SHADOWS IN SPRING
BOOK I: PART SIX

Sunday; Lisbon, Portugal

The sun was setting in the west. The ocean waves pounding the shore and the rays reflected the attitude of the observer. Shearn Phipps knew that things were ending. The news of the hit of Nathan Daniels left a block of ice in his stomach that had never left. He had a hunch where the hit came from. Someone new was coming on stage and was trying to establish his territory. He had his feelers out but there was no confirmation that Daniels was dead. He could field a Special Forces battalion if needed. He was former SAS and Interpol. He knew his way around the world and so did Daniels. That concerned him, who would cover up a hit? If this guy was making a move on the International scene then this should be heavily noted.

Shearn was the primary contact for the main international mercenary network. He helped organize a `union' of sorts. He had former DGSE, Mossad, Spetnaz, CIA, SAS, KGB and several smaller national organizations. He could penetrate the highest levels of security for the right price. His mind kept coming back to Daniels. `Is he dead, if not, where is he? If Daniels is in trouble then the first person he would contact is me.' He wanted more information but that jackass Jaxson was on the prowl. He paid handsomely to locate information but was just as easy about giving up the source. Jaxson was protected by various groups in the States, it was next to impossible to take him out. Shearn thought it over, a new force was coming into play, if he played it right several rivals might bite the dust and leave his organization unchallenged.

Smallville

"Chloe, I don't need this. Okay, how do you know Hamilton is missing?"

"I was there this morning when the lab was on fire. I called the Fire Department. No body was found BUT it appears that it is arson. It was done to cover something up."

"Chloe...okay thanks."

"You guys look tired. And what is with the hair?"

"Late night but it was well worth the effort. Clark's hair streaks will wash out, Whit's is going to have to grow out. Clark, why don't you and Whit get some things for me. I think I am going to ask your Dad for use of the guest bedroom."

Clark smiled and Whitney chuckled. He could tell Clark was excited about the idea of Lex staying with him.

"Clark man, I don't think your Dad is going to like you trying to sneak into his room for a quickie."

"I can try."

"And if he grounds you? How long were you in the doghouse after that party?"

"Great...remind me, I didn't even throw that party. One month of limited activity and no Internet. It sucked."

"Come on, lets get the stuff for Lex and get out of here. You know I'm going to be visiting all the time now."

"Whit, you practically live with me already."

"Wait for summer, you'll never get rid of me."

"Promises, promises."


"Chloe...do not tell the others but I want you to do a little investigating for me. There is a family mystery to solve and you like mysteries. There was a stash of information in Metropolis that my mother hid from my father. It was stuff that my grandfather gave her before he died and before I was born. I have looked over some of it but I want you to trace the information and discover what has happened to the proceeds. I will pay you and you are to report the findings to me."

"Cool, but why can't I tell them?"

"Because...I'll tell them but I don't want you getting hassled by them. This is information that my father does not know about and that makes it priceless."

"Okay...great can I work with that Roger guy?"

"NO! You and Roger are not to talk unless I am present. He is looking for one thing, IN PERSON and you are only doing research of a historic nature. You are NOT to get your hands dirty or to take this out of cyberspace. AM I CLEAR?"

"Yeah, crystal. Tell the guys I said good bye. Oh, find Dr. Hamilton, he has some interesting theories about those rocks. See ya."

Lex went to the study and pulled out the files that he had gotten out of the safety deposit box in Metropolis last week. He had handed over some of the information to Chloe. The family had liquidated all the European assets almost ninety years ago but according to some of the information had been reinvested. He wanted Chloe to find out where it went and what is was currently.

Roger's report showed almost $10 billion in the European accounts that had been discovered so far. The ownership was routed and rerouted but they were Luthor in origin and the means of its collection unknown. What was more was that these two different items appeared to be unrelated. Lex was curious about this and the information that his grandfather had NOT given to Lionel. There had to be a source but he had no idea. It occurred to him that there was a lot he did not know about his family's past and the means that were used to gain prominence. His Uncle's warnings came back full force and he hardened his resolve to achieve greatness the right way and to make sure Lionel went down publicly and hard.


Chloe drove over to the Talon and was nervous. She and Lana had not had a conversation that not contained a fight since she got out of the hospital. Chloe wanted to forgive Lana but could not let it go. She had kissed Pete and had flirted with a few other guys. Chloe's insecurities had all come to the forefront. Lana did not even remember the events of that day and could not in all honesty be held responsible. Chloe wanted to fall in love like Clark and Whitney had. She was jealous because Prince Charming, the Knight in Shining Armor, and Mr. Right had all hooked up together. She was beginning to think that Pete was right and that there was a new gay conspiracy in Smallville.

Chloe walked into the Talon and saw Pete with Lana. Jealousy flared again and she did her best to ignore it but she saw how they looked at each other.

"Hi guys, how are things going?"

"Chloe! Pete was telling me about his date last night with Heather. They are officially dating. Isn't that great?"

"Congrats Pete, Heather is a great girl."

"Thanks Chloe, have you seen Clark yet? I need to talk to him about the farm. Mr. Kent doesn't want us to take over until mid to late summer. Also my dad told me that the Fordman's sold the store and that the bank was being tendered an offer from the same company."

"Huh, well Pete, if you find out you can get an article in the Ledger as well."

"Chloe, I only help out on the Torch, it is my life's ambition to have people report about me not the other way around."

"Peter Ross that is a mean thing to tell her. Just for that I am going to call Heather and tell her that you are a lousy friend."

"LANA! Sorry Chloe, we all know that you will become one of the best investigative journalists ever."

"Thank you Pete, for that I will buy you anything you want to drink."

"Cool."


Jonathan saw Lex pull into the drive. He also saw Whitney pull up. There appeared to be several items in the bed of the truck and Lex's car appeared weighed down as well.

"Hi guys, what gives?" Jon's arms motioning at the items in the vehicles.

Lex walked up to him and shyly smiled, "Sir...can I use the guest room for the next month?"

Jonathan could not help but laugh, "Martha!" Lex was taken aback by the reply and waited for Mrs. Kent to join them.

"What is it Jonathan?"

"Lex just asked if he could use the guest room for the next month."

Lex was perturbed when Martha started laughing as well. She walked up and hugged him. "Lex, Jon and I had a bet on how long it would take you to ask to stay here. He won this one. I had mid-May but he had late April. Jonathan, you finally won, what are you going to do?"

"Well... gloat for days that you..." Jon saw the look on her face and stopped. "First thing is to help Lex with his things and then lay down the ground rules." He looks at Whitney, "I'm sure we will see you even more now?" Whitney ducked his head and blushed. Jon came over and slapped him on the shoulder. "Always welcome here, you both are. I'm thinking you three already know the rules I'm going to put in place."

"Yes sir," all three chime at once.

"I will spell it out for you later, come on, lets get Lex settled. So how was New York and Clark, what did you and Whitney do to your hair?"

Monday, Smallville

Tristan was reviewing the LFK arrangement and the structure of the Smallville CDC. He was looking at the financials and internal projections. There was little infrastructure to create expenses. The Venture Capital group was a six-person operation in San Jose, CA. The Real Estate group was no one, just the revenues off partnerships. SCDC was going to be revenue neutral, so that had its own liabilities. Tristan pondered the puzzle. As things stood, LFK was going to lose millions in taxes, even with deferments and the sheltered revenue streams from both moneymaking groups. He had never been intimately involved in building a business. He was a Duke grad and a Harvard MBA; this was appealing to the intellectual challenge on paper. The internal report from the Venture group created a time crunch. Multiple deals were paying off and three massive options of stock were available and meant huge windfall profits and asset increases. The balance sheets would soon grow by almost a billion dollars before June. The income statement would reflect the huge payouts. Venture would turn around and lend against or front new projects but LFK would get the majority of the cash. Lex wanted to move away from that business so Venture could only use what it currently had. If it gambled and lost then it would not get a new infusion. Hence the real problem, LFK only existed on paper. It had no offices, no staff, no anything except assets. He was technically still a CLR employee and Jeff was a consultant assigned to this project. Lex's income came from his private holdings and the boys' monthly stipend came from his household account. Tristan was going to have to move to get it done. The first and foremost issue was to create expenses, lots of expenses. LFK was looking at revenues in excess of $700 million and current expenses had yet to top $100,000. He made a few notes about some plans he thought of and called his brother to schedule a meeting. Smallville was about to get an economic boost in the arm and a new way of doing things.


Lex was at the site of Dr. Hamilton's lab to see what was left. The structure was completely gutted, a scant few support beams still up. Lots of soot and brackish water covered the lot. He looked around to see what was in plain site. He saw some green dust but nothing left in the way of experiments. He came to the conclusion that it was possible that the lab was abducted along with Hamilton. He did not know if Hamilton was taken or missing, either possibility left a bitter taste in his mouth. The one consolation he had was he had a current copy of all the research that Hamilton had been working on. He would not have to start from scratch should the worst have happened. Lex was not stupid and knew that some of the information was probably missing but that was still better than the alternative. He had to find out what had actually happened here and why.

Grand Cayman

Roger's news was very good. The accounts he had been looking at were active today. Three separate transactions flowed into one of the tracked accounts. His source said that it was worth almost $75 million. Also related accounts to the ones found in Europe had been inactive as well. Those accounts reported almost $2 billion. It was amazing the amount of money he found sitting doing nothing. He did not want to return home but he knew Lex would have another assignment ready. `Maybe he'll let me investigate `Nathan's' death. He wanted to know if Lex had found anything when he went to that party in New York.

Metropolis

Lionel received word of the first transfer from South America. It was a pittance of what he wanted but the pipeline was open again and that was all that mattered. It was only $75 million but he would use that to retire some short-term debt and move another step closer to solving his weak position vis-a-vis Lex. His new information sources had been unable to penetrate the companies that were working on the castle. He had a few devices that had delivered some information from the castle but those were now history. They had been unreliable because Lex did not always use the house lines and Lionel knew better than to leave bugs all over the house. Lex had been able to locate and disable them.

"Sir?"

"Yes, what is it?"

"Mr. Brady to see you sir."

"Very well, send him in."

Nick Brady walked into the office and stood in front of Lionel's massive desk. Lionel was a man who liked to make impressions. His office radiated power and Luthor Plaza was an imposing edifice on the Metropolis skyline.

"Yes Nicholas, what is it you need from me?"

"Sir, I have reviewed the summary transactions for the Hardwick takeover. I have also reviewed the long-term implications and benefits of the merger. There are few upfront gains but plenty of long-term potential. The tax breaks are attractive but I'd say you overpaid."

"Thank you for your assessment. I knew that but this was a deal that was more rivalry than reality."

"I see. I am instructing Dominic to move the integration timetable up by two months. The tech guys can have the European databases online with the Luthor Corp mainframe inside of six weeks. He can fire anyone he needs to and we can cover from here. His five month plan makes no sense."

"Very good, I leave it in your hands then."

Smallville

Lex was at the construction site formerly known as the castle. He was looking at the last results from his and Whitney's DNA mapping. He also looked at the results he had never told Clark about. He was waiting for the right time. He was happy that the palace was coming along. The new garage was complete and all the vehicles had been moved. He and the architect had settled on an Italian Renaissance style palace. They had almost come top blows when Lex announced that he wanted a modern entrance. Lex was a fan of the avant garde I. M. Pei. They had settled the fight when Lex let the architect pick the designer for the second floor ballroom and the ground floor Grand Hall. The ballroom would overlook the Grand Hall like a balcony. There would be four 'bays' that looked down, each almost fifteen feet long. The whole thing was integrated to serve as a major night club if Lex wanted to throw a real party, but could be hidden from each other for more formal affairs or used as separate conference rooms in the future. There were three staircases that were hidden and lead to alcoves that bordered the second floor ballroom. The floors on the ground level were now going to be tiled instead of hardwood. The colors would be light instead of dark and the whole atmosphere changed. He was awaiting the final proposal on the glass waterwalls that would be used close to the house to demarcate the grounds from the close gardens. He was happy because project was on schedule, all except the entrance.

He never heard the boys walk up to him.

"Hey, it looks like they are done with the sub-basement and basement. I see the scaffolding now encompasses the whole castle. The upper turret and tower are also being renovated. That I want to see! They also have the new road entrances planned. Amazing!" Whitney gives Lex a quick hug while Clark looks at the now gutted main hall.

"Wow, we will never be able to tell what was original and what has been added. How many towers are there going to be?"

"That my love is the whole point and three towers. The tallest will be six stories the other two will be five and four respectively. Now I have news. The results are back and I have to apologize to you Clark. I have been withholding information from you."

"You said...what?"

"The original lab was unable to get a DNA map from your sperm sample. In fact the best they could guess was that the reproductive cell was an undifferentiated zygote."

"In basic English please?"

"Clark, what Lex is trying to say BADLY, is that you don't have sperm in the human sense. The cell is reproductive but neutral, right?"

"Thank you Dr. Fordman. He said it correctly Clark. Since you will not reach full maturity until your early twenties we may not know until then. Now as for Whit and me, there was only a minor differential and we do not transmit the `virus'. Only you can do that Clark and I would bet my father's fortune that you can't transmit it any longer to any one other than us. As your father told us, you were engineered."

"Where were the changes?"

"Again the junk DNA areas, but the variation changed only two small segments. But they are the alien base pairs again. Clark, once the Med lab is set up, I'd like to see if we could get a MRI on you and a CT scan. We have a new Bio-Technology scan that creates images in a hologram for a total view of an organ or such, okay?"

"Okay...did you sleep okay last night?"

Whitney mutters under his breath, "talk about changing the subject."

Lex catches it and smiles. "The bed is very comfortable and yes I did but I'd sleep better in your arms."

"Lex, don't tempt me and it would make Whitney jealous. You know what he would do."

"I have no intention of making him jealous...he'll haul you off during school hours and make me pay in the worst way."

Whitney hugged them both, "don't either of you forget it. Of course Clark we haven't subjected you that particular torment."

"I've been good, that's mean. Can't sleep with Lex in my own house and now you two are going to embarrass me."

"Clark, Whitney was only making a threat, but a good one."

"Okay...hurry up, mom is expecting us for dinner."


Tristan was curious about the trio. His parents, Clark's parents and his siblings accepted this was permanent. Even Bruce had accepted that this was not puppy love and it was the real deal. He had no problem but Lex had handed over billions of dollars to two youngsters without any guarantees that it would last. Tristan knew he was a cynic when it came to relationships. The great love of his life had left him a month before the wedding. He was grateful that she at least didn't dump him at the altar. Three and a half years and a dozen broken relationships later he declared himself a cynic. He was the focused son, the over-achiever, and perfect one. Sebastian and Jeff used to give him hell for setting such a high precedent because Dad did not let the bar get lower but raised it. Tristan was happy that Dad allowed each of them their own path. `Dad was an over-achiever as well.' Tristan was more than happy working on this assignment. He was happy for Whitney and could see the deep love and affection that the three boys felt for each other. It was a tangible element with them. He wondered if everyone could see it, if they couldn't then they were blind. But he was missing something. He tried to remember that was Smallville and that the weird was normal. He lived in New York and Boston for the last twelve years he understood urban strangeness.

He wanted to ask Lex how he knew this to be it but he did not want to pry. He and Bruce had discussed the blurred boundaries that this job was going to represent. In a way Tristan was happy to come home. He knew his dad was not doing well and would not see the fall. He wanted to be home for his mom and also to start his personal life over again. He missed small town life and at the same time he would be able to do what he loved. It was not the money that he loved but the challenge and negotiating that really got him going.

Tristan looked at his files and many plans he was making for the future. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose to kill the on coming headache. He wanted to have the whole situation make sense; if he could understand it then he could get a read and prepare plans for the future. Building a sound financial strategy required some basic information. In the end all he wanted was for the world to make sense, barring that his life would suffice.


David felt a tremor in his arm but ignored it. He had always been strong. He would see his son graduate from high school and in doing so would see his youngest become an adult. His breath quickened but the tremor stopped. He relaxed, the pain receding from his brain and his awareness. He sent God a silent prayer that he only needed six more weeks. All he wanted now was to get to the end of May. He prayed and hoped, but the tremors came more often and lasted longer.

Tuesday

Roger returned to Smallville to find Lex holed up at the Kent Farm. He was amused but did not tell Lex that he had continued to investigate the family. He knew the Kent boy was special but he was going to have to tell him that there was something suspicious about his adoption. It raised red flags and he knew Lex would have to know sooner or later. He was going to Metropolis to look for some kind of trail. The body had been cremated so there was nothing there that would be of any use.

"Lex, I want to look for Nathan's trail."

"Fine, you have ten days before I need you to go back on the money trail."

"Excellent, I will keep you informed." He left, looking back at Lex. His mind pondered the puzzle that was Lex Luthor. He seemed more relaxed and rested than he had. Perhaps the noise and general mayhem of the castle was affecting him. Whatever it was he was pleased to see a happy Lex. A happy Lex approved expenses and paid bonuses. Roger would everything he could to make sure he stayed happy.

He was going to start at the beginning and see what he was overlooking in the Daniels case. This was not unimportant. This was one of those small incidents that meant big things. Either a covert war had started or Daniels knew something he was not supposed to. He still had the contact list and would use a secure transmission to ask Lex what had transpired in New York. His instincts were screaming at him that this big, all he had to do was find the loose thread and the whole thing would open up to him.

London

Dominic was looking at his email when he saw a note from Nick Brady. As he scanned the letter, he began to panic. His timetable for moving items and raising capital extended beyond the range of even six months that he slated for the transition. This was a major disaster in the making. Records had to be scrubbed, tracks covered, and all that required time. Nick was removing time by thirty percent. He had to scramble to find a way to advance the schedule without leaving fingerprints. It would be a nightmare but he wanted to rise to the top of Luthor Corp, then he could achieve a measure of revenge on the Luthor family.

Smallville

Tristan, Jeff, Jon, Martha, Lex and the boys were in the Kent living room about to discuss the problems that Tristan had identified.

"So Tristan, what do you have for us?"

"Lex, I have a plan to redeem the Luthor name in the eyes of the citizens of Kansas and that will shelter a substantial profit and capital for LFK."

Jonathan, Martha and Jeff all looked at Tristan in amazement. Clark and Whitney could feel conflicting emotions from Lex.

"What are you talking about, redeem the name?"

"Lex, the Luthor name is considered a curse here and around the country. I was warned off this assignment but Bruce was very persuasive. I want the SCDC to create a farm grant program. The particulars to be decided but up front money that an independent farmer could use any way he chooses. I figure a base grant of $50K up to $100K. Say any farmer is eligible every three or four years. We run a pilot here in Lowell County and expand it statewide in say three years or so."

"Wait...what lead you to this conclusion?"

"Simple, LKF is looking at revenues in excess of $700 million this year alone. I have looked at Venture and its asset base will triple in the next two years. It has NO liabilities, taxes are going to decimate its capital liquidity. I have a few other items that will help."

"Okay, you have thought this out...what are they?"

"First, everyone in this room gets a salary from LFK. Also, I know that we are tendering an offer for Smallville Trust. Fordman's and the Talon's employees need a retirement plan boost. All of that helps make the SCDC a money pit, which for our interests is what we want. We defer earnings from Venture and roll them back over to the company to allow it to grow. LFK will use the Real Estate revenues to fund all of your acquisitions Lex. You need to sit down with your tax lawyers and figure out how to keep that $25 billion intact and maximize the return."

Jonathan and Martha were stunned at the magnitude of money that Lex was going to be placing at their son's disposal. "What kind of salary range are we talking about?"

"First, Clark and Whitney should draw at least $750K to go to their trust funds. That is a special category. Lex pays their stipend out of a Household account. You two, Jeff, Lex and myself will draw around $300K. I was going to roll out a few special payments to friends and such."

Jeff looked at Tristan and smiled. He loved watching his brother attack money and plan a takeover. This was not as sexy but he knew that Tristan was considered the perfect numbers man. He liked details and was meticulous. "Like who?"

"Our parents and other brother, the Ross family, the Kent's extended family, some of Clark and Whitney's friends. Most of those in the form of scholarships."

Lex sat and listened as was intrigued by Tristan's proposals. He had forgotten a few details, which Tristan picked up on and filled in for him. "Back to the grant program, how is that going to help the family name."

"Lex Luthor, the man who saved the family farm. If done correctly then you could be hailed as an innovator. Great PR move and separates you from your father. Bruce explained that you and Lionel do not see eye to eye. Better yet, the pilot program is kept quiet and tested. We name it after say...your mother. Second, we have to get you to publicly counter your father on a key issue to create a break in the Luthor front."

"What?"

"Bruce said you wanted to achieve greatness, that you have an Alexander the Great fixation. All the capital and all the future assets you and `we' will have are stepping stones for something else. You don't want to be your father so that means business is not your destined path. Politics is the obvious path, whether it be as an elected official or as a major Power in the nation and world. All that begins with baby steps and I think you already knew this."

"Tristan, you are hired. Jeff, Whitney, Clark...this man knows and understands. You are right and you listen well. I will listen to what you have to say. Jonathan and Martha will always tell us when we are crossing a line but we are planning for the long haul. Tristan, thank you. Now your next goal is to find me a personal assistant and to get us a law firm that can handle our tax issues."

"Lex, trust me, this is going to be the chance of a lifetime and I would not miss it for the world."

Wednesday

Damien looked at the digital footage and was worried. Some one sent him a file that showed a person that looked eerily like Nathan Daniels, ALIVE. There was no date but the report he originally received stated that his elimination had been successful. The photo could have been manipulated but what chances could he take. He had Dr. Hamilton sedated and at a secure location until he could smuggle the man out of the country. Damien threw a glass at the wall and watched it shatter. The kidnapping had been bungled from the beginning, much of the research had been destroyed and he had no idea if Lex had a complete copy of the records. He also had news that CIA operatives were investigating in Columbia and Peru the origin of the explosive shipments. Luthor Corp had already made public the loss by its subsidiary. Damien could feel the vise tightening around his balls. He began to look at ways to escape the trap Lionel set in the first place and ways to shift the blame elsewhere. He reasoned that he had a t least a year before the gig was up.

He looked at the footage again and began to plot the possible sources of the film. He had few ideas and realized that he had been rash in his decision to liquidate Daniels. He wanted the information and its source secret but Daniels would always have contingency plans, it was second nature to the man. Damien lit a cigarette and poured another drink. His mind raced with the nicotine infusion and he had a secondary contact that could look into this matter. The main problem was Daniels' old associates would be on the look out for any movement from unknown quarters. Damien's balls felt that vise tighten again. He had a major stash of weapons at a hidden depot in Venezuela. He could use those to buy whatever assistance he required. He regretted moving that money to Lionel's grasp. He could have held those funds as hard currency and go into hiding. The thought then hit him that he was already in South America and he needed to find someplace else to flee to. The positives still were in his favor. CIA could only work with locals and they mainly belonged to his new `friends.' He forced his heart rate to slow and formulated his next move. He needed to have something that would be spectacular and divert all the attention away from South America and the Luthor operations here. He put is cigarette out and headed for a bar. He needed to get laid and then he could think things through.

Smallville

Chloe was doing the research Lex asked her to do and was fascinated by the information she was looking at. Some of the information had lists of investments in handwriting and the dates went back to the Twenties. There were bank passbooks and a few stock certificates. Her trace had begun but her subsequent emails with Lex opened up all kinds of possibilities. She was certain that the Luthor Family had a fortune in European assets that they were unaware of. Lex's grandfather had hidden this from Lionel for Lex to receive directly. The assets that had been sold where huge tracks of land that held some of the best vineyards and other assorted rich bounty. They also liquidated rail assets in Britain, France and Germany. Investments in steel and manufacturing had paid off but where sold prior to the Depression and turned into other assets. Chloe realized that the family had to be psychic because they sold everything at a premium prior to those industries getting nationalized. She was just working on the current assets and portfolio and had no clue but many investments had been made right after WWII and remained in place. Lex was wealthier than he could ever imagine, she hoped he paid well for this information. A convertible would look very nice with her in it.

Madison, Wisconsin

Mike Davis looks in the other room and sees a man close to death. He brought Nathan Daniels here after the incident in Metropolis. He owed the man his life and he was repaying that debt now. He was high enough in the Police Department that he was able to bury the investigation. Mike Davis was Sam Phelan's old partner when he was recruited by Lionel Luthor. Davis never made the payroll because Lionel wanted Phelan's partner to be clean. That would keep Internal Affairs away. When Mike had been promoted and transferred, elements in Metropolis followed his career. Nathan had just joined Luthor's world when he learned about Phelan. He looked up his file and found out about his three partners. Davis was a Captain by then and was in charge of Narcotics. One of the other partners was dead and the other one was also rogue. Nathan's hunch had been correct, Davis was a target. He saved his life and cleaned up part of Phelan's file after he died trying to rob the museum. Davis by this point was a Section Chief and no one remembered he was ever associated with Phelan.

Mike used an old buddy to hide the ailing Daniels. He had been wounded in the hit but knew it was coming and killed someone who superficially matched his description. His wounds were infected and he had lost too much blood. His buddy was a doctor and he and another friend used their private clinic to do what they could. Now he was here, with an IV drip and antibiotics but they did not seem to be doing the trick. Nathan gave him the passcodes to his computer and the key to locker at the train station. While still conscious he said he was rogue and to give all info to Lex Luthor. The only other name he mentioned was Shearn Phipps. Mike had no clue who he was but he knew who Lex Luthor was that was for sure. He did not want to contact him, his father owned a sizable chunk of the police force. Mike only had three years before he could retire and he wanted to make it in one piece.

Smallville

Lex was lounging and reading email on his laptop when he felt the bed shift. He looked up and smiled. Clark was wet from a shower and judging by the grin he was wearing had something on his mind. Lex looked down and saw that Clark was ready for action. Soon the laptop was forgotten and Clark disrobed Lex. In moments they were caught up in the dance of hormones and passion.

Whitney was jogging when he felt the familiar stirring in his groin brought about from an intimate coupling that he was not part of. He closed his eyes and kept jogging and could almost feel like he was there. He brought his mind back from the scene and concentrated on his run. He loved the burn in his legs and drain of energy. He was on his fourth mile, his stamina should have meant he was about to keel over but he was gliding along as if he was still in the first mile. He smiled internally as the sated bliss radiated from the their link. He was gratified that he was not present because he got the distinct impression that Jonathan was not happy with what he had seen or heard.

Lex and Clark had been cuddling in a post-orgasm bliss when the door opened and both of them saw a perturbed Jonathan.

"I've been calling you to dinner for the last five minutes. Get dressed and we will discuss this at the table."

Lex and Clark realized that Jon could have thrown a fit but he was upset. Neither wanted to face him during dinner.

"I can't say that I didn't expect this but the agreement was only on Fridays and Saturdays when you can spend the nights together in the loft. I am disappointed that you didn't make it a week."

"Sorry, dad. Don't blame Lex...I went to his room and started it. Please don't be mad at him."

"Clark, stop. Mr. Kent, I also accept responsibility, it takes two to tango."

"Fair enough, Clark show Lex how to feed chickens and how to weed a garden. That is his punishment on Saturday afternoon, no helping him. You will go baby sit at the Leshers."

"DAD!"

"That is a fair punishment, can't use your powers there and those poor folk need a day of rest. Lex, they have five boys ranging from ten to four, one set of triplets age seven."

"Oh God. Sorry Clark but that is something I would do to you as well."

"How is it everyone wants to always pick on me. Can't ever get a slap on the wrist, nooooo, has to be a lesson..."

"Clark, you are whining and it is fair. We broke the rules so we deal with the consequences. Sir, I don't think this will happen again."

"Seeing how you hate chickens, I have no doubts."

"They follow me, it's creepy."

Thursday

Shearn Phipps was looking at a digital picture of Nathan Daniels, in what appeared to be a hospital. He knew this not to be the case since no American hospital had a patient that was unknown or admitted under known aliases. `Must be a private clinic or safe house.' He obtained this by shear luck, he had learned who had been in Metropolis when the `hit' went off. He instructed various associates to pay a few discreet visits. One of those visits yielded this information. From the report it was evident that copies had been made and at least one had gone to South America, someplace in Buenos Aires. He was not ready to pursue this further yet but he had an idea of what he might do. Nathan had been a valuable asset with close ties to a very well connected man. Losing that cog was a blow to his information supply. He placed his rivals on notice, `tread lightly and be warned.'

He had no idea if Lionel had a copy of this yet but it might be worth it to let the man know that his associate was out of the game. It also might kick loose a few leads. Lionel Luthor on a rampage would cut a huge trail and few wanted to deal with a Luthor in a fury. The lessons from Prohibition still stung in the United States and a few of those lessons had been taught in Europe as well. Shearn knew that there was such a thing as intuitional memory and several `criminal' elements still remembered a Luthor lesson.

Prague

Dominic was back in the Czech Republic to escalate his plans for moving the weapons development program. He wanted it under is personal control ASAP. It was crucial to his future plans so he was going to expedite the movement of materials to other locations. He wanted to break the great Lionel Luthor and humble him before the business world. He waited for his contact and prepared to wire out money that would gain him the information to humiliate him. He had a few ideas of where to begin from when he was COO but Lionel knew how to cover his tracks and NOTHING was ever in email form. No it was verbal and almost always implied. So Lionel could always say, honestly, `that is not what I said.' But he was not God and was not infallible or invincible. He had run into Victoria Hardwick at a London hot spot. She was blowing off steam because Sir Harry was totally depressed and she was no longer among the social elite in England. The Hardwicks still had some wealth but the collapse of their portfolio had decimated their personal fortunes. It was a shame because she was pretty and stupid but he wanted to take out Lionel and make Lex into his personal slave. He already had $50 million ready to start his insurrection but it was a peashooter compared to the Luthor arsenal.

Smallville

Chloe walked into the talon and saw Lex, Clark, Whitney, Pete, and Lana all standing around talking. She walked up and heard Whitney offering Pete his apologies. Chloe was curious.

"What happened?"

Clark looked and smiled, "Pete has had his heart broken. Heather broke up with him so she could go out with Dave. He has tickets this weekend to the N'Sync concert this weekend in Metropolis."

"Whatever." as she rolls her eyes. "Pete, sorry about that, I thought Heather was a good match."

"So did I, anyway, Lana and I are going to see the baseball game tomorrow, what to come?"

Chloe's hackles went up at that statement. Whitney turned from his conversation with Lana at the sudden change in Chloe. No one else picked up on it except Lex, who raised an eyebrow but gave no over outward indication that anything was amiss.

"No thanks, our team sucks. Will you do a story on the team for me?"

"I knew that was coming, yes I will." Pete turned and started talking to Clark. Lex pulled Chloe aside.

"How are things?"

"The investigation is yielding some clues. Lex you and your father are looking at significant gains in net wealth."

"Thanks but I was referring to you not the investigation. Everything okay on the personal front?"

"I have no clue. All we do is argue about stupid stuff. We can't be open because she doesn't want to ho through what Whitney and Clark went through."

"Chloe, give it time. I can't tell you what to do but you can't be mad if she is unable to move forward the way you want. She and you are in a difficult position."

"Way to make me feel better Lex. I'll talk to Clark, he at least would give me a hug. Of course he is totally clueless."

"Clark is not clueless just...he notices things in very different ways. What is important to you or I barely registers to him. That is the best way to put it."

"No, he is clueless."


Whitney, Lex, and Clark walked out of the Talon and to Whitney's truck. He had picked them up at the farm, Lex's Porsche was in the shop and he did not want to go pull another vehicle from the garage until the next morning.

"Whitney, Clark...I think that the end is near for Lana and Chloe."

Clark sighed, "Pete was telling me that he and Lana hang out all the time and that he likes her but doesn't want to hurt Chloe."

"Clark, what did you tell him?"

"I said that if it gets messy that I will stay out of it and that they would have to solve this as mature adults."

"Clark, they are teenagers, this could be the end of the world for all three of them. God, so Dawson's Creek comes to Smallville."

"Lex, that is not fair. Lana and Chloe are cute but...I don't think that..."

"Clark, I dated Lana and she is sweet but she has serious trust and intimacy issues. If Chloe is trying to take this to another level then Lana's automatic reaction is going to be to pull away. Pete and her have been getting close so she can run from one friend to another. Chloe has to see it for what it is and not as something she did. This is a Lana issue, trust me."

"So how come you dated her?"

"Lex, hello, I'm gay and I was fighting it for months. Lana was the perfect cover, I never pushed and she was happy with it that way. Remember this whole thing started because her self image was falling apart. I don't think she found all the answers. To be honest, I haven't found all my answers either. I am deeply in love with the both of you but I am still trying to find what I want."

Clark and Lex were silent for a moment. Finally Lex spoke up, "Do you regret this?"

"NO! I told you this is the best thing ever and you can tell by looking inside that I would do anything for either of you. I need to find my niche. You are the great business man, destined to be a leader. Clark is going to be a hero, no ifs, ands, or buts. I see my brothers all doing something that makes them happy. I want to find my path to help both of you and to expand my horizons."

Clark smiled leaned over and kissed Whitney's cheek. "Okay, I think we can live with that. I mean sitting around a mansion or palace all day is bound to get boring after awhile."

Whitney pulled into the farm and all of them were laughing. They went in to hang out for a little longer. They were always reluctant to leave each other's company.


David was in the den writing. His pain was getting worse but he needed time and he was writing letters to his wonderful sons and a few close friends. He had no words to put place on paper to tell his wife. He did not know what to say that had not already been said in thirty five years of marriage. He was unwilling to say good-bye to his beloved, there was too much left to do together. He remembered his promise that they would grow old together and watch the garden grow. He instead poured his feelings and thoughts to his boys and told them to love each other and to always be there for each other. He knew in his heart that they would always be there for their mother. He was finishing a letter to Jonathan, telling him about Charlie and that it was not his fault. Time was now his enemy and he was always victorious.

Friday; Metropolis

Lionel was looking at the tape and did not react. He had no idea were this tape had come from but the indication was clear. This had been Damien's operation and it had also ended badly. He had no idea where Nathan was or if he was still alive but this was a matter of personal pride now. Nathan had been a valued associate for five years and many that traveled in his world knew this to be true. Nathan had served as his `Emissary to the Smugglers' as he liked to call it. He would have to arrange a response but knew that a few hits had already occurred in the States. He would call in a few markers to see what could be done. Nathan had been well connected so it was possible that retribution had already been carried out. Regardless, Lionel was going to send a message that needed to be sent every few years, `Don't Fuck with the Luthors!'


Whitney, Lex and Clark were driving to pick stuff up in Metropolis. The hour drive would be worth it because the boys (sans Lex) wanted to cook dinner for Martha and Jonathan. They made plans for the weekend already. Whitney was going to help Lex with his `punishment' tomorrow, then they would head over and help Clark deal with five unruly boys. So the trip to the city was to pick up a few specialty items for dinner. Whitney had been taught to make Chicken Cordon Blue from one of Tristan's ex-girlfriends. He was going to make that along with a rice pilaf and steamed asparagus. Lex wanted an excuse to go to the city, even for a short while and Clark and Whitney tagged along. Whitney was under a time crunch to prepare dinner so they did not get to hang out but Lex loved to drive in the convertible. It was strange to Clark to actually grocery shop since the farm provided most of the things he ate, specifically the chicken breasts. He knew that Whitney wanted specific ingredients so they piled into the convertible BMW and off they went. It was amazing how synchronized they became when together. They were still individuals but a conversation could contain all of five words and cover tons of ground. It was weird because small talk and banter was the normal mode but in bed the conversations went far and deep. It was becoming a struggle to remember who knew about the total relationship and who did not. Clark and Whitney wanted to tell the world but Lex understood the tentative nature that their parents wanted to occur. He was keeping nothing hidden but knew that his father would try to use this against him again in the near future. But that was a thought for tomorrow.

"So...Whitney have you ever cooked for your parents?"

"A few times. Mom needs a night off every so often so I try and take up the slack. I have about a dozen things I can make no problem. I've only made this once so I'm nervous plus..."

"Hey, my parents will love it even if you screw it up. We on the other hand..."

"Clark! Whitney do not listen to the brat. He may be able to make some things but I'd say his culinary skill is two levels above mine."

"Thanks Lex, just for that Clark, I'm telling Martha that you want to make dessert."

"I will so Hah!"

"Since we are together, I have a question."

Lex glanced in the rearview mirror to look at Whitney, "Well?"

"What date are we going to pick to celebrate our anniversary?"

Clark started giggling and Lex stared at him. "What?"

"Okay, I was thinking, it would be strange to celebrate the first time Clark and I had sex and I don't know about when he first kissed you..."

"Okay Whitney, what did you have in mind?"

"Look, Clark and I had sex that night at the restoration project and that was Valentine's Day. We first had sex together that following Monday but I don't like that date, so I was thinking maybe we could use the date of our first night in Hawaii, the first night we ever all spent together."

Clark lowered his seat and reached back and kissed Whitney. "I kissed Lex the first time two and a half weeks before we got together. Yeah the Hawaii date sounds right. Lex?"

"Valentine's Day, that would be a bit much...I never told you Clark but I was ready to profess my undying love for you that weekend but you were out with the Golden Boy. Okay, our official anniversary is the first night in Hawaii. That is also the night Clark came out as an alien so I think that is the perfect date."


Dinner went very well. Whitney had been a wreck but everyone loved it. Clark and Lex did the dishes mush to Martha's amazement. Her and Jonathan enjoyed the relaxing evening and listening to the running banter between the boys was very entertaining. Soon the boys took their leave and headed to the loft.

Sex was never dull between them, for all the choreography and passion, it never lost its zest. What had changed was the intensity and the stamina that each session offered. Making love was not a physical thing, but almost spiritual and mental, it was amazing. Lex helped each of them undress. He loved to see the young hard bodies, slightly sweaty and eager. He began to lick Clark's collar bone while Whitney and Clark explored the caverns of each other's mouths. Soon they were all horizontal on the fold out bed. A touch, a grope, and a moan, all telegraphed the events in the loft. Clark was moaning as Whitney reversed their usual positions and entered him slowly. Lex was behind Whitney and entering him as well. The rhythm and motion, on top of all the emotions reflecting between them, created an intense sensation. After each found their release they relaxed and held each other. This was time that they loved the most. The post-coital bliss was when the mental barriers were nonexistent and they could communicate mind to mind. It was a new feature of their relationship but it was very pleasant. The sweat would cool, they would feel sticky but it was the process to get to this point that was the best. The hazy of laziness and now on Fridays and Saturday nights, the lack of urgency allowed them such freedom. For all the plans for the future and the events that were moving, at least those that they were aware of, this time was their time and it was peaceful and fulfilling. Soon Sleep came and gently called them to her realm, and the night passed smoothly.

Saturday 7:00am

David could not breath, he felt weak, all he knew was that it was over. He still needed time to say good bye. He asked God for a few scant hours, he would not see his son grow into an adult. He would not see his first grandchild born. He only wanted to say good bye and aid an old friend in his grief.

Anne noticed that Davis was laboring and screamed for Jeff. In moments the household was aroused and the paramedics on the way. In moments Anne knew that David was near the end, she could feel it. Against all reason, she knew he was fighting a battle that he could not win. She supported him in his attempt to see Whitney graduate, it was important. She told Tristan to call the Kents and let them and Whit know what was happening.


Martha answered the phone. In moments she was yelling for Jonathan. She ran out to the loft knowing what site would greet her but the boy's modesty was not important. Whitney needed to get the hospital ASAP. She ran to the barn and up the stairs, thankful that the boys were not in the middle of anything except sleep.

"BOYS!" She walked and nudged Whitney. "Whitney, honey, I'm sorry..." The tones and her urgency roused all of them. "Whit, your father had a heart attack. He has been rushed to Lowell County General."

Those were the words that Lex had dreaded to hear but the impact was immediate. He pushed Clark out of the bed and moved to get them out of the loft. His nudity did not bother him and Martha said in passing that she would get her car warmed up. Clark moved at top speed and dressed and went to get Lex's car ready as well. Lex could see that Whitney was stunned and helped him get dressed. He held him as they walked to his waiting car.

Martha was in her car with Jonathan, they were moving the moment they saw Lex and Whit emerge from the barn. Clark had pulled Jag as close as he could and Lex shoved Whitney in the back and joined him. Clark watched his mother take off and he followed, matching her driving speed which was breaking the speed limit.

7:35am

Anne was in the waiting room. Jeff was hovering, trying not to stand on top of her but also to be near to support her if the worst was announced. Tristan was on the phone getting Sebastian to get back to Smallville. Lex walked in and told Tristan that a private jet would be waiting at Ellington Field, it would land on a private airstrip and bring him directly to the hospital, God willing. Lex moved Heaven and Earth to arrange that but he saw how important a family could be.

Martha and Jonathan went and hugged Anne and found out that nothing had been told to them since their arrival. All they knew was that David was alive but that his vitals had been all over the place. Jonathan asked Jeff if he needed anything and saw Tristan talking to Lex. Clark was with Whitney so the family was being attended to.

"Mrs. Fordman, I'm Dr. Nelson, I'm the Attending Physician, your husband suffered a massive heart attack. I've called our Cardiologist to come take a look but his heart was already weak and appears to have sustained more damage. I can't offer you anything at the moment but we've called your family doctor and he is on the way. Once he and Dr. Shaw are here we can see what can be done."

The news cast a pall on the family and friends that were there. Phone calls where now going out to all the friends, Anne went and sat down stunned. To know something and then to be told something are two different things. As prepared for the news as she was it hit her to the core of her being.

Jonathan saw Tristan off to the side, tears falling and Jeff was holding his mom. Lex and Clark held a sobbing Whitney. Jon walked over to Tristan, knowing how hard this event is, having lived it himself. He hoped for a miracle but David had seen the writing on the wall. He placed a hand on Tristan's shoulder and soon was offering what support he could. Tristan thanked him and went to comfort his mom and younger brother. Jonathan saw the change take place, the oldest son taking up the duty that is required of him. The duty no one ever wants but will do because it is required. Tristan would help his mother every step of the way. Jon knew this because it was how he was raised and Tristan had always done right by his family.

"Mrs. Fordman, you can see him, he is conscious but very weak. Please do not task him. He has been admitted and is in Cardiac ICU."

She got up and followed the nurse to the ICU and into the private room that held her husband. All of the people who had come to support the family had been told that he was in ICU and they moved to that waiting room. Anne could feel the world crumbling around her but she had to be strong for David. She could not stop the tears. "David."

"Anne...I need to...see...Jon...please."

"Yes, okay." She looked out of the room and saw Tristan and told him to get Jonathan. In moments Jon was there.

"Yes David, I'm here."

"Jon, please watch my family for me. I trust you and so do they. Jon...I know...about...you and Charlie. He...told me...after he left the farm. I...was in shock. I was the...last...person...to see him. I'm sorry..."

The nurse comes in and tells Jonathan to leave. David's signs are all over the map again. David is given two injections into his IV drip. He is drifting off again. Jonathan walks back to the waiting room and sees three doctors talking to the Fordmans. Lex is right behind them listening intently as are Clark and Martha.

"Mrs. Fordman, the preliminary results from the Echo-cardiogram are not encouraging. His right arterial value is severely damaged as is the chamber. His heart is working harder to pump blood but the harder it works the worse it is for him. We are also seeing evidence of kidney failure and his liver enzymes are out of balance. I'm sorry we will do what we can but..."

"Anne, I've been your doctor for twenty years, we can get the kidneys back in line and try to get the liver function normal but his heart is failing."

Jonathan drifts to the side while questions are asked. He can see Clark holding Whitney as he tries to hold it together. He sees Anne walk out and she heads to David's room. Tristan and Jeff continue to ask questions until Martha lays a hand on Tristan's shoulder and points down the hall. He nods, the tears in his eyes are unshed and heads to be with his mother. He can feel the weight of duty on his shoulders. Lex walks to Whitney and they sit down. Clark leaves the room and heads outside for some fresh air.

The alarms flash at the nurses station and soon Anne and Tristan leave the room as doctors and nurses scramble to deal with the code blue. For fifteen agonizing minutes, the family and friends wait until they see Dr. Shaw walk in an the expression on his face says everything. Soon the wail of a new widow is heard, "NO!"

The nurse tells Tristan that some paperwork needs to be filled out and a funeral home contacted. In the trivial he found a measure of solace while Martha held Anne and Lex held a broken Whitney.

Clark walked in the room and saw Lex holding Whitney. Lex knew first hand how Whit felt, not that Clark didn't. Lex told Clark that David wanted to make it to see Whitney graduate but he had not made it to his eighteenth birthday. Clark stood and watched, not wanting to break the moment. He could feel Lex's pain, an old wound that acts up during bad weather, as his father would put it. He saw the paperwork and that the body was ready for viewing if anyone wished to say good bye.


Sebastian arrived too late to see his father at the hospital. He and his first wife showed up at the house around 11:30 am. David had passed away at 9:45 am. He was already at the funeral home. The Fordmans were Catholic, David converted when he married Anne, the Rosary would be on Monday night and the funeral Tuesday morning. Jonathan talked to Anne and Whitney would stay with them so Sebastian and his ex-wife could stay at the house. She had come because she and David had a great relationship. Jessica and Bastian were still friends and he wanted to get back to together but he was a womanizing bastard so she turned him down. Clark went with Whitney to get some of the things he would need for the next few days. Lana, Chloe, Pete and a number of friends from school began to drift by the farm to offer their condolences. Whitney was grateful to have Lex and Clark there to support him and was touched by all the people who came by to offer support.

Lex's POV

I hate death. It is the stalker that claims happiness and leaves misery. It has taken my mother and it took my infant brother. Julian...A memory that I bury with all the will I have until recently. I mimic Clark's thoughts on the Fordmans. I wanted a sibling to love and share secrets with as well. I envy Whitney his brothers. I had a brother for all of three weeks. He was premature and my mother was already diagnosed with cancer. He died in Spring, like my mother. Always does April open an ache in my heart, all but this one. My heart opened again and I share the pain of losing a beloved parent now. I am all to aware of the sorrow that is coursing through my Whitney's soul. But he will have far better support than I. This is a promise that Clark, his parents and I will keep. Martha is so happy to have a house full of young men. I have let my guard down and bask in the maternal affection she shows me, us. This boy...man I hold is so strong and wonderful. He will always miss his father but will know that he loved and approved of him. He has closure and so do I.


The boys had gone to the loft early. Whitney was exhausted by the emotional toll his father's death had caused him. He was also tired from feeling the pressure of so much grief surrounding him. He was happy to feel the twin pillars of support in his mind. He drifted off to sleep, helped and comforted by his lovers. All he could think was in one week he would turn eighteen. His dad would not be there to welcome him to adulthood. He would never share anything with his father again.

"Lex, will he be okay?"

"Clark, yes he will it will take some time. His birthday is a week from tomorrow so that is another trauma on top of this. He graduates in four and a half weeks also. Remember what your parents said, we will be there every step of the way. How are you feeling? I heard Sebastian mention is passing that solar activity was heavy this past week."

"I've had some minor discomfort and a random headache here and there but nothing like that first week."

"Okay, lets get some sleep. I'm worn out as well and the next few days are going to be tough."

Sunday; Santiago

Damien received notice that the entire hit team had been eliminated and that their owners were demanding payment for their losses. He broke out in a cold sweat. The amount of money that would be demanded would be more than he had available without touching his emergency cache. He calmed down and began to think. Maybe he could pin the loss on Lionel, but that made Lex one of the most powerful men on the planet and that was unacceptable. He needed Lex and Lionel at each others' throats in order for his plan to succeed. He would arrange for another chemical supply to be lost somewhere convenient for those with whom he was indebted.

Metropolis

Lionel was looking at the papers after an afternoon of a relaxing message and a steam bath. He saw a note from his butler stating that David G. Fordman of Smallville had passed away on Sat. Lionel knew David and a small stab that he too was mortal came into his brain. He called his secretary and told her to make sure that flowers where to be sent in his name and an Easter lily was to be sent on behalf of Luthor Corp. It would throw his son for a loop and though Lionel would never acknowledge it, he owed the Fordman family for Charlie. His mood was lost in somber memory that April was passing and with it the anniversaries of the losses his own family had sustained.

Smallville

Sunday passed in a daze for Whitney. He was not allowed to drive anywhere and Lex and Clark kept hovering at his side. He wanted to yell at them but he knew that they wanted to help. He was in shock was the best he could guess. He did not register anything over than `that' specific moment. It was as if his memory had ceased to exist. When the day and the ordeal of meeting people that his father had known years ago but he had never met was over he was exhausted to the bones.

He did remember having sex with Lex in the shower. In fact he remembered that he started it and Lex had finally given in and they played. The side effect was Clark getting a taste of what it was like to be on the outside looking in. He had been talking to his parents when he excused himself at his top speed and went to the loft to relieve the pressure in his groin. He wanted to get them back but he knew that Whitney did not do it on purpose.

Clark hugged Whitney close to him when they went to bed. Whitney was firmly sandwiched between Lex and Clark and for the first time it was Whitney's dreams that they had seen in sleep. Clark's were the majority but the rest where Lex's own visions. It was disheartening in a way that it took a level of torment to project in sleep but it also meant that when one of them needed comfort, he would be the one to receive it in sleep.

Monday; Smallville High

"Clark, what are you doing here?"

"Hey Pete, Lana. I'll be out tomorrow for the funeral so Mom and Dad told me to come to school today."

"Oh, how is Whitney?"

"I...it's tough, he turns eighteen next weekend. That is rough. His dad wanted to see him graduate so Whitney has some..." Lana placed her hand on Clark's, he could see tears in her eyes.

"He has unfinished business with his father. But he and Whitney loved each other and talked to each other so that will help and so will you and Lex." With that she and Pete headed to class. For a moment he wondered where Chloe was then he saw her walk into school.

"Hey Chloe, how..." He could see that she lacked her usual sparkle and dazzling wit.

"Lana and I broke up. We didn't want to tell you with Whitney and everything." She was engulfed in a huge hug and a kiss on the forehead.

"I'm sorry Chloe, I know you really wanted that..."

"No Clark, it is okay because she is moving on and so will I. They may not be together yet but I can tell that Pete and Lana will be dating by the end of the summer."

"Oh!"


Lex was helping Whitney pick out something to wear that night to the Rosary. He had never been to a Catholic funeral, in fact he avoided them since his Mother's death ten years ago and Julian's eleven years ago. His own grief from the past threatened several times to overwhelm him but he would get it together by focusing on Whitney. Lex would never in a million years guessed that he would be doing this but he was being a comforting partner and he was proud of himself. It was a reflection of the growth in his person and he decided that his mother would approve without a doubt. Lex was growing as a person. He could not help but smile.


Whitney arrived for the private viewing by the family. The casket was open at the end of the Chapel. The Kents and Lex had been invited as part of the family. He walked up to the casket, knelt in prayer and could not stop the trembling. The tears flowed as he said a prayer in silence and wondered if he would ever feel normal again.

Lex and Clark looked at the photos of the family on a magnetic board and saw one of David, Charlie and their sisters Leigh and Carla. Leigh was here along with her husband and two children. Carla had arrived that morning and would be at the funeral home with her family soon. Again Clark and Lex wondered at having a large family. Both of their thoughts went to the future and the possibilities of having children and lots of them. They could feel the crushing sadness that Whitney was experiencing. Martha and Jonathan had both told them that there was only so much that they could do, that much of the healing would take time. It would be rough will all the milestones that would arrive in short order. Both of them had experience dealing with the loss of a parent, in Jon's case both of them.

Clark walked up and placed a hand on Whitney's shoulder. His hand reached up to grab it and he stood up and walked back to a pew. In moments the whole Chapel was in tears as Anne walked up to her husband and began crying. Tristan was at her side as was Sebastian. Jessica stood with Jeff on the side. It was a heart wrenching moment, when grief spills over despite all that had been loosed so far.

Later

//HAIL MARY, FULL OF GRACE, THE LORD IS WITH THEE//

Whitney was reciting the Rosary along with those that were Catholic. The pattern and repetition was oddly comforting as the priest lead the prayer service.

//BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB, JESUS//

Sweat was now running down his back and yet he was cold. The pews were too tight a fit and there were too many people. He could feel the weight on his brain. He wanted to scream for the priest to hurry.

//PRAY FOR US SINNERS, NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. AMEN//

This repeated fifty times along with the other prayers that were said during the service. Whitney was alternately comforted and annoyed. He was totally off balance.

As the service ended and people came for the final viewing of the body before the morning's funeral all Whitney could think was that everyone dies. He was too young to have to think about death. He wanted to scream that it wasn't fair but the stopped because he was bonded to a man who lost is mother far too young and another who had never had the opportunity to know his parents. He wanted to throw a fit that no one understood but he shook peoples' hands and mumbled thanks for their coming tonight. A few friends from school had come to the Rosary and that shocked him. He was informed that all of the football team and the entire senior class had been cleared to come to the funeral and the procession to the burial site. Whitney shook his head, there was no way that they all knew his dad. The man who lettered in three sports at Kansas St. The man who set the bar so high it was amazing that his sons did not resent him. The man who taught him how to throw a football and swing a baseball bat. The man who was proud when Whitney topped his own 6'2" frame. Whitney may have been only an inch and a quarter taller but to his Dad it was a milestone. The same man that forced him to take physics and LIKE it. The man who helped Whitney when he sprained his ankles or had a busted lip. In short the man who had been everything a father is supposed to be and more. His strongest cheerleader next to his mom and the man who said he was proud of him a few days after he came out to them. Whitney held the tears back as he continued to greet and thank people. He wanted the night to end.

Madison

The light indicators for the telemetry machines soon sounded the alarm. The man many w Had thought for dead was in was in truth now. Nathan Daniels had fought for life for three weeks until the infections could not be stopped even by the most powerful antibiotics. Mike Davis set his plan in motion for Daniels to be discovered. A back channel had let him know that may gangland hits had taken place over the last week. Nathan's disappearance had much to do with it without a doubt. Davis sent a silent prayer to whomever was up there to hold the innocent as this played out. With the Luthors involved, it could be a bloody, bloody summer.

Tuesday, Smallville

The limousine pulled up to the church following the hearse from the funeral home. The pall bearers met the casket at the back. Hundreds of mourners gathered outside and in the Church for the casket's procession inside. The sorrowful tones of Handel's Ave Maria greeted the family.

//Ave Maria, gratia plena//
//Dominus tecum, bendedicta tu//

Whitney followed with Jeff and Sebastian as his mom and Tristan walked immediately behind the casket. The church was full to overflowing. Out of the corner of his eye we saw many teammates and many fellow graduates of his brothers'. Word had gone far and wide of his father's passing and many had come to pay final respects.

//In mulieribus et benedictus//
//Fructus ventris tui Jesus//

The casket stopped and the Father Michael stood at the lower steps of the altar and joined in the singing

//Sanctu Maria, Sanctu Maria//
//Maria ora pro nobis,//
//Nobis peccatoribus//
//Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae//
//AMEN//

Whitney and his brothers flanked the casket and watched as it was blessed with Holy Water.

"We gather today to mourn the passing of our brother, David"

The service passed in a haze until Tristan did the ultimate duty and paid tribute to their father. The eulogy was moving, deep, and personal. Tristan managed to get a few chuckles out of the crowd. Even Whitney laughed at a memory of his Dad when he dressed in a clown outfit after he lost a bet with the Mayor and had to sit in the dunking booth at the county fair. Tristan broke up a few times but he managed to get through the speech. Soon the family was following the casket out of the church and the family followed to the gravesite in the limos.

Clark and Lex stood near Martha and Jonathan as Father Michael said the final prayer and the symbolic handfuls of dirt were placed on the casket and the cross which had accompanied David through the whole ceremony was handed to Anne. She had chosen to remain as the grave was covered. The mourners began to leave an head to the Fordman house where the Ladies Auxiliary had a buffet set up for people to share a meal and some stories of David. Tristan was going to hold an old fashioned Irish Wake in honor of his dad. That is what he would have wanted he proclaimed.

Whitney stood there and looked at the unmarked grave and felt the arms of each of his lovers cover his shoulders. The reality had set it, on the Eve of May, David Graham Fordman had been lain to rest in Smallville Cemetery in the Fordman family plot. Jonathan was looking at Charlie's grave not more than ten feet from David. Without a word, the family walked to the BMW and the five climbed in to head to the house to join the Wake and celebrate David's life.

Knights, Bishops and Rooks


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Disclaimer information: Don't own them, just have fun with them.
Each story may contain or does contain explicit NC-17 material. You have been warned.

WARNING: Death Fic.


Cast - Photo Gallery

Click for Photo/Bio
Shadows in Spring
Christopher Smith
Echoes of the Past
General Sam Thames
Shearn Phipps
Scores & Solutions
Stephen Hamiltion
Nathan Daniels
Battlements & Barricades
Tristan Fordman
Nick Brady
Damien Parker
Dominic Haynes (Senatori)
Gabriel Sullivan
Repercussions&Achievements
Lionel Luthor
Anne Fordman
David Fordman
Sebastian Fordman
Jeff Fordman
Bruce Wayne
Plans, Detours, Goals:
Chloe Sullivan
Lana Lang
Clark Kent
Whitney Fordman
Lex Luthor
Jonathan Kent
Martha Kent
Pete Ross
Victoria Hardwick