KNIGHTS, BISHOPS AND ROOKS
BOOK I: PART SEVEN

April 30

Bruce was looking at the file and wondering what to make of it. He knew what he was looking at but he still did not know what to make of it. He was looking at the DNA results from Fordman and Luthor. He had followed but had not obtained the results from the Toronto clinic. A second DNA request in as many months raised questions that brought his natural curiosity out. The results spoke volumes and Bruce had been curious about Smallville for some time. He had a copy of the British Observatory and NASA's tracking of the meteor strike. In fact he had a classified report from Strategic Air Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, and the National Security Agency. The strike had set off all the alarms and forced the President from the White House. FEMA had gone to Kansas at the Governor's behest and had aided the local and state authorities in dealing with the aftermath. The primary strike had hit Smallville head on but smaller strikes hit in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and the counties surrounding Lowell. Alfred had used all his contacts during that point to see what the American government had discovered from the multiple hits. Much to Bruce's surprise there had been no evidence of anything extraordinary from the first samples taken at a number of sites. Most importantly, only one sample had been taken from Smallville despite the fact that sixty percent of the material was in the township. Alfred commissioned a very top-secret report that found the ambient radiation levels had increased over the years.

The incidents of `unusual phenomenon' had increased over the years as well. Bruce even had a copy of Lex's medical report after the incident and there had been no mention of anything other than an elevated white cell count. Against all pretense of friendship, Bruce had Lex's entire medical history. The elevated white cell count had remained and his healing capability exceeded all known human recovery schedules. Lex could still be hurt and severely injured but his chances of recovery were remarkably high. He had an early DNA map to see if the radiation exposure had altered it in anyway it had not. Yet here was evidence in his hand that could not be explained logically. Both film sets had the exact changes and made up less than 4.5% of the total genetic code. The puzzle was radiation could not explain the base pairs or the identical resequencing. Chernobyl had shown extended exposure to radiation created gaps in the DNA sequences but did not create a whole new base pair combination and the radiation levels there where much higher than in Smallville.

But the most important piece of information was the lack of research done on Clark Kent. That raised a red flag that screamed to Bruce that he was the key. He had researched the Kent family had saw that the boy had come to Smallville within a month of the strike. His adoption records were legal but again there were red flags. It had required a great deal of access and money to find the agency that handled the case and that was when it hit Bruce. Clark's had been a very special case, the only one handled by the agency. He could find no evidence of this agency anywhere else and he had tried. He had stopped the pursuit lest it also raise flags for others to see. He had met Kent and could tell there was something about him. Lex was in no danger but Bruce was trying to deal with this on so many levels that it was strange. Bruce picked up the phone and placed the call. He was going to Smallville and would ask Lex for some answers, namely `What is Clark Kent?'

Washington D.C.

Sen. Madison (D-NB) was looking at a campaign report for Ben Davis, his challenger in the fall. He could smell Lionel Luthor all over this challenge. He had dared to put the business of the nation before the interests of one of his biggest supporters and now he was going to face the consequences. Without the Luthor backing, he was looking at a campaign shortfall of over $500,000. That was an incredible amount for a non-media heavy state. He could already see the campaign war chest for Davis growing rapidly. By Labor Day he was going to be at a negative cash position relative to Davis. He had pissed off too many of the Democratic Party's primary support groups to hope for much help there and the Senatorial Campaign Fund would be fighting bigger battles elsewhere. This was his fight and he had major opposition.

Smallville

Jonathan pulled up to the Fordman house and they all got out. Whitney walked in and went to find his mom and gave her a hug. The atmosphere was much lighter than it had been at mass. Whit got a hug and a kiss.

"How are you doing Whitney?"

"I'm...okay Mom, how are you?"

"I miss him, but I'm okay too. Tristan has started the Wake in the backyard, why don't you join him?"

"I think I will."

Whitney went out back and many of his father's friends were telling stories and laughing at all the things David used to do. He noticed Lex was chatting with a few people and saw Jonathan back here drinking a beer.

"Hi, here have a beer," said Jeff. Whitney declined and went to the bar and poured a vodka sour. He didn't feel like beer and he liked vodka of all the hard liquors he had tried. He noticed Clark talking to few of the other guys from school. Whitney was no longer sad as much as he was thoughtful.

"You know, when I first met you all I saw was an arrogant jock who liked to pick on younger guys than him."

"Did you have to bring that up today?"

"Yes, because while first impressions are usually the ones that stick, they can also be the ones that hide a greater truth."

"What?"

"Whitney, I didn't bring it up to upset you but to remind you that things change. As hard as this is, the pain will lessen and while you will always miss him, you have his love."

"Lex...interesting way to get that point across."

"You are far more complex than I give you credit for even now. I think that I've been taking this relationship for granted."

"How so?"

"You are so wonderful in so many ways and I don't think I tell you or Clark that enough. I expect you to read my mind to understand what I am feeling and thinking. When I say I love you, I want you to realize that I love YOU." Lex hugs him and says, "We'll continue this conversation later."

Whit smiled and watched Lex join Tristan with a few of his friends. He could `feel' Clark walk up next to him. "Sometimes I forget he is only 21. There are times when he can act like he is forty."

"And there are times he acts like a teenager."

"I'll give you that." Clark looked over and saw Lex and Sebastian deeply engrossed in abstract theory about stellar matter and quarks, space-time relationships and fourth dimension inversion theory. Clark remembered Whitney telling him that Sebastian could do calculus in his head. His PhDs were in astronomy and physics. He had a Masters in mathematics. NASA loved him but Clark had never seen a guy chase one woman after another. His ex-wife pointed it out to Anne and all she could say was that was how he is, a womanizing bastard but he was her son and she loved him.

Clark then heard something that made him listen intently

Sebastian, "Yes, SETI has had several contacts of questionable origin but nothing can be disproved. The Jet Propulsion team has some interesting pictures from the Hubble that are classified. I'm not saying one way or another but I am working on a new worm-hole theory."

Lex, "Really but what was it Hubble picked up?"

Sebastian, "A singularity that can not have existed at the position that it did by even Hawking's theory. It is complex but it appeared to be a stable point in space in an area full of black holes. It simply is not possible."

Lex, "And this is classified?"

Sebastian, "Given the unlikely hood and the fact that we can tell what Hubble is seeing, it is prima fascia evidence that space can be engineered. The talk of extraterrestrials and SETI's `evidence' would create conditions in which science would become secondary to forces with agendas. This was a political decision and there are less than thirty people that know. I happened to be working on the Hubble project when the first pictures and mass spectrographs that showed the gravity field but a STABLE QUANTAM PULSAR in its field. That is how I know."

Lex, "Did anyone think to follow up?"

Sebastian, "I'd love to, I memorized the coordinates but only the Hubble can see that far and I like my job. We MIGHT be able to search there again in ten years. The political climate has to change."

Clark tuned out as the conversation turned to gas structures in the face of absolute zero and a vacuum. Lex never ceased to amaze him. The man was so brilliant but he was not using it for anything. He looked around and saw Whitney drinking another Vodka whatever and walked over to him. Whitney was conversing with Brent, his basketball buddy, and Pete. As Clark approached they waved and took their leave. Clark hugged Whit and nothing was said, just the calm comfort of being close to each other.

The Wake began to break up after a few hours but the sun was still shining when the Kents took their leave. Anne insisted that Whitney stay there through the weekend. She had a conversation with Jon and Martha about Whitney's upcoming birthday. Nothing had been decided but Jon said that Lex and Clark should be consulted.

Whitney was going to go back to school the next day. He wanted to put some structure back in his day even if he would be just as bored there and trapped with his thoughts. The boys would sleep in the loft again. Jon did not fight it. He could tell a conversation was brewing of some significance. He would not complain as long as Clark and Whitney made it to school on time. He was not worried because the three did not seem upset...just tired.

They get up to the loft and stripped to their boxers. Sex was not on the forefront of their minds. Not that it would be turned down should one of them initiate the encounter. They settle on the bed and arrange themselves comfortably. Clark looks at Whitney and Lex and starts chuckling.

Lex cocks an eyebrow at Clark. "What has set you off?"

"Well I was thinking about our conversation regarding when our anniversary is."

Whitney turns and looks up at Clark, Lex is getting this air of impatience about him, "And?"

"It would not be Valentine's Day, but it would be Feb. 13th, which happens to have been Ash Wednesday."

"Clark, by the time we actually had sex it was probably midnight and since I had to suffer the aftereffects of losing my virginity, I say that it was Feb. 14th and Valentine's Day."

"What the hell difference does it make which day since we decided that we would use March 14th."

"Well, it is the symmetry of the year, Ash Wednesday would be the EVENING that Whit and I first kissed and my birthday fell on Good Friday."

Whitney started to laugh, "I insist we keep March 14th instead of moving it to the 15th. `Beware the Ides of March', Lex is WAY too much of a power monger to have that as an anniversary date."

Lex looked at Whitney and could not help but laugh as well. "Touche and well met. Clark, where did the religious imagery come from?"

"Nowhere, just thought it was interesting that things began there and it was the same year that my birthday punctuated the symbolism had we stayed in Kansas instead of going to Hawaii, there might be even more imagery."

"We would not have as much fun. I can see that. Look Whitney, Clark about the earlier conversation...I do love you both and I don't want to get lazy about this in any way, shape, or form. I am happy and I like staying here Clark and I appreciate your parents. The structure that they give is something that I never had; there was a path given and directions to follow but no direct oversight. Sometimes even I forget that I am only 21, I feel so much older at times. I wanted to say this...I will never take either of you for granted. You both matter to me more than anything else does, okay?"

"Lex, why aren't you using that awesome mind of yours to change the world?"

"Who says I'm not. I have a few surprises up my sleeves but know this; we will rule the world and the people will adore the ground we walk on. Remember, I want to do great things and I had a few things started before I ever met either of you. You both have altered the nature of the path, not the path itself."

Whitney kissed Lex then sighed, "Well as long as we are reaching for the moon might as well have everything you have ever wanted."

The response was not verbal but very clear. A warm happiness that was comforting and embracing flowed through the three of them. Words were never exchanged but the feelings were crystal clear. A day of much sorrow ended for them on a note of much happiness. The rites of Spring were renewed as the cruelty of April yielded to the peace of May.

Wednesday, May 1, Smallville

Lex was on his laptop and was having a quiet moment. He remembered Bruce's comment to look into Ares Machines. He soon found that it was a subsidiary of Luthor Corp that manufactured weapons and weapons systems. It was the primary provider of body armor to all SWAT teams in the United States and the US Army. It provided a range of artillery munitions. He had no idea because it was a blind item on the annual reports. He noticed that no earnings had come from this division in years. He used the back door he had built into the Luthor Corp mainframe and began to dig for items pertaining to Ares.

After four hours of searching and reading Lex was in a foul mood. He had years worth of Annual reports and Quarterly reports for SEC filings. He had found the line items that had been used to reflect income derived from the unit and also to see where losses had been posted. He was able to put together almost forty years of history for the division in its various incarnations. He soon found reports hidden in various files and folders in the strangest places. It was simply amazing that Luthor Corp had helped fight proxy wars all over the globe and CIA had used Ares as its primary weapons supplier. Ares in various forms had used Yugoslavia and South Africa as arms depots and exchange points for non-aligned countries. However the end of the Cold War had stopped all non-Department of Defense related contracts so Luthor Corp used a Goodwill write down of $7 billion dollars over three years and closed the book on Ares except for the existing legal contracts.

The whole thing gave Lex a headache because part of this was legal and part was legal because it was government sanctioned but was shady and then there was the blatantly illegal arms dealing activities that he just happened to find. He had some clue from some of the papers he had seen from his mother's original file from his uncle and some from his grandfather's files. It was still a huge endeavor to make sense of it and to figure out what part was the arms dealing. The accounting had been fast and loose and the FASB rules, when applied, allowed many liberties with usage. On top of all of it, only the legal parts had to be accounted for and even then Luthor Corp had used losses to hide additional profits. He had seen a number of foreign currency parity uses of funds and finally dawned on him just how creative the accountants had been. He also saw the huge executive bonuses that had been used yearly and most of that went to his father. He remembered that his father had taken over as President and CEO before he was born. He had used a court order to force his grandfather to step down and yield all control to him. According to some of the unbiased accounts he had been able to find of the event it had been bloody. He had only been through half of the files that he had inherited and there was so much information but he had a real life now and he preferred his lovers to reading. He did have a headache now and a tension one at that. Clark was really good with his hands and could get knots out easy but Whitney had been around trainers enough to do an excellent job as well. It was strange because Clark's hands were soft and Whitney's had feint calluses from hard work.

He returned to the files and began to see patterns that developed. He was willing to bet that a great deal of the money and the way it had been funneled was exactly what Roger was investigating. If so, then Lex had to find a way to bring those funds under his control and not his father's. If Lionel moved and claimed them then Lex was up a creek and all bets were off. Lex resolved not to tip his hand. He was in a superior position relative to his father at the moment. It was then that Lex remembered that Damien had been sent to South America and that was the hub of the operation. A chill ran down his spine that Lionel would active the old arms network as a money generating opportunity in the current unstable world situation. Lex calmed down and tried to breath. He grasped for composure and found it. He would have to get Roger to go to Southeast Asia and Japan to see what he could learn there. He also needed to find out what Chloe had for him in a preliminary form. That would be his ace in the hole. He had to find a way to keep his father distracted but it could not be from him. If Lionel thought Lex had fucked him over then the war between the Luthors would officially begin. Lex was nowhere near ready for such an occasion, mentally or emotionally.

Thursday, May 2, Metropolis

Roger was in the archives of the Inquisitor looking for some leads regarding Nathan Daniels. He had spent the day before looking over the Internet for clues from some of the `known' information about the man. Not only that but he had to actually write an article for the paper. He was a reporter so he did a quick piece about offshore tax havens like the Caymans and was done with writing for a while. His editor thought he was getting soft so he hacked it into a hack job and openly questioned if Luthor Corp was using such places.

Roger had been pissed about it but this newspaper was a rag so he didn't mind...much. He was looking at the microfilm when he ran across a photo of Sam Phelan. Suddenly he hit on it. Lionel had operatives in the Department, but did Lionel have anything to do with it. Phelan had been a detective and therefore would have been extremely useful. It was a hunch but he had some time so he would see where this lead.

London

Dominic was smiling because fate had been very kind to him. One of the warehouses in Spain had burned to the ground, and thanks to some of the chemicals on site, it was a total loss. The chemicals had increased the fire temperatures to levels that could only be achieved by use of accelerants. The arson investigators would find slag and very little else. The good news was Dominic had already pulled all the items he needed from that facility. He would be able to keep them on inventory and have the insurance pay for it. It was a win-win deal for him. He was getting paid twice and it required no forgeries in the Accounts Receivable.

His contact had also come through with some embarrassing information regarding Lionel Luthor. It was such that the man would have the humiliation of having an audit done or worse a full investigation into his business practices. Since it was also political in nature, Lionel would be abandoned by his allies. Dominic had known where to dig and it had been a jackpot. Now he had to find the right recipient for the information to have maximum effect.

Smallville

Whitney was playing hoops with his friends. It was nice to relax and just play. It was weird because once word had gotten out that the fag bashing had backfired everyone was cool to him again. All he could think was that he had reestablished himself by kicking some serious ass. Well, he admitted, Clark had kicked some serious ass but he would never admit that to anyone. Clark liked his reputation as a good guy even if most of the school thought he was a cute geek. `Hell, he is a cute geek, with a heart of gold.' Whitney hit a three pointer with ease. All he could think was too bad he hadn't been sucking Clark's cock before the school year started because he would have been a much better football player. He stopped when he felt a growing rage coming from Lex. He stopped and his guy scored but it had taken him by surprise.

"Fordman, you okay man?"

"Yeah, tweaked my groin, I'll be fine."

"Dude, get Kent to give you a massage and you'll be fine." All the guys laughed. A few admitted that they were wicked jealous that Whit was getting laid all the time. Whitney still remembered which guys had gotten hard from walking in on him and Clark making out that Saturday after Hawaii. `Nothing worse than repressed sexuality.'

"Funny, I'll be sure and tell him that you guys recommended that course of treatment." The game finished up within moments after that. Whitney knew Clark was in the Torch offices and headed there.

When he got up there he saw Clark reviewing stuff for Chloe. He stays in the doorway and listens to Clark pick which articles he likes best.

"Hey guys, what is going on?"

"Whitney! I'm helping Chloe build her portfolio; she wants to have an annual look at her best work. You look nice and sweaty." Clark says with a twinkle in his eye and a Cheshire cat grin.

"Guys, get a room, do you EVER quit? Actually Whitney, are you taking Clark to the Prom?"

Whitney and Clark stare at each other for a moment. Neither of them had even thought about it and it was in two weeks. Whitney started to sweat and got nervous, he and Clark had never actually gone anywhere but had been seen everywhere. It should be no big deal but this was the event of the senior year. Whitney looked at him and smiled. He reached over and lightly touched Clark's hand. It opened under that touch and soon their hands were joined.

"Clark, may I have the privilege of your company to my Senior Prom?"

Clark dropped his gaze and then looked through his hair at Whitney. He was excited and nervous. He smiled and pulled Whit close and kissed him.

"Whitney, it would be an honor to accompany you to the Prom."

Chloe did not know whether to puke or cry at the scene. Here was the damn Knight in Shining Armor and Mr. Right being all romantic and gooey with each other. She was still smarting from her breakup with Lana. They still had three classes together so there was no way to avoid each other at school. She looked at the guys and felt that twinge of jealousy and it hurt to think she could not rise above it.

"That is so sweet you guys. What is Lex going to say?"

Clark and Whitney looked at each other and Clark responded, "Not sure but maybe we can make it a weekend getaway."

"Good idea, maybe we can meet him somewhere after Prom?"

"Thanks Chloe, we have to go...can we finish this tomorrow?"

"Sure Clark."


Jonathan and Martha still had no idea what to do for Whitney's birthday. Anne said that Tristan and Jeff could not think of anything either. They saw Lex walk in and he was upset.

"Lex, are you okay?"

"No, I am not Martha, thanks for asking."

Jonathan looked at him, "Anything that we can do to help?"

"No, not really. I have some things to think about that is all."

"Lex...do you have any ideas on how to celebrate Whit's birthday?"

Lex stopped for a moment and thought about it. "He likes baseball so lets take him to a game. The Royals are playing in Metropolis or maybe head to St. Louis and see the Cardinals."

Martha and Jonathan looked at each and smiled. It was the perfect all day event. Jonathan stood up, walked over to Lex and gave him a brief hug. "Excellent idea. I'll call Tristan and see what he thinks."

Lex was having a hard time dealing with all the information he had found on Ares. It had confirmed much of the dark history that he had suspected his family of being responsible for. He was sick that his father and, to a lesser degree, his grandfather had provided weapons to any and all who could pay. Lex resolved that he was the last Luthor EVER.

Jonathan returned from talking to Tristan and could tell Lex was out of sorts. He knew not to push but he did want to see what was bothering him. "Well Tristan said it was a great idea, he was going to call and get us a suite so everyone could go and have a great time."

Lex started laughing, "Beware, if this is like the Owner's Suite at Great White Stadium, then Clark may never stop eating while we are there."

Martha was choking, she was laughing so hard. Whitney had taken great delight in telling her about the bottomless pit that was named Clark Kent.

"Oh Lex, one other thing, Tristan and I decided to charge the whole thing to LFK. It could be an entertainment expense."

Lex sat for a moment and then could not stop the smile. "Okay, even if I said no, you and he can out vote me. I may have to watch you two."

Martha and Jon laughed and the three of them began to discuss how to keep most of this a secret from Whitney.

Santiago

Damien was looking at the report and was enraged. The files that Nathan had recovered from Lex's house had been restored to the best possible state and they were only 17% recoverable information. There was no way to use any of that information against Lex. He was going to have to find a different path to wounding the young billionaire. He still had other problems that needed a higher priority than taking down Lex. He still had to deal with the CIA investigation and getting a new information source in Smallville. He had heard that all the free agents were now skittish to get involved in the Metropolis area. Too many of their fellows had died recently and that was a bad precedent.

Smallville

The guys settled in for the night and Clark and Whitney could tell that Lex had a great deal on his mind. They did not want to press him but at the same time wanted to let him know that it was okay to vent.

Whitney finally broke the ice, "Lex, is everything okay?"

Lex looked down and sighed, "No, not really. It is hard to be faced with a truth that you've long denied. My family is corrupt and it hurts to actually know some of things that have been done in the name of business. I've told myself a thousand times growing up that the Luthor name was not that bad. That we aren't the Boogey Man, but we certainly have been working on reserving a level of Hell to ourselves."

Clark kissed him and Whit hugged him. Clark whispered, "You are not them. You are not the one responsible; you are the one to clean up the mess. This is a bad time but...Whitney is taking me to the Prom."

Lex could not help but laugh. "Why is this a bad time? Go, have fun and enjoy. If I have my way then next spring will be your last year in High school."

Whitney kissed Lex, "You want you to join us after so we can have a weekend together."

"Okay, that is a great idea."

All conversation is lost as the dance of hormones again starts the beat of her music and the boys have no choice but to follow her rhythm.

Saturday, May 4, Smallville

Whitney woke up to Clark sucking on his rod. He couldn't think of a better way to wake up off the top of his head. Clark was very talented with his mouth and Whit gave himself over to the pleasure. Soon he saw Lex moved behind Clark and slowly enter him. Whitney held on as long as he could but Clark was trying to get Whitney to shoot and Whit knew he was going to lose in the end. Of course, it was the result he wanted also, just not too quickly.

Lex loved fucking Clark, he also loved fucking Whitney. He really loved them and this was the best way to express his devotion. If any of his former classmates from Eton, Metropolis U, or Princeton ran into him, they would not recognize him. He was so smitten, or as others would say `whipped' that it was not funny, but Clark and Whitney were addictive. He slowed his rhythm and saw Whitney arch as he came in Clark's mouth. He could feel the beautiful release thanks to their link. He heard Clark moan in frustration as his pending orgasm was delayed with Lex's slower thrusting.

Whitney moved and soon took Clark's dripping cock in his mouth. Clark's moans grew louder as his point came closer. Soon he grunted and Whitney was reacquainting himself with that unique taste that was Clark.

Lex felt Clark's ass tighten as he came and that was all Lex needed to find his own release. All three of them fell into a sated heap. The morning was broken when they heard Jonathan's voice calling them to breakfast.


Whitney had no idea where they were all going. All he knew was Tristan, Jeff, and his mom were in one car and he was in one with the Kents and Lex. What he did not know was there was a third car that had Pete, Chloe, and Lana. He knew it had to be related to his birthday tomorrow but he had no other clue besides that.

When he saw Jon pulling into Royal Field he was happy. They were going to a game and he definitely loved baseball. Lex and Clark could feel his elation but they knew that he was in for a better surprise in a few minutes.

As they took the escalators to the Suite level Whitney was bouncy. He had never been in a private suite for any type of game. When they walked in he was amazed. Their waitperson greeted them and asked if they would like anything to drink. Whitney and Clark ignored him and looked around. The room had a full bar and a buffet table. There was a couch against one wall, a large stuffed chair and two television sets. Clark looked out the sliding glass doors to the actual seats that looked down onto the field. It was an excellent view but it was all the other stuff that was amazing.

Whitney was shocked. "I don't know what to say other than Thank You."

Tristan walked over and hugged his youngest brother. "You are very welcome, besides this is going to be our Suite starting today. The LFK logo will be placed on that wall and the name will be mounted outside the door."

Lex smiled. His family did not own the Royals and he knew that his grandfather had tried many years ago to purchase it. The reason his father never bought them was the simple fact that in Metropolis, the market was too small and the team would lose money in pursuit of a championship. In Lionel's mind it would be a waste of money. In fact, Jeff had warned everyone that the Royals were the worst team in baseball but it could still be a fun game.

Clark was in heaven. There was a huge tray of chips and dips on the coffee table in front of the sofa and Tristan had ordered a variety of items to be served. He filled his plate up with stuffed mushrooms and Buffalo wings and went to sit down and watch the game.

Chloe sat behind Clark had watched him attack the two plates of food he had.

"Mr. Kent, does Clark eat like this everyday?"

Lex, who was sitting on the other side of Clark, could not help laughing. Jonathan was smirking, "Chloe, Clark was always had a hearty appetite."

Lex could not help it any longer, "Chloe, when they took me to see my first game at Wrigley Field, Clark ate every two innings."

Whitney sat down next to Clark and handed him his Coke and a plate full of nachos. "Lets see and after the game we went to an all you can eat buffet and he had how many plates?"

Clark stood up and looked at them. "You know, I am RIGHT HERE! And I told you that I like to eat while I'm at a game."

Jonathan smiled, "that is true, any game and he ate the whole time."

Clark smirked at Lex then Whitney and attacked the plate of nachos. He could not help it; he loved food served at baseball games.

Anne was relaxing on the sofa and was chatting with Martha. Lana, Pete, and Jeff walked out to the seats to see if the Royals could actually manage to win a game.

Tristan was watching a different game on one of the sets and was soon joined by Jonathan. The adults were able to enjoy the game in air-conditioned peace while the younger crowd only came back in for more food. By the seventh inning, the game had gotten exciting and the Royals were threatening to blow the game wide open.

By the time it finished the Royals had earned a rare victory and the group left to head home. Whitney could not help but feel bittersweet about the whole day. It was his last day as a minor and his dad would have loved to been here. He did not share his thoughts with anyone, some things need to be private but he knew if he really needed to talk there would many there to listen to his heartfelt expressions.

Sunday, Lisbon

Shearn Phipps had finally received the news that he had long sought. The information broker in New York, Basil Jaxson was being held responsible for the debacle that Metropolis had become. His protection from various elements was melting away and Shearn was going to silence the man once and for all. He had the perfect team in mind and they could also raid Jaxson's files. Shearn was going to make his bid to centralize the mercenary information services. He knew that Jaxson had files on almost everything. It was the prime opportunity to make a play and get all the information he needed in order to keep the business running.

Smallville

Whitney woke up early and left the loft. He was eighteen and did not want to talk to anyone yet. He went for a run; he wanted to clear his mind and also wanted to be alone. He knew that Clark and Lex could find him if they needed him. It had been a week since his dad died and if Lana could whine about her parents for years then he could complain for a while longer. He knew that thought was unfair but she was so predictable. He sighed and stopped thinking about her. He did wonder how well Chloe was dealing with the break up. They had been dating for longer than he and his partners. He felt bad but Lana was not the type of person who could settle down until she dealt with her issues.

He continued his run and ended up at the cemetery. He jogged to the family plot and looked at the still unmarked grave. He stood there and said nothing. He had no idea how much time had passed. He only knew that the sun steadily rose in the sky and when he did become aware he looked and saw Lex and Clark standing a few feet away. Whit said a silent prayer and walked over to his soul mates. They hugged him and lead him to the car.

"You okay?"

"Yes Lex, I'm fine just needed a little time alone."

Clark placed his hand on Whit's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. He didn't say anything as they headed back to the farm and the birthday breakfast that Martha was preparing.

Metropolis

Nick Brady was trying to catch up to all the other senior executives that had worked for Luthor Corp. He was beginning to realize that COO was a title with little power. The CFO and the Executive Committee did not report to him. All avenues lead to Lionel Luthor regardless of title. In fact in the Company's pecking order, Nick discovered he was sixth. He could only achieve his goals by outsmarting the others and outthinking them. Thus he was working on a Sunday trying to figure out some of the financial discrepancies he had uncovered.

He saw the last transfer that came in but it did not correspond to any existing invoice. He also saw monies being moved about and authorized outside of the Finance Department. He continued his inquires and found numerous transfers that had no references and did not go to any General Ledger accounts for internal purposes. Nick began to feel his heart race and he was beginning to sweat. He was sitting on enough evidence to trigger a massive audit and possible criminal investigations. Nick had not been at the company long enough to take the fall but he would be damned if his career was going to be tainted because of this. He brought out a blank CD and began to download all the files he had seen with account discrepancies and then used his personal copy machine to create his own files. He was following the rule of CYA, it was the first lesson at Harvard, or kindergarten, never be the one holding the hot potato in the end.

Smallville

Whitney packed up his stuff to head home. He was going to sleep in his own bed and had mixed feelings. Clark and Lex were also moving back to individual beds but he enjoyed the comfort and companionship that a shared bed brought. He walked into his house and it was surreal. It was all the same and yet it was not. He took his bags to his bedroom and looked around. It was the same. Jessica and Sebastian had left it as they found it but Whitney could feel the gloom of the day threatening to overwhelm him again.

"Whitney, honey?"

"Hi Mom, how are you?"

Anne walked in and gave her youngest a kiss and a hug. "I'm...coping and you, happy birthday."

Whitney hesitated then smiled, "Thanks...so where are Tristan and Jeff?"

"They said they would be back soon. They will be here for dinner."

"Okay Mom." Whitney paused and saw his mom turn and leave. A silence, the unspoken lingering in the air. Words, he searched for the words but they deserted him. He let the moment go and gathered his laundry. He found a pair of Clark's boxers and smiled. It was strangely comforting to have the laundry mixed up. It was a sign of normalcy and intimacy.

Whitney heard Tristan pull up and he went down to with his laundry basket. It had been a long time since his mother had done his laundry. She had four sons; she knew exactly what was happening when each boy started that chore. He never complained having to do certain chores he did hate working at the store but that was now part of the past. He missed it because it was another sign of the changes the occurred this past year. He sighed and headed to the laundry room.

"Hey Whit, Jeff and I bought you something."

Whitney was interested. Lex had not bought him anything but then again Whit specifically asked that he not buy him anything. "What?"

Jeff walked over and threw his hand over his shoulders. "Whit, we had no idea what to get you but you needed something to cheer you up. Something to bring something `new' to the house and something that you've always wanted..."

"Jeff, if you and Tristan bought me a blow up doll, I'll...."

"Dude, we thought about that but Clark would probably take it from you."

"Okay, I'm going to finish up my laundry." Then he heard it and it was music to his ears. He saw Tristan holding a Golden Retriever puppy. Whitney had not had a dog since he was twelve when the family chow died it was a shock.

Tristan walked over, "She has been spayed and is already house broken. What do you want to call her?"

"Duchess."

"You have been hanging around Lex too long little brother."

Whitney called Clark who came over in less than five minutes. Clark and Duchess bonded instantly. Lex, Martha, and Jonathan showed up for Whit's birthday dinner and all they heard that evening was Clark wanted a dog also. He kept saying that the puppy needed a playmate. All Lex kept thinking was Clark made the perfect one already.

Lex walked over to Whitney and took him outside. They strolled a little before coming to the end of the street. Lex motioned for Whit to sit and they sat on the ground.

"I know you did not want anything from me but I would be remiss if I did not mark the occasion in some fashion." He handed Whitney a small box. He opened it and could not help the sudden shaking in his hands. It was an emerald ring, perfectly masculine but flawless. He turned to the inside and saw the inscription. It was tiny but clear, Whit, all our love, L & C.

"Wow. Thank you."

"You are most welcome. Clark thought it over the top but I thought it was something of a physical reminder that you will always be loved and cherished by us. You are more precious to us than the most precious stones."

"Lex...that was a little much."

"Yeah but I was going for a prose angle. I am trying to rebuild my own image after two teenagers have shattered my restraint and wits."

"Well, keep working on it. I need to reclaim my dog before Clark decides that what's mine is his. Wait...how are you?"

"Whitney, I hurt for you and your loss. But look at it this way, you have a wonderful family and Clark and I. I sound like Lana but I lost my North Star ten years ago, my Uncle helped me stay sane but the last five years I wondered the wilderness alone and have paid the price. I am considered Satan's son. And I find out that the Luthor clan is one step above Hell Spawn. I am a product of that breeding." Whitney moved close and placed a finger on his lover's lips silencing him.

"And yet Clark and I love you and know you. We trust you and will be there through the trials, we could not be there all those years ago but we can lance the boil that still rests in your soul. Lex, I can feel your pain, it echoes and resonates with me. I know I am not much support at this point but Clark is a rock, trust him."

"How did we end up on this subject?"

"Lex, sometimes the thing that most needs to be said gets said."

They walked down the street headed back to the house. The melancholy that had pervaded the day for Whitney lifted, he was eighteen and his whole life was ahead of him and though he could not see the path, he knew the journey was going to be one for the ages.

Monday, May 6

Bruce looked at the Luthor lands and was struck by the epic nature of the project. He thought Wayne Manor was imposing but once this was complete it would radiate power and wealth beyond comprehension. He shrugged and continued on to the Kent farm. Lex had no idea he was coming. Bruce wanted to surprise him and hope that the unexpected would yield the information he desired. He saw the farm and saw Lex getting ready to leave.

"Good morning Lex."

"Bruce! What brings you to Smallville?"

"Questions that need answers or at the minimum valid half truths."

"What are you talking about?"

"Lex, there are a number of...incidents that can not be explained logically in Smallville."

"Bruce...what are you getting at?"

"Lex, Clark Kent is an enigma. We have a history, we made a promise back at Eton, we both know that I have kept a discrete eye on you."

"Bruce, get to the point, do not belabor the issue, what about Clark?"

"Why are you having your DNA and Mr. Fordman's mapped?"

"Bruce that is a gross invasion of my privacy."

"Answer the question. You're actions are clear as are your motives but the results I saw..."

"Bruce there is a line and it now well behind you."

"Why haven't you tested Mr. Kent?"

"That is none of your concern."

"What do you know about Mr. Kent?"

"What are you implying?"

"Lex, there are some problems in his past that warrant attention. There is a limit to the amount of aid I will render."

"Bruce, I know a great deal about Clark Kent and I do appreciate the assistance in the past but you test the bounds right now."

Bruce walked back towards his car. "I've seen the estate, I have no doubts it will look great. There is far more to this place than meets the eye Lex. There is far more to you as those results show. Look into it; I'll be in contact. We still have business with Minerva. Here look this over." Bruce tosses Lex a CD-ROM. "I'll be in touch."

Lex was confused by the whole exchange. He could not grasp what had been done here. He knew Bruce to be the most complex man he'd ever met. "By the way, thanks for the tip on Ares. For the sake of the past I'll let this breach go but be warned Mr. Wayne, there are limits and you are there." Lex turned and headed back into the Kent house. He knew what he knew but it was not his to tell. He needed time to formulate a strategy. When friends became suspicious then enemies were already gathering and that meant his father was in that pack of wolves. He glanced down at the disc he was carrying. He did not want to know how much information Bruce had obtained.

Smallville High

Chloe walked into the Talon and saw Lana and Pete talking. She kept telling herself that it was petty to be angry with either of them. She wanted a person that would support her and be there for her not someone who bailed when things got intense. The baseball game had been fun and she was able to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. It had been difficult to share a car ride with them that day. She had continued to do the research that Lex had left for her but she had come across some information in her search that sent her scurrying. She went to the cafeteria in hopes that she would find Clark or Whitney.

"Hi Lana, Pete. Have you seen Clark or Whitney? I need to talk to them."

Pete tried not to choke and Lana responded while pounding on his back. "Chloe, I think they snuck off again."

"Of course they did. Well, if you see them when they are finished would you please inform them that I some information they might find interesting."


Clark and Whitney walked into the Torch office and saw Chloe talking to some new guy.

"Hey guys, I'd like to introduce you to Brian. Brian is here today to check out the school He will be a junior in the fall when he transfers in from Metropolis. Brian, this is Whitney, he's graduating, and this is Clark. We don't know what he is doing."

A few 'nice to meet yous' were exchanged before Chloe walked Brian out. "He was cute. His parents are moving here at the end of the month. He came down for a two hour tour and to check out the locale."

Whitney could not refrain his comment, "I saw you checking him out. Nice by the way, not too tall for you, looks to be in reasonable shape." Clark and Chloe looked at him. "What, I am a gay guy and I can look just not touch. Clark, NO ONE compares to you. We all worship the magnificence of your body, the generosity of your spirit, the kindness of your heart, the insight of your brain, simply put you are the perfect man."

Clark could hear retching noises coming from Chloe as he moved and kissed Whitney. "So, I'm perfect huh? I'll remind you of that the next time you get mad at me."

"How does Lex put UP with you two? God! Get a ROOM!"

Whitney and Clark moved apart but were still holding hands when Clark gave Chloe a big grin, "Hey, we heard that you wanted to see us, so what is it?"

"Guys, a body was found last week in Madison, WS that matched Daniels description. The Medical Examiner's report showed high amounts of antibiotics in his system and several massive infections that were the cause of death. The interesting thing though was how easy it was to find the body after death. Someone left the body in a high traffic area and the local news picked up the story. Daniels was alive a lot longer than he was supposed to be and someone is letting people know that."

Clark and Whit looked at the papers Chloe handed them and they had no clue what to make of this development. They knew Lex was handling it but this was getting out of hand.


The guys met to have coffee at the Talon. Lana was working and Pete was talking her ear off. Lex ordered their drinks and they headed up the stairs to the offices he was using.

"I wanted to let you know that I had a very unexpected visit from Bruce Wayne. He knows that Whit and I have been mapped but he also knows that you were not."

"Why would he come here for that?"

"Clark...he and I have a unique friendship but he did cross several lines with this. We were rich, strange Americans in a British Aristocrats training ground. We even roomed together the last two years. Yes, we did things but it was more of a brotherly relationship. The fumbled gropings were just hormones, it was nothing major. We laid the ground work for a joint venture that we have yet to settle."

"What is that?" Whitney asked while Clark looked anywhere but at either of them.

"I can't tell you yet but it was that plan I've hinted at. It is the primary reason Tristan is here and why Jeff was retained as well."

"Then why can't you tell us?"

"I will, in the future, but it is of no consequence right now."

Clark turned and went to sit down. "What did Bruce tell you?"

"Clark, don't worry. I've lived, still live, your dreams. We know each other in ways people will never fathom. He gave me a disc that I have yet to read. I wanted to look at it with you both here."


In the end it had been all the reports the government had done in relation to Smallville and the meteor strike. Lex saw the radar signal that could only be the craft Clark arrived in. The only thing that stood out was the adoption record. Lex saw the problem that those could pose right away. He did not want to ask Jonathan and Martha about it but he would.
Santiago, May 7

Damien received word that what could be, had been, taken from Hamilton's Lab was now in Costa Rica. Dr. Hamilton was still in the United States. Damien was upset because he had not recovered the whole lab. One of his associates had a facility that was no longer in use in that Central American country. Damien had been more than willing to have some of the latest body armor shipped to a place that it could be commandeered. He had part of a report Nathan had sent and he had scanned files that had been sent but the good doctor was being most uncooperative. The tabloids were constantly exaggerating the news out of Smallville but it was enough of the truth for him to look very carefully at Hamilton's research. The fact that Lex had been subsidizing it spoke volumes. He would look at this carefully and he would have to replace the samples that had been lost in the fire. He knew of one other strike site that might offer up its bounty will little hassle. He wanted to make his presence around Smallville to be nonexistent, he had already stirred up a hornet's nest in the mercenary world and that was a group he did not desire to be the target of wrath. He could not believe that Hamilton was still in the States it defied all logic. People got into the country all the time he did not understand how it was such a problem to get one man out of it.

He stared out the window of the high-rise and pondered his choices and the tight rope he was now walking. He had already acknowledged he error in the liquidation of Nathan Daniels. It had resulted in the mess he was in now. It had been an expensive endeavor with mixed results. His own credibility had taken a hit with the elimination of Nathan and the hit team. His limited financial resources had been strained and the CIA was now investigating. The good news, such as it was, his partners were happy because their product shipment was up as were their profits. That at least engendered some goodwill. He also realized that by helping Lionel get this pipeline open he was undermining his own long-term goals. He needed to become an independent operator but Luthor Corp ultimately held the strings and resources he needed. He still had to find a way to distract Lionel so he could have a measure of autonomy. Once Lionel was able to regain focus it would be too late for him to rein him in. Damien had to find a way to keep Lionel off balance and Lex from interfering, that was his focus now.

May 8, Smallville

Lex walked into the Palace from one of the side entrances. He could see the new grand staircase was almost done and he knew that the service elevators and the main elevator were complete to the sub basement to the fourth floor. The public rooms were approaching the almost finished state; at least the Library, Parlor Room, Conservatory and Study were looking close to completed. The entrance had not been started and the Grand Hall was in shambles. The second floor rooms were in about the same state. Those that were two stories matched the lower floors' description. He went to the Media room that started on the Ground floor but went into the first basement. He could see all the electrical outlets and the wring for multiple signals. There were going to be three Large Screens and many smaller flat screens around the room. The recording devices would be situated in rooms to the side on the basement level. The room was designed with a recording studio and viewing rooms. Thirty people could watch the large screens from the viewing platform with ease. Each room would be able to get a feed from this room and the satellite connections. Every Global broadcast would be monitored from this room. The software was on par with the NSA. Lex believed that knowledge was power and this was one way to gage the world's situation. He was still trying to find the staff for the public operations.

He walked back to the private area of the Palace. He wanted this to be a home was well as a symbol. The new residence wing held a game room on the third floor and the bedrooms were on the second floor. The old residence wing, which held the old master bedroom, was being turned into the guest wing and would require some walking to get to the family areas. Lex was looking forward to relaxing once this was all finished. The family room had a separate kitchen from the formal one up front. A large pantry and a walk in freezer adjoined them. The ground floor family room was open to the second floor den. Many plants and comfortable couches would grace the multi-level living area. Large glass doors would open onto a patio and the walkway that lead to the Pavilion on the Lake. Lex wanted that area to get started but the lake was still frozen. Here was the heart of the whole project. An area that people could sit and relax not surrounded by the pretension that the rest of the estate would present to the world.

Lex was most excited about the new Master suite. It was on the third floor and was not part of the residence wing. It was in the center of the Palace and would have a private sitting room, a custom built bed, a huge walk-in closet, and a private veranda. There was a small kitchenette and the bathroom held a large tub and separate shower facility. It was a self-contained paradise built with three in mind. Lex knew that it was nowhere near complete but he could hope. He felt the absence of his lovers when he went to sleep now. There was a physical need to be close to them. It scared him that he was dependent on them now in ways he had never imagined.

Thursday, May 9 New York City

The high rise was one of the most sought after addresses in Manhattan. Basil Jaxson had the top three floors. He had great blackmail material on the building owners that kept his rates reasonable. He was very wealthy thanks to his dealing, double-dealing and triple dealing. He had become a Grand Master at the game and knew how to cover his ass. That was until Metropolis and the `Nathan Daniels Incident.' Many markers had been withdrawn on him and his protections had dwindled to almost nothing. He had never felt the cold touch of paranoia but he felt those icy fingers creep and crawl all over his skin. He was not getting his calls returned and his information sources were drying up. He had passed along some of Daniels information at a price. He had no idea that Daniels was going to get whacked. The worst part was Daniels body was discovered three weeks after his `death.' Jaxson was worried about his own skin and was preparing to use the `unusable' material in order to save his life.

Two maids from his regular cleaning service entered through the service elevator. One moved and disabled the alarm system and the other moved and took out the two on-station bodyguards.

The elevator opened and the hollowed ring of a silenced round took out the guard at the front door. The two men walked right into the apartment. They had already been told where Jaxson was in the place. One of the maids moved and copied all his files and the other broke open the safe and removed all the files. They were on their way down the service elevator when Jaxson saw he had company.

"Basil Jaxson...Shearn Phipps sends his regards." Jaxson never responded as he crumpled to the ground in a pool of his own blood. The two men set some high explosive devices that were timed to go off in half an hour. The apartment would be consumed in flames and Jaxson's body would be unrecognizable.

Friday, May 10 Santiago

Damien watched the news reports of intense fighting in the jungles of Peru at the base of the Andes Mts. He could see that better-equipped rebels over matched the Peruvian Army. He smiled because he was going to make a fortune out of this. His latest arms deal had a cache of weapons going to The People's Republic of China. The PRC was paying five times the normal value of them but they wanted to modernize the army at all costs. The weapons shipment and ammunition would barely arm a battalion but he did not care. The manufacturing plants were in Mexico and Costa Rica, he would have no problems getting them sent to the East.

He had managed to get his `allies' off his back for losing a trained hit team. He had paid a quiet $2 million and all was forgiven. As it was they had plans to carve out their own state based in the Andes. It required for financial backing and weaponry than they had now but someone was directing this operation for the long haul. Damien did not care because the potential profits, even after sending Lionel his share would give Damien much to play with. He was already looking at ways to invest is ill-gotten gains and spin it into legitimate funds.

The good news he received was Dr. Hamilton was now in Costa Rica and a willing participant in the research project. Damien told him he could study any aspect of the rocks as long as he came up with some useful results. In the end Damien was curious about why Lex had authorized this `quack' to study the damn things in the first place. He had seen some of the Luthor Corp research and there were some strange benefits to the mineral but it was unstable and the Company's best minds could not find a way to stabilize the 'wild' variables that the mineral had in its base properties. But for Damien it was victory against Lex to have something that Lex could not. It was a small step but all wars are made up of big and small battles.

May 11, Lisbon

Shearn Phipps had read the papers of the high-rise apartment fire in New York. He was now in possession of a vast storehouse of knowledge that many intelligence agencies would dearly love to have. The one piece of information that he was most impressed with was the identity of the man who ordered Nathan Daniels taken out. He was very impressed that he was correct in assuming it was someone new to the scene. What was more astonishing was that his handler had him taken out. Shearn had no way of knowing how long Jaxson had been the guardian of this nugget of knowledge but was eye opening. Damien Parker was a minion of Lionel Luthor's and he was willing to lay odds that Lionel had no idea this was where the hit originated. He knew that the Luthors were a united front in name only. They presented themselves as such to safeguard the family business but Lex despised Lionel and Lionel was known to privately disparage his son. None of this was good news and if the parties found out then it would be even worse.

May 13

Mike Davis was settling into his booth when he was unexpectedly joined.

"Hello Davis, so how is Nathan Daniels?"

Mike felt his pulse race and saw who joined him. "The fuck do you want Nixon?"

"Answers, why did you cover up the hit on Daniels?"

"I don't know what you are talking about."

"I know that you and Phelan used to be partners and that tiny bit of information is no longer part of your file. That would raise serious questions for Internal Affairs don't you think? Also, if the Luthor guys decided to pin the Daniels murder on you then your life is history...so spill."

"Daniels saved my life and I arranged for him to cover his trail after the hit. He died two weeks ago. Look I know that you work for the Luthors so..."

"I work for Lex not Lionel...I need to know what, if anything, Daniels told you."

Davis wrote down the pass codes and the location of the locker Daniels had hidden. He handed over the keys as well. "He wanted the information to go to Lex Luthor. He mentioned some guy named Shearn Phipps but I have no clue who he is."

"Listen Davis, this conversation never happened and I was never here."

Roger went to his car and drove to the depot. He retrieved the satchel and drove for Smallville. The sooner this information was in Lex's hands the sooner Roger could take a day off.


Lex was in his office when Roger called to tell him that he had information that he needed to see. Lex told where to find him and waited for Nixon to get there.

"So Roger, what is so important."

"This." Roger held up a vial of green liquid. "Daniels stole the stuff those punks were using to break into places. It is also a copy of all the research that he knew of by a Dr. Hamilton."

Lex grabbed the satchel and looked through the contents. He also found a dossier and contact names and how to reach them.

"Look, Daniels wanted you to have this stuff and he mentioned a guy named Shearn Phipps before he could no longer communicate."

"Thank you Roger, I'll take it from here. You need to go to Hong Kong and then Tokyo. Once that is complete then we should have a complete picture about those foreign accounts."

Roger scowled but did as he was told. He did not want to fly to the other side of the globe but he was being paid well, so he went.

Lex began to examine the file and saw some items that he was unaware of. Hamilton had experimented on small mammals as a way of gauging the radiation's impact on cellular material. He also saw evidence of different types of meteor fragments. The curious thing was that the longer the material was exposed around, the strong the radiation field. This was supported by the research Alfred Pennyworth had authorized. Lex had all the reason he needed to clean up Lowell County and the other strike sites. There was scientific evidence that the rocks posed a danger. He also wanted them collected and destroyed before anyone figured out how much damage they could cause.

May 14

The township of Saint Michael's held the largest processing plant of Ethanol and corn derivatives in the Mid-West. The plant spanned seven square miles and the storage facilities were separated from the actual processing area by a runoff basin in case of flooding. Ethanol was a high volatile liquid and had to be transported by ground, not by pipeline. One of the valves from the primary processing area had a loose joint and the increased pressure allowed pent up fumes to leak into the air. No one noticed the drop in pressure but the volatile gas leak moved and soon came into contact with a catalyst. The resulting explosion damaged the primary valve shut offs. The control room could not shut down the flow of chemicals to the storage area. The plant alarms sounded and people ran for cover.

The first storage tanker explosion blew out glass for miles and would register as a small earthquake on the Richter scale. The town was in jeopardy from the plant fire. The nearest house was a scant three miles and the fields that surrounded the plant had yet to be cut back from their spring growth. A solid Westerly wind was blowing and fuelling the flames. As the flames roared higher a second tanker caught fire and exploded. The contents of the second explosion flew in many directions. There was no one around to notice the sudden reversal of pressure in one of the pipes leading to a different storage area for non-Ethanol products. Soon a second fire broke out in the actual refining area. The third explosion damaged one of the central structures and flames began to give way to heavy black smoke that was visible for miles.

Martha was watching one of her few vices, a soap opera when the news broke in with a report about the plant fire. St. Michael's was 25 miles from Smallville and it had been a dry spring so far. If this did hit the grasslands then the result could be a catastrophe for all the farmers.

Lex walked in the room and stopped. "My God, that is close."

"Lex, this is bad. That plant is on top of the town."

"I'll call Clark, see what he can do."

"Do you think that is wise?"

"Do we have a choice?"

Clark ran home at top speed and saw what they were looking at. The firefighters were unable to get close to the actual fire. NASA and the NOAA had each taken a thermal scan (to test the equipment) and were seeing temperatures in excess of 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Clark heard Whitney pull into the driveway. He was going to help but with all the television coverage it would be difficult to help without being discovered.

"I don't know what to do."

Whitney was brought up to speed. "The lake is still frozen right?"

Lex looked at him and got the hint. "Yes it is."

"So if it is still frozen then it would suggest..."

Clark caught on, "That there is an active agent at work."

Whitney smiled, "if the issue is how to help then I think Sean would have more than enough heat to thrive off of..."

"While Clark can run around and close off the pressure valves."

"And Sean lowers the air temps so the firefighters can get closer. Question, how do I get Sean there? He thinks I'm a battery."

Lex pondered for a moment. "We have to try that approach at first. He has been there for months and should be weak. Dr. Hamilton's notes suggest that additional exposure may stabilize the original imbalance."

Jonathan had heard the whole conversation from the kitchen and was proud, in an odd way, that Lex was trying to find a way to help. He just stayed there and listened. He had a feeling that the boys' working dynamic was fine as it was.

"So... what, you just go pull Sean out of the lake and race for the plant at your highest speed."

"I don't know, he thinks I'm his personal battery. And if we re-infect him then it will make me sick."

"Clark my love, we have to try. We give him the dose once he is warm, okay?"

Clark sighed and nodded his ascent. The boys climbed into Whit's truck and headed for the frozen lake. Lex was happy because he had been trying to get the thing defrosted for weeks. Who wants a palace and beautiful grounds with a big frozen lake in its midst.

Whitney took the truck off road and used the future deliveries entrance to get around to the back of the lake. Clark used his X-ray vision and saw the figure he needed. He was not looking forward to this. He moved at a rapid pace and slammed his fist into the ice and cracked it. A huge block separated and he heaved it aside and saw how far away Sean was. He grabbed the pick that they had brought from the farm and swiftly removed the ice from around Sean's body. He pulled him from his frozen clothes and slid him across the ice in the direction of the truck. He moved quickly because the ice began to thaw within moments of his removal. Clark looked at the barely moving form and shuddered. He used a plastic tie to bind his hands and blindfolded Sean and took of in the direction of St. Michaels. He hoped that Sean did not recover his wits fast enough to fight with Clark until after he was able to tame the raging inferno.


Whitney and Lex rushed as quickly as they could to St. Michaels but they knew there was no way to keep up with Clark in a hurry.

Clark could feel Sean beginning to fidget then he heard some noises that sounded like words. It had taken three minutes to reach the outskirts of the plant.

"Hey Clark, you came back to warm me up, God, you give me such a jolt."

"Sean, look over there, all the heat you will need to warm up."

Sean was driven by his need to warm up. It was an instinctual behavior. He could sense the vast warmth and intense heat of the fire. He began to move towards it.

"Hang on, we'll be there in a flash."

Clark moved and as soon as Sean was put down an area around him became cooler. Clark moved and looked back. It was something out of a movie. Sean was in the middle of a perfect bubble of cool air. As he moved the ambient heat raced towards him his skin changed back to its natural flesh tones.

Clark moved through the burning wreckage and found one of the lead valves and sealed it. He moved and found several other pressure valves that lead to the storage areas. He moved at top speed, racing from point to point cutting off the future supplies that were feeding the raging flames.

Sean was pulling in all the warmth he could. The flames did not get near him and he walked deeper into the inferno, calming and taming it was he moved. The shards of ice that used to be flames melted after Sean left the area. His efforts combined with Clark's lowered the fire's intensity and allowed the firefighters the ability to get the blaze under control. Clark found Sean and noticed that the flames were fast encroaching his position. He had reached the limits of his own abilities and hunger. Clark raced and pulled him out and moved out of the complex all together. He closed his eyes and knew where his partners where waiting.

Lex saw him approach and saw a limp Sean. He injected Sean with a small dose and saw Clark flinch in response. "What happened?"

"I don't know, his heart is beating but his lungs look congested."

Whitney stopped, "WHAT! I thought he was dead."

Clark looked again, "Whit...his heart is beating and the blood is flowing through his body. He is warm to the touch, maybe he over did it?"

Lex looked at them both, "Now what do we do?"

"Take him to the hospital? The town thinks he is dead and he is wanted for killing his ex-girlfriend."

Lex looked away and then made a decision, "Let's take him to the farm for now. I'll call Toby to come check on him. Maybe there is something we can do but first he has to survive."


Sean was asleep in the spare bedroom of the Kent house. He had an IV full of antibiotics to kill the rapidly approaching pneumonia. It was decided that he would go to the same facility that was currently caring for Tina and Eric. They specialized in abnormal human diseases and the treatment of such. Sean had not woken up and no one had been informed of his return yet. A private transport had been arranged and his parents notified that he had been found. Clark did not know if he was okay but the effect of the injection had stabilized his internal temperature. He wanted to tell Chloe but Lex silenced him with a look.
May 16, Metropolis

Nick began to look at specified accounts as a daily routine. He was in a quandary. He had evidence that Luthor Corp was using illegal accounting practices and withholding information to investors and the SEC. In doing so they were also underreporting assets and income and thus were cheating on their taxes. It was a mess but the Luthor family owned 49% of the company and Nick did not want to hurt Lex. He knew he owed him but could never tell him that. People like Lex Luthor would never believe the reason for an affront, only acknowledge that it happened and move to destroy that person. It was Lex's credit that Nick had this job in the first place. He knew he had a breach to heal but had no idea how to even get near the subject without Lex throwing him out. In the end all Nick could do was sit on the information and hope that he had enough for a Get Out of Jail Free Card.

May 17, Prom Night

The week had passed quickly and Whitney and Clark were getting ready for a big night. Lex had left for Metropolis earlier. He said he had a few surprises to arrange and closed his mind to both his lovers. That was a new development. They could always tell where the others were but one could hide the surface thoughts and emotions if he tried hard enough. It was still new but it allowed a certain level of privacy for them if they should desire it.

Whitney was staring off into space, not really looking at anything when he felt Clark's arms encircle him from behind. Clark's mouth was right next to his ear and he began to lick it and nip at the earlobe. Whitney was instantly turned on.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Nothing really, until now." Clark slid his hand down Whit's abs and rested his palm against Whit's hardening length. He began to move his palm in small circles and Whitney began to alter his breathing.

"CLARK! We can't, come on finish getting ready so we can go to the Prom."

"You look so good though...I want you now."

"Later, when we meet Lex at the hotel. Then you can have all you want and more."

"I love the sound of that."

Clark and Whitney walked down the steps of the Kent house where Jonathan and Martha waited for them. They were both in classic tuxedos and cut a very sharp image.

"Boys, you look wonderful. Here take a picture and then go see Anne."

They groaned and fussed but in the end did go see Whit's mom and took more pictures and headed to the Prom.


The boys walked into the ornate ballroom of the Lowell County Country Club. A few people stopped and stared at them but they were greeted warmly. The music was crappy but Clark and Whitney had discussed that it was going to reflect the tastes of the class in general.

"You know Whit, I really want to go to another Decadence Ball, that was fun."

"It was, as long as I do not have to wear an outfit like the last one."

They walked around and grabbed a Coke. Whitney chatted with a few of his friends but he was more interested in what was after. Lex had arranged fore a suite in Metropolis and it was a forty-five minute drive. He told Clark that they would leave around 11 pm so the could be in the room by Midnight.

"Whitney, can we dance?"

Whitney looked at Clark and graced him with a dazzling smile. "Of course we can."

They walked on the dance floor and Sarah McLachlan's Vox was playing. Whitney let Clark lead to the music as they moved across the dance floor. They did not notice that every other couple had stopped to watch. Clark and Whitney were oblivious to the attention they were receiving. They were a touchy feely couple and a brief kiss or hug had become a common site but this was beyond any of the students' experience. The guys glided across the floor as the melody weaved through the air and the ethereal voice filled the hall with poetry. It was the movement of lovers, intimate and graceful, and all who witnessed it were touched by the love they so clearly shared. As the music faded and a Brittany Spears song came to the fore, the spell was broken and they walked back to their table. They did not notice the stares as they shared a deep kiss but they no longer cared. The evening had become about them and there love and promised to grow to great heights when the union was completed.


Lex heard the door open. He had told them to pick up a key at the front desk. He watched as they crossed the threshold and were greeted by dozens of roses. The whites and yellows evenly distributed amongst the sea of red. He was also dressed in a Tux. He walked up and kissed both of his companions. He grabbed a hand from each boy and led them to the balcony. He had a light buffet prepared and some champagne. He knew to regulate Clark's consumption lest he become insatiably horny again.

"Gentlemen, a toast, To Love, To Family, and To Us, long may we be graced with such." They each took a sip and then kissed. It was a night heavy with romance and as the music played in the sitting room the boys danced together. All the cares of the world and their lives forgotten for the evening. They spent the weekend in bed, waiting for the day that the Master Bedroom at the Palace was complete. Then they would never spend another evening apart.

Monday May 20

Chloe, Lana, and Pete were hanging out for the first time since the break up. They had heard about the `dance' and Clark and Whitney had not gotten back from the city until late. They saw Whit pull up in his truck. The noise level dropped as the boys approached the school.

"Whit, Clark...we heard you guys caused quite a scene on Friday."

"It was only a dance and besides, we do love each other. It was no big deal."


All either Clark and Whitney heard that day was something in relation to that dance. They were more than happy once the day ended. It was strange because people voted them the cutest couple at the Prom even though there was no such animal. The day was weird and Clark was also suffering the effects of a strong solar storm. It was a day that was never right, not that anything went wrong, it was off kilter somehow.

They pulled up to the Talon and went to the office and saw Chloe there. Lex saw them approach and motioned for them to sit down.

"Okay Chloe, please proceed. I told them you were doing this sometime ago and that they were not to bother you but I think they deserve to hear the report.'

"Fair enough. There is a mountain of Luthor wealth in Europe that has been sitting in one form or another for ninety years. It was able to survive two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and now the European Union. I was able to confirm that in its current state it is invested in a few powerful industrial and bank stocks. There are some gold reserves and some cash and I am 99% certain that your father has no clue it exists. More over, most of the proofs of ownership are in your hands. You have holdings in Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Siemens, Bank Paribas, Barclays, and a few others. Lex, the total value of that portfolio is an astounding $12 billion and included in that number is almost $3.1 billion in Euros and Dollars."

Lex looked at Chloe and his mind whirled. Ninety years of buying, selling, and accruing had created a fortune that his grandfather had hidden from Lionel. Of course, his grandfather had hated Lionel for sometime and Lionel had overplayed his hand when he seized control of Luthor Corp by force. If he had held out and let it all come to him in time then Lionel would challenge for the wealthiest man on the planet. Lex stopped his thoughts and pulled out his checkbook. He wrote out a generous sum for Chloe.

"Now, take this and spend only 10% on anything you want but save the rest. Wherever you want to go to school in the world, I will pay for it Ms. Sullivan."

He handed her the check and saw her eyes light up. He was gratified when her hands started shaking and her breathing became shallow.

"Chloe...breathe!" Clark and Whitney were growing concerned until Chloe finally regained her composure.

"Are you sure?"

"Consider it a finder's fee." Lex said with a smile.

Chloe stood up and walked out of the office and headed the three blocks to the bank.

Whitney and Clark looked at Lex and Clark asked the question that was on both their minds.

"How much was that check?"

"A quarter million. She wanted enough to buy a new car; it was very clear in her thoughts that she at least deserved that much. Besides we just gained a huge windfall and we did nothing for it."

Whit picked up on the wording, "What do you mean we?"

"We, as in us three. I have an idea what to do with this money and another fund that we are going to raid this summer. Clark, Whitney...LFK's portfolio just expanded significantly. I need to talk to Tristan and Jeff but I think we can set up our own Mutual Fund with all those assets and use the dividends as income."

All three of them were in shock over the discovery. Lex had learned a valuable lesson in the past half hour, the lesson of patience. His father was going to pay dearly for having been in such a hurry to ascend to the Luthor throne. Lex now knew how strong the ace up his sleeve was and it was strong enough to be patient.

May 21

Roger pulls up to the Talon and climbs the stairs to the back office. He was apprehensive about the coming discussion. Lex had told him to back off the Kent investigation but he had persisted. He had information about the kid's adoption that Lex had to know.

"Lex, we need to talk."

"Well by all means Roger, walk in unannounced and let's chat."

"Lex, I'm serious, it involves Clark Kent."

"Clark? ...What do you know?"

"There are some issues with his adoption. The agency that facilitated it only did this ONE adoption. It is very obscure and few records. It raises many questions about the young Mr. Kent."

"And exactly HOW do you know all of this Roger? I recall a conversation in my study telling you specifically to back off the Kents."

"Well I make it my business to look into things that aren't right and I know that there is something about the Kent boy that is unusual."

"Roger, I pay you very well to do what I say, not to think. In the past you have been able to provide valuable information and assistance, however I told you to leave the Kents alone."

"Lex, I'll drop it but there is something going on in Smallville and you know it."

"Yes, but it is none of your concern. Now what did you find in Asia?"

"The final estimates come in to be 37 accounts in 15 countries totaling $21.4 billion in funds that have remained inactive for the past ten to twelve years. There is less than one automated transfer between these accounts a year. The interest is sweep to various places but it is a closed circuit of money. The only outlet is a transfer up to Luthor Corp but that is an aberration and was new money in the first place."

"I thank you for the information. Please return to Metropolis and await further instructions."

"That's it?"

"Yes, I need time to figure out things and I have more than one iron in the fire as they say."

Roger looked at Lex and then left. He headed back to Metropolis and was eager for some down time. He was now more interested in the Kent family than before but knew that Lex would take measures if he did so. He knew about Luthor measures and did not wish to be on the receiving end.

Lex watched Roger leave and looked at all the evidence he had gathered. Billions of dollars from illegal activities for the past fifty years. He knew that his father knew about this and part of the evidence spoke to the idea that Damien knew as well. He had found that $75 million transfer originating from South America and ultimately ended up back in Lionel's hands. Lex had many reasons to be concerned but had to play this properly or his father would crucify him. Such events were not on his path to glory.

May 22, London

Dominic was reading the International Herald-Tribune when something caught his eye. He could not believe his luck. He had been trying to find a way to use his evidence against Luthor Corp but could not find the proper forum.

"Sen. Robert Kelly, the Republican Leader, stated, `In light if the recent wave of accounting scandals, I feel we have no choice but to crack down on abuses by corporations. The Senate will begin to review current laws and see if we can fix or close some of the loopholes that current laws allow.'"

Dominic had his forum. He knew that Lionel held Congress in low regard but the Senate would love to rake him over the coals. He was aware that Sen. Madison had abandoned Lionel when he needed him for the Hardwick takeover. Dominic began to plan how to get his information to the Senator and let him plan how to use it against Lionel. With the head of Luthor Corp distracted and the Company suddenly knee deep in scandal Dominic could take his time and get his program going. It would be a major victory if Lionel actually was hurt by the investigation.

He had the site ready in Slovakia; he needed time to move all the materials and some of the researchers there. He also had to find a permanent funding supply outside of Luthor Corp. If the investigation was successful then Luthor Corp was going down.

May 24, Smallville

Whitney walked down the halls of Smallville High and felt a surge of sadness. It was the last Friday he would ever be here. All year it had been an effort to go to school and wanted for it to end but now it was and he was surprised by how sad he felt. It was the long Memorial Weekend and he was looking forward to spending time with the guys. Lex had informed them that the residence areas of the Palace would be open in the first part of June. Whitney knew that Lex was pushing for completion of the Master suite. Whit stopped and looked around and felt the sting of tears, he had no idea how much he liked this place until now.

"You can always come visit."

"Clark..."

"You are projecting, I heard it. I guess I will feel this way next year except I will be leaving all my friends behind."

"Come on, let's get you home...Lex has something he wants to talk about."

"He has been silent and he won't say what is bothering him."


Lex looked at Martha and Jonathan and could not find the words. Clark and Whitney were in the room but Lex was ignoring them. Finally he just came out and asked, "Martha, Jonathan, is there anything I need to know about Clark's adoption?"

The air fled from the room and the heat gathered, each person began to sweat. Jonathan would not meet Lex's eyes. "No."

"It has been brought to my attention by TWO different sources that the agency that handled his case only handled his adoption. That agency no longer exists but the case worker can't be located and no one knows anything."

"Lex...why are you digging in our past?" Jonathan's tone was angry. Martha placed a restraining hand on his shoulder.

"Jonathan, I would not have if no less an authority than Bruce Wayne brought it to my attention. Smallville is becoming the focal point for many things and all the weird activity is beginning to get noticed. I looked and I know Clark and Whitney are aware of the Wayne report."

Martha and Jon looked at the boys. Jon got up and began pacing. Martha had a worried look on her face. "Jon?"

"Lex, Martha does not know...only I do and one other person."

Martha suddenly knew and she was holding herself against the blow that was about to fall.

Lex looked at Martha and Jonathan and knew as well. "Who?"

"Your father. He arranged everything; he did it for a price and to rectify the past. I won't tell you his price because that is between he and I. Nothing illegal was done other forging the medical records, it was the only way to insure that Clark was kept safe. It was fairly simple following the meteor strike, everything had been disrupted."

Lex looked down and then at Jon. "We need to have the papers reviewed and...I need to know what you promised my father."

"I promised him nothing, the transaction was completed when I saw him in Metropolis...I can't tell you more than that."

Lex could hear the past clamoring in Jon's head and he was picking up that Whitney was feeling all his emotions. Lex looked at Jon and nodded and he and the boys headed to the loft to leave Jon with Martha.

The boys did not talk much; they were concerned about the conversation in the house.

Clark looked at Lex, "Don't worry, it is not your fault. I know you are trying to protect me but you don't know the whole story and as you would say, it's not mine to tell."

Lex and Whitney accepted that answer and the boys stripped and relaxed in each other's company. They were always the best medicine for whatever ailed any of them. They would leave in the morning to go camping until Monday afternoon. It was another concession that Lex made to the other two that they compromised on the events of the weekend. Clark and Whitney both feared that the time to go camping would soon never be available and took the opportunity while they could.


The camping site had been perfect, a nice remote location and a private lake. They had gone to a place Whitney knew in Nebraska and had enjoyed the solitude and nudity that it brought. Lex again wondered why they had to wear clothes when it was a crime to waste such beauty under cloth. The weekend was perfect. They could not wait until the Palace was complete and they could actually live together. Clark knew his parents would be upset but there was a pain when they did not sleep together. The closeness that night brought was beyond anything that could be described but was a need that they felt. They had been holding out as long as they could but with the end in site, the longing was becoming desperation. Clark knew that his parents would have to accept, sooner or later, that he was 'married' and that Whitney and Lex had to come first.

Wednesday, May 29, Smallville

Pomp and Circumstance was played as the Class of 2002 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. Clark and Lex sat with his parents and Whit's family as the ceremony went on. When they had returned home they had found that Martha and Jonathan were fine. Whatever conversations had taken place they would never know. They watched and listened to the speeches and each of them pondered the previous nine months. Three separate people with almost no commonalities were now bonded in the deepest possible ways. The moment was full of mixed emotions, for the loss that the Fordmans' had sustained and for the promise that the summer held. They were going to be open about their feelings, no longer hiding the fact that they formed a threesome. They knew people would not understand but they did and so did those closest to them and that was all that mattered. They applauded as Whitney crossed the stage and shook hands with the Superintendent of schools. Tristan took a picture to capture the moment. As the ceremony concluded and the graduates said good-bye to one another, it became official, school was out for the summer and the fun could begin.

"You guys know that we are heading to Houston next week for business and I am taking you to the opera while we are there."

Clark and Whitney looked at each other. Whit had seen an opera in Houston before and was looking forward to it but he could tell Clark was not so excited.

"Yeah okay, whatever."

The extended family headed to the Fordman house to celebrate Whit's graduation and the immanent return home of Sebastian. He was in town to see the event but also to take a job at Metropolis University as a full Professor of Astrophysics. He would still work with NASA but he could now research most of the time instead of dealing with the bureaucracy.

Life was good.

Washington D.C.

Sen. Mark Madison looked again at the note and the contents of the package. He could not believe what had been sent to him, evidence of Lionel Luthor's collusion and tampering with legislatures and regulatory commissions for several states. A great deal of it was circumstantial but some of it was tantalizing. Given that and the nasty article that had been picked up by business pages across the country about offshore tax havens and Lionel's unsavory personality, he had all the ammunition he needed to launch a Congressional investigation. Not only that but the IRS and the SEC might want to take a peak behind his and the Company's finances. He had to craft this perfectly lest it seem like the political ploy it was. This would solve his campaign problems in more ways than one. It would neutralize Lionel's ability to help Ben Davis and Davis would have to denounce Luthor should something damning be revealed. He began to search in his head for the perfect forum. He placed a call to the Majority Leader to schedule a working lunch.

He had a few ideas of whose committee this could go to and which committee chairs would be the most hostile. Mary Alice Adkins of Maryland headed Finance and Joseph Christensen of Delaware chaired Judiciary either would be the perfect forum for airing Luthor Corp's dirty laundry. He had to think about this and how to get the most out of this. He smiled because Lionel Luthor's long contempt for Congress was going to come back and bite him on the ass. The Senate returned from the Memorial Weekend recess the following week. He would get this information to the proper committee and watch the fireworks. He knew Lionel had no idea this was coming and these investigations had ways of taking on a life of their own. Sen. Madison smiled for the first time in months. He was going to be re-elected without breaking a sweat and Lionel Luthor was going to be yet another fallen billionaire.


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Each story may contain or does contain explicit NC-17 material. You have been warned.

Author's Notes: Metropolis replaces Kansas City, KS for logistical purposes and Gotham City replaces Newark, New Jersey.

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Cast - Photo Gallery

Click for Photo/Bio
Knights, Bishops & Rooks
Enrique DeSantos
Henry Gyrich
Senator Robert Kelly
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