Gaining Trust
DJ Dubois
Originally written September 2002; Revised May 2003

Notes (Part 1): The characters from Smallville belong to the WB and DC Comics. The characters from Mutant X belong to Marvel and Tribune. The characters from Xena Warrior Princess belong to StudiosUSA and Universal. All other characters are fictitious and belong to me.

Notes (Part 2): This story takes place just after the events in "Father Doesn't Know Best". (All mentions of crossovers are from that story. Since the other characters don't appear, I'm not labeling this a crossover.) Obviously, since this occurs in the 'Duboisverse version of Smallville', it's an Alternate Universe.

Chapter 1 [25,000 feet above the ground between Denver and Smallville]

The college visit had been more than anyone expected yet, as with all things, it came to an end. For the previous four days, Clark and Lana had learned more about the world outside of Smallville in all of its forms.

From the university, they had received an excellent introduction to the classroom experience. The sessions had pertained to literature, history, art, journalism (both knew Chloe would be jealous), astronomy, and religion. They also had a chance to hang out with some college students in the Student Union and discuss college life. They attended a major conference. The professors were really helpful-particularly the Duboises, Dr. Alvaro, and Dr. Messenger.

However, life had intruded into their tour rather harshly. The feud between Professor Dubois and his father had brought the Genetic Security Agency and their leader, Mason Eckhart, down there. The group kidnapped her and two of the other speakers and held them all at their stronghold, Genomex. Only with a daring rescue mission did everyone get out. But things had changed.

Lana glanced over at Clark...still not knowing what to think about all of this. I should be dead right now. In her mind's eye, she still imagined herself falling from the overhang toward the cold tile three flights down. Her eyes were closed, thinking that this would be it. Then she abruptly hit something much softer and opened her eyes to find him hovering there somehow.

"I got you," he had said.

"You've got me, but who's got you?" she demanded.

"I've got me," he assured her as he alighted on the ground below.

She saw the gunman pop out from behind a column aiming his pistol at them. "Clark!"

He only made sure to protect her as the bullets hit him in the back.

No! Clark! She thought to herself. What am I going to say to...? She realized he was still standing. "How?"

"Trust me. It's a long story," he told her.

She still was in disbelief when he told her his real story. How he had lost his parents in the cataclysm that destroyed his native planet, sending him and the meteor rocks hurling towards Earth...towards Smallville...and her parents. I should hate him for that. But how can I? He didn't cause it. He's a victim just like me.

"Hey," he called, rubbing her arm. "Are you okay?"

She looked at him, assessing every inch of his appearance. He still looks like Clark, but who is he really? "Yeah, I guess. All of these things we've been exposed to is going to take time for me to digest, Clark."

"If it makes you feel any better, same here," he sighed, glancing around the cabin. "The world outside of Smallville's a lot different than I thought it would be."

"Tell me about it," she remarked dryly, eyeing him. "And some parts of the world within it too."

This again? Okay, Clark, you have to help her deal with it. "Lana, I'm still the same person."

"Are you? What other secrets are you hiding, Clark?"

He looked around nervously, seeing if anyone was eavesdropping. "I'm not hiding anything else from you, Lana. This was kind of a biggie, you know?"

"Oh, I'll second that," she concurred sarcastically, sipping on her Diet Pepsi and looking out the window briefly. "Why should I trust you? Why should any of us trust you?"

He squirmed uncomfortably. Thanks, Mom and Dad, now I'm going to be the town reject/resident meteor freak. So much for a normal life. "Well, there is one reason. I have saved your lives at one point or another." He gave her a hurt puppy look. "Doesn't that at least merit a chance to tell the whole story?"

Damn! He would have to bring that up. And he knows I can't say no to that look. This is so unfair. "Are you going to tell Chloe and Lex too?"

"No. This is between us. I love you, Lana. That's why I trust you," he told her, kissing her.

But can I trust myself? She wondered as the plane hit the ground.

Fifteen minutes later, Jonathan Kent sat waiting by baggage claim for the two teenagers. While he was happy that the kids had seen a bit of the world and gained some perspective, he didn't like the results. There was the attack on the medical center followed by their disappearance. Fortunately, Clark was kept safe by the people down there and Lana surfaced a couple of days later. I wish we could keep them here in Smallville safe from these things, but they have to experience them sooner or later. Then he saw the two teens come out through the door. "Hey, Kids. How was the flight back?"

"Okay, Mr. Kent. I was thinking about things," Lana replied courteously yet with an edge in her voice.

Jonathan recognized that there was something that she wasn't telling him. Seeing a shrug from Clark confirmed that fact. Okay, now what's going on? This trip's opened more cans of worms for everyone. "Well, let's get your bags and get you home, Lana."

"Sounds good," she agreed as they waited for the bags to come down the belt.