Banner by TouchoftheWindTitle
: I Play My Part (You Play Your Game)Rating
Spoilers for Season 7 of Smallville, and bits of everything before thatSummary
: Lucy Lane comes back to Smallville, and she’s not alone.Author’s Notes
: I’m messing with the Smallville timeline a little. For the purposes of this story, please assume that there was about a month between Lana leaving and Chloe getting arrested. As always, thanks to Drake for beta’ing.Disclaimer
: This all belongs to Joss and Fox and WB and whoever else owns these properties. None of those people is me, and I make no profit from it.
“What do you think?”
Clark Kent eyed his target. This was something he could do. He knew he could do this. Chloe Sullivan was his best friend in the world, and he was determined not to let her down.
“Six in the side,” Clark said. In a single smooth stroke, he tapped the cue against the cue ball, sending it ricocheting off the railing, hitting the six ball just hard enough to send it rolling right into the corner pocket.
“Ohhh!” Chloe said, exchanging a high-five with Clark. “And that’s the game for us. Isn’t that right, losers?”
Lois Lane rolled her eyes at her cousin, and jabbed a finger at her partner, Jimmy Olsen. “This is your fault.”
“My fault?” Jimmy asked incredulously. “I sank four balls!”
“And I told you ahead of time, I am no good at pool. Therefore our team’s fortunes resided on your shoulders alone, and you failed.”
Jimmy rolled his eyes at her and sat down, exasperated.
“It’s okay, Jim,” Clark said, grasping Jimmy by the shoulder. “She gets to all of us, eventually.”
“Go again?” Chloe asked, as Lois’s cell phone rang.
“Sure,” Lois said, glancing at her phone and frowning. “But give me a minute, I need to take this.”
“Take your time,” Clark said. “I’m going to get us some more drinks.”
Clark wandered over to the bar and ordered two beers, a martini and a Coca-Cola. He got back to the pool table just in time to for Lois to begin fuming at Chloe about the phone call.
“I cannot believe her!” Lois said. “This, I swear, this is just like her, you know? Call up one day, ‘Oh hey Sis, I’m coming to visit tomorrow, and I’m bringing my new boyfriend who’s probably a drug addict and a criminal and a murderer. Hope you have somewhere for us to sleep!’” Lois let out a scream of frustration and grabbed her beer from Clark.
“Lucy’s coming to town?” Clark asked, handing Jimmy his beer and Chloe her martini.
“Lucy?” Jimmy asked. “Who’s Lucy?”
“My delinquent sister,” Lois said. She turned to Chloe. “I need you to see what you can find out about this jackass.”
“You think we need to find out about this guy before they show up?” Chloe asked. “I mean, he could be okay.”
Lois and Clark stared at her.
“Right. Lucy. Don’t know what I was thinking.”
“Is she really that bad?” Jimmy asked.
“She can be a handful,” Clark said, nodding.
“Wow,” said Jimmy, chuckling a little bit.
“What?” Clark asked.
“Nothing,” said Jimmy. “Just… coming from you, that’s practically a condemnation.”
Clark raised an eyebrow and turned to Chloe with a questioning look in his eye. She shrugged.
“Sorry big guy,” she said. “I love you, but you do tend toward the rose-tinting on your glasses.”
Clark smiled and turned back to Lois, who was standing next to the pool table, her glass empty, and her arms crossed over her chest as her toe tapped rapidly against the floor.
“This is not going to end well,” she said, shaking her head. “Lucy is going to come in and somehow, she’s going to mess everything up. It’s what she does.”
“What’s this guy’s name, anyway?” Chloe asked.
“What guy?” Lois said.
“The guy she’s bringing? The potential criminal?”
“Oh. His name is Harris,” Lois said. She sounded to Clark like she almost wanted to spit out the name. “Alexander Harris.”
* * * * *
“You’re sure this is going to be okay?” Xander asked.
“I am totally sure,” Lucy said to him as they strode through the airport. “Trust me, my sister’s gonna freak. And Clark totally won’t mind two more boarders, not for a short time. He’s totally chill, and a major hottie to boot. I swear, if Lois hasn’t bagged him yet, I might, just out of spite. Cool?”
“Hey, do what you need to do, I always say,” Xander said, following Lucy up to the rental car counter. “And I know from experience that spite is a solid foundation to build sisterly love and trust on.”
“We need a car,” she said to the man behind the desk. “A nice one.” She nodded over her shoulder at Xander. “He’s paying.”
* * * * *
“What is taking so long?” Lois asked, looking over her cousin’s shoulder.
“Do you have any idea how many Alexander Harris’s there are in America? Or the world?” Chloe asked. “I have no idea how I’m going to find out about this guy. He’s got like the 6th most generic name in the country. I’ve got Alexander Harris CPA, Alexander Harris attorney-at-law, Alexander Harris quantum physicist… the list is huge. Artist, carpenter, philanthropist, software engineer… it could be any of these guys.”
“Probably not the quantum physicist,” Clark said. He was enjoying, for once, not being the one making Chloe hunch over her laptop trying to find the unfindable.
“Any of them have a record?”
“Sure,” said Chloe. “Because I can just scan the nation’s police records from my laptop. Every little town in America has their records online, and they're all freely accessible from –”
“Can you do it or not?” Lois asked, impatiently.
Chloe rolled her eyes. “Probably not before they get here. Where did she meet this guy? Maybe I can find out something about him from there.”
“She said they met in Prague,” Lois told her.
“Okay, that's maybe something we can go on.”
Lois paced around the room while Chloe tapped away on her computer for a few minutes and Clark basked in the feeling of having nothing to do.
“Uh oh,” said Chloe.
“Uh oh? What uh oh? No uh oh,” said Lois.
“How long ago did you say they met?”
“About six months.”
“I was afraid of that,” Chloe said, pointing at her computer screen.
“What is it?” Clark asked. He was relaxing, and unwilling to move.
“A couple of small items in the Prague Post from about six months ago. The first one is about a man named Alexander Harris being a 'person of interest' in an ongoing murder investigation. Apparently, some rich guy in a huge mansion just outside of Prague was killed, drained of blood, and his daughter was abducted. Harris's fingerprints were all over the place.”
“I knew it!” Lois said.
“There's more. On the same day in Prague, there was a big drug bust, mostly cocaine, at one of the night clubs. And we've got art.”
Clark grudgingly got up from the couch and joined the ladies at the laptop. “This is the night of the arrest,” Chloe said. “And that right there is Lucy being led away in handcuffs.”
“Lucy's into drugs now?” Clark asked, glancing sideways at Lois, who was getting redder by the second.
“It doesn't say that,” Chloe said. “Doesn't even say she was charged. Just a picture showing her being arrested.”
“My sister is a criminal,” Lois said, falling into Clark's vacated seat on the couch. “She is an honest to God criminal. She's always been a little misguided, but this is...”
“We don't know that,” Clark said, sitting next to her. “She may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“You don't really believe that,” Lois said.
“But it's possible,” Clark said. “Don't make up your mind, not until we have the whole story. There may be more to this than we realize.”
“And what about this Harris guy?”
Clark shrugged. “Well obviously, if he's here now, he wasn't convicted of murder. I'm pretty sure they keep you in jail for that for longer than six months.”
Lois frowned. “I still don’t like it.”
Clark checked his watch. “Well, listen, if their plane was on time, we’ve probably got an hour before they get here,” he said. “Why don’t you just take some time and relax? You’re going to be stressed for a while here, just… sit back and be calm for a little while.”
“You’re right,” Lois said, relaxing back into the pillows of Clark’s couch. “I need to just take a few minutes, collect myself, and prepare myself for the coming days.”
A horn beeped three times, the last beep drawing out over a few seconds, and they could hear a car speeding up Clark’s gravel driveway.
“Ah, crap,” said Lois. “Lucy drove.”
Chloe, Clark and Lois all stepped out onto Clark’s porch and watched the dust cloud rise as a shiny silver Lexus IS 350 rolled to a stop just in front of the barn.
“Well,” Chloe said as the doors opened. “This should be interesting.”
* * * * *
“You know,” Xander said, gripping the handhold on the car’s door, “I thought, after spending four months in Rome with Buffy that I could no longer be scared in a car.”
“How’s that holding up?” Lucy asked, whipping the car around a curve in the road at 75 miles per hour.
“Not as well as I’d hoped,” he said.
“Oh!” Lucy said, pulling the wheel hard to the left. “Here we are!”
The tires squealed as she turned into the gravel driveway doing fifty. She honked the car horn three times as she sped toward the barn and farmhouse at the other end, which Xander could only describe as ‘quaint.’ The pulled up in front of the house and Xander saw three people come out onto the porch.
“Cute,” Xander said.
“Come on,” Lucy said, squeezing his hand and grinning at him. “I can’t wait for them to meet you. You’re gonna blow their minds.” Xander smiled at her, and they opened their doors and stepped out.
“Lois!” Lucy yelled. She squealed a little and ran toward her sister. Xander stood back and watched, taking a good look at everyone. Lois was obvious. The family resemblance was obvious. Rather than excited, though, she looked worried, and not entirely pleased to see her sister.
The two others Xander recognized from Lucy’s descriptions. Chloe, the short young blonde woman, was walking down the path from the porch, arms crossed, looking bemused.
Still on the porch was Clark. Xander could have picked him out from a half-mile away. Lucy had described him as the ultimate All-American boy multiplied by nine. That really didn’t do him justice. The guy was as large as Adam had been. He was a farmer in America’s bread basket, wore blue jeans, a red jacket and blue shirt, an American flag was flying from one of the pillars on the porch of the farmhouse, and honestly, the guy looked like he could challenge Riley in a contest for “cleanest-cut person Xander was ever likely to meet.” He looked amused.
Xander followed Lucy up the path.
“And you must be Alex,” Lois said, holding her hand out.
“That’s me,” he said, shaking Lois’s hand. “Although I actually go by Xander.”
“Why’s that?” Lois asked.
Xander shrugged. “Just always have.”
Lois took a moment and studied his face. “Do I know you from somewhere?”
He shook his head. “No, I would have remembered that.”
“Weird,” she said. “I could swear I... half recognize you.”
“Xander, come meet everyone,” Lucy called.
He stepped up and shook hands with both Chloe and Clark.
“Xander Harris, meet my cousin Chloe Sullivan and Clark Kent.”
“Nice to meet you,” he said. “Lucy’s told me so much about you guys.”
“Really?” Chloe asked, sounding surprised.
“Well, in the last week or so, anyway,” he said. They all headed inside and settled into Clark’s living room. Xander and Lucy sat on the couch, with Clark and Chloe in chairs on either side of them and Lois leaning against a wall in front of them.
“So what brings you two to Smallville?” Lois asked.
“Business, actually,” Xander said.
Chloe looked surprised. “You have business in Smallville?”
“No, Metropolis, actually.”
“What business?” Lois asked.
“Money,” said Xander.
“Oh, you’re in finance?” asked Chloe.
“Ah, no,” Xander said. “I’ve got a meeting with the charitable arm of a couple of 3rd round VC firms that may be interested in helping out an organization I’m part of.”
“VC?” Lois asked.
“Venture capital,” Xander said. “A lot of people don’t know, but a number of the larger firms are operating with non-profit status. So at the end of their fiscal year, if they don’t have any big projects on the horizon, they often donate a large amount of profits they’ve made to charitable organizations. My group is trying to get a piece of the pie.”
“You work for a charity?” Clark asked.
“He doesn’t just work for them,” Lucy said, obviously bragging. “He’s on the board.”
“Really?” asked Lois, intrigued.
Xander shrugged. “To be fair, the whole thing is run by a group of my friends, and we kind of fell backwards into it about five years ago. It was really rough the first couple of years, the people who used to run it kind of left the place in shambles, but we’ve kind of got some momentum going, and I think we’re really starting to accomplish some things now.”
“What group is it?” Chloe asked.
“We’re called Children’s Welfare International,” he told them. “Originally, it was set up back in the 1960’s to assist with impoverished children of all ages across the world. We, unfortunately, have had to narrow the focus, because of our lack of funds, so now we specialize in adolescent female education and placement, especially in Africa and Asia.”
“And what does that mean?” asked Clark.
“Well, for instance we provide, uh, specific products to young girls in Africa, who would otherwise miss school, who lose out on education. We also investigate instances of abuse and attempt to get girls placed in homes where they will be well cared for.”
“That sounds amazing,” said Lois, who, if Xander read her right, looked honestly astonished.
“It really is,” Xander said. “I really feel like we’re making a difference.”
“Okay, you guys, enough with the third degree!” Lucy said.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” Xander told her. “Trust me, I’ve been on the other side of this enough with Dawn, it’s only fair that it’s my turn.”
“Well. Fine,” she said. “But we should really get our things in.”
“Oh, I can help you with that,” Clark said, rising to his feet. He smiled at Xander. “Besides, these two will get more out of you than I ever will.”
Xander stood up as well. “I appreciate you letting us stay here. I hope it’s no imposition.”
“Oh, well,” Clark said. “Any friend of Lucy’s…”
Xander smiled, and sat back down as Lucy and Clark stepped outside. Lois was now sitting on the arm of Chloe’s chair, and they both had their arms crossed.
“So,” Chloe said. “How did you and Lucy meet?”
Xander chuckled nervously. “Funny story, actually. Well, on my part. Well, sort of. Not really, actually. Anyway, we met outside a jail in Prague. Lucy – I’m sure you know this, but your cousin sometimes hangs with a rough crowd.”
“She’s been known to pick up the ‘bad boy’ now and again,” Lois allowed.
“Right,” said Xander. “Well, I guess this time she’d bitten off a little more than she could chew, and the guy she was with, along with his whole crew, got picked up in a massive drug bust. The cops pulled in something like seventeen million dollars in cocaine alone. Lucy got picked up with them, but the guy she was with was the target, like the number two in his organization, and they had no interest in her. Kept her overnight and released her.
“Wow,” said Chloe. “And why were you there?”
“Heh,” he said. He waved at Lucy and Clark as the pair came back inside with their bags and headed upstairs. “I was there as the suspect of a murder investigation, actually. Big misunderstanding.”
“Must have been,” said Lois. “How did that happen?”
Xander smiled at her. “I was working on a case, a girl, about fifteen years old, lived with her father, and they were being hounded by these local thugs. I mean really, just completely harassed. Through various channels, we heard about it, and decided we needed to do something – the local police wouldn’t do anything, these guys were dangerous. So I go in, meet with the girl and her father, and I manage to arrange for passage and security to get them out of Prague. They had family in Ostrava, we were going to get them there.”
“I thought –” Chloe started. “Sorry. I thought you said you worked in Asia and Africa.”
Xander nodded. “Primarily, but not exclusively. We have offices on every continent. Well, the six populated ones, anyway. In any event, it turns out we were a bit too late. The night before we were supposed to get them out, the thugs attacked them, killing her father and abducting the girl. My fingerprints were everywhere, because I’d been there, so the cops – who were corrupt – fingered me for the murder.
“But, there was no real evidence against me, so they had to let me go. I got processed about ten minutes before Lucy did, and we started chatting while I was waiting for my ride. Gave her some cash to get a cab back to her hotel. It turned out she didn’t have a room anymore because her um,” he paused, considering his words, “her acquaintance’s accounts had been frozen. So she showed up at my hotel, and while I am actually still not quite sure on the details of how it happened, she and I haven’t been apart for more than a day since then.”
“Wow,” said Lois. “That is a hell of a story.”
“What happened to the girl?” asked Chloe.
“She somehow, miraculously, managed to escape from her attackers. She flagged someone down, who dropped her off at our hotel, and we got her to her family in Ostrava.”
Chloe shook her head. “I honestly don’t know what to say.”
Xander smiled at her. “Like I said. Making a difference. Most of our successes aren’t nearly that dramatic. And we aren’t always successful, either. But we do what we can.”
Chloe and Lois glanced at each other for a moment.
“So,” Chloe said. “Where are you from?”
“Don’t you dare!” yelled Lucy from upstairs. Xander rolled his eyes.
“Here we go,” he said.
“Don’t you dare tell them yet!” she called, running down the stairs to join them. “Clark, you have to come down here for this!”
Lucy ran across the room and launched herself onto the couch, landing next to Xander with her legs draped over his. A moment later Clark appeared from upstairs and joined them.
“What am I down here for?” he asked.
“The greatest question in the world,” Lucy said grinning at Xander. He stroked her leg through her jeans.
“It’s not that funny,” he said.
“No, it totally is. Especially with these three world weary travelers.” She pushed his shoulder lightly. “It’s so fun.”
He shook his head, then took her hand and kissed it. He turned back and held a hand out to Chloe. “Your question.”
“Um,” she said, confused. “Okay. Where are you from, originally?”
“I’m from Sunnydale,” he said.
Lois, Clark and Chloe were all struck silent, stunned looks crossing their faces as Lucy grinned at their reactions. Then Lois’s eyes widened in even greater recognition.
“Oh my God!” Lois yelled, pointing at Xander. “That’s where I recognize you from. You were… you were there! Right at the end!”
“Hey, yeah!” said Chloe. “You were on that bus, the last bus. The one with all those girls.”
“I was,” he said.
“What was it like?” asked Lois.
“Was it scary?” asked Chloe.
“Did you, I mean, did you, were you part of that lawsuit?”
“Did you get any of those hallucinations, like the demonic ones?”
The questions continued for almost a minute, clearly amusing Lucy the whole time. Xander smiled at her. She loved watching people react to his background. Especially the crazy ones, who got into conspiracy theories.
“It was,” Xander said, going into what Lucy called his ‘story mode,’ “the third most frightening thing I have ever been through, behind a couple of other things I *really* don’t want to go into. But this is how I remember it…”
* * * * *
“He’s too good to be true,” said Lois. Chloe and Clark watched her pace as they sat on the couch in Clark’s loft in the barn. It was after dinner, and they were giving Xander and Lucy some space. “There is no way a guy as nice and wholesome as Xander Harris is with my sister. Either he’s not who he claims to be, or she’s scamming someone who really, really doesn’t deserve it.”
“I don’t know,” Clark said. “I spoke with him for a few minutes. He seemed pretty honest.”
“So she’s scamming him?” Lois asked.
Chloe shrugged. “I don’t know that either. I haven’t seen an angle yet. I mean, unless she’s playing him for money…. But all the money he raises goes to that charity. I don’t know what he makes, but it can’t be that much.”
“Could be, actually,” said Lois. “That’s a pretty expensive car they rented.”
“Sure,” Chloe said, “but he also has to project an image for the people he’s meeting. And at the same time, even if he’s making, like, a hundred thousand a year, I don’t think that’s really enough for Lucy to just give up and become some guy’s arm candy. Do you?”
Lois shook her head. “That’s not like her.” She sat down roughly. “Damn! I wish I knew what she was up to.”
“Maybe she’s not up to anything,” he said.
The other two looked at him, disbelieving.
“What I mean is, maybe she’s not up to anything illegal. For the moment. I mean, think about it for a second. Pretend you’re Lucy. You meet this guy, who’s a nice guy, but since he’s up on a murder charge he doesn’t seem *that* nice. So you get to know him, you like him, whatever.”
“Not seeing the angle,” Lois said.
“And that’s the point,” Clark said, leaning forward. “He comes to Metropolis on legitimate business, and Lucy takes the opportunity, knowing it’ll freak you out, to come visit. She’s not playing any angle except the ones you make up in your head.”
Lois and Chloe both thought about that for a moment. Finally, Lois shook her head. “It’s too brainy,” she said. “I mean, Lucy’s no idiot, but I don’t think this is her style.”
“But it doesn’t have to be,” Chloe pointed out. “If Clark’s right, this is just making the best of an opportunity. Mischief intended, but not planned.”
Clark sat back and held his hands palms up, questioning. “Well?”
“I’ll keep it in mind,” she said.
* * * * *
“I don’t like lying to your family,” Xander said, turning in bed to face Lucy.
“I lie to them all the time, why shouldn’t you?”
“I just feel like a jerk,” he said. “Presenting them this front. It’s nowhere near who I am.”
“It’s close enough,” Lucy said. “Besides, you tell this crap to people all the time, all over the world. How is this any different?”
“I don’t like lying to family,” he said. “You know where that’s gotten me and the guys.”
“So what, you want to just come out and tell them the truth?” Lucy asked.
“No, of course not, don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m not the one being ridiculous, Xander,” she said.
“All I’m saying is, why say anything at all? Why not just say I’ve got a business meeting in Metropolis in a few days, and we wanted to come visit your family? Why is that not enough?”
“Because you don’t know my sister and cousin,” she said. “Chloe has wanted to be a journalist, I think, since she was in the womb. And Lois has never been able to let anything drop when it comes to me. She practically raised me, Xander. She gets protective.”
Lucy reached up and stroked his hair. “So why not tell them these lies? There’s a reason Willow set all those websites up, got all those forms on file, everything. So you’d have something to tell people. And at the same time, we set my family’s mind at ease. So where’s the bad?”
“I know,” Xander said. He leaned forward and kissed her. “And it’s your family, so it’s your call.”
“Damn straight,” she said. She stroked her hand over his heart. “Speaking of Willow, how is everyone?”
Xander lifted up the collar of his shirt and glanced at the tattoo there. It was a five pointed star, with the lower left leg filled in. He, Dawn, Willow, Buffy and Giles all had tattoos like it. He and Dawn each had a leg filled in, him the left and Dawn the right. Willow had the left arm, and Buffy the right. Giles had the top prong. Each prong of the tattoo changed slightly depending on the corresponding person’s current state. If one of them was in trouble, the others would all feel it.
“Fine,” he said, lowering his collar. “Asleep mostly.”
“Good. So when are your meetings again?”
“I’ve got that actual, so-called legitimate meeting with LuthorCorp in three days, and Ollie said he’ll be in town the day after that,” Xander said.
Lucy laughed and shook her head. “I can’t believe you know Oliver Queen well enough to call him Ollie.”
“Yeah, well, that’s another thing we don’t talk about,” Xander said. “The story of how he and I met is not one we’re letting your family in on. That one’s almost too weird for me. Best not to even mention him.”
“Speaking of not mentioning,” she said. She ran her thumb over his left eyebrow.
“Ah, yeah,” he said. He turned back around, removed the glass eye from his eye socket and placed it in a glass with a cleaning solution, then put on an eye patch. “Always forget.”
“I know you do,” she said with a smile. She kissed him once, then turned over. “Now get some sleep. We’ve got a long day of lying our asses off tomorrow.”
Just down the hall, Lois, who was staying at the Kent house for the duration of Lucy’s visit, lay awake worrying about her sister and her sister’s boyfriend. Downstairs, on the couch, Clark slept a deep and restful sleep.
End Chapter 1