Disclaimer: DC Comics/Warner Bros. Entertainment owns these characters, except for Joanne Kent and Samuel Hamilton; they're mine. This is strictly for my own amusement.

Author's Notes: Well, to say this story clawed its way out of me is an understatement. I knew where I wanted my characters to end up, but I hadn't a clue how to begin. I feel strong enough about it now though to let it go. Believe it or not, this saga actually began as a one shot, but decidedly became so much more. Now Or Never began the story, then continued with Embracing Destiny, and now more intrigue and romance continues here. The last story ended with a few shocking surprises, and I hope you'll stick around and read what's ahead for Lois/Clark, Joanne/Samuel and the rest of their family, and I hope you like it. A heartfelt thanks goes out to Hanakt for the gorgeous story banner. You can catch it at my LJ account (feisty_voices). You rock lady! Please read and leave a comment when you get a moment. Thanks everyone! :D

~o~o~

ACT I: All I've Ever Wanted

Chapter 1: Secrets

A maximum security prison in upstate New York:

Alexander 'Lex' Luthor's final hours on this Earth were about to be witnessed by Talia Head, acting CEO of LexCorp and a prison doctor. Talia stood beside Lex's bedside still unbelieving that he was actually dying. The prison doctor informed her that the cancer had returned months ago and had spread throughout his body leaving him weak and unable to fight it off, not like the last time.

Talia had taken it upon herself, as acting CEO, to commit to the sale of LexCorp to the Wayne Foundation. Those plans would now have to be put on hold. As it stands now, Lex would have no say about the sale, but to ease her conscious, the least she could do was to see personally to his last wishes, and as it turns out, they were extensive and elaborate.

"Lex, can you hear me?" She leaned down to his ear and whispered to him, but there was no response.

The doctor shook his head despondently.

Then Lex's eyes slowly opened, but he was not able to focus on anything. He did manage to say one thing … "You … know … what … to do."

Talia nodded her head, but she knew what was coming then she leaned down again. "I'll take care of everything, Lex." With those words, Lex took his last breath and Talia could have sworn that there was a smile on his face.

An hour later, the doctor pronounced him dead at 67 years of age, but that blurring time between life and death, Lex's brain was technically still alive for the next few minutes. With a bit of persuasion, the doctor was able to administer a drug that would extend the cognitive brain function (including memories) before any irreparable damage could take place. This 'blurring' time could be extended indefinitely.

Lex was then quickly taken to LexCorp's secret laboratory. Talia was unable to restore the other labs all destroyed by the Justice League, but no matter. This secret lab would suffice for her purpose. A team of partial brain transplant doctors would then perform the removal of enough tissue to provide key memories and a sense of continuity of identity, and then Lex would be reborn.

"Hurry, Otis!" She instructed her bumbling assistant. She had kept him around because he was loyal, a bit slow, but dependable.

Here, in his secret lab, Lex would be reborn and hopefully, he would live long enough to exact revenge on the Man of Steel, as was his dying wish.

The question was … reborn into what.

~o~o~

Almost two years later, the Kent house:

Even now, Joanne Kent was still finding it hard to accept that Samuel Hamilton was, in fact, Lex Luthor's son. She should have accepted it by now, especially after the way he had treated her at her sixteenth birthday party because she had been clear about her feelings, but he seemed to be ignoring her again, and she hated when he did that to her. Days later after the party, Sam had gone off to college, but he would be returning home soon after being away for more than a year, and Jo could not stop thinking about him.

Suddenly, her mind flashed back to that fateful day of her party. It began as a wonderful day. She had chosen a dress, a grown-up dress that fit her perfectly, but then her Mother had told her that Sam would not be coming. She had been shocked by the news, but her Mom had gone over to his house and somehow convinced him to come.

~o~o~

Jo's sixteenth birthday party:

Jo had been dancing and trying to enjoy herself when Sam had tapped her partner on the shoulder. She was thrilled because it was getting late and of course he always seemed to be shy around her. They danced several dances not saying too much, mostly about his plans for college, but then he asked to speak to her alone.

"Alright," she replied, curious and a bit worried.

He took her hand and guided her to the den. No one seemed to notice, but her brother Jason watched them leave the party. Jason did not want to spy on them, but he knew that his parents had planned to tell Jo the truth about Sam later that day. He thought about it some more. Maybe it would be better if Sam told her the truth himself.

After entering the den, Sam took a deep breath. "Take a seat," he instructed.

"What's wrong, Sam?" After taking a seat, Jo stared at him for a moment while he paced in front of her. "Does it have to do with you and your Mom arriving late to the party? I was worried you wouldn't come."

Sam finally turned to face her. She was so beautiful, and it was so hard to look at her. "I … ummm … I," he hesitated.

"Yes, go on," she encouraged him.

He took another breath and stared into her eyes hoping to convey how he felt about her. "I hope you won't forget me when I'm gone."

She frowned. "Is this a joke, because it is not funny."

He grinned in spite of his anxiety about leaving her. He took a seat next to her and took her hand and then looked into her eyes. "My beautiful Jo."

Jo swallowed her heart racing. "You … you think I'm beautiful?"

He touched her cheek. "You really have no idea, do you?"

Jo wasn't sure how to answer him, but then she couldn't think of anything to say because he was leaning towards her as if he wanted to kiss her.

He closed his eyes. She closed hers as well, but before their lips could meet, there was a knock at the door. It was Jason.

"Hey, birthday girl, you owe me a dance. Oops! Sorry."

Sam jumped up from his seat as if he had been burned. "I'll … I'll see you around Jo, Jason," he hurriedly said and left them alone.

Jo stood up and crossed her arms then gave her brother the evil eye.

Jason held up his hands. "What did I do?"

Jo rolled her eyes at him, sat back down, touched her lips and grinned. He was going to kiss me.

~o~o~

Later that same night, in her parent's bedroom:

"Mom, Dad, its late and I'm tired," Jo told her parents as she came into their room.

Lois and Clark glanced at each other.

Jo was familiar with those looks. "Oh, no, not the glances, what is it?"

"Take a seat," Lois told her daughter.

"Sam said the same thing to me earlier tonight. What's going on around here? I feel as if I'm being kept in the dark about something."

"Honey, we found out something years ago, but you were too young, and …" Lois hesitated.

"Jo, your Mother and I do not want you to be hurt."

She frowned more confused than ever. "What are you talking about?" They were silent. "Just tell me."

"Sam …" Lois began.

Jo was truly worried now. "What about Sam?"

"He's Lex Luthor's son," Clark told her bluntly.

"What?" Jo was stunned. She shook her head. "But I don't understand."

"Before she met Uncle Emil, Kitty and Lex were together for a time, but soon after that she found out she was pregnant," Lois explained.

Jo was hurt, but not for the reasons they were thinking. She stood up, paced for a moment then turned to face her parents. "Why didn't you tell me this before?"

"As we said, we decided you were far too young to know the truth," Clark replied.

"Oh, I see, so Sam and I went about our lives while you decided to treat us like babies."

"It was not like that at all," Clark stressed his point.

Jo suddenly gasped to herself as tears sprang into her eyes. "Do you realize what you've done?"

"Honey, listen …" Lois began.

"No, I don't want to hear any more lies." Jo suddenly realized something. "Sam isn't coming back," she sadly whispered. "He was saying goodbye. I know it."

"What do you mean?" Clark asked as he came over to her hoping to comfort her, but she moved aside. "Jo?"

She raised her tear-filled eyes to her Father. "He told me not to forget him."

"But that doesn't mean …" Lois began.

She shook her head. "I had a feeling he was trying to tell me something important." Shaking her head again, eyes shining, she continued, "Don't you see? I know him. He's not coming back, and it's all your fault!" She raised her voice having never done that before, then she ran from the room. "Just leave me alone!"

Jo's bedroom door slammed shut. Lois and Clark winced at the sound.

"I should go to her," Lois said.

"No, give her some space. She'll calm down when she realizes we only wanted the best for her," Clark said but now he wasn't so sure about their decision.

Jason came into their room. "What in the world is going on around here?"

Clark sighed. "Jo knows the truth about Sam."

"Oh, no. I had a feeling she would react this way after what I saw earlier this evening." Jason mumbled distractedly.

"What did you see?" Clark asked.

Jason rubbed the back of his neck, not wanting to admit he had been spying on them. "I watched them leave the party for a moment. They went into the den. I looked through the door, and Sam was about to kiss her. Before anything could happen, I interrupted them."

Clark sighed. "Maybe he was saying goodbye," he murmured also distracted.

"My poor baby … she must be miserable."

"She's crying," Clark and Jason said at the same time.

~o~o~

Back to the present:

After learning the truth about Sam, Jo became rebellious, closed off to her family, and nothing they could do seemed to pull her out of her funk. Clark even asked her to join Young Justice as a junior member, but she was not interested. Jo was now almost eighteen years of age, about to graduate high school, but she wasn't interested in college, not at all.

Lois and Clark were terribly worried about her, so they did something. They called Kitty and Emil for help hoping they could convince Sam to come home for a visit to talk to her and maybe help her to at least think about college and her future.

~o~o~

Meanwhile, at the Hamilton house:

The front door opened and then a voice carried to the back of the house. "Mom, Mom, I'm home!"

"Sam?" Kitty could not believe her ears. Sammy was home. She actually gasped when she saw him standing there so tall and handsome. It seemed like forever since she had seen him. She held out her arms then they were holding each other close, both silently crying. He had missed her so much.

"I'm home, Mom, I'm home."

Kitty pulled back after gaining her composure. "Let me look at you. You're all grown up."

He smiled at her. "Yeah, it happens. Where's Dad? Let me guess, at the lab?"

"You know your Dad is still the same. I'm still the same. We love you, and we are still your parents. You can come home anytime." She told him firmly then paused for a moment. "You know I'm so glad you're here."

"I know that, Mom, but it's been difficult, adjusting to … everything, and I couldn't do it here. You understand, don't you?"

She understood, but Kitty had to know. "Do you forgive me for not telling you sooner about your real father?"

"Of course, I have Mom. I understand why you did it."

"Thank you, Sam, but I'm afraid it's been hard for Jo, and because you weren't here, she's … different somehow. She quit cheerleading and her grades have slipped."

Sam felt horrible about all of it. "Is she going to graduate?"

"Yes, she will, but she changed, Sam."

He turned from her then, but he knew it was all his fault. "Don't make me feel any worse than I already do, Mom."

She touched his arm. "I'm sorry, Sam, but I'm just telling you the way things are." She paused. "You have to help her."

He sighed. "You know I would do anything for Jo."

She smiled. "I know." Glancing at her watch, she dropped a hint, "Dinner won't be ready for a few hours."

"I just got home. Are you trying to get rid of me?" He was only half-joking.

"Well, I know you and I know where you want to be, so get going!" She gently but firmly shoved him out the door.

~o~o~

Minutes later at the Kent house:

Lois and Clark had just told Jo about the call from Kitty that Sam was on his way over. Jo had been quiet about the news, but they knew her well and they could tell she was excited about seeing him again.

The doorbell rang. It was Sam. "Hello, Mr. Kent, Mrs. Kent, I hope it's alright that I dropped by unannounced."

"It's ok, Sam, I just spoke to your Mom. Come in, come in," Lois greeted him warmly.

"Is Jo home?" Sam asked as he glanced up the stairs.

"Before you see her, I wanted to say something," Clark began after he shook his hand.

He sighed. "I know she's hurting, Mr. Kent and that was the last thing I wanted to do, but I always seem to be doing that, and I'm sorry."

"I won't deny that it's been tough since she found out the truth about you, but nothing we've said seems to have made a difference, and that's why we called your parents."

"I know. I just hope that she can still look at me, and not turn away in disgust," he uttered ashamed, head down.

Lois went to him then. "Don't do that to Jo or to yourself. Just talk to her and I think everything will work out."

He looked at Mrs. Kent and he believed her. "Thank you, Mrs. Kent."

"Good, now stay there while I go get her." Lois hurried up the stairs.

After a few minutes of awkward silence, "So, how's school?" Clark asked, trying to make conversation.

"It's Ok but … I was thinking about …" Sam's words died in his throat, because he caught a glimpse of Jo at the top of the stairs. His breath caught and then he thought … How is it that she's more beautiful than the last time I saw her?

~o~o~

TBC!

Song Inspiration: I Still Believe, Mariah Carey

A/N: Hang on for SammyJo's conversation and a few surprises. I have to say it … just how crazy is Lex? Stay tuned. Update in two weeks. Headed to the beach next weekend. Reviews are love, guys! I also wanted to say thanks again to all my readers (whether or not you review) and to those who took the time to leave a few words for me, thanks again! Remember now, reviews are love! :D