Chapter 25 – Interesting Conversations
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, or any of the Mythology that I am about to mangle to suit my own twisted purposes. Frankly, if you recognize it, I don’t own it. This work may not be sold or used for profit in any way shape or form for that very reason. Please don’t sue me because I don’t have anything worth taking…
Author's Note: Thanks again, as always to my beta reader, misagoddess, and everyone who has reviewed or recommended the story. I really appreciate the feedback and encouragement you're giving me. I hope that you all enjoy this latest installment.
-== Chapter Twenty-Five – Interesting Conversations ==-
“I can’t believe that we are gonna let that dork back us down like that!” Sean Kelvin complained as Whitney drove the truck away from the school. “We could’ve taken him man. Those three geeks wouldn’t have stood a chance!”
“Yeah, except that one of them would be sure to tell Kwan what happened and getting suspended for pounding that freak would get us thrown off the team, genius,” Whitney pointed out acerbically. “Or at the very least we’d be benched for a few games which would screw up any chance of football scholarships. We’ll get even with them, after football season.”
Sean smiled maliciously at the thought, “So we’re really not going to pick a scarecrow this year? That just doesn’t seem right man…it’s a tradition.”
“Oh, we’re going to pick a scarecrow alright, Sean,” Whitney said with a smile as he spotted a familiar, old-style Volkswagen Beetle parked by the side of the road near the orchards. “And I know just who to grab.”
The quarterback pulled the truck off the road behind the empty car with a wicked smirk. He had something of a bone to pick with the car’s owner anyway; making him this year’s scarecrow would be just the thing to hammer the message home.
“Isn’t that that freak-show Arkin’s car?” Sean asked with a grin.
“Yeah. Bug boy’s been getting a little too friendly with my girlfriend,” Whitney said with a hard voice. “I’m thinking spending the night tied out as a scarecrow might be just the thing to put him back in his place.” He shut of the truck and got out with a grim smile. “Let’s go grab ourselves a scarecrow,” he said to the other four boys with a laugh.
* * * * *
Lex slowed down to a quick stop as he rounded the curve before the bridge where he’d wrecked his Porsche. He thought for a moment that he’d seen a green streak of light fly off over the tree-tops back toward town, but he couldn’t be sure of it. Seeing Clark and Xander standing on the bridge, both soaking wet, brought an instant frown to his face. What on Earth were they doing out here?
As he quickly climbed out of his new Ferrari, he noticed a rather beat-up looking Volvo wagon had stopped on the other side of the bridge. A rather excited looking blonde girl and a rather less excited looking young black man got out of the wagon as Lex strode rapidly toward the Kents.
“Clark! Xander!” he called out, drawing their attention, “Are you guys okay? What happened?” To his own surprise, he didn’t actually have to feign concern for the boys. He realized he genuinely worried about their well-being.
“Lex!” Xander called back, greeting him with a goofy grin. “Fancy meeting you here again…” The Aesir threw up a half-wave and seemed to notice rather abruptly just how wet he was. “We’re fine. We just got caught outside in that freak downpour a little while ago.”
As Xander talked to Lex, Clark turned toward Chloe and Pete with a cautious smile of his own. “Hey guys, why are you out here?”
“We saw something weird fly past the school heading this direction and we’re following it,” Chloe said with a frown of her own. “Did you see where it went?”
Clark and Xander exchanged a quick, silent glance before the Kryptonian answered, “No, we sure didn’t, Chloe.”
Lex, who had been listening closely, looked toward Chloe with a smile before interrupting. “I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting your friends, Xander…”
Taking that as his cue, and hoping that the interruption might forestall anymore discussion of the Green Lantern for a few minutes, the Aesir smiled and turned toward the other teens. “Lex, I’d like you to meet Chloe Sullivan and Pete Ross,” he said with a pleading smile at Chloe. “Guys, this is…”
“Lex Luthor,” Chloe interrupted with a broad smile as she stepped toward the man and offered him her hand. “I’d love an opportunity to interview you, Mr. Luthor. You’re quite the celebrity for a small town like this…”
“Chloe is the editor of the Smallville High Torch… the school newspaper,” Clark offered quickly by way of explanation.
“Please, call me Lex,” he said as he shook the girl’s hand. “I’m sure we can arrange something, after all any friend of the Kent brothers is a friend of mine,” he continued with a thoughtful look, “Your father wouldn’t happen to be Gabriel Sullivan, would he? From the management team at the LuthorCorp plant?”
“He sure would,” Chloe answered with a smile that the belied the sudden nervousness in her stomach. Her father wasn’t that far up the managerial food chain, why on Earth would Lex know his name?
“I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet,” the man said suavely, “But I’ve heard nothing but good things about him. He’s being considered for some increased responsibilities as we tighten things up in the near future.” The heir to the Luthor fortune turned his broad smile on Pete and offered the young man his hand as well.
Pete eyed the hand for a brief moment with something that closely resembled extreme distaste before finally shaking it with a cool smile. His reaction brought an immediate frown to the Thunder God’s face. Even he’d gotten a warmer welcome from Pete than that. Clearly there were some serious issues there.
Quickly recognizing the hostile reaction from the teen, Lex turned back to the others. “So you saw something strange fly past the school? What do you think it might have been?”
“We didn’t get a good look at it,” Pete said bluntly, clearly distrustful of the newcomer.
“Uh, yeah,” Chloe said after a momentary look at the boy. “He’s right; we just saw a flash of green light go past.” She glanced back toward Pete again and was met with an aggravated glare.
“Really?” Lex said with a curious smile as he pretended not to notice the less than subtle by-play between Chloe and Pete. “I thought I saw a green light streak past the tree-tops as I pulled up, maybe that was what you saw.” He looked back at Clark and Xander, “Are you two sure that you didn’t see anything?”
“Nope,” Xander tossed out, fixing a calm smile on his features and even tone in his voice. “We couldn’t see a thing through the blinding flash of light where a lightening bolt hit the water. Are you sure you didn’t just see the glare reflected off the trees, Lex?”
“Lightning? From a clear blue sky?” Lex questioned with a disbelieving frown. “That’s a little unusual don’t you think?”
As if in response to the man’s question, a bolt of lightning arced down from the still cloudless sky to hit the water further down the river. As both Lex and Pete gawked at the improbable occurrence, Chloe and Clark shot disapproving frowns at a smirking Xander. “Beats me,” the Aesir said smugly, “but that’s got to be at least the third bolt like that I’ve seen since the downpour. There’s definitely something weird going on with the weather this afternoon.”
“Yeah,” Clark put in quickly, seeing an opening. “We should probably get out of here before another storm blows through…”
Try as he might, Lex couldn’t deny what he’d seen as he stared off toward where the bolt had struck the river. He’d occasionally heard of bolts from the blue, but for several of them to happen in the same general area within such a short period of time seemed utterly impossible. Clark’s suggestion finally sank through his surprise a moment later and he finally turned back toward the teens. “You’re probably right, Clark. Do you boys need a lift?” he asked with a smile. “All three of us won’t fit in my Ferrari, but I could call the mansion and have a car sent to pick you up…”
“That’s really not necessary,” Chloe said quickly, “We’ve got more than enough room in my car and I don’t live far from the Kent farm anyway…”
“Are you sure?” Lex asked with the same self-effacing smile he’d used when the boys turned down his gifts. “It’s no trouble at all...”
“We’re positive,” Xander said with a grin. “Besides, I’m fairly sure that our wet clothes would do a lot less damage to Chloe’s seats then it would to yours.”
“Alright,” Lex conceded with a chuckle. “It was good seeing you again, Xander, Clark, and it was nice to meet you Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Ross. I’m sure I’ll see you all around, it is a small town after all.”
The four teens watched quietly as Lex strolled back to his car and climbed in. The quartet followed suit, walking back to Chloe’s car and managing to pile in as Lex drove past them, presumably on his way to the Luthor mansion, in his new, red Ferrari.
“Okay,” Chloe said as soon as they were moving. “So what really happened?”
“It seems that Smallville has its very own resident super-hero,” Xander said with a grin. “She called herself Green Lantern and pretty much saved our bacon. She scooped Jeremy up in this big glowing green ball of energy and dumped him in the river, shorting his powers out.”
“A super-hero? In Smallville?” Pete asked incredulously.
“What did you guys really see?” Clark asked.
“A girl surrounded in some kind of green energy field flew past the windows to the Torch office,” Chloe answered simply. “We didn’t exactly get a great look at her, but she seemed to be headed this way.”
“Yeah, that was her then,” the Aesir confirmed. “She flew off to dump Jeremy at the Sheriff’s office when she heard you and Lex driving this way.”
Realizing that they were serious, Pete finally chimed in. “This is a joke, right? I mean, super-heroes only exist in comic books. What’s next, little green men from other planets?”
Chloe watched in the rearview mirror as a strange look passed between the Kent brothers in the back seat, leading her to wonder what that was about. “Do you know who she is?” the blonde reporter asked.
“No idea,” Clark said quickly. “I don’t think I’d ever seen her before.”
“Me either,” the Thunder God confirmed, “but I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing her again.”
* * * * *
Greg Arkin was engaging in one of his favorite activities. From a carefully concealed vantage point in the branches of one of the trees, he was watching an unsuspecting Lana Lang as she rode her horse in the nearby field. He’d been watching Lana like this for months now; sometimes he even brought his video camera and filmed her. It was something he had managed to keep very secret. He knew that no one else would understand, no one else could accept that he and Lana were meant to be together. They were soul-mates, though Lana hadn’t realized it yet.
As he watched her, he quickly found himself swept up in his dreams. Dreams of how wonderful it would be when Lana finally realized how he felt about her, when she stopped pretending that she didn’t feel the same about him. He was so wrapped up in his fantasies, that he never heard the sounds of Whitney and his pals walking around below him. He never noticed the whispers or the rustle of movement as the football players moved into place around the tree he was in.
It was only a few moments later when he climbed down to move to a better position that he realized he wasn’t alone. Before he could say a word or even react to the presence of the jocks, Whitney grabbed him roughly by the front of his shirt and got in his face. “Why are you spying on Lana, freak?” the quarterback snarled at him. “Do you really think that she appreciates a sick little pervert like you watching her? Do you freak?”
Greg tried to stammer out an answer, only to have Whitney silence him with a hard shake. “You should have stuck to collecting bugs, asshole, but since you decided to play peeping tom on my girlfriend, I think you get to be this year’s scarecrow instead.” He shoved the freshman backward hard, smiling as the boy smacked loudly into the trunk of the tree and fell sprawling to the ground. “And believe me, freak, if I catch you sneaking around watching Lana again, you’ll wish all I did was hang you out as a scarecrow.”
“Throw him in the back of my truck,” Whitney practically ordered the other boys. “We need to put our scarecrow out before we end being late for warm-ups.”
Greg struggled feebly against the jocks as Sean and another of the athletes grabbed him and pulled him along with them. Unfortunately, there was no one around for miles to hear his calls for help.
* * * * *
Pete sat quietly for a few moments as he considered what Clark and Xander were saying. “So, if you didn’t know about this Green Lantern chick, why did you think you could handle Jeremy?”
“I wasn’t sure we could handle him without really hurting him, Pete,” Xander answered after another strained look passed between the two brothers, “but I’ve dealt with enough weird situations before that I thought I could figure something out. I was wrong though.”
“What kind of weird situations,” Pete asked curiously. “Did Sunnydale have a bunch of freaky mutants running around it too or something?”
“Nope, no mutants,” the Aesir said flatly. “Instead we got stuck with a bunch of vampires, demons, and monsters all bent on opening up the mouth of Hell and trying to end the world as we know it.”
“Yeah, right,” the younger boy said with a snort of derision. “So what was it you really had to deal with back in Sunny-D?”
“He’s not joking, Pete,” Chloe of all people said after a moment. “I hacked the coroner’s office and the police department in Sunnydale. More people in that town die from neck trauma or severe blood loss than all other causes of death combined.”
Pete turned to stare in shock at Chloe for a long moment before looking back at Clark and Xander. Clark let out a soft sigh and spoke up, “I’ve actually seen a few demons too, Pete. They came out to the farm looking to get even with Xander for something that happened before he moved here. It’s not a joke…he’s telling you the truth.”
“I spent most of the last year helping fight monsters in Sunnydale with my friends,” Xander said with a sigh of his own. “I didn’t even figure out the truth about the town until one of my best friends got turned into a vampire. He was the first vampire I ever killed and after that I couldn’t go back to pretending that I didn’t know what was out there. So me and a few of my friends fought back.” He smiled softly. “Compared to that, facing off against Jeremy was a cakewalk.”
“You’re serious? All of you really believe that vampires and monsters are real?” Pete repeated numbly. “Do you have any idea how crazy this sounds?”
“Yeah, I know exactly how crazy it sounds, Pete,” the Thunder God replied with a grim look. “Is it really that much crazier than a twenty-six year old teenager that could shoot lightning bolts from his hands? Or a regular guy who could fire those freaky meteor crystals from his fingers?” When the other boy didn’t answer right away, Xander took it as a good sign.
“If vampires and demons are real, why doesn’t everybody know about it?” the other boy finally asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” the Aesir asked bemusedly. “Most people couldn’t accept the truth even if they were slapped in the face with it. We’ve let science and rationality convince us that the only real monsters in the world are just human beings because it makes us feel safer. Denial makes us feel better about the world we live in.” He sighed again. “The few good people who know the truth try to protect the ones who don’t, and one part of that is letting them go on believing that the world is a safe rational place.”
The car fell silent in the wake of Xander’s words. No one spoke as the vehicle turned off down the drive to Pete’s house. It was only when the Volvo pulled to a stop that Clark finally broke the uncertain quiet.
“Are we going to see you at the dance later, Pete?” the Kryptonian asked softly.
“I don’t know, Clark,” he replied flatly. “I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. This wasn’t exactly something you can just drop on a guy and expect him to accept it, you know? I’m gonna need some time…time to just figure out how to deal with it.” Without another word, Pete climbed out of the car and closed the door behind him.
“That went well,” Xander said glibly, earning glares from both of the other teens in the car with him.
* * * * *
Midori couldn’t help but smile as she phased invisibly through the outer wall of her bedroom. The ring’s ability to bend light around her was hardly perfect at this point, but it was adequate to make her presence almost unnoticeable when she was flying at least. Of course, she hadn’t mastered the ring to the point of being able to multi-task well enough to fly, maintain one of the ring’s energy constructs, and make herself invisible all at once yet, but she was working on it. She could only hope that her intervention in the fight against that metahuman and the way she delivered him to the sheriff’s office hadn’t attracted too much attention.
As her Green Lantern uniform was quickly replaced by her regular clothing, the girl couldn’t help but smile. She hadn’t even started classes yet and she already knew that there were at least two really hot guys hiding secrets every bit as big as her own. Maybe there was hope for her social life in Smallville after all, especially if the Kryptonian and the Aesir were willing to lend a hand on the whole hero gig. It definitely would be nice to have a couple of friends that she didn’t have to hide her secret identity from.
Midori glanced at the clock on her bedside table and took note of the time. If she didn’t dawdle she would have plenty of time to grab a quick bite to eat, get cleaned up, and make it back to the school for the after game dance. She had a distinct feeling that one or both of the boys were bound to be there and it would be interesting to talk to them out of uniform. Not to mention it would give her a chance to actually learn their names.
Suddenly, the dance seemed a lot less like a waste of time.
* * * * *
The drive from Pete’s house back to the Kent Farm passed in a companionable silence for the most part. Clark was busy brooding. Chloe had no doubt he was questioning Xander’s decision to just dump the truth about Sunnydale on Pete like that. Xander also seemed distracted by something, leaving Chloe to wonder how she could broach the subject of Clark’s powers without upsetting the brooding teen.
The blonde reporter knew Clark well enough to know that he wasn’t big on the idea of sharing his secrets with anyone. Otherwise, he’d have undoubtedly told her and Pete about his abilities on his by now. A part of her was seriously hurt by the fact that he clearly didn’t feel like he could trust her enough to tell her, despite knowing that she already knew about what Xander was, but she could sort of understand it. It was a really big deal and if the wrong person caught wind of it, it could be downright catastrophic. She thought about possibly keeping her newfound knowledge a secret from the boys, but quickly dismissed the idea. They needed to know, especially since it might relieve some of Clark’s brooding tendencies.
Finally, she spoke up. “Your secret is safe with me, Clark,” she said, just loud enough to be sure he heard her. The words snapped him instantly back to the present.
“What secret?” he demanded, shooting an accusing glare at Xander.
“Xander didn’t tell me about your abilities, Clark. I don’t even really know what you can actually do, but I do know you have superpowers of your own,” Chloe explained softly. “If you didn’t, Xander wouldn’t have let you stick around when Jeremy showed up. He wouldn’t have let you risk your life like that, especially not against an opponent that couldn’t hurt him in the first place.”
Clark looked at Xander, who just sort of shrugged and grinned widely while saying nothing. The Kryptonian just glared at the Aesir for a long moment. Finally, the Thunder God sighed loudly and met his brother’s look with a glare of his own. “You were the one who told me that Chloe was the only person at Smallville High with a half a chance of figuring out about my powers. Why are you so surprised she figured this out?”
Before Clark could say anything, Chloe spoke up. “You don’t have to tell me anything, Clark. I understand why you want to keep it a secret,” she said simply. “But no matter what you tell me, no matter what you can do…I just want you to know that I’ll never tell anyone about it. You can talk to me about anything, anytime.”
The Kent brothers continued to stare at one another for a moment as Chloe turned the car down the driveway of the Kent Farm and pulled to a stop outside the barn. A slightly strained silence filled the car as neither boy made an immediate move to get out of the car. Finally Xander broke the quiet, “You’re the one who told me how much you hate having to lie to your friends to keep your abilities secret, Clark. Here’s your chance to tell Chloe the truth and know that your secret is as safe as mine is.”
The Kryptonian’s shoulders slumped slightly, and his voice took on a resigned tone as he spoke. “Mom and Dad are going to freak, but you’re right,” he said after a moment. “Chloe, why don’t you come up to the barn loft with us and I’ll tell you everything…”