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Thunder over Smallville: Book One

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Thunder over Smallville". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Sequel to An Echo of Thunder and Story #2 in the Thunder over Smallville series. Xander Harris arrives in Smallville to start his new life. How will the presence of a Thunder God affect life in this not-so-sleepy Kansas town?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Smallville > Xander-Centered
DC Universe > General
anotherlostsoulFR1551240,4331671324672,24414 Nov 0615 Feb 08No

Chapter 34 – Road Trip IV

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: As always a big thank you to everyone who's been reading, reviewing and recommending this story, the fact that it's been so well received continues to blow my mind every time I think about it. It's you folks, my readers, that keep me inspired to write and I really appreciate it. I'll apologize in advance for the fact that next week's chapter stands a good chance of being a little late. I only just finished writing it and have yet to get it typed up and sent to my beta and with my rehab starting tomorrow...well, there's no telling exactly when I'll get it ready to post. I'll do my best to do it quickly though, I promise. And so without further ado... here's today's chapter.

-== Chapter Thirty-Four – Road Trip IV ==-

Chloe wasn’t particularly surprised when she and Xander reached the motley collection of objects he’d assembled for her to practice on. The vast majority of the things he’d selected were simply rocks of various shapes and sizes, a few of which had to weigh somewhere between several hundred and a few thousand pounds. The Aesir had also clearly raided the local scrap-yard, since a badly rusted Volkswagen van and a couple of extremely large blocks of compressed metal that clearly had once been vehicles, rounded out the selection.

“Uh, Xander?” the blonde began with a frown. “Isn’t this a little ambitious? I mean, the most I’ve been able to move so far is just a few ounces…”

“I don’t think so, Chloe,” the Thunder God answered with a broad grin. “Call it a hunch, but based on what Hermes said and how he said it, I doubt you’ll have much difficulty lifting and manipulating a lot more weight than what I’ve got here.”

“What on Earth gave you that impression?” she asked curiously.

“Hermes specifically compared your strength to mine and Clark’s, and we’re capable of lifting hundreds of tons,” he answered without hesitating. “While he said your strength wouldn’t be on the same scale as ours, he wouldn’t have used that comparison if you weren’t considerably stronger mentally than the strongest human beings imaginable. Plus, since your powers are still developing, I’m willing to bet you’ll get even stronger with time and effort.”

“Okay, I can sort of see the logic there,” she conceded after a moment. “Comparing me to gods among men wouldn’t make sense if I weren’t much stronger than normal humans, but it would still be easier to accept all of this if I had some idea of what I actually am.”

“Well, I actually have a theory about that based on what Hermes did and didn’t say,” the Aesir offered with a soft smile, “I just wasn’t sure if you’d want to hear it since it’s just speculation with nothing solid to support it…especially when you consider that Hermes is the God of Thieves among other things. There’s no real way of knowing if he was trying to subtly clue us in to the truth or just trying to muddy the waters to keep us from pursuing the actual truth…”

The blonde paused for a moment, carefully considering the young deity’s words. He was right, of course, she quickly realized. All they could do was speculate unless she managed to track down her mother and learn the whole truth. But so far, Hermes had proved to be fairly trustworthy. As long as Xander wasn’t trying to read too much into what the Olympian had said, they would at least have something to go on. “Ok,” she decided aloud. “Some kind of working theory is better than nothing at all, even if it ultimately turns out to be wrong, so fill me in.”

Xander nodded and began without preamble. “I believe you’re part Olympian,” he declared in response. “I think your mother is a demigoddess, since I can’t recall any mythological stories where actual Greek goddesses gave birth to mortal children. I also think that Hermes may actually be your biological grandfather…”

The statements seemed abjectly ludicrous to Chloe as Xander made them. “Okay, it seems like quite a bit of a stretch, but I’ll bite,” she said after a moment. “Why do you think that?”

“A few things,” the teen replied seriously. “We know that your mother is clearly something more than human for one thing, yet Aphrodite had no trouble revealing Clark’s origins, which means that she’s probably not an alien.”

“I’m with you so far,” she agreed with a nod. “But that doesn’t rule out me being something that’s not an alien or part-god.”

“True, but he also specifically compared your powers to those of a god or goddess, something I doubt he’d have done randomly,” he went on without hesitating. “He called your powers an extension of your will, which is exactly what gods’ powers are.”

“Okay,” she conceded skeptically after a few moments of thought. “I suppose I can buy the possibility that my powers might have some sort of divine origin, but I still don’t see the connection to the Olympians or why you might think Hermes was my grandfather.”

“Well,” he admitted with a frown. “That’s actually the biggest stretch of the entire theory. At one point Hermes said that your powers were somewhat more mercurial than Willow’s, and when he said it he had this smug ‘I know something you don’t know’ smirk on his face…which got me to thinking. Since Mercury is the Roman name for Hermes, maybe that’s what he was hinting at…that your powers come from him through your mother.”

“It’s still pretty thin as theories go,” she pointed out, remaining skeptical of the explanation.

“It’s not just thin, Chlo, its anorexic,” he admitted with a nod. “But it’s the closest thing to a theory I’ve got.”

Chloe sighed resignedly, “We won’t know anything for sure until we track down my mom and get some answers from her, will we?”

“No, I’m afraid we won’t,” the Aesir agreed sympathetically. “But there’s no reason why we have to know the whole story either. The source of your powers won’t change the fact that you have them or what you decide to do with them. It won’t change who you are or how you choose to live your life unless you let it.”

The blonde nodded softly, acknowledging what her friend was saying. She wanted desperately to believe that she didn’t need to confront her mother and learn the truth, but she knew better and on some level, so did Xander. The very same inquisitive, almost obsessive desire to get to the bottom of a story that drove her into journalism and made her excel at it would eat away at her until she knew what she really was. She could no more choose not to find her mother than she could choose to go on living without breathing. It would take time and there was no certainty of success, but she knew that patience and perseverance would go a long, long way in this kind of investigation.

In the meantime, however, she had more immediate and pressing concerns to deal with. “So, where exactly should we start on trying to figure out how to control my powers, Xan?” she asked, forcing a smile as she changed the subject.

* * * * *

“So what’s the first stop on our whirlwind tour of the Kent farm?” Midori asked when she was certain they were out of earshot of the others.

“That kind of depends on what you actually want to see,” Clark answered with a smile. “It’s hardly an exciting place, especially for someone like you.”

“Someone like me?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at the rather ambiguous comment.

“You know what I mean,” Clark said. “You’re a Green Lantern who was born and raised in Gotham City. I’m willing to bet you’ve been places and done things way more exciting than touring a farm in Smallville.”

“Clark, I’ve been a Green Lantern for less than a week,” she countered with a smile. “And believe me, being trapped among Gotham’s social elite…not nearly as much fun as you might think, especially when your dad is the city’s second most eligible bachelor, right behind a twenty-odd year old billionaire named Bruce Wayne.”

The Kryptonian grinned slightly, “Sounds like you and Lex would probably have quite a bit in common.”

“Lex,” she repeated, momentarily thrown by the casual reference. “You mean Lex Luthor? Wait, you know Lex Luthor?” Midori asked, taken aback by the revelation. “Wow, I guess it really *is* a small world.”

“You mean you know Lex?” he asked, equally surprised.

“I wouldn’t say that I know him, but we’ve met a few times,” she answered with a frown. “His father made a bid to take over my dad’s software company. If it hadn’t been for Queen Industries stepping in and undercutting LuthorCorp’s position, my father would have lost everything he worked so hard to build to Lionel Luthor. Instead, he’s now the executive vice-president of Queen Industries Information Technology division.” Her frown turned into a half-smirk, “So how does a nice guy like you end up on a first-name basis with one of America’s most notorious billionaire bad-boys?”

“He hit me and Xander with his Porsche a few days ago,” Clark answered with a lop-sided grin. “He lost control of the vehicle and drove it off a bridge, hitting us in the process. We pulled him out of the car and revived him with CPR after he almost drowned.”

“Wait…you mean Lex knows about your powers?” she asked suddenly concerned for her friends. “Clark, I know that Lex might seem like a nice guy, but if even half of what I’ve heard about him is true… He can be every bit as ruthless as his father and only half as scrupulous.”

“He doesn’t know about Xander or me,” the teen replied with a slight smile. “And we aren’t exactly planning to run out and tell him everything, but he wants to be our friend and claims that he doesn’t want to end up like his father. It would be wrong not to give him a chance to prove that he’s a better man than Lionel Luthor.”

Midori nodded and smiled softly at Clark’s words. The more she learned about the young Kryptonian, the more she realized just how rare a find he was. He honestly wanted to believe the best about people and to give them a real chance to prove themselves. It was a very refreshing change from the cynical, self-absorbed, rich boys she was used to dealing with. “Just…be careful around him, Clark,” she reiterated, hoping that he would heed her advice and not let Lex take advantage of his good heart. “Now, if I’m not mistaken you mentioned something about the spaceship you came to Earth in last night, and that’s something I’d very much like to see.”

* * * * *

Chloe frowned slightly as she eyed the large block of compressed scrap metal that Xander suggested she try to move first. “How much do you figure it weighs?” she asked skeptically.

“I don’t know…that van there probably weighs around two tons and that block is probably twice as heavy as that,” the Aesir said dismissively.

“And you seriously think that I can lift that much weight with my mind?” the tone of the question made it quite clear that she had more than a few doubts about the task at hand.

“No,” the Thunder God countered adamantly. “I firmly believe that with a little practice and some confidence in your abilities that you could easily lift the combined weight of every object out here at the same time…which is probably closer to 15 or 20 tons, if not a bit more.”

“Alright,” she conceded, realizing that there was nothing she could say to persuade Xander that he was wrong about her limits. “No harm in trying it, I guess.”

“Don’t try,” he said with a mildly annoyed sigh. “As corny as it sounds for me to be paraphrasing something said by a little green muppet in a sci-fi movie, either do it or don’t do it. Trying is a complete waste of time because if you believe that you might fail, you will fail.”

“I didn’t believe that I could move the phone this morning, but that worked just fine,” she pointed out with a raised eyebrow.

“You didn’t believe that you couldn’t do it either,” he argued back. “You weren’t completely awake yet, so your rational mind didn’t actively deny the possibility of it happening. Trust me, the single biggest obstacle you have to overcome isn’t a few tons of scrap metal, it’s believing in your abilities. If you don’t believe you can do it, then you won’t be able to.”

The blonde reporter eyed the large metal block as she considered the young god’s words. It sounded almost crazy, but he said it with such conviction that she really wanted to believe him. Taking a deep breath, she shoved aside her doubts and disbelief and focused solely on the task at hand. She pictured the block rising slowly off the ground and just floating, unsupported, in mid-air. ‘I can do this,’ she decided, pouring all of her belief and self-confidence into the thought.

Suddenly, her perceptions seemed to shift as she experienced the same, odd narrowing of focus she felt when she tried to move her hairbrush earlier. It seemed like she could feel the block’s weight in her mind and could perceive the reality of it on a level she was entirely unaccustomed to seeing. In a moment of crystalline clarity, her altered perceptions expanded to encompass even more of her surroundings and she abruptly understood the absolute truth of what Xander had been trying to tell her. Exhaling slowly, Chloe grasped the object firmly with her mind and lifted it smoothly into the air.

A pleased smile and a rush of pride lit the Aesir’s face as the massive block, which easily weighed twice as much as he told Chloe it did, groaned slightly and lifted off the ground in a smooth, fluid motion. He watched as it rose up and stopped at roughly eye level, hanging perfectly still four or five feet above the ground. Before he could say anything, before he could even offer the slightest encouragement, the blonde cocked her head slightly, focusing her attention on the slightly larger, but lighter-weight, van. The vehicle wobbled slightly before easily lifting into the air and joining the first object.

To Xander’s amazement, neither object wavered as Chloe spoke and shot a sidelong glance at him. “That block is a lot more than twice as heavy as the van,” she said pointedly. “It’s got to be at least 4 or 5 times as heavy…”

“And yet you can hold them both aloft and still spare enough concentration to hold a conversation with me,” he pointed out smugly. “Think you can lift more or is that all you’ve got?”

In response, the second block of compacted steel, which was roughly the same size as the first but somewhat less heavy, seemed to spring off the ground along with the largest of the boulders he’d found, impressing him greatly. As another, slightly smaller boulder wobbled and lifted off the ground, the strain of holding up such a large amount of weight in defiance of gravity began to show on the blonde’s face. All told, Xander estimated she was holding up somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen tons of dead weight if not as much as twenty.

“Good job, Chlo,” he said, sincerely impressed with her ability. “Is it the weight that’s making this difficult or the number of objects?” he asked, trying to gauge her limits.

“Kind of both,” she said tightly after moment and watching as all the objects seemed to waver slightly as she spoke. “Dividing my focus isn’t easy, but neither is the sheer amount of mass I’m holding up either.”

He nodded his understanding. “Why don’t you set everything back down as gently as you can, and then we’ll try out another exercise now that we know a little better what you can lift.”

The blonde nodded sharply and all five objects lowered slowly to the ground in unison. Relaxing visibly, she turned to him with a broad smile, “What else did you have in mind?”

* * * * *

In the storm cellar, Clark pulled aside the tarp his father used to cover the Kryptonian ship that had carried him to Earth. “There it is,” he declared to Midori, “the ship that brought me here from the Andromeda galaxy.”

“It seems so tiny,” she said, clearly surprised. “More like an intergalactic life-raft than anything.”

“From what I’ve been told, that’s kind of what it was,” he admitted. “My parents put me in it and launched it for Earth right before Krypton exploded. I was a toddler at the time, so I guess I didn’t need much room.”

“It’s pretty amazing, Clark, that a ship so small could safely transport you millions of light years like that,” she said with a smile, turning to face him as she moved closer to the tall, handsome alien. “But why Earth? I’m sure that the Kryptonians must’ve known a lot of other places that would have been more advanced than this one…”

“Apparently, my family was pretty prominent on Krypton’s ruling council and my father had a lot of enemies,” he explained. “My family had been secretly studying this world for centuries and my dad decided it was the safest place to hide me from his enemies.”

“But they sent you here alone?” Midori asked.

“Yeah,” he replied somberly. “My mother and father remained behind, they worked right up until the last moments to try and save Krypton from its fate.”

“They must have been really incredible people, Clark,” she said sincerely as she stepped in front of him and used the power ring to float up so that she could look him in the eye without craning her neck. “I’m glad that you landed here, Clark, and I’m glad that I’m getting a chance to know you…”

As the petite Japanese girl looked him squarely in the eye, Clark abruptly became aware of just how close they were and just how beautiful she was. He could feel the warmth of her breath against his face and smell the citrus scent of her lip gloss. He swallowed hard as he realized what was about to happen. His brain registered the fact that she was leaning in to kiss him scarcely a moment before their lips met.

As her tongue brushed against his lips, seeking entrance into his mouth, his brain seemed to shut down and his body took over. He wrapped his arms gently around the girl and pulled her against him as tightly as he could without risking crushing her with his super-strength. The kiss was passionate and aggressive as she wrapped her arms and legs around him and let her weight settle in his embrace. The rush of sensation was incredible as it crashed through his increasingly hormone soaked brain. Some part of his mind found itself comparing the actual experience of kissing Midori with his dreams and fantasies about Lana and quickly reached an important conclusion: there was no comparison. Nothing he’d imagined so far could possibly compete with kissing Midori.

As his body continued to react in a predictable way to the passionate intimacy of the situation, Clark suddenly began to feel strange. An intense warmth rushed through him, and a weird, burning pressure seemed to develop behind his still closed eyes. He struggled to ignore it, not wanting to allow anything to interrupt this moment, but the warmth rapidly built to a burning pain as the pressure continued to increase. Within moments, he felt as though his eyeballs were about to explode.

Breaking off the kiss, he turned his head and opened his eyes with a pained gasp. Before Clark’s very eyes, small gouts of flame sprang into being on the rough concrete walls of the storm cellar, scorching angry black marks on the wall as they burned off the dust and grime. He swung his head away from them and they spread along the concrete, burning a path that exactly matched the one his eyes followed. The Kryptonian winced in pain and tried to force his eyes closed again, but it was simply too painful. Meanwhile everywhere he looked, fire sprang into being.

Midori’s own eyes went wide with shock as the AI in her power ring reacted instantly to the dangerous situation and activated a protective field around, shifting her into uniform in the process. She watched helplessly for a moment as Clark let go of her and struggled to stop what was happening. Deciding quickly that the best thing she could do for him was to stop the fires from doing any real damage; she used her power ring to extinguish the flames as rapidly as they appeared.

A few agonizingly long moments later, the strange attack subsided, leaving a pair of shocked teens to survey the damage done. The entire back wall of the storm cellar had been scorched black by the intense heat that had seemed to erupt from Clark’s eyes, but without anything more combustible than the layers of dust and dirt that had caked them, the fires that resulted didn’t seem to have done any real damage. “Are you alright?” he managed to croak out after a moment as the shock of the event faded. He intentionally avoided looking at the girl, for fear that a second attack might occur, one that would seriously injure her.

“I’m okay,” she replied quickly, “but what the Hell was that?” There was no anger or fear in her voice, much to Clark’s relief, only a great deal of surprise.

“I wish I knew,” he answered, frowning at the blackened wall.

* * * * *

Chloe couldn’t help but feel a surge of elation as the four roughly softball shaped rocks she was manipulating with her mind managed to move completely independently of each other in a series of interlocking paths through the air. It was a difficult task, requiring her to divide her attention between four separate tasks as she adjusted the looping, whirling paths and speeds of each object as needed to prevent them from colliding. In fact, it was a great deal more difficult than lifting a considerably larger amount of weight had been, but she felt confident that she hadn’t quite exhausted the limits of her concentration just yet.

The Aesir watched quietly as Chloe lifted a fifth stone with her powers and carefully held it still in the midst of the other four fast-moving rocks. He was frankly amazed at just how quickly the blonde had managed to grasp the task and at how far she was able to push the limits of her powers. He couldn’t help but smile as she began to spin the fifth rock rapidly in place, like a child’s top, without losing her hold or even having to slow down the other four. Glancing at her face, he could see just how much strain the exercise was putting on her, as small beads of perspiration sprang up on her brow. He spoke softly, careful not to disturb her already taxed concentration, “You’re doing an incredible job, Chloe,” he said with an encouraging smile, “but don’t push yourself too hard.”

Before either of them could do anything else, a sudden, loud shout broke cut through the moment. “Xander! Chloe!” Clark yelled loudly, clearly upset by something as he and Midori hurried toward them.

The abrupt distraction broke Chloe’s concentration and she quickly whirled to face the approaching pair. In response, the four fast moving rocks whipped through the air as if they had been shot from a cannon and raced directly at the Kryptonian. Before the fastest of the teens could react, the projectiles smashed into Clark’s chest in a rapid staccato of jarring impacts that caused the rocks to explode into a fine powder. The force of the strikes and the lack of more than a split-second to prepare for them allowed the powerful hits to knock the surprised alien off his feet and send him flying back several feet before landing, momentarily stunned, on his back.

“Clark!” the blonde shouted, terrified that she had just managed to seriously injure one of her best friends. She rushed to check on him without hesitating.

Xander, meanwhile, watched as the fifth and final rock, the one that didn’t go flying off like a telekinetic missile, dropped to the ground unsupported when she shouted. He had no doubt that Clark was fine, after all, he was fairly sure Lex’s Porsche had hit the two of them with considerably more force than the rocks had and he survived that easily enough. He was, however, left struggling to contain a chuckle as he watched Clark sit up. The other teen had managed to acquire a thick coating of grayish white dust over his face, hair and chest from the exploding rocks that the Thunder God found quite comical.

As Chloe reached him, Clark shot her a chagrined look and began to try and brush the rock dust from his clothes, completely unaware of the coating his face and hair had received. Immediately, her concern for his well-being was replaced by a bout of aggravated ire at the situation. “Clark, what the hell were you thinking, yelling like that?” she demanded angrily. “I could’ve killed someone with those rocks when you distracted me! What if they’d hit Midori or me like that? We aren’t all nearly invulnerable like you and Xander!”

“Uh, oops?” he offered lamely, staring up at the furious reporter, trying to suppress a snicker of his own at the outrageousness of the situation. He’d just been knocked ten yards through the air by Chloe’s telekinetically propelled projectiles and yet here he was getting yelled at.

As a choked guffaw escaped from his brother at the remark, Chloe whirled on the god, fixing him with a glare. “Sorry…” he offered, holding his hands up apologetically. “It’s just…that’s the same thing I said to him when I threw a rock and knocked down a tree…it struck me as kinda funny.”

Letting out a long-suffering sigh, the blonde turned to Midori in hopes of finding some support from the Green Lantern. Instead she found the dark-haired girl desperately fighting to stifle her own laughter. Looking back at Clark, Chloe couldn’t deny that the situation was actually pretty funny since no one actually got hurt. And he did look ridiculous with his face covered in a thick layer of rock dust. As another muffled laugh escaped from Xander, followed closely by a snicker from Clark, the last of her anger melted in the face of the general silliness of the situation and she couldn’t help but laugh right along with the others.

“So, what’s up Clark?” Xander finally asked as the laughter faded. “I’m pretty sure you weren’t yelling for your health back there.”

“Uh, no, I really wasn’t,” the other boy agreed, the mirth rapidly fleeing from his face as he remembered why he’d been coming to talk to Xander in the first place. “Something weird happened…”

The Aesir sighed loudly, “It’s just shaping up to be one of those days, isn’t it? So what happened to you?”

“I, uh, accidentally set fire to the storm cellar, I think,” the Kryptonian admitted sheepishly.

“Oh, for the love of Odin,” the Thunder God exclaimed loudly.

“I put it out before it could do any real damage,” Midori offered with a sympathetic smile.

“So what were you two doing in the storm cellar anyway?” Chloe asked curiously, sensing that there was something more to the story than had been revealed so far.

“I was showing Midori the ship I came to Earth in…” Clark began haltingly before glancing at the Green Lantern.

“And then I kissed him and a few moments later, poof! Everything he looked at tried to burst into flame,” she finished with an apologetic look at Chloe.

“That must have been one hell of a kiss,” the blonde commented, surprised by the revelation.

“You can say that again,” the embarrassed teenage boy muttered under his breath, just loudly enough for Xander’s enhanced hearing to pick it up without anyone else hearing it.

It didn’t take the god long to make the obvious connection. “Could you ladies excuse us for a few moments?” he asked, drawing Clark away from the potentially even more embarrassing situation that would arise if Chloe made the connection before the alien did. Once they were out of earshot he asked quietly, “I’m guessing you were really starting to get into your little make-out session when the fireworks started?”

“Uh…well, yeah, kind of…” the other boy answered with a frown before realizing where Xander was going with this. “You mean… but nothing like this has ever happened before when I thought about…you know.”

“I’m guessing there’s a big difference between thinking about sex, or even fantasizing about it, and being in a situation where there’s a real possibility of it actually happening,” he pointed out quietly. “And here’s the real kicker little brother, if you don’t learn to control this new ability of yours, and quickly, I have no doubt it’ll happen again.”

“How am I supposed to learn to control this?” Clark demanded with a frown. “I’m not even sure how I did it…”

“Practice,” the god replied as though the answer were obvious. “Focus on one of those blocks of scrap I brought out here for Chloe to practice with and try to remember what you were thinking about when it happened. Once you get the hang of turning it on, you’ll figure out how to turn it off…and hopefully all without having to think about sex.”

“And what if I can’t figure it out or learn to control it?” the Kryptonian asked morosely.

“Then you’d best prepare for a lifetime full of cold showers,” Xander said with a smirk. “Cause I’m pretty sure that setting someone on fire? So not going to get you laid, at least not on this planet.”

Clark glanced from the block to his brother before turning to look at Midori for a moment. The girl met his gaze with a soft, sexy smile on her face that spoke volumes about her intentions toward him. He swallowed hard, realizing that if his fire-starting episode hadn’t scared her off, nothing probably would. He turned back to his brother, “Okay…I’ll give it a shot. But this would be a lot easier without an audience.”

Nodding sympathetically, Xander glanced down at his watch. “You’ve got about an hour before we have to take off for LA, hopefully that’ll be enough time for you to get the hang of it,” he said with a sigh, before turning toward the girls and starting to walk away. “Oh, and since you haven’t realized it yet, your face and hair are covered in rock dust too,” he called back over his shoulder with a grin, “you might want to clean that off before we leave.”

Xander walked back to the girls with a broad smile on his face, “So, Midori…you and Clark, huh? Just…try not to hurt him. He’s emo enough as it is…”

“I’ll do my best not to,” she said with a smile before turning back to Chloe once more. “And you’re sure you’re okay with this? I meant what I said before, I don’t want me and Clark to come between me and you being friends…”

“It’s fine,” Chloe responded with a surprisingly unforced smile. She’s seen how Clark looked at the girl when he was talking to Xander. Whether he realized it or not, it was the same look he’d always reserved Lana before and seeing it directed toward Midori had been a lot less painful than she’d expected it to be. “You two will be great for each other.”

“So,” the Thunder God interrupted, changing the subject as he guided both girls away from the clearing where his brother was struggling to get a grip on his new and destructive power, “how fast do you think you can fly to LA, Midori?”

With a slight frown, the Green Lantern consulted her power ring’s AI. “It kind of depends on how I do it apparently,” she answered a moment later. “I can fly much faster outside Earth’s atmosphere than inside it, so if I go that route I could be there in 30 or 45 minutes…otherwise, it’d take close to an hour and a half or so.”

He frowned thoughtfully. “Could you safely bring someone along with you the fast way? I hadn’t really considered that I might not be able to go as high or fly as fast carrying someone with me…”

“Yeah,” she replied after a second quick consultation. “I can safely carry someone with me, but if I carry Clark…”

“Actually it was Chloe I was worried about,” he countered quickly. “Clark’s scared of heights or I’d have already taught him how to fly... besides, he can get there on foot in under an hour.”

“Then why not have Clark carry me?” the blonde asked apprehensively. “I mean, it’s not that I don’t trust you Midori, because I do, but flying into outer space without a spaceship or a spacesuit is not really on the list of things I had planned to do…ever.”

“Chloe, Clark can run somewhere between two and three thousand miles an hour,” the teenaged deity pointed out. “And he’s got no way to protect you from either the wind or the friction that speed would produce if he carried you. I’m not even sure if you’d be able to breath! Midori’s ring can at least protect you on the trip, plus I’ll be right there with the two of you. It’ll be much safer than running…especially if Clark doesn’t get a grip on his fire-starting before we leave.”

“He’s got a good point Chloe,” the dark-haired girl pointed out. “At those speeds, the wind resistance alone could do serious damage to an unprotected, vulnerable human being.”

“Alright,” she conceded, “physics win out. I’ll go with Midori.”

“Well, we’ve still got an hour to kill then,” Xander pointed out with a smile. “Why don’t we head over to the barn loft and see if we can find anything about that scarecrow ritual before we leave?”

“Sounds like a plan,” the reporter answered.
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