."
Chloe placed a hand underneath her chin as she leaned back in her chair and listened carefully; giving him her full attention.
"So, this morning during lunch, I did a little research on the bars that were in Smallville," He continued, moving two index fingers away from the marked out part of the paper and onto the second name on the list, the one above The Wild Coyote that said 'The Kregburne Tavern'. "And considering that the local tavern has been out of business for years, ever since its competitor, The Wild Coyote, moved in a few miles down the road…I kind of figured that was where Lex was at last night."
Chloe smirked; letting out an impressed whistle at Clark's thorough research as she turned back to her computer and began to type in a few names into her browser's search bar. A second or two later, she pulled up the bar's official website, cracked her knuckles and went busily to work at her keyboard. As she did what seemed to be, from Clark's point of view, at least three things at once, she opened her mouth to speak; stopping momentarily.
"Well, Clark, if you think you're on the right track with your assumptions…then there is one sure fire way to double check."
"How?" Clark asked as he came around to peer over her shoulder.
Smiling, Chloe focused back on the computer, and Clark watched closely as different windows, one including the Wild Coyote's website, and a few others that he didn't recognize, popped up on her screen. She narrowed her eyes in concentration, and rapidly went to work punching in several long numeral codes into one of the windows that hovered over the bar's website.
Clark leaned over her shoulder and was about to ask her if she was doing exactly what he thought, when a new window suddenly popped up above everything else, containing the black and white security camera footage for the Wild Coyote. Clark and Chloe both exchanged a look as they watched patrons enter and leave the building from the only camera that the bar owned, and Chloe's smile widened.
"We go right to the source."
"You think you can find the footage from last night?" Clark asked her with a matching grin of his own as a flicker of hope suddenly ignited within.
Before Clark could even finish his sentence, Chloe had already started typing again.
"Considering the storm last night, I'm not exactly sure if what I find will be clear enough to make out…or if the camera picked up anything at all…but yeah, Clark, I can try to see what I can come up with. Just give me a minute."
As Clark waited for Chloe to find anything that would even remotely be helpful to Lex, he moved away from her side, and walked towards the end of the desk; beginning to pick up the numerous things that he had scattered in his rather messy search for his notepad. As he zipped the top of his pack back up, he heard her let out a yell of triumph. Looking up, Clark saw her pump her fist in excitement and quickly waved him back over.
Placing the pack at the foot of the desk, Clark walked around and leaned over her shoulder to see what she had found out. And, that was when he saw a paused image of Lex standing beside his limousine underneath a downpour of rain, tightly holding a gun in his hand. In response to seeing what she was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, Clark wrapped his arms around Chloe's shoulders and hugged her tightly.
"Chloe, you did it!" He cried out ecstatically.
Giggling and trying to wrestle Clark's death grip off of her neck, Chloe pulled away and recovered her breath. Pushing her bangs back with one of her hands, she smiled up at her friend.
"Was there ever any doubt?"
With an amused smirk, Clark gave Chloe a gentle nudge with his shoulder then reached his hand out to press the spacebar on her keyboard. He un-paused the image and watched Lex move away from his limo, an angered expression across his face as the rain continued to beat down around him.
"As I figured, there wasn't that much left because of the storm's interference," Chloe pointed out as she moved the mouse to maximize the window so that they could see more clearly. "But, at least it managed to pick this up."
"At this point, Chloe, even this is worth more to me than you know…"
Chloe looked away from the computer screen when Clark's voice suddenly trailed off. She noticed that he was now staring intensely at the security footage, and when she turned back around in curiosity, wondering just what on earth he saw that could have caused such an uncharacteristic expression on his face, she suddenly saw another person on the tape.
A woman, with long dark hair – although with grainy black and white quality it was hard to make out exact details – had jumped down from the roof of the bar and was slowly making her way over to Lex's side from behind; completely unknown to the young Luthor.
Both teenagers fell into a shocked silence as they watched Lex realize the woman's presentence too late, and she stabbed him in the side with what seemed to be a blade of some kind in her hand. But as she ripped the weapon out of Lex's body and he fell to the ground, the footage began to stutter and slow, no doubt because of the strong wind from the storm, and it wasn't long until it faded out completely.
Chloe grumbled in irritation over the lost film, and she quickly began to impute several more codes into her hack program, trying her hardest to see if she could get it back. As she did, she dimly realized that her tall friend that was once hanging over the back of the chair was no longer doing such, and she stopped half way; turning her chair back around to see where he went.
Clark stood with his back to her as he leaned over the desk underneath the window. Chloe couldn't see the expression on his face, but she could see his hands. And, judging by the way they had balled themselves into tightly knitted fists, she figured that what he had seen on the video tape had deeply distressed him. She frowned in sympathy and tried to get his attention.
"Sorry Clark, I guess they forgot to put before film warning label on the tape," She said to him, her voice light and playful as she tried to get him to focus on something other than his concern regarding Lex. "Warning, this footage may contain images unsuitable for some farm boys of Smallville Kansas. Viewer discretion is advised."
Turning back around, Clark weakly smiled at her. Giving her his appreciation for her good intentions, even if they did very little to comfort him. For the image of Lex slumping forward onto the ground injured and bleeding still continued to linger in his mind even as he struggled to recover control over his emotions. Closing his eyes and demanding them gone, Clark sighed deeply as a small wave of ease gently washed over him and calmed him down slightly.
When he opened them again, he saw that Chloe was facing her computer, and was in the process of trying, once again, to regain the lost footage. A few taps of the keyboard, several grumbles of frustration, and a smack of her computer monitor later, Chloe successfully managed to bring the security tape back, and with a click or two of the mouse – she restarted it.
However, it simply replayed the same scene it had showed before it crashed, and Clark, not having the stomach to watch it again, quickly spun back around. Focusing his eyes on anything else in the room expect for the screen.
While his attention was currently on other things and Chloe had a quiet moment to think; she carefully looked back over the – now slow motion – film and upon replaying the moment before Lex was stabbed scene by scene, she realized that something about the woman who had dropped down behind him seemed…uncomfortably familiar to her.
She shook her head, rolling her eyes and wondering if perhaps she was over thinking and her own desire to help her favorite billionaire and farm boy was getting the better of her. With a slight chuckle, she moved the cursor of the mouse near the area where the woman was crouched beside Lex, and zoomed in on her face; obviously wanting to prove that her theories were based around foolish emotions and weren't at all true. Although, when she did, Chloe was able to get a, surprisingly clear, close up of Lex's attacker, and her green eyes went wide.
"Clark…?" She called to him over her shoulder, alarm in her voice as she stopped the film. "I – I think I know this woman."
Hearing those words fall from her lips, Clark's conflicted thoughts quickly disappeared and was replaced with the same determination that he felt overwhelm him the moment Lex had left his home. Spinning back around in a motion that was so incredibly swift, Chloe would have almost believed Clark had moved at super speed, he walked back over to her; his eyes full of bewilderment.
"Wait, what?" He stammered out confused; giving Chloe an odd look as he stared down at both her and the freeze frame. "How could you know her? I've never seen that woman before in my life."
Realizing his misunderstanding, Chloe shook her head and interrupted her friend's rambling with an amused laugh. "I didn't mean that I knew her personally, Clark," She told him in a tickled voice. "I just recognize her, that's all."
"How?" Clark repeated; his hands falling at his sides as he tried to wrap his head around this new, nonsensical turn of events.
Minimizing every window that cluttered the computer screen, Chloe clicked on the Smallville Ledger archive she had stashed away on her desktop and, as she waited for the website's search engine to fully load, she turned towards Clark and began to explain.
"About a year and a half ago, I remember seeing a Ledger report about a pretty massive explosion that took place over at LexCorp," She said intently as she typed in a name in the search bar and glanced over the several links that it eventually lead to, all the while she continued. "From what I gathered, Lex had hired on this scientist – Alissa Dale – because of her theories about meteor rocks fragments. She had convinced him to assist her with an experiment, promising that it would greatly benefit the town…but, I guess that didn't work out according to plan, because one thing led to another and well…boom."
Watching as she continued to scroll through the links on the website, searching for what he didn't know, Clark's confusion intensified.
"…I don't remember hearing anything about this." He said quietly with a frown.
"All things considered, that doesn't surprise me." Chloe muttered and that caused Clark's expression to twist; looking down at her and giving her another utterly flustered look.
"What do you mean?"
Finally stumbling across the page she had been searching for, Chloe quickly brought up an old newspaper article for him to see.
"…She was supposed to have died in that explosion, Clark."
The large, bold, headline: "LexCorp scientist dies in chemical fire" was the very first thing that Clark noticed. The second and most intriguing thing, by far, was the picture of the woman that was directly underneath it. While she didn't have tired bags underneath her green eyes, and her dark brown hair was considerably much shorter then it was in the Wild Coyote's security camera footage. There was no mistaking it.
It was the same exact woman who had tried to kill Lex.
As Clark stood in dumbfounded silence, Chloe pulled up the still picture of Alissa's close up from the film and moved the window until both images were side by side; confirming what she figured Clark was currently trying to piece together in his jumbled up mind.
So, she's alive after all? She's the one who went after Lex? Clark thought as he tried to process just what he had been told. But it seemed that each time he tried to answer the complicated questions rushing through his brain, new questions took their place and left him even more confused. His eyebrows lowered in contemplation as he stared at the pictures.
But, how is that even possible? How could she have survived the explosion? And just why on earth didn't Lex tell me about this in the first place? Why did he-?
"Clark, you know as well as I do that when the Luthor's want something buried…it stays buried." Chloe said to him after a while, knocking her friend out of his deep thoughts and answering the silent question that hung in the air as he continued to glare at the woman on the screen.
Clark crossed his arms and turned his head away, a sudden dejected look in his eyes.
"Yeah, Chloe, I know…" He said in a low voice, as images of Lionel Luthor, Lex and electroshock therapy flashed through his memory, causing him to shiver. Turning back around after a moment, Clark spoke again; his voice more serious as a sudden thought entered his mind.
"You said Alissa was working with meteor rocks before the explosion, right?" He asked, walking back and leaning over Chloe's shoulder once again as he read over the newspaper article.
"Yeah, so?" She uttered in return; although she already could sense where this conversation was heading, and despite it all, she enjoyed it.
Clark smirked smugly. "So, what if that was the reason she was able to beat Lex so easily? What if the explosion did something to her? What if she was—?"
"—Meteor infected?" Chloe finished; a large grin on her face. "Well, considering that this is Smallville, also known as the home of the weird and the unexplained, I wouldn't be surprised if an explosion did give her meteor abilities. Stranger things have happened."
"Do you think you could tell? I mean, if you brought the video back up?"
"I don't know, Clark," Chloe said with a shake of her head. "The quality was already pretty bad to begin with, and that really didn't make seeing details all that easy..." She moved her head to look at Clark and noticed him staring down at her with a look of utmost confidence, and she couldn't help smiling.
"…But, I'll give it my best shot."
Chloe whirled her chair back around and started to rework on the footage, and Clark momentarily left her side; walking over to the desk that was nearest the window again. He reached down and placed his hand on the empty office chair underneath the desk, and rolled it over to where Chloe was. Spinning it around, he sat down next to her and crossed his arms over the back, watching closely as she tried to enhanced the footage's quality, replayed it back in slow motion with the newly sharpened image, and many other tricks she knew that would help them both recover the answers they needed.
Upon her third attempt, which did nothing but make the video considerably darker and neither teenager were able to see anything else expect for Lex and Alissa's faces, Chloe sighed deeply. With a few clicks of the mouse in the editing program she was working with, she undid the effects she had placed on the footage and started over. Allowing the film to play in the background as she began to think of another route she could take.
As Chloe sat forward in her chair and began to type on her keyboard, Clark, however, silently stared at the tape with a newly peaked interest. His eyes moved towards the side of the camera and watched closely as Lex shifted himself away from the limousine and into the rain. Although Clark knew that he had already seen this scene at least once before, when Chloe had first brought up the footage, something felt odd to him as he watched it over.
And that's when he realized that there was something near Lex's feet, on the ground beside his limo as he walked away.
"Wait, what's that?" Clark cried out curiously, as he pointed to the screen.
"What's what, Clark?" She replied; giving him a sideways glance as she continued to concentrate on the program.
Clark leaned forward and pressed the space-bar of the keyboard; pausing the video. When Chloe became aware of what he was doing, she looked up and noticed him tapping on the computer screen, indicating the object on the ground. Focusing her eyes and realizing what he was pointing at, her lips parted slightly in surprise; completely taken aback that she had not noticed such a thing up until then.
With a bemused expression on her face, she moved the mouse over the blurry shape and zoomed in; all the while she tried to determine just what on earth it could have been that Clark had discovered nearly hidden within the video. As the image became clearer, Chloe noticed that there was a considerable amount of blood underneath the figure that lay in the darkness, and her stomach dropped.
"That's…somebody on the ground, Clark."
Clark's eyes widened. "What?"
Peering back over the image, Clark slowly realized that his friend was right. There was someone lying on their back on the ground. Looking a bit closer he could see that it was a man, seemingly middle aged at best; however, what was most shocking to the young Kent was that there was a large wound in the middle of his chest. And, even with the unmoving picture, he could see that blood ran down the side of his body, and had created a fairly sized pool underneath his back.
As Clark continued to stare at the broken body, he felt a sudden twinge of nausea in the pit of his stomach, and turned his head away.
"So, there was someone else with Lex when he was attacked by Alissa?" He muttered quietly.
Chloe nodded, minimizing the window. "Yeah, it seems like it. Though, it doesn't look like he had as much good fortune as Lex did, however."
Listening to her words, Clark's face twisted into one of regret as he thought about the poor man and what had happened. Death was never a subject that he had ever been all that comfortable with. He, just like any of the humans that walked the face of the earth, had suffered through losses of loved ones, and each time he did – or got even remotely close to losing someone he cared about – a part of him felt numb.
And although he, himself, was not human, he knew that he had been raised as one. Thus he had nearly had the same exact values of everyone else in his life, and thinking about the man's cruel death because of Alissa's attack made him feel very upset. And the feelings only became worse as he thought of the man's family and their heartbroken reactions when they learned of his death. Having to walk to the Smallville Medical Center's morgue to say their final goodbyes as he lay all alone –
Wait. Clark suddenly thought to himself. Shoving everything else away as a fresh idea appeared in his mind. The medical center…
They needed to find answers as to whether or not Alissa was truly meteor infected. Even more, they needed even the most basic source of information that could help them with discovering just where in Smallville the young woman could be. And Clark knew that, with the man having been killed by Alissa less than 24 hours prior – perhaps there was one way that would make his death not have been in vain…
"Chloe," He said after a while; leaning forward again in his seat.
His friend uttered a slight 'Yeah?' under her breath in response, and Clark took it as an incentive to continue. "The man that was killed…his body should still be in the medical center's morgue, shouldn't he?"
"Hmm, he should be, why?"
"Think about it Chloe," Clark replied with a small smile on his face. "We both need to find answers on Alissa's abilities, if she even has any, and this guy wound up on the receiving end of her attack last night. So, say you and I go to the Medical Center, and we examine the body…?" He intentionally let his voice trail, giving her enough time to realize what he meant, and allowing her to take over the conversation.
"…Then we could probably be able to tell by the way he was killed if Alissa is a meteor freak or not." Chloe finished for him, a grin matching his own on her face, as both of their thoughts began to intertwine with one another.
"Or, at the very least," Clark continued, moving his chair back and standing up. "We could find DNA evidence that could help Lex track down Alissa's whereabouts."
Following his movements, Chloe pushed her chair underneath her desk and stood next to Clark, her eyes flashing with complete playfulness. "Why, Clark Kent, I must say that I'm disappointed that I never realized how ingenious you truly were."
Clark put a hand over his chest and shook his head, throwing his free arm over Chloe's shoulder and pulling her close as he pretended to be hurt. "And sadly, once again, you have completely underestimated my abilities, Miss Sullivan…"
Chloe let out a cheerful laugh, and wiggled out of his grip, staring down at the image frozen on her screen one final time. "Well, either way," She said as she went about shutting everything off. "It looks to me like you and I both have a date with mysterious bachelor number one. And we wouldn't want to keep him waiting, now do we?"
Thirty minutes later, Clark and Chloe walked through the long white halls of the Smallville Medical Center, doing what they could to remain as inconspicuous as possible, as they slowly made their way to the where the morgue was located. *Rounding a corner, and waiting for Clark to catch up, Chloe leaned up against one of the walls and noticed a young man sitting at one of the information desks that was in one of the hallways that lead further into the back areas of the hospital, and her eyebrows lowered in irritation.
She knew that the hallway would lead to where they needed to go, but with the worker keeping his eyes fixated on the area…it wouldn't be all that simple to just sneak past him without drawing quite a bit of attention to themselves. And she had a pretty good feeling that the hospital staff wouldn't at all look kindly on their little plan to simply walk into the morgue and double check a body to see the cause of death involved strange glowing meteor rock abilities of some sort.
When Clark came to stand at her side eventually, looking at the hospital worker with an uneasy expression of his own; a new, rather crafty, idea entered Chloe's mind. She reached over and grabbed Clark by the arm, pulling and dragging him back and out of sight. As she spun around and was about to open her mouth to address him, she realized that her friend must have caught onto what she wanted, because he, too, was speaking.
"You go over there and distract that guy and I'll—" The both of them whispered out quickly, and when they realized what they were doing, they stopped and frowned at each other.
"Looks like the both of us had the same idea," Clark said with a shrug of his shoulders. "But even so, you should go over there and distract that guy while I—"
Chloe put her hands on her hips, her frown still in place as she interrupted him. "Now, wait just a minute here, why should I be the one who waltzes over to do it, when we all know that the obvious choice for this job is you, Clark."
"What? Why's that?" Clark asked as he raised his eyebrows.
Chloe let out a tiny laugh, patting Clark's arm slightly. "Because Clark, you have this weird ability to instantly connect with nearly everyone you meet. And so, because of that, you can easily distract him long enough so that I can sneak into the back and make sure it's clear!"
Clark looked unsure of himself as he tore his eyes away from Chloe's and looked back up at the worker in front of him. As he did, Chloe quickly maneuvered around him and started to push him from behind with an overly large grin on her face.
"Come on now, Clark! Get on over there and make sweet, sweet, bromance with that guy!"
As Clark was forced out of his hiding place and back into the hospital workers line of sight, he took advantage of the moment and raised his head, doing a very quick X-Ray vision sweep of the walls in front of him. When they began to turn transparent in front of his eyes and he was able to see through them, he focused onto the morgue and noticed that the door leading into it was bolted shut from the inside.
Clark knew that that would pose a problem for Chloe, and risk getting them both caught, but for a teenager who had the strength of over ten men combine, it did very little to worry him. Smiling, he looked down at Chloe who was still pushing him forward and spoke up.
"Ah, actually, Chloe," He started to say to her, planting his feet firmly on the ground and refusing to be moved another inch. "Why don't you go and try your hand at distracting the worker? I'm sure you'd have much better luck than I would."
Chloe rolled her eyes as she struggled against her – surprisingly heavy - friend. "Oh, Clark, you've gotta be kidding me. Don't tell me that you're trying to weasel yourself out of this now…"
Clark shook his head and turned; grabbing Chloe's hands and holding them in his own. "No, no, I'm actually serious," He told her, keeping his smile in place as he did. "Remember that one time when you managed to flirt your way out of a parking ticket? I'm pretty sure you could do the exact same thing here, and I'd be back before either of you even knew it."
"Clark, I don't know—"
Clark let go of her hands and put them on her shoulders; winking playfully. "Oh, c'mon, Chloe, trust me. Just go over there and give him a little bit of that ol' 'Sullivan charm' and I'll take care of the rest."
Chloe stared into Clark's blue eyes and she slowly felt every single argument that she had running through her mind to somehow get him to back down vanish completely. Oh, how she hated that he still had that intolerable power over her. That with one look of sheer innocent, practiced charm… he could still get her fears, frustration, or even her own self-confidence issues to simply melt away into nothing.
She frowned deeply and sighed; backing away and raising her hands up in defeat. "All right, Clark, all right…I surrender. Just stop with the look, okay?"
Clark smirked. "It's a deal."
He watched Chloe as she moved away from him and walked over to the desk, and tap on the counter, gaining the young worker's attention. She then ran off a convincing tale that she was a training nurse and, while on her way to one of the patient's rooms that she had been given care of for the day, she had managed to get herself lost in the one place she hoped to see herself in the future.
He waited until the both of them were deep in conversation, and then broke out into a run using his super speed, zipping easily past them and leaving nothing more than a gust of wind in his place. Speeding quickly down the hallways, he stopped outside the morgue's door and his eyes narrowed. He reached out a hand and grabbed the doorknob; jiggling it slightly back and forth and hearing the locked door react to the movement.
He looked up from the knob, noticing a simple silver deadbolt above it, and smiled to himself. Cautiously looking over his shoulder, and making sure that there was no around to see what he was about to do; he placed his index and middle finger directly over the keyway, and with a slight jab, the end of the lock clattered to the ground. Nodding his head proudly, he turned around and walked back to where Chloe was at.
Leaning up against the wall, still out of the worker's sight, Clark let out a low whistle and signaled to her. When the sound reached her ears, Chloe smiled sweetly at the young man and gave him her gratitude for taking the time to offer her instructions to where she needed to be. When he nodded his head and told her that she was most welcome and wished her the best of luck on her nursing career, she turned on her heels and made her way over to Clark's side.
"See? I told you that you could handle it." Clark said; smiling down at her as they began to walk together down the hall leading back to the morgue.
Chloe giggled lightly and reached her arm out; wrapping it around Clark's own. "Yeah, I suppose you were right about that…"
A few moments later, they came upon the door, and Chloe turned her head towards Clark; giving him a curious look.
"So, what's the verdict, Clark? Do we need to search around for a key now?"
Clark simply shook his head. "No, nothing like that, Chloe," He explained as he turned the doorknob with his hand, and pushed it ajar. "It was already unlocked when I got here."
Chloe crossed her arms; her expression twisting and becoming full of bewilderment as she followed him inside.
She thought it was quite peculiar that the hospital staff would be as careless as to leave one of the doors to such an important room simply unlocked like that, and something in the back of her mind told her that what Clark was saying wasn't completely the truth. But, when she came to stand beside her friend as he was in the process of intensely staring at the body freezers, for whatever reason that may have been, she shrugged her shoulders against her thoughts and instead focused back on the matter at hand.
"He's in here," Clark affirmed, running his hand over one of the freezer doors near the floor. When finished speaking he noticed that his words rewarded him another odd look from his friend, and he chuckled sheepishly. Clearing his throat, and hoping she wouldn't question him over how he could have known that, he reached down and grabbed the handle; silently encouraging her to do the same. And then they both pulled back; exposing the man that was within.
Clark recomposed himself, standing at his full height, and began to walk around the container to examine the body. However, as he did, the very next thing that he felt was an overwhelming weakness sudden erupted from within, causing him to stumble backward in shock as the air was violently stripped from his lungs. He fell against a tray containing various medical supplies, and quickly threw a hand out; trying to keep it steady long enough, so that it wouldn't spill to the floor as he struggled on his feet.
He shut his eyes tightly as beads of sweat ran down his cheeks, and tried to shuffle his way back against a wall and out of the range of the dead man. Even with his eyes firmly closed, he knew very well that they now had the answers for the questions that originally brought them to the hospital in the first place. Because Clark recognized the painful sensation the moment he was near it.
And there was only one thing in Smallville that could ever make Clark Kent feel as though his blood had been replaced with acid.
When he was able to get to a safe distance, so that the only remaining effects he felt was a nauseating stomachache, he carefully cracked open his eyes and glanced over to where Chloe – apparently completely fixated on the dead body, and thus unaware of what had happened – was hovering over the open freezer; an appalled expression over her face.
He re-focused his eyes and realized with a sickening start that the man had a surprisingly large gaping hole directly over the front of his chest. To Clark, it seemed to look to be the size of a person's fist, almost as though someone was able to drive their hand all the way through his body. Clark gaped in shock at the grisly sight, and the feeling only intensified when he noticed that there were tiny shards of green meteor rock sticking out at several different places in the wound.
Looking up, he saw Chloe reach over to the bar in the middle of the room and take a pair of tweezers from one of the trays. He figured that she must have noticed as well, because she then carefully plucked one of the small, bloodied, fragments out of the man's body, holding it up in front of her with a pleased smile.
"Well, when you're right, you're right, Clark," She expressed as she placed the meteor rock in a glass container on the bar, and turned around to face him. "Whoever did this was definitely—"
When they locked eyes with each other, and Chloe became aware of Clark leaning up against the wall, a hand over is stomach and an ill look upon his face, her smile faded away and was replaced with a look of concern.
"Clark, are you okay?" She inquired; alarm in her voice as she moved from the freezer and walked over to him.
Expect Clark never heard a single word said by her. His mind was racing, twisting around questions and answers, blocking out every other sound to him expect for his own mental voice.
So, Alissa was meteor infected after all… He thought to himself as he narrowed his eyes; a wave of anger suddenly taking over his emotions. *Another* thing that Lex, oh so carefully, kept hidden from me, I see.
But…why? He went on with an upset expression. What was the reason? Why did he just stand there and lie to my face about who she was, when they not only knew each other…but she had worked for him! Didn't he trust me enough to help? Or, was it some sort of stupid revenge ploy, and he didn't think that he needed anyone to help him? That he would find and be able to handle her all on his own? …After what happened, I can't believe he would so freaking careless!
Hearing Chloe at last, he quickly snapped out of his thoughts. Looking down at her, he noticed that she was gazing at his face with eyes full of worry, and he felt bad for making her feel that way. He shook his head and turned his body around, ignoring the twinge in his stomach as he did, and gave her his full attention.
"You okay, there, Kent? You don't look so good all of a sudden…" She murmured, standing on her tiptoes and placing a hand on his forehead.
Clark backed away from her touch and began to move around her. "Ah, yeah – yeah, Chloe, I'm fine," He stammered out in haste as he walked around the bar, carefully avoiding the meteor rock embedded body as he did, and slowly headed for the door leading out of the darkened room. "I'm just feeling a bit…sick right now. Ah, I guess…I guess that I can't handle looking at bodies the way I thought I could. So, hmm, so, I'm just going to catch up with you later okay?"
Chloe frowned deeply, but nodded at him regardless. "Well, okay, Clark…"
Clark smiled kindly at her, carefully grabbed the folder that she had brought and laid out on the top of the bar when he saw that her back was completely to him, and opened the door; walking out into the hallway.
He leaned against the wall, thankful that he was finally away from the effects of the meteor rocks and breathed in deeply; rubbing a hand over his face. His thoughts still clung tightly to the image of the mutilated man that was lying in the morgue. The fact that his killer was meteor infected with some unknown ability, and was still roaming somewhere hidden in Smallville…undoubtedly searching for his best friend. And, what tugged at the back of Clark's mind most was the fact that Lex had lied to him about each and every single detail for a reason he couldn't quite grasp.
He turned his head and looked down at the folder in his hands; the same folder that contained freeze frames of Alissa from the night before, a print out of the Smallville Ledger report on the fire that was supposed to have ended her life, and shots of Lex's dead worker on the ground, and Clark felt anger swell in his heart once again.
He needed answers to his confusing questions. He needed to learn the truth about Alissa. About how she survived the LexCorp explosion, how she gained her abilities, what they were, and why she was after Lex to begin with.
And he knew that he couldn't find them there.
Pulling away from the wall, he turned his body back towards the hallway leading out of the bottom floor of the hospital. He tucked the paper folder of Chloe's into his jacket pocket, and with a slight scowl…he started to run.
He kept running until he was halfway down the road that would lead him to the Luthor mansion.
Because of certain events that are going to be happening this week in real life, there is a good chance that the next chapter will not be uploaded for two weeks. I will try my hardest to get it done as soon as possible, but I'm not promising anything because of said real life madness. However, despite that, I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, and please keep your eyes open for the next update; whenever that will be! Thank you so much! :3