He was tearing away vines again. Come on, Chloe…
He felt something. It wasn't Chloe, but he grabbed onto it and yanked it out. It was – a bottle of weed killer? He dropped it. He ripped away three vines that were trying to latch on to him and started to free Chloe again well before the bottle hit the floor.
Finally, he felt her. He willed her to be okay. He put his work boot against the wall of vines, grabbed her hands and pulled. At first she didn't move and Clark almost began to panic. He pulled just a little harder, he didn't know how much of his strength to use. She slowly started to move. He internally cheered, but the more he saw of her, the quieter that cheer got. She looked a lot worse than Lex. He didn't know how long she had been in there. …If he had been on time, this probably wouldn't have happened. Of course it wouldn't have. This was his fault.
He quickly gathered her into his arms. He caught site of the bottle of herbicide as he did so. He looked a Chloe, she was a smart girl. He remembered the way the plants reacted when he – accidentally sunk his hands into Adra. Well, it was worth a shot.
He snapped up the bottle and unscrewed the cap. Sorry, Adra, he thought as he sped past her and shoved the up side down open bottle into her chest. She was already dead anyway, he tried to convince himself to not feel guilty. Chloe needed help…
Lex was putting on his trench coat, partly because it was November and partly because his clothes looked like someone had wadded him up and tossed him into a trash basket. He was feeling that way too. However, it was hard to believe he could have easily died from affixation this morning. ...He had been in Smallville Medical that long. He was glad that he was finally free to go – it was getting dark outside.
There was a knock on the door and Lex looked up. Clark opened it despite not officially being invited in. "How are you feeling?" the boy asked.
"Fine," he lied. "Thanks to you," he was honest about that. "How's Chloe?" he was curious. The girl was a friend of Clark and was decent to him most of the time. He had already arranged for flowers to be sent to her.
"She's awake," Clark suddenly found the deep teal blue hospital wall interesting, "Already spewing theories."
Lex smirked and nodded, "Can I get an advanced copy?" Lex knew that when the police got there, pretty much everything was covered in decayed plant matter – a lot of it. Like there were plants there years ago, but the project had been abandoned. Nothing else was really out of the ordinary, for a greenhouse.
"A while ago, Adra told us she was cut on a piece of meteor rock…" Clark started with a sigh.
Adra…? "Adra Arden?" Lex's look was sharp. Rhone had told both he and Clark to stay away from that girl. Lex was basically unconscious every moment he was in that room, so he never saw her. Not that he would be able to identify her if he did see her. …How did Rhone know?
Clark knew Lex wasn't angry with him. He was hesitant to tell his friend of Adra's involvement because of Rhone's warning. But when someone figured out Adra Arden was missing, it might raise a few questions for Lex anyway.
"Chloe thinks that there must have been some kind of reaction with the plants she was working on and the plants changed," Clark had a look on his face that said he had no idea what he was talking about and was barely getting by summing up Chloe's theory. There was also something about negative energy in there, but he didn't really believe that part. "Maybe there was a…" his voice trailed, "Like a Venus flytrap?" He was looking for a word.
"A carnivorous plant?" Lex acted like he was suggesting but knew that was what Clark was looking for. He put his hands into his pockets.
"Yeah," Clark nodded, "And…"
His voice trailed again. But this time Lex knew that it wasn't because he was looking for something, it because he was withholding something. "And we were the food?" Lex finished.
Clark got a look on his face that said, "Well, yeah, kind of." He really didn't know how someone of Lex's stature would react to even temporarily being comparable to an hors d'ourve.
Lex brought his index finger and thumb to the bridge of his nose. …Well, he didn't have a better explanation. "Need a ride home?" Lex asked. Somehow, his friend appeared completely unscathed and barely worse for wear from the whole experience. …But he wasn't in there… And he had probably gone to sleep last night.
Lex really didn't remember anything specifically, but just knowing that he was going to be very slowly crushed – suffocated – and digested made him – uneasy. If Luthors could be frightened, he would have been at the mere thought. He really didn't want to be alone, the more time he had to reflect on that idea, it would probably be for the worse.
Clark paused, "Um, no. I'm going to hang out with Chloe for a little while." He looked at Lex, "And you should get home and get some sleep. You look…" He was going to say tired, but finished, "Like you could use some rest."
Even in the darkness, she saw the guard from the gate of Luthor Manor was gone. She felt like her lungs constricted in her chest. She was – worried, had been worried since she started her unstoppable mission to get to Smallville. She didn't stop to think about it, if she did that – just don't do it.
Her car was where she left it when she got back to Metropolis International and it vaguely occurred to her to call Griffin as she pushed its limits, but she was like a moth to a flame – everything else could wait. If something had happened to him… Would he even be here? He could be in a police station or the hospital or… Something told her to come here. Trust it, Rhone, she told herself.
Her car was in the area of the driveway just before the gate, so she was off the road. No one would hit her black car in the darkness. After turning off her engine, she absently locked the doors as she quickly got out and shut the door behind her. She was looking at the small building the guard at the gate normally sat in – more like slept in. No amount of her brain power was making him appear either.
It occurred to her to break into the building and open the gate, but she decided against it. She ran at full speed to the gate and jumped onto it. She climbed it easily and when she reached the top, sailed back to the ground on the other side. She hit the pavement running and didn't stop until she reached the main entrance to the castle – still no lights. …Still no Lex.
Lex was leaning both of his arms against the edge of the fireplace mantle in his home office, staring at the crackling fire within it. For the most part, he had been like this for a few hours now. He knew that this would happen. He looked up briefly to the late evening that was outside of his windows before returning his gaze to the only light in the room, the fire.
When he arrived home from the hospital yesterday, it was already evening. He tried to bury himself in work, but his brain started cranking. He had faced his mortality yet again that day. That was so close… How did Clark…?
Then his mind would stray to his missing – friend. Was she okay? What if he never saw her again?
Then his mind would wander to the memory he recalled just before he was – snared. He reached to the back of his head and fiddled with the small bandage there before returning his hand to the mantle and hanging his head.
How could he have forgotten that day? How could he have forgotten some of those little details about his mother? …He was so young then. A ghost of a smile played over his lips when he remembered the way she used to smile at him, like he was the center of her universe. The back of his throat started to hurt and he swallowed hard as he tried not to think about it.
How could he not have identified the scent of Rhone Chade as that organic smell of a greenhouse? And why did it smell good on her? It was barely there, just a hint of it. That was probably why. Either that or it was just because it was on her – it could go either way. If he ever got to be that close to her again… …If…
He had sent all of the staff away last night and gave them today off as well, so he could dwell on all of these things in peace, alone. …He was getting really hungry.
However, he was more tired than hungry. Last night didn't yield rest, just as the previous night hadn't. He was so… He didn't really know what emotion it was, but he didn't like it… He was so tired… He was so alone…