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Summary: This is a collection of plot bunnies that I am too busy to work on. They are driving me nuts and I hope someone will adopt them, if you decide to then review and tell me which one. There's something here for everybody, so give it a try.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Xander-Centered > Ficlet CollectionsTheLaughingManFR15129305,51111634507,61510 Sep 0811 Dec 14No

Smoke and Mirrors-Part 2

AN: You wanted more, well now you have it. I worked my fingers to the bone and wracked my brain to give this chapter to you all, so kindly show a little love with a review and tell me what you think, what you like, what you hate, and what you would like to see.


Plan B.

The occasionally faithful fallback to the initial plan. In Harry's case, Plan B usually involved 'attack', 'retreat', or 'leave the country'. Obviously, that wasn't his Plan B this time as that would be overreacting. Instead, Plan B involved a cup of strong tea wherever he could manage to find it while considering his limited options for female companionship and how to improve the odds of waking up next to an attractive girl. Or semi-attractive, he wasn't very particular.

Apparently, there was only one place worth mentioning in Smallville that actually served tea as well as what passed for coffee. Personally, he hoped that the Talon wasn't as near to the cliche of an American cafe as it looked from the outside. Given what he had seen of the town so far, he wasn't going to hold his breath. Smallville, thus far, had been awful. No pubs, no liquor stores, no legal or unmarried birds within sight, and he almost got into a fist fight with a red haired farmer after flirting with an older brunette who had turned out to be the farmer's wife.

The Talon looked like one of those New Age places that served as teen hangouts, the type that used Old World decor in the hopes of adding some sort of taste and age to an establishment that was neither tasteful nor aged.

As someone who had been to Egypt, he could safely say that whoever chose the decorations did not pass Social Studies or History on their intellectual merits, but he wasn't there to criticize, only to get a good cup of tea since Guinness and Scotch was currently unavailable. He fervently hoped that they served decent tea, but, this being America, he would not be surprised if it ended up watered down with salt water from Boston's bay.

It didn't take him long to find the hostess, she was a pretty oriental girl who was rapidly working the machines and bustling from one place to the other. He stood in the doorway for a moment, internally criticizing everything his grouchy mind could possibly find to complain about, and waited for her to notice him so that he could be directed to one of the tables. He wasn't too sure about cafe propriety, but that was how it was in Paris.

"Hi, welcome to the Talon. Just take a seat anywhere." The girl greeted him with a polite, if tired smile, and gestured toward the open tables. Deciding that he couldn't be a bastard to an overworked girl, Harry nodded and chose a table at random.

He sat there for a few moments, enjoying the view of the girl's butt as she maneuvered from one place to another in tight jeans. One thing he could say about Kansas that he did very much enjoy was their love of tight jeans. The girl herself was pretty, but nothing special, a little too generic for his tastes. Good for a roll in the hay, but hardly someone whom he would call the next day. Still, eyecandy was eyecandy.

Finally, the girl finished her orders and managed to make her way to his table. She shot him an apologetic look for taking so long and then introduced herself, "Hello, I'm Lana Lang. What would you like to order, Mister...."

"Potter. Harry Potter and I'd like a cup of Earl Grey if you have it." Harry ordered, trying to keep the boredom out of his voice. No need to be an asshole.

"Right. Earl Grey." Lana nodded, jotting it down. He noted the confused look that she tried to hide and decided to help her out, figuring that she probably didn't even know what it was. "Earl Grey, that's-"

"-tea, luv. It's tea." He offered, feeling magnanimous. Didn't want the girl to have a breakdown, particularly when she looked so close to one already. "New to this, are you?"

"That obvious?" She asked, wincing a bit. He chuckled, more to put her at ease than because he was amused and it worked as she relaxed minutely. "Sorry, I started not too long ago. I'm sort of learning as I go along."

"It's fine. Everyone starts somewhere, yeah?" Harry assured her, keeping an easy grin on his face. He would have left already if he didn't think the girl would burst into tears. "Now, no offence, but I really need a cuppa, so..."

"Oh, sorry, yeah, I'll get right on that." Lana babbled awkwardly, quickly rushing off to find the tea bags for his cup of Earl Grey. Green eyes watched her go, well, they watched her posterior walk over and move from side to side as she worked.

Poor lass had no talent whatsoever, it was plain to see, but he really didn't feel like causing any drama, not yet. Now, if for some reason he got stuck in traffic on the way back to Lex's mansion, then he was going to reduce somebody to tears. He had a sharp tongue that could be quite devastating, particularly after years of putting up and observing one Severus Snape as he crushed the egos of anyone not in Slytherin. Harry was a nice guy, but he wasn't THAT nice and he could on occasion be a downright arse if he felt like it.

While he waited for his order, Harry thought on his life. His fingers found the tribal tattoo located on the crook of his right elbow, just beside the Basilisk scar. It meant 'Leo', his Zodiac sign and the symbol of his House, although it didn't look a thing like a lion. The old woman who had given it to him had been a Priestess of the Triple Goddess known as the Morrigan and had taught him a bit about the older ritualistic magicks. She had said it was his right to know them, due to the Potter family's own pagan history.

He never had learned the old crone's name, but Harry had found a new appreciation for his ancestry and the depths of the magic that they had commanded. Old, out-dated, and primitive, yes, but still very powerful, even if most of those spells were replaced by more modern and easy to cast counterparts. Still, there was power to be found in the old ways and he had left the old woman's hut much more powerful, but it was the new understanding and respect for the old ways he had walked away with that had benefited him the most.

"Nice tattoo." Lana commented, setting a steaming cup of what must have been Earl Grey in front of him. "I don't think I've seen one like it."

"This? Got it slapped on me when I was travelling in Skye." Harry said dismissively, not wanting to discuss some of the weird things he had seen there or the people he had met that he was certain weren't what they had appeared to be. "Got an interest in tats, do you?"

"A little." She shrugged, reaching out to touch it but he instinctively yanked his arm back defensively. Lana shot him a concerned look at his violent reaction. "Are you okay?"

"Fine, touching." He forced a smile, feeling protective of his tattoos. He rarely ever showed them, save to those he bedded, and thankfully most of his ink was done in places that were easy to hide from the general public. "It's a heritage thing, luv. Didn't mean to startle you."

"I'm sorry, I should have asked." Lana apologized, but judging by the curiosity in her eyes he would say that she wasn't sorry in the slightest. Wonderful, that's all he needed: yet another person trying to figure out his secrets.

"This guy bothering you, Lana?" A well built blond boy in a school jacket asked, coming to stand next to her. He glared down at Harry who stared back, green eyes gleaming a bit with an unknown emotion that caused the boy to look away. The boy didn't look happy that he had lost their little battle of wills.

"No, Whitney. It was my fault." Lana assured the boy quickly. Harry glanced between them and recognized the signs of a relationship. He sighed lowly, hoping that the obviously boisterous lad didn't feel the need to play big dog/little dog.

"I doubt that." Whitney said suspiciously, looking down his nose at Harry. Harry, being the mature person he was, merely took a sip of his tea. Unfortunately, it was so horrid that he couldn't stop the grimace that crossed his face and Whitney saw it, "What's wrong with you? Don't you like my girlfriend's drink?"

"I think she needs more practice with tea, but then, I doubt she's had to make very many cups of it. Not an abundance of tea drinkers in the States." Harry replied diplomatically, trying to avoid getting into a confrontation with a cocky kid. Despite that desire, the familiar feeling of daring and fearlessness made his muscles tingle with anticipation. "Practice makes perfect, ne, mate?"

Whitney glanced behind him and Harry noticed the three other large lads wearing the same coat were watching the exchange. Great, his mates were there to egg him on. The blond boy snatched up Harry's tea and drank it all in one gulp, then set it down, "I think her tea's perfect and you're the problem, *mate*."

"Whitney, just stop." Lana ordered, but the blond boy acted as if he hadn't heard her. No doubt, he felt fearless: being the top dog with his little pack to back him up. Harry almost felt sorry for him.

"I think that you are either a liar or an arsekiss." Harry retorted with a small smirk, his blood roused at the possibility for a fight. He tried to calm himself down by looking around the Talon, silently counting down from ten. "But, while I'd love to continue this charming exchange, I've an appointment to keep."

He stood up and pulled out his wallet, laying a five dollar bill on the table while staring down the stupid young buck. Harry kept eye contact with Whitney as he spoke, "That should pay for the tea. Keep the change, luv. I've got better things to do than get into a pissing contest with the village idiot."

With that, Harry turned around and walked out of the Talon. Feeling the need for a smoke, he glanced around and saw an alley that ran along the side of the cafe, so he slipped into it with a sly smirk and pulled out his silver case. Popping his smoke into his mouth, he was reaching for a lighter when he heard the sound of footsteps behind him. Bloody wonderful. He stuffed the cigarette back into the case and turned around, unsurprised to see the blond lad and his three friends.

"Did you think that you could call me an idiot and get away with it?" The boy, Whitney, demanded with a clenched jaw. The three others made threatening faces and cracked their knuckled in a laughable display of ignorance mixed with arrogance. "You think that I'll allow some foreign asshole to insult me in my own town and in front of my girl?!"

"Not really, but it would have been a shame to wreck your pretty girlfriend's place so I decided to get some fresh air." Harry answered truthfully, ignoring the odd looks he was getting as he stepped out of his shoes and pulled off his socks. He placed them neatly next to the wall. "I figured you were type that let their ego make their decisions for them, so I knew you'd try something."

"I'm the kind that puts stupid limeys in their place." Whitney threatened, throwing in a slur for good measure. He was acting a lot more confident than he really was due to the complete lack of fear that Harry showed and he could see that plain as day. Poor, stupid kid. Probably never been in anything but a thirty second fight with another kid when the teachers were there to break things up quickly.

"Listen, I like to think of myself as a nice enough bloke, so I'll give you four a chance to be smart little Americans: walk away, ignore your pride and just take a stroll." Harry offered, subtly maneuvering himself near the trash bin where a broken broomstick was leaned. "But I can already see none of you are intelligent enough to listen, so let's cut through the shite and get to the fighting."

"Fine by me." Whitney growled, striding over with one armed cocked and threw a hay-maker at Harry's jaw. Harry's right hand rose up and deflected the sloppy punch, guiding it away from his face while bringing his knee up into the boy's solar plexus. He elbowed the lad behind his ear and shoved him down.

Harry's toes gripped the end of the broomstick that was leaned nearby and he swirled around a kick from another boy, bringing the stick up to augment the reach of a roundhouse kick that slammed the rod into the face of a third boy then grabbed the stick with his hands and brought it down onto the head of the second. He was tackled to the ground by the fourth who grappled him, pulling him into wrestling holds and wailing on him wildly. The boy got in a good six blows on the squirming Harry, but Harry began kicking and elbowing wildly, scoring a hit that loosened the hold enough for him to break out of it.

He jumped to the side and backpedaled, keeping his eyes on the fourth boy and unwilling to let the boy close. The boy grabbed the broken stick and ran at him, swinging with all strength and no finesse. Fortunately, Harry knew how to use a staff very well (it being one of two weapons he had been trained in the use of) and managed to dodge the swings by virtue of his opponent's predictability long enough to find an opening.

With a grin of pure exhilaration, Harry kicked the back of the boy's leg and managed to stumble him. He jump up and kicked the stunned boy's chin with a rising half-mule kick that caused a faint cracking sound that he recognized as bone breaking. Catching the fallen stick, he twisted and brought it down on the collarbone of the boy; breaking both the bone and the broomstick at the same time. His blood was boiling and his flesh felt like it was steaming hot, but the boys were out for the count: either unconscious or unwilling to get back up.

Taking a few deep breaths, Harry calmed himself down enough to walk over to retrieve his socks which he then put on. Tying his shoes, Harry pulled out his case and flicked it open as he grabbed his smoke and lit it up to calm his mind. He inhaled desperately, trying to clear away the red haze and glee that always came with a good fight. Thankfully, the fight was short or else he might not have been able to stop himself so easily.

"I don't know 'bout you lads, but that was a bloody good time." Harry breathlessly laughed out with bliss, catching his breath and leaning against the wall. He thought about just walking away and leaving them to recover on their own, but that just wouldn't be proper, they were just stupid kids after all, so he leaned and smoked until he finally finished it.

With his smoke break done, Harry walked over and began to prod the boys awake. He shook them, slapped them, and all around tried to get them to their feet with various demeaning acts. It took him nearly twenty minutes, but he managed have them leaned against the wall, sitting against it for two of them, and got them conscious enough. Harry sat down on top of the garbage bin and looked down at the pitiful group.

"Now, what did we learn today, lads?" Harry smirked, listening to the pained groans and blank looks that served as their answers. "One, if your mate is going to fight; let them fight, don't interfere. Nobody likes a gang mucking up their fights. It's bad form. Two, never underestimate someone just because they are smaller than you. Three, don't let your ego talk you into a fight. Never a good idea, unless you happen to be me. Now, I'm going to call an ambulance for you boys and I want you to stay here until they arrive 'cause a couple of you need help."

"Why..are you talking to us?" Whitney groaned out, looking confused as all hell. Then again, he could have been seeing double from that hit to the head. "Why help us out like this?"

"I love a good fight. Any fight, really. And I have a sense of fair play. The least I could do is make sure you all managed to get doctored up and share a bit of my wisdom." Harry answered lightly, not enjoying their pain and humiliation. Well, maybe he enjoyed it a little bit. "I've been in a lot of fights. Fist fights, duels, fights to the death. You four remind me of me back when I was an idiot. Anyway, I'm going to make that call and while you wait I want each of you to think on what I said and what you did wrong during the fight."


"Rough day?" Lex asked mildly, amusement practically dripping from his words as he watched the bruised and scratched up form of his friend enter the study. He poured a glass of scotch and slid it across the desk to Harry as he sat down.

"Met a few locals." Harry replied briskly, downing the scotch with a happy sound in his throat and a satisfied smile when he felt the burn. "Just some dumb brats that wanted to play top dog with the Brit. Not to worry, all four learned their lesson and were provided medical help to speed their recovery."

"That so?" Lex didn't even bother to hide his grin. It seemed a bit of the old Harry was still in there, that fearless boy who never backed down and never passed up a fight. Good to know that some things never change.

"One of them wasn't half-bad." Harry smiled faintly, rubbing his bruised jaw. Now that the fight was over, he was really feeling the hits from that wrestler kid. "They lose points for ganging up on me, however."

"'There's more of them than us, aren't there Lex? They're bigger than us, eh, Lex? We can still kick their arses, can't we, Lex?'" Lex quoted Harry's words back to him, laughing again as he remembered the fist fights they got into while clubbing in London. Harry grinned widely, blushing a bit at the now cheesy words. "You know, I wish that I had been there for old times' sake."

"Eh, it was nothing to bruise your face over." He shrugged, holding the cool glass of Scotch up to his jaw and hissing a bit. After a moment, those bright green eyes became dull. Distantly, he said, "There will be other fights. That's a promise....there's always another fight."

Lex was quiet, studying his friend. Harry's eyes were far off, indicating that he was lost in his memories and not for the first time he wondered what the hell happened to him. Some of the time, it seemed like Harry hadn't changed at all. Still laughing, still fighting, then he'd say something and he was another person; a quiet, distant person who had seen evil and done more than his share.

It saddened him to see what the world had done to his lively friend. Beneath the confident exterior, beneath the charming smile, beneath the brotherly friendship, there was something broken in Harry Potter that could never be fixed. If Lex thought it would help, he would have had the best psychiatrists flown in to treat him, but he knew Harry would never let them in, so it wouldn't do any good. All he could do was give his friend distance and quiet when he needed it, then friendship and camaraderie when he didn't.

Suddenly, Harry's eyes became bright again and he jerked as he looked around. For a moment, he appeared confused as if he didn't realize where he was, but covered that up with a smile once he saw Lex, "Sorry for tuning out, mate."

"It happens." Lex shrugged noncommittally, staring down into his scotch. He took a drink and pondered his friend, pity rising up in him against his will. With practiced ease, he slammed down on the pity and cut it off. "So, see any good sights in Smallville?"

"Besides a blond hottie? Not as such." Harry said lightly, enjoying a sip of the scotch. His voice turned admiring as he continued, "She really was something, though. Had this amazing smile. Much cleverer than my usual fare. Too bad she won't be legal for another three years."

"Wait a second, she was thirteen?" Lex frowned in confusion and partial disgust, certain that his friend would have at least been able to tell a girl's general age. "That's sick, Harry."

"! She was fifteen." Harry hastily assured him, not wanting Lex to get the wrong idea about the whole thing. "Where'd you get thirteen from? We aren't in Britain anymore."

"Harry, the age of legal consent in Kansas is the same as in England: sixteen." Lex stated, trying and failing to hold back his smile at the dumbfounded look on Harry's face. "I thought that you, of all people, would have read up on the laws about that."

"For the record, does that apply to everywhere in the States or just Kansas?" Harry asked curiously, looking for clarification. In the back of his mind, he remembered her smirk when he had said 'eighteen'. That sly bint had known!

"Different states have different laws. Sometimes it's eighteen, sometimes it's not." Lex answered casually, leaning back to watch the cogs turn in his friend's head. After a moment, a large smile crept across Harry's face. "Eighteen is the rule of thumb, but there are exceptions."

"I think that I need to see that girl again. I can wait a year, gives me time to lay the groundwork for one hell of a night." Harry grinned deviously, mentally drawing up said strategies. "She won't know what hit her."

"May I ask the name of this mysterious blond with the 'amazing smile'?" Lex questioned idly, wondering if he should be concerned that his friend was actually putting a great deal of thought into seducing a high school girl. Oh well, so long as it was legal then he didn't care.

"Give me a was Irish, definitely an Irish name...Sullivan! That was it, Chloe Sullivan." Harry said triumphantly, quite proud that he remembered her name. He had good reason, considering that he usually couldn't remember the names of the actual girls that he had slept with, let alone one whom he hadn't seduced.

Lex laughed. Loudly, uproariously, genuinely laughed. He paused to catch his breath, then laughed again, shaking with mirth. He held up a finger to gesture for time, then broke down into laughter again. He could just imagine the drama! Chloe liked Clark who in turn liked Lana who was dating Whitney and now Harry would be chasing Chloe. You couldn't buy entertainment like that and now Lex had a front row seat. It was beautiful!

"Care to let me on the joke, Lex, or you are just going to laugh like a madman?" Harry jeered, feeling like he was missing something. He felt defensive. Lex laughing was a scary thing as it was always at someone else's expensive, usually Harry's.

"It's nothing, just my way of saying go for it. Here, take her out on a really nice date. Just make sure to ask her out in front of Clark." Lex giggled, pulling a few Benjamins from his wallet and tossing them onto the desk. He was fighting hard to not collapse back into laughter at the thought of just how much drama that would stir up. High school drama might be annoying, but it could, on occasion, be downright hilarious if you weren't involved.

"Something is very wrong." Harry mused out loud, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at Lex and Lex...Lex couldn't even keep a straight face. When a Luthor could not hold their poker face up, then it was time to run far away with as much speed as possible.

He weighed the choice mentally: chase after the blonde jailbait with the amazing smile and fantastic arse....or run very far away, possibly Seattle, and avoid whatever could make Lex laugh so hard.

As usual, his libido won out over common sense.

Harry wasn't the best man at devising plans. That was a fact, one that just about everyone who had ever known him would readily attest to. It wasn't his fault, plans just seemed to go wrong. Not even the prodigious Albus Dumbledore, well meaning master puppeteer and a politician with decades of experience, could make a plan stick where Harry Potter was concerned.

Unfortunately, that fact did not occur to Harry Potter...which was why he was currently going one hundred miles per hour away from Smallville High with what was possibly the only Police Cruiser in Smallville chasing him in a high speed pursuit.

The plan had seemed so solid and simple. How do you attract the attention of a girl who wasn't A: stupid, B: drunk, or C: throwing herself at him like a drunken hooker? Why, you showed off of course! Keep himself in mind and all that.

His first plan of playing the guitar in an area where Ms. Sullivan was sure to be had been discarded as too cheesy and lacking in originality, instead he had decided to drive slowly by the school when it was letting out then revved his Triumph up impressively before burning out once he had her attention.....right in front of a singularly unamused Police Officer.

Thus the reason why Harry Potter was flying down the straightest back roads that he had ever seen in his life at ridiculous speeds, randomly taking turns as they suited him and gunning the engine like he had rarely ever had to do. Admittedly, he was having fun as proven by the excited grin on his face, but it was still a very stupid thing to do. Too bad that Gryffindors were rarely, if ever, intelligent with the exception of Hermione Granger.

Noting how close the cruiser was getting, Harry gave a brief smirk and flexed his magic as he slammed on the brakes while simultaneously turning the bike around. Magic was all that saved him from the being thrown from his bike or having it slide on it's side until he resembled hamburger meat from the rapid shift in directions at that speed. The cruiser, fortunately, could not turn nearly as well and he shot past it in the blink of an eye with a loud victorious crow.

Once he was out of sight, he spotted a decent place to hide in: a lovely red barn. Channeling his magic into the runes carved onto what was formerly his godfather's bike, he simulated a ramping maneuver without a ramp and jumped over the fence. Riding across the cow patty infested field, he slammed the barn doors open with an ancient variant of the stunning spell and stomped on the brake causing him to slid to a stop.

Jumping off of his bike, Harry ran over to the doors and closed them before resting his back against the wood. With a sigh of relief, he removed his full faced black helmet and tossed it to the side carelessly. Sliding down into a crouch, he laughed delightedly to himself and released a deep breath. He savored the feeling of the adrenaline and the egotastic sensation of his escape with a big grin.

"Mind telling me what you are doing in my barn?" A reasonable, if stern, voice asked suddenly, making Harry jerk a bit as he turned toward the sound. Standing in the opposite side of the barn with a door swinging behind him was a rugged farmer in his early forties.

"Sightseeing?" Harry offered lamely, genuinely unable to think of anything else. Hm, and he used to be so clever with excuses. As if on cue, the siren of the cruiser passed by. The farmer raised a blond eyebrow up skeptically. "I don't suppose you would believe that has absolutely nothing to do with me, would you?"

"No." The farmer replied flatly, giving him a brief glare that reminded Harry strongly of a disapproving Hermione. "Whadja do, son?"

"Something stupid." Harry admitted sheepishly, shrugging his shoulders helplessly as if to say 'it happens a lot, but what can you do'.

"I believe it." The farmer grunted, stepping forward to inspect the 1970 Triumph appreciatively and running a hand along the cool gray paint job. He looked over at Harry knowingly, "You were showing off, huh?"

"Maybe." He stated slowly, frowning quizzically at the older man. "How'd you.."

"Because he did the same exact thing when we were dating." Another voice, a woman's, answered the question. Harry looked over to see a matronly red haired woman who was currently wearing an amused smile. "Only it was his father's bike on prom night and he stole it."

"Borrowed." The farmer corrected defensively, causing the woman's smile to grow. "I borrowed the bike and forgot to ask, Martha. I did not 'steal' it."

"Of course, dear." Martha smirked slyly. "And that's why Hiram showed up with a shotgun in the middle of our dance."

"Anyway, my name is Jonathan Kent and that's my wife: Martha." Jonathan introduced quickly, clearly eager to change the subject of the conversation. Harry stood up and walked over to him.

"Pleasure to meet you both." Harry nodded, shaking his hand and noting that he had a very strong handshake. He turned to Martha who held out her hand to be shaken, but he surprised and flattered her by brushing his lips across her knuckles in the same manner that he had done to Chloe Sullivan a day earlier. "Mr. Kent, Mrs. Kent, I really do apologize for the commotion. I don't think I broke anything, but if I did then send the bill to Lex Luthor."

"You know the Luthors?" Jonathan asked warily, his mood becoming very tense. Harry froze, wondering if he had said the wrong thing because Jonathan looked like someone just said the name 'Malfoy' at a Weasley family reunion.

"Well, I know Lex Luthor. He's a friend and I have the unique hobby of annoying his father Lionel as much as possible, so, yeah, I do." Harry answered cautiously, but unapologetically, not wanting to anger the farmer yet not willing to renounce his friend. "That a problem, Mr. Kent?"

"No. It's not a problem." Martha assured him pleasantly. Mr. Kent's face strongly disagreed, but he bit his tongue and said nothing to contradict his wife. Smart man. "You're British, aren't you?"

"Kind of." Harry said awkwardly, having had to repeat himself ever since he arrived in the States and honestly not wanting to do it again. What was it with Americans being fascinated by his nationality? "I was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, but I was raised in England, Surrey to be precise."

"Oh." Mrs. Kent paused, clearly confused. "I've never heard of Surrey."

"It's in Little Whinging." He answered, knowing it likely wouldn't help. "Er, it's a suburban of London. Unbearably boring. Not a place anyone in their right mind would actually want to visit or anything."

"Well, I can see why you left. You look like the adventurous sort to me." Mrs. Kent smiled, looking pointedly at his bike. "You might want to get a new paint job for that. Like your Surrey, not much happens around here so it's easy for people to remember when something does happen. The town will talk about it for weeks, sometimes even months."

"We do tend to have long memories." Mr. Kent admitted a bit sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck in a way that looked terribly familiar to Harry. "That's a nice bike, Mister..."

"Oh, it's Potter. Harry James Potter, Mr. Kent." Harry introduced, feeling a bit foolish that he hadn't done it earlier. He glanced at his bike, a fond smile on his face. "Yeah, she's a beaut. Belonged to my godfather. He left it with a friend to hold onto it for him and that friend gave it to me two years back. Been riding it everywhere since."

"You seem to be treating it well enough, police chases aside." Jonathan smiled briefly, a small mischievous glint flaring in his eyes. Harry was reminded of Remus Lupin for a moment. "Just try to be careful, alright? I'd hate to see a classic get wrecked."

"She's...she's stronger than she looks." Harry said with a secretive smirk, patting his faithful bike proudly before throwing his leg over it and sitting down. He slid his helmet on, "It's was lovely meeting you, Mrs. Kent, Mr. Kent. With luck, I'll see you both around town sometime."

"We'd like that." Martha smiled warmly, speaking for the both of them. Mr. Kent just kept glancing at the bike with a worried look. "You can find us at the Farmer's Market if you ever want some fresh produce. Lex should know where to find us."

"Well, I've got a girl to see and apparently a bike to repaint. Good bye." Harry told them, bringing the engine to life with a roar and walking it to the unlatched doors then nudging them open.

To his credit, he did go slow until he left their drive way and hit pavement then....well, he had always been a bit of a speed freak.

Harry drove around Smallville for the next twenty minutes, after grudgingly casting a Notice-Me-Not Charm on his bike. It almost felt like a betrayal to his baby, but better than getting the attention of the local cops twice in one afternoon. He had passed the Talon three times, just wandering aimlessly and hoping for a glimpse of blonde hair.

After a little while, he decided to give up and get what passed for coffee at the Talon as he was positive that it couldn't be worse than their tea. He was just pulling into sight when he saw the very blonde he had been searching for getting out of a bright yellow Volkswagen Beetle. A mischievous thought caused him to smirk and he strengthened the charm, cutting back on the throttle and pulling in the clutch as he coasted up behind her.

Just as he came with ten feet, he dropped the charm and revved the engine loudly. Chloe jumped, twisting around with wide doe-like eyes at the sudden sound and appearance of the gray bike. She frowned at him for a moment, then he cut the engine and took off his helmet to grin at her.

"You! You were that maniac from earlier!" Chloe accused, looking around as if expecting to see a squad car pull around the corner. His grin widened, becoming almost smug. She stared at him in disbelief.

"Nothing like a relaxing afternoon drive, luv." Harry said smoothly, sending a sly wink her way as he dismounted. "Surprised to see me again so soon?"

"Surprised that you aren't in jail." She corrected dryly, smiling a bit in relief. "What were you thinking when you pulled that stunt?"

"Just having a bit of fun." Harry shrugged coolly, walking over to her. "Did you enjoy the show? With a town this small, it must have been the most exciting thing to happen all week."

"Did you enjoy the police chase?" Chloe countered, a teasing grin on her face. Harry smirked at her, amusement glinting in his green eyes.

"I always enjoy the chase." Harry answered, putting a bit of innuendo into his voice as he stared into her eyes. He noticed a pale blush rise in her cheeks, but she stubbornly fought off any other sign. "What's life without some risks?"

"Ah, now you're flirting with me again. I thought it was eighteen plus, remember? It even said so on your card." Chloe teased, resting one hand on her jean clad hip. She tapped her chin in mock thought, "Hmm, could it be that someone told you about Kansas' Age of Consent Laws?"

"What makes you think that someone told me about them? I could have decided to read up on 'em." He parried, taking a step closer. To her credit, Chloe did not back down and kept up their little staring contest. "Might have even known about them beforehand."

"No, no, something changed. You were ready to cut loose and run." Chloe smirked knowingly, her eyes glinting with intelligence and a bit of glee. He knew that look. She was piecing things together, but bloody hell if it didn't look smoking hot on her. "Three years is too long, but one year, maybe not even a whole year? Now that might be worth waiting for."

"I gave you my card. I was willing to wait three years for a girl like you." Harry retorted carefully, making sure to keep eye contact. It would be so easy to take a look into her mind, but that would take all of the fun out of it. He was enjoying the mystery.

"'Girl like me', huh? What kind of girl do you think I am, Mr. Potter?" She asked with a raised eyebrow, a little half-smirk on her face as if expecting him to verbally stumble. Her arms were crossed just under her breasts, but he was determined to not look down, to not lose their little game.

"I don't know. I've been to a lot of places, but I've never seen anyone like you before." Harry answered honestly, taking another half-step forward. Their faces were only a foot apart now and he could hear her breathing hitch. "But, I'd like to learn more about you, Ms. Sullivan."

"Hmmm." Chloe nodded, giving him another bright smile. He had to fight to keep his breathing from hitching at the sight, especially with their charged moment and game of words. "Good answer."

"HEY, CHLOE!" Someone yelled from down the street, breaking the moment between them and causing Harry's green eyes to pulse brightly with anger. No! Damn it, she was about to say yes!

And one Clark Kent, all six feet plus and two hundred pounds of him, ran up to them with a cheerful smile on his bloody teen model face. Kent froze, suddenly noticing the closeness between the two of them and the downright deadly look that Harry was sending toward him.

Clark stood there awkwardly, glancing between them. Chloe noticed and took one quick step back, but it may as well have been a mile. The teenager cleared his throat, "I-I'm interrupting something, aren't I?"

"What? No!" Chloe said quickly, waving off the interruption and not wanting her friend to feel bad. "We were just talking and-"

"Actually, Clark, you kind of are." Harry interrupted, not guilty in the slightest for seeming rude. He'd be damned before he let his chance slip away because of bad timing. "I was just about to ask Chloe Sullivan here out on a date to Au Bon Accueil in Metropolis this Saturday evening. That is, if she doesn't have other plans?"

"The new French Restaurant?!" Chloe's head turned back to him so quickly that he was worried she'd get whiplash. She smiled brightly at him, blushing a bit, and that look just murdered any anger he might have had for Clark Kent. "I'd love to go, b-but, I don't have anything to a place like that."

"By lucky happenstance, I happen to have a friend in Metropolis who owes me a favor. I'm sure she'd love to help." Harry grinned with triumph, reaching into his pocket and conjuring a blank card along with an ink pen. He quickly scrawled said friend's number down, "Call this number and tell her that I sent you, then give her your measurements and she will take care of the rest. Is eight o'clock good for you?"

"It's perfect!" Chloe said with a huge grin, looking like she might jump up and down in excitement.

"Then I'll see you at three o'clock on Saturday. That should give us enough time to travel to Metropolis and prepare." Harry stated with a smile, before pointedly swaggering back to his bike, hopping on, and gunning the engine.

As he peeled out of town, he could have sworn that he was flying. All he had to do was call Apolline before Chloe did, make sure she knew that Chloe was a muggle, and everything would be great.

Take that Murphy!
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