Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or the setting of the story. As far as I know, Dawn Summers and all things I borrowed from the Buffyverse are a creation of and belong to Joss Whedon, and Milton Fine belongs to the creators of the Superman comics, and Warner Bros and whoever else owns "Smallville".
Extra-disclaimer: Accuracy-wise, I only saw the first 2 seasons of Smallville and the episodes of season 5 in which has guest starred James Marsters. Maybe later on in the show we find out what's the deal with Prof. Fine's past. Either there really existed a 'real' person or the entire past (the file Fine gives to Lex + the article about him on Chloe's computer) was a creation of the AI. I went for the second option.
Timeline – Between "Arrival" and "Splinter".
Professor Milton Fine entered the circular auditorium only a minute before the beginning of his first lecture on "The Study of Ancient History". He had scanned the list of his students and their pictures, and a cursory glance over them told him they were all present. He accessed the statistical probability of having 100% attendance later on during the semester. The operation was interrupted when his routine monitoring systems alerted him that one of his students' heartbeat rate was dangerously over the health limit.
He was used to the effect his appearance as a teacher had over a class. He was used to the effect that his chosen human form had over most females, and about one out of eight males. He could sense both these effects on his students, well within the normal parameters. All, except one. He focused on the anomaly without letting show he was observing her. Dawn Summers. He went through her file in a fraction of a second.
"Good morning, everyone. I am Professor Milton Fine, and this is 'Comparative Ancient History'."
He continued his well honed presentation, eliciting all the appropriate reactions from his class without for a moment losing track of the girl. She was constantly on the verge of a panic attack.
The complexity of the Kryptonian AI was titillated by this strange new development. He was already operating well under his full capacity. He did not want to use the human term, but he was beginning to feel something resembling boredom. So maybe this spike in the predictable graphic could prove something of a challenge. He was almost infected by humanity. First he was aware of boredom, now he was 'hoping' to encounter a challenge. He told himself that Kal-El's unexpectedly strong attachment to this backward race was a good reason for him to try to learn even more about them, as distasteful as this was to him. He already knew all that could be known about their history, economy, and even their constantly changing theories on human psychology. Maybe it was time for him to learn more about individual psychology. The source of this statistical aberration was about the same age of Kal-El. It wasn't like he had anything better to do.
While he was considering his course of action, he went on with his lecture, in his usual style. He asked mildly surprising questions of several students, trying to get them interested in the subject. When he addressed Ms. Summers, her pulse sped up so much that he expected her to collapse. She did not, and by the end of the lesson her heartbeat seemed to have steadied, although it had remained constant far above the average.
Thirty seconds before the end of the lecture he made his announcement.
"I'm looking for a research assistant for my next book. Anyone who is interested, leave your application all this week during office hours."
Just as he had expected, Dawn Summers stayed behind. He busied himself with his papers and slides, giving her time to gather her courage to approach him. He looked up from his laptop when he heard her approach his desk.
"What can I do for you, Ms. Summers?" he asked.
"Umm… I wanted to apply for the research position. I was wondering if you were looking for anything in particular. Like experience or good typing skills or something."
A perfectly predictable question. Applying for the position warranted a certain level of anxiety, but the girl's pulse was racing again. He could monitor a human body in such close proximity with more accuracy than the most advanced CAT scan. Her vitals were erratic at best. The most frequent explanation for her symptoms was a strong physical attraction, but he could not sense any additional amount of pheromones that her body would release if this were the case. Puzzling.
"I expect my research assistants to be smart, thorough and show up to each and every class. As for experience, that's why you came to college."
"I'll leave you a resume tomorrow. I don't have one on me now."
"You do that, Ms. Summers," he said and lowered his eyes back to his laptop, dismissing her. It was a gamble. Would she leave or somehow approach a subject that could explain the root of her distress.
"I know this is going to sound strange, but do you have relatives in England?"
He contained a smile, and merely looked back up at her. The question was not at all within parameters. If he had to use a colloquial American phrase, he'd say that her question wasn't even in the ballpark.
"Yes, I probably do. My family came from England at the turn of the century. Last century," he specified. "Why do you ask?"
"You… you… look…" she stuttered, than got a hold of herself and added more coherently, though still in a shaky voice, "You look like someone I knew and…" she swallowed the rest of the phrase.
He matched her words and their intonation in his database and completed the phrase inwardly "and loved".
She was studying his features intently, almost hungrily. Her heartbeat had shot up again. He analyzed the smell again, but there was no sudden burst of pheromones. She was emitting the amount average for a fertile female of her age and stature. The situation was definitely worth investigating. He was almost excited about the onset of this mystery. He had to restrain the need to tell her she had the job.
"You look very pale. Are you all right, Ms. Summers?" he asked instead.
"Yes, I'm fine. It's just you look so much like him from up close. Except the accent." Her voice strangled at saying this, but then she added with a smile. "And the hair."
He saw amusement and tears in her eyes. He stood up.
"Have a seat. You seem shaken."
She dropped on the chair he had just vacated, her eyes never leaving his face. He noticed her fingers convulsively tightening on her clipboard. He used his X-ray vision to see what it contained. Apart from her notes, he saw a picture hidden inside the plastic cover. He filtered everything except the image, and he felt his jaw fall slightly in shock. He overrode the too-faithful software that ensured he was mimicking human behavior and closed his mouth.
The strangeness of the situation was reaching a level of absurdity. He had been no way near the ballpark. There was no park, and the team had relocated. The girl had a picture of him. A picture he had not manufactured himself along with the rest of his fake human life.
The picture was an impossibility. It was a picture of a younger, bleach-blonde haired him. One he had not created, and therefore one that could not possibly exist. He had fabricated his human past perfectly. He had been so confident in his work that he had handed to Lex Luthor a complete file of his past.
He had based his physical appearance on a daguerreotype of a 19th century failed English poet, William Pratt, who had died in his mid-twenties, without leaving any children. The decision to replicate the image of an existing human being was just another measure of making sure he would blend flawlessly in human society.
The probability that a relative of William Pratt would duplicate his appearance so accurately was astronomical.
He listened to the girl's sketchy mention of her friend, and coaxed her into telling him as much as possible about him. She was on the brink of tears at the mere memory of another human. Even if it weren't for the staggering coincidence, this relationship was worth investigating. She had referred to her friend as a protective big brother. Maybe if he could understand why the girl had bonded so profoundly to someone who was not linked to her by blood – genetics and chemistry, the AI could understand quite well –, maybe he could have better leverage when time came to confront Kal-El, who had been raised by those humans.
To be continued…